Contributed by Terry Donohue
Growing up on the streets of the Bronx in the 50's, I would see the gangsters in the neighborhood driving around in their flashy colored Buicks. As a kid, I dreamed what I thought was an impossible dream – me some day owning such a car. In 1999, in the town of Dundee, Florida, that dream became a reality. The flashy green and white Buick special was mine! Now the work began – cleaning the engine, re-upholstering, re-carpeting, replacing tires of the 50's and restoring it back to its original glory. Twenty-two years later, it continues on. I spend most of my life in Burma, Thailand and Cambodia working in our fourteen orphanages. I imagine the orphans dreaming, just as I did as a boy on the streets of the Bronx. I never wanted to be a gangster, but I did wish for their big Buicks.
This two tone Galway Green and White Buick found its way from Michigan in the late spring of 1955 to Pennsylvania and finally to its Florida home. It is original except for some minor upgrades such as the generator was replaced by an alternator, the AM radio, wiper motor, and electric fuel pump. An aftermarket project is under completion, special ordered from Canada, an air conditioning kit.
Seems like most people know someone who had one over the years and loved them, and because of its bullet bumper and well recognized side trim molding, we witness at each and every show or gas station. We are stopped to hear the wonderful stories and memories this car brings out of the hearts and memories of its admirers.
Buick “Nailhead V8” (first generation)
The 264 cu in (4.3 L) produced in 1954 and 1955 was a direct replacement for the 263 straight-eight and the only engine available for the economy “Special” series during its run. The smallest displacement Nailhead, it is a small-bore version of the 322, sharing stroke and deck height but having its own 3.625 in bore.
Introduced in the middle of the 1955 model year the four-door Buick Special Riviera
The Dynaflow was an automatic transmission used in various forms in Buick cars by GM. Introduced in the middle of the 1955 model year the four-door Buick Special Riviera was the first four-door pillar less hardtops ever produced. By then, the Buick Special was one of America's best selling automotive series.
The 1955 Buick models were known as the “Thrill of the Year”, “the newest thing on the road”, “it's a thrilling new Buick, with the highest horsepower in Buick history“.
A quote from the original advertising literature from Buick back in 1955:
“It's a 1955 Buick Special Riviera Sedan (Model 43), the newest thing on the road, and a beautiful new body style that will again set the pattern for years to come. It's a thrilling new Buick, with the highest horsepower in Buick history coupled to a complete new transmission, Variable Pitch Dynaflow. The horsepower in the Special powers this Buick along in a more efficient, economical, and soul-satisfying way than you have ever known in a previous model. The new Variable Pitch Dnynaflow brings even more of an exciting change than the new horsepower, Swift, immediate – yet silken smooth response to accelerator pressure, makes you the easy master of the road over every traffic situation. These are only two of the sweeping 1955 Buick changes that set this thrilling automobile apart from everything on the road. There's a new Four Door Riviera coming soon to your Buick dealer. Visit him and take a look. Your heart will do the rest.”