1939 Buick Century
Often called "the first muscle car" or "the banker's hot rod," the Century combined the smaller Special body with the 320-cubic-inch eight, putting out 141 horsepower. The result was an excellent power-to-weight ratio giving a top speed in the vicinity of 110 mph and lively acceleration. At about half the price of an Auburn Speedster, the Century was a performance bargain.
This 1939 Buick Century was purchased in December of 1987 by Ellsworth Scott. He happened to come upon this car when he went to Foster's Auto Rebuilders for a general car service. He inquired as to whether it was for sale and was informed that the owner was the Rev. Charles Walker, Pastor and renown concert pianist. He was looking to sell because he didn't have the patience, nor the funds to have it restored.
Bathed in beautiful flawless black and highlighted by in this writer's opinion the best Art Deco Brite-work on any car, this is a really beautiful car. The styling goes right down to the door handles which utilize the triple horizontal bands which is emulated on the hidden hood release which doubles as a side vent for the hood, the bumpers, and even the bullet style headlights, and turn signals ( the 1939 Buick was the first car to have turn signals). Speaking of which, the rear turn signals are not incorporated into the brake lights, but rather blink from the trunk lid where they double as an Art Deco styled Buick badge. Fronting the car is a thin banded grille with the shape of your grandfather's mustache. This widens its way down to a pristine front bumper. Right behind which is another Buick design coup where the front fenders curve into, and under the grille. The rear fenders do this somewhat as well, however the front is more exaggerated. Running boards, a chrome belt spear trim, and a hump back trunk lid finish off the 4 door car which not only gave the Caddy a run for its money power-wise, but definitely design wise.
Plush felt benches stretch from door panel to door panel, and present in good condition. They show little wear and seem to be almost original. Keeping in the Art Deco mood, the Maroon metal dash, houses plenty of Deco styled Horizontal and Vertical lines of chrome, and instrumentation. Fronting this is an original banjo style steering wheel, with a few cracks in the surrounding edge Baklelite. The center design with the Buick type and graphics is another highlight. The headliner is near perfect, as are the matching door panels. Carpeting is fair to good, and is a light gold, and floods the floor in the front and spacious back seat. Speaking of the rear seat, it has armrests with built in ashtrays...but of course!
The Straight 8 stretches from grille to firewall, and as noted above, with the transmission will yield the 100MPH
Areas of surface rust, and patina abound, however it is structurally sound. The only area of concern exists where the running boards meet the body at the upside rocker. There is filler there, and it appears to be somewhat dried out, however with a firm step on the running board, it holds as very strong.
Take a gorgeous glass like black paint, drape it over a beautifully styled limo-like body, and put on loads of chromed Art Deco styled trim and brite-work, add a really comfortable interior, a few innovations, and a straight eight, and you have the Century. Aptly named because it truly would travel at 100MPH (a Century of speed!)