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Buick Special Tourback Sedan: The one with the chrome-plated teeth

Uli Jooß
Buick Special Tourback Sedan
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A ha, a buck, a typical American: V8 -Motor, leaf springs, automatic transmission, power steering. But unfortunately - all wrong.

The 1950s Buick Special - the car of upheaval

The sedan with the predatory fish's mouth has an in-line eight-cylinder, a coil-sprung rear axle, a three-speed manual transmission and No power steering, which Chrysler first offered in 1951 in the Imperial series model. But that's exactly what makes this Buick Special Deluxe Tourback Sedan from 1950 so interesting. It is a vehicle of radical change and change: while the look already reveals the future, the technology remains more committed to the pre-war tradition.

The front of the body is dominated by nine powerful chrome teeth that extend down over the bumper. However, they were not as well received by the US audience as the monster grilling mouths from Audi and Peugeot today, which is why the so-called bucktooth (dollar tooth) grill on the Buick Special of the following year 1951 had disappeared again. The legendary Special from 1950 is correspondingly popular with collectors and Buick aficionados.

Transition to the pontoon look

The same also applies to the identical, slightly more powerful motorized sister model Super and the larger and more luxurious Roadmaster, whose body, however, is different only differs from special and super in details. To make things a little easier for the less diligent car enthusiast, the top model Roadmaster was given four instead of only three of the so-called 'portholes' - functionless ventilation holes on the bonnet flanks - and even more handsome chrome decorations.

On the other hand, the panorama rear window introduced in 1950 is really modern and trend-setting on the special body. But because the Buick designers were not entirely sure of their case, the Tourback Sedan was offered with a notchback and panorama window alongside the Tourback still clearly reminiscent of the 1940s hatchback with the beautiful name Jetback. The Buick Special Jetback was also available as a Sedanette, a coupé-like two-door model.

All body shapes are characterized by the transition from the fender-emphasized pre-war style to the modern pontoon look. The upright bonnet and the slightly offset fenders at the front and rear pay homage to tradition, while the generous glazing of the Tourback variant and the sideways, downward-slipped hip curve in theThe body flank already clearly shows the design future.

Pre-war technology works under the sheet metal of the Buick Special Tourback Sedan

The long-stroke inline eight-cylinder with 248 cubic inch (cui) displacement (4.06 liters) comes from its OHV basic concept from 1931. In the special from 1950 it develops 110 hp at 3,600 rpm. It was not until 1953 that Buick presented its V8 engine, on time for the company's 50th anniversary, which the entire competition with the exception of Chevrolet had had for years.

The machine starts automatically when you step on the accelerator. In terms of feeling, the crankshaft may have to turn two or three times for this: A quiet 'click' and the eighth row mumbled eagerly to himself. The driver sits on a comfortably padded bench and at first feels like in a spacious VW Beetle: In front of him only the centrally arranged round speedometer, on the left of the door the chrome-plated, metal window crank, a door opener and another crank with a shorter arm for the rotating triangular side window.

Another round temperature and fuel display, offset downwards, is placed on the left and right of the speedometer in the matt, graphite-gray dashboard. The whole thing looks cool and matter-of-fact, without any frills, almost as driver-oriented as in a modern Saab, if it weren't for this shiny chrome, wonderfully ribbed jukebox unit with control buttons for light, heating and ventilation in the middle of the dashboard. A tube radio that still works without any problems today crowns the rectangular jewelry box.

The seat of the Buick Special Tourback Sedan is connected to the cooling circuit

The seat, which is heated by a cooling water circuit, allows different driving positions: in the Cuban taxi driver style, casual Leaning against the door, in the anxious housewife style right behind the steering wheel or as a professional Casanova almost in the middle, where you can easily operate the radio and potential passengers. We decide on the second variant, press the stationary clutch pedal into the vehicle floor, use the steering wheel lever at the bottom at the front to engage first gear and release the clutch.

The journey begins with a little more than idle speed Buick and designed to be very special. The smooth bull engine does its job excellently - at 30 km /h it goes into second gear, at 50 it goes into third, even uphill. The drum brakes also work effortlessly and inspire confidence. The indirect steering, on the other hand, requires bear strength, as if Cape Horn had to be sailed around in a storm. And every braking maneuver, every change of direction is acknowledged by the body with breathtaking rocking movements and the inclination of an Irish ordinary seaman after a visit to the pub.

The Buick Special Tourback Seda is a softie

It's one of the faultsComfort-oriented chassis concept with independent front suspension and a rear axle with coil springs guided by two inclined thrust struts and a Panhard rod. Four lever dampers always need several attempts to get the body movements under control. But that is exactly what makes the Buick Special so unique: Despite its aggressive cool face, with which it is supposed to pave its way in the urban jungle like a Rambomobil, it is a downright softie.

This is how the Buick conquered the hearts of passers-by and motorists by storm, who even took off their hats in their choice of words: Instead of the usual 'monkey horny' we heard a really pretty 'super beautiful'.


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