- Offered from the Collection of Les Holden
- The fifth-earliest extant Buick automobile; one of 14 known Model Cs
- Known history with noted collectors and enthusiasts
- AACA Grand National First Prize and National Award-winning restoration
- An irreplaceable part of a complete Buick stable
One of the wonderful things about the automobile hobby, celebrated so aptly each year here at Hershey, is that every motorcar has its specialist—and in many cases, every year or model, as well. The provenance and life of the very earliest Buick automobiles has been studied as seriously as any other endeavor, and elaborate articles published on the history of the known extant cars, most prominently in Lawrence R. Gustin’s “In Search of the Oldest Buick,” published in the December 1991 Buick Bugle, and in an appendix by Mr. Gustin to The Buick: A Complete History.
None of the original 1904 Model B Buicks are known to survive, though a replica lives in the Alfred P. Sloan Museum in Flint, Michigan. Thus, the earliest extant Buicks are the 1905 Model Cs, similar but with pushrods on top of the twin-cylinder engine and a wider hood molding. As of Mr. Gustin’s research, 14 Model Cs were known, of which the example offered here is recorded as the fifth earliest. The engine number is long recorded as being unknown in the earlier articles, which instead list a frame number of 348; a stamped number, 18903, is found on the flywheel, indicating the car may have a later series engine. Likely built in June 1905, it was formerly owned by early collector Clifford Beauchamp of Waukegon, Illinois, sharing a stable with, unlikely as it may seem, the famous Duesenberg Model J “Tapertail” speedster, J-437. It was later acquired by Wisconsin collector and enthusiast, Richard Braund, who noted to Mr. Gustin that the car had no engine number but retained the original cape top. Following Mr. Braund’s death, the Buick passed to Peter Eastwood of Pasadena, California, member of a family that also included three other Model Cs!
Long in restoration, the Buick was acquired by Les Holden from Mr. Eastwood in 2006, and restoration completed in the new ownership, including brass finished by the great Rick Britten. Afterward the car was shown at Pinehurst, where the Holdens were frequent exhibitors, in 2014, as well as at the famed Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in both 2011 and 2020. It was also awarded an AACA Grand National First Prize in 2010, a year after it was selected for the national Edgar E. Rohr Memorial Award. Today the restoration remains in superb overall order, aside from some cracking visible in the original wooden coachwork, and is accompanied by original top irons and Mr. Holden’s usual thorough history file, including invoices for restoration work and historical research.
The Buick collector can now complete their collection with this scarce Model C—one of the earliest known examples of the marque.