- Buick’s lowest-production model for 1932, with just 69 Sport Phaetons built for domestic sales and 37 for export
- Assembled new in Australia by General Motors-Holden's, Ltd.; originally delivered with right-hand drive steering
- One of only two Series 50 Model 55s with Holden coachwork known to survive
- Wears a well-maintained restoration commissioned in 2007
- A rare and attractive prize for the dedicated Buick collector
According to the Crestline Series book Seventy Years of Buick by George H. Dammann, Buick’s Model 55, the Series 50 five-passenger four-door Sport Phaeton, holds the distinction of the marque’s lowest production numbers for 1932. Just 69 were built for domestic sales and another 37 for export.
1932 Buicks were easily identified by new hood doors replacing the long-used louvers, the elimination of the external sun visors, and a more pronounced 10-degree rake to the front windshield. Series 50s continued on a 114-inch wheelbase, though the in-line overhead-valve eight-cylinder engine was increased to 230.4 cubic inches of displacement and 82.5 horsepower. A three-speed manual transmission with synchromesh was also featured, as was new-for-1932 Wizard Control—affording both free-wheeling and no-clutch shifting between second and third gears.
Standard equipment included dual side-mount spare tires, dual taillights, a fold-down windscreen, a choice of wood or (as seen here) wire spoke wheels, and a luggage rack. Inside, upholstery was a choice of leather with contrasting color piping while the rear compartment was equipped with side and folding center armrests and velvet carpeting. This vehicle is equipped with dual driving lights, wind wings, and two clocks: one that is dash-mounted, and another affixed to the driver’s side rear view mirror.
General Motors (Australia) purchased Holden’s Motor Body Builders during 1931, merging it with its existing operations to create General Motors-Holden, Ltd. To meet government regulations, GM supplied chassis to the subsidiary company which were then fitted with Holden-built bodies. Originally built as right-hand drive, this Sport Phaeton was assembled in such a manner. This example is one of just two Series 50 Model 55s with Holden coachwork known to exist; the other is listed on the Buick Club of America roster as being located, fittingly, in Australia.
Prior to 2006, this vehicle was held in a Quebec, Canada collection for 40 years before being purchased by the Blackhawk Collection that year. Sometime prior to the acquisition by Blackhawk, the Buick was converted from right-hand to left-hand drive. The new owners commissioned a cosmetic and mechanical restoration completed in 2007. A new interior, side curtains, and boot cover were also crafted. The unique and unusual vehicle was sold to the consignor in 2010, and he has maintained the car in a climate-controlled facility.
A rare offering when new and even scarcer today, this 1932 50 Model 55 Sport Phaeton carries with it a fascinating, globetrotting history; it would be an ideal acquisition for a dedicated collector of the Buick marque.