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Buick Special from 1955.

Apologies for the grainyness of the image, but I had to scan this at high resolution due to the photo's small size. Anyway, this pic, which is dated June 1958, shows a 2 year old Buick Special V8. Initially I thought this was a 1956 model, but Steve kindly pointed out that it is in fact a 1955 car. The '55 Buicks had a 322 cubic inch V8 engine, propelling the rear wheels via a torque-tube drive. 'Roadability' was guaranteed thanks to the 'Extra-Massive Frame and Precision-Balanced Chassis, engineered all new from front to rear for extra-rugged roadability.'
Coil springs featured all around, keeping the Buick on an even keel around the bends in theory, while the passengers revelled in driving in a car with 'Sweep-Ahead Styling - with choice of Fashion Color Harmony inside and out.'
Despite the bold styling and colour schemes, the Special was in fact Buick's cheapest range - the advertising blurb for the very similar '56 model went as follows:
".. What you get for your money here is all automobile - and lots of it - the biggest bundle of high-powered energy and high-fashion styling ever to carry the Buick banner into the low-price field .... For here's a car with massive physique - beautifully brawny in its nearly two tons of solid road-weight and its 17 feet of sweeping grace .... Here's the surging power of the mightiest engine in Special annals - a robust 322 cubic inch V8 of record-high compression."
"Here's the pulse-quickening performance of a new Variable Pitch Dynaflow - asparkle with brand-new getaway and gas savings at only part throttle - and with a rich reserve of instant switch-pitch acceleration when you need it."
1955 Buick sedan car
Steve, whose father once owned a '58 Buick, adds:
The car in the BW photo has round "portholes" on the front fenders and pointy bumper guards on the front (I think you'd call them "overriders" in Britspeak). The 1956 models had elongated portholes and blunt bumper guards. The pointy bumper guards on many US cars of the era were often called "dagmars" after a US female television personality of the time named Dagmar who had similar pointy protuberances.
Other differences between 55 and 56 Buicks included slimmer taillights on the 56 and the availability of 4 door pillarless hardtop body styling on Senior (C body Supers and Roadmasters) on '56 models, a body style that first showed up on midyear Junior models (Special and Century B bodies) a few months into the 55 model year but didn't show up on the bigger cars until 56. As far as performance goes it might interest you to know that the 1954 Buick Century with manual transmission, despite it's weight, had the fastest 0-60 time of any American car built that year. The California Highway Patrol actually used a number of 55 Centurys as pursuit vehicles, but later reverted to mostly Chrysler products.
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