Hershey | Lot 172
1953 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon
$48,400 USD | Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
7 October 2021
- One of only 670 Estate Wagons produced for 1953
- Attractive presentation in its factory colors of Victoria Maroon over Red and Grey two-tone interior matched to its original wood
- Final year for Buick “woodie” production
- Considered to be the last true wood-bodied American production car
Buick described the 1953 Roadmaster as “perfectly at ease with casual clothes…equally so at white-tie-and-tails affairs.” An apt description for the Roadmaster Estate Wagon, that was equal parts glitz and glamour—and groceries and garden supplies.
The story of how the Buick Estate Wagon first came about is the stuff of legend. As told by historians Terry Dunham and Lawrence Gustin in The Buick: A Complete History, Evelyn “Bunny” McLeod, a Hollywood socialite and wife of director Norman Z. McLeod, gave a party at her Beverly Hills home. In attendance were GM’s Harley Earl and Buick president Harlowe Curtice. Mrs. McLeod happened to mention that she did not own a Buick because the marque did not offer a station wagon. Upon their return to Detroit, Earl set out to design one and Curtice placed an order for over 500 bodies; the Buick Estate Wagon was born mid-year in 1940 as part of the Super Series. While it would remain a staple in lower Buick lines for the next seven years, a “woodie” wagon was not offered in the most prestigious Roadmaster series until 1947.
Designated the Model 79 and built at the Ionia plant, the Roadmaster Estate Wagon was the last “real” woodie station wagon produced by an American automobile manufacturer, as it relied on wooden construction for structural components including the entire rear deck and exterior window frames. Being one of Buick’s more expensive models for 1953, just 670 of these exclusive Roadmaster wagons were produced (as compared to the more commonly found Super wagon, with nearly three times as many built). While optional for other Buick models, all Roadmasters were powered by Buick’s overhead valve 322-cubic-inch “Fireball” V-8 engine mated to a Dynaflow automatic transmission, and assisted with power steering and power brakes.
This 1953 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon benefits from an older restoration that presents well. It has been refinished in its factory-correct paint and trim combination of Victoria Maroon over Red and Grey two-tone cordaveen matched to the rich grain and color of its original wood. The interior features the Selectronic radio option as well as an electric clock, while the exterior includes dual sideview mirrors and Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels wrapped in whitewall tires. The wagon had resided in Northern California for many years until joining current ownership in a significant Colorado collection in 2003.
1953 Buick Roadmaster was one of the famed Golden Anniversary models celebrating 50 years of Buick Motor Company, and the Estate Wagon was the last of the true American woodies—two milestones combined into one memorable Roadmaster that symbolizes the very best of Buick quality and GM design from their golden era.