1938 BUICK SPECIAL HISTORY
Model 41 Style # 38-4419
Body # L12286 Trim # 400 Paint #
515 VIN # 33371029
Door Trunk Back Sedan
With Pictures and words
I'll attempt to describe this wonderful piece of automotive history.
Short of a "frame off" this was a "Sympathetic Restoration" started in about 1990 and stopped at
what the "old car price guide" calls a "20 footer" in about 1997.
The engine, clutch, transmission, rear axle, suspension, steering, were all
rebuilt, resealed, refinished, mostly as original.
The interior, while not correct, was done to the owners personal taste, and is presentable.
There remains a small amount of plastic filler in the bottom of 2 doors and
filling some dents.
But most to
the rest is solid original metal and some original paint.
The bumpers and over riders have been re-plated, but the rest of the trim is
original and showing wear.
It is still a 6 volt system, a combination of old wiring harnesses and shop
made wiring, which works well but is also not show correct.
This is a driver and has some flaws, scratches, dull spots, and one flat glass
rear wing window has a small crack. I'm sure a close inspection will reveal a
This beauty took me several years
to find. I was looking for a "driver" but all of the '38's I found were
either 95+ point "trailer queen" show cars or near parts cars being
advertised as "restorable".
One day back in mid '99 I ran across and ad, while cruising the "tradin
I called and spoke to John and he proceeded to described the car. It
sounded very much like what I was in search of, but having left with trailer
attached once too often already it was off to Flint, MI
With Kevin, my former business partner at KEVRON AUTO, we hit the road to a nice suburb of Flint,
Michigan on a humid 99
degree mid-west day.
There in John's driveway, under the basketball hoop, sat this beautiful 38
Special. I was sure this was going to be John's keeper
and that the car for sale was the "parts car" that must be in the
John had only one 38 Special and this was it.
The three of us went for a LONG ride. On that
very hot day, while enjoying the ride and conversation I nearly forgot that we
DIDN'T bring the trailer. I was very tempted to, and should have, driven this
one back home.
Now "The rest of the story"
John was getting ready to retire from GM here in Flint, MI
where he worked many years at the very Buick plant
where this 38 Special had been built 61 years earlier (no he wasn't there at that
It was near the last day for all the employees of this Flint plant because, you see,
GM decided to close this Buick plant.
On the very same day that I returned to pickup this Buick, John had
just returned from his retirement get together.
He and ALL the other
employees at this Buick plant marked this day together.
Their last work day as a
Just short of a century, PLANT CLOSED!
2008 and Earlier Below
In the shop for "Pre-Summer Service"
and a much needed cleaning.
Please excuse the dust! May 2008
(Click on thumbnails to view larger)
Upper Left Circa 1990's - Parked in John's (previous owner) driveway - Near Flint Michigan
Below Left Circa 2002
Parked on a nice summer day at "Juniors Farm" in Newark, Illinois
Above Right Circa 2011
On the lift for annual service at Cruisers Classics (my shop)
in Newark, Illinois