Lot 398

Hershey 2018

1937 Buick Special Convertible Phaeton

The Lloyd Needham Collection


$40,700 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Hershey, Pennsylvania



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  • Offered from the Lloyd Needham Collection
  • Beautiful presentation of a very rare model; one fewer than a dozen remaining
  • Offered with an album of restoration and maintenance information

As devastating to American life as it was, one of the better things to come out of the Depression years of the 1930s was Art Deco. Its flamboyant styling is still admired today and is mimicked in contemporary art and fashion. The designers of the better automobiles at this time were well aware of Art Deco and soon the cars they styled bore its influence. Buicks in particular from 1937 had a styling flare with Art Deco overtones. The cars looked racier thanks to a 1.5-in. drop in height, while the floors were dropped 2.5 in. to provide additional headroom. Engineering improvements consisted of a quieter valve train, as well as a new oil pump and cooling system.

The Special convertible phaeton offered here was acquired by Lloyd Needham in the mid-1990s from Bruce McLean of Glencoe, Ontario, who had overseen its painstaking and authentic restoration. One of just 1,945 made and fewer than a dozen known survivors, it is finished in the original color scheme of Samarra Beige, over an interior in trim code no. 343, tan Bedford Cord – rarely seen on a convertible but indeed available in 1937, and original to this example. Correct replacement material was sourced from Hampton Coach. The top is proper black cloth with red leather welting, while seatbelts were added for more safe enjoyment on modern roads. Accessories include a proper Centerline radio.

The car is accompanied by a binder Mr. McLean produced when selling the car, documenting its restoration and the high level of research he performed into correct finishes and detailing. It shows just why this is one of the finest 1937 Buick Specials surviving today.