If you're a fan of chrome, then this 1956 Buick Special Riviera will certainly hold a special appeal. For many, the appeal of the sportiest Buick can be explained by its big car comfort and power and Chevy-sized package, making for one formidable factory hot-rod.
The “CMC” paint code on the cowl tag is for the tri-tone combination that was popular on '50s Buicks, sandwiching code C Dover White between code M Seminole Red top and side coves for a truly dazzling effect. Refinished several years ago, it's holding up well, which we can credit to modern paint technology, and the finish will probably look this good for years to come thanks to durable materials. There are a few minor signs of age, but nothing that gets in the way of the car's handsome good looks and use-it-now condition. Underneath, there's solid GM steel, since reproduction body panels for these cars are non-existent, and someone did their homework, because this big cruiser fits together pretty well. And talk about chrome! That massive grille is composed of dozens of separate pieces to create the grinning countenance that is the Buick front end, and it's in good shape with a little bit of corrosion that could probably be buffed away with some steel wool. Of course, it also includes the three “venti-ports” signifying a Special, plus the famous Buick sweep-spear whose shape is still seen in the Buicks built today.
The handsome two-tone interior is pure 1950s cool. GM designers in the '50s were the best in the world, and this car shows you why. The black and red seats are wide and comfortable, of course, with flashy door panels to match and both the carpet and headliner are recent. The three-spoke steering wheel is a nice contrast that lets the dashboard design take center stage, and it embraces chrome just as much as the front-end of the car does. The gauge lenses are showing a bit of age but they do give you a complete view of the engine and the original Sonomatic AM radio still lives in the center of the dash with that incredibly ornate speaker grille below it (sorry, the radio isn't working). The trunk is neatly trimmed in black with proper cardboard panels.
Buick's 322 cubic inch “Nailhead” V8 was standard across the line for the first time in 1956, and with a modest bump in horsepower, the Special was one of the fastest cars in the Buick lineup. We suspect that the engine bay is entirely original, although it has been well maintained over the years. That's Buick Turquoise engine paint and the stock air cleaner lives atop a correct 2-barrel carburetor. Still running its original generator, the car sticks to the factory specifications throughout and the radiator up front is HUGE, so it runs nice and cool. Buick's Dynaflow transmission was a bit more sophisticated by 1956, so it's still impossibly smooth out on the road where speed creeps up on you without anyone noticing. The suspension is commendably supple, and even with drum brakes all around, braking is confident. The floors are remarkably clean and the single exhaust features a new muffler and tailpipe. Optional full wheel covers are a nice upgrade, and it rides on vintage Remington wide whites that look right.
This Special provides big power and a comfortable size, along with a great deal of style, all at a reasonable price. Like I said, if you like chrome, there aren't many better choices than a big Buick. Call today!