Formerly the property of Martin Swig, 2007 Peking-to-Paris finisher, two-time California Mille entrant
1940 Buick Roadmaster Convertible Coupe
Chassis no. 13676588
* 320-cid V-8
* 3-speed manual transmission
* 126" wheelbase
* Proven rally participant
* A unique rally or tour car
* Crossed the Mongolian desert
* Swig's favorite Buick model
Before World War II, there was no blurring of the hierarchy at General Motors. The ladder built by GM boss Alfred P. Sloan started with Chevrolet, with Pontiac a rung up, followed by Oldsmobile, Buick, LaSalle and Cadillac. Although positioned between Oldsmobile and LaSalle, there was nothing inexpensive or bare-bones about the Buick. It was a high quality car that communicated a fair bit of status in its own right. Within the Division, Buick had as hierarchy of its own, consisting of four series: Special, Century, Roadmaster and Limited. As a result, Buick was able to offer cars for as little as $900 and as much as $2,300, which helped considerably to broaden the company's appeal.
At the end of 1930 Buick adopted an all eight-cylinder range that would carry it through to WW2 and beyond. Dating from the Harlow Curtice-era, a period when Buick sales were booming, the 1940 Roadmaster was designated the Series 70 and sat just below the top-of-the-range Limited Series 80 in the model line-up. Sharing its basic styling with the Super, the Roadmaster was available as a Touring Sedan, a Convertible Phaeton, Convertible Coupe or Sport Coupe. As offered here, the 76C Convertible Coupe was listed at $1,431 and just 606 left the Buick factory in 1940, a tiny fraction of total Buick production that year. This was the last time Buick offered sidemounts and the first time 'Fore-N-Aft' directional indicators were added, an industry first.
This particular Roadmaster lives up to its name, perhaps, more than most. A childhood dream car of the late, great automotive adventurer Martin Swig, this example was acquired by him in 2006. Described at that time as a capable driver-quality older restoration, in typical Swig fashion, the car was purchased sight unseen, and then driven from Chicago straight home to San Francisco primarily on two-lane roads, taking in sights such as Mt. Rushmore along the way.
Upon arrival in California, Swig's itch for the Roadmaster ownership experience had been scratched, and he sold the car to its present owner, a close friend. The Roadmaster was then readied for the grueling month-long, 7,600 mile Peking-to-Paris Motor Challenge. The Buick acquitted itself admirably, triumphantly arriving in Paris nearly on-schedule, despite a two-day layover in the desert of Outer Mongolia while sidelined with a broken rear axle. A suitable replacement was located in the Midwestern United States, air-freighted to Mongolia and installed, allowing the Buick to complete the rally with dignity.
After its return to the US, the Buick was comprehensively gone through as needed to bring it back to its pre-rally condition. It has since participated in the California Mille on two occasions, and today is described as a capable driver by the vendor. A proven rally participant, the Roadmaster is now ready for its next owner to write a new chapter of its story.
- Please note that the correct chassis number for this vehicle is 13676598 and the engine number is S06225.