1941 Buick Roadmaster Convertible Sedan
Chassis No. 24178041
Series 70. 320-cid, 165-bhp inline ohv eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with coil spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.
Introduced in the mid-1930s as a more comfortable alternative to the open phaeton or touring car, the convertible sedan soon faded from public favor. After 1940, the model all but disappeared, except at General Motors. For 1941, The General offered them in no fewer than three marque lineups, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac. Built by GM’s Fisher Body subsidiary, they were based on a common understructure but given marque-specific sheet metal where necessary to preserve corporate president Alfred Sloan’s dictum of a “car for every purse and purpose.” They were the last of this rare breed, disappearing after World War II halted production. Post-war, production centered on mass market styles to fulfill pent-up demand. Not until Kaiser and Frazer’s tentative effort in 1949 to 1951, did the convertible sedan return, reaching significant levels only with the legendary Lincoln Continentals of 1961-67.
The big news at Buick in 1941 was compound carburetion. Standard on upper series and optional on Specials, it used a pair of two-barrel carburetors. The front carburetor functioned all the time, each barrel feeding four cylinders. The rear carb, with only a float system and jets, came into play during acceleration and at high speeds, when its barrels worked in parallel with those of the front carb. The system was used in 1941 and ’42 only.
Production of these convertible sedans was in very small quantities. Buick alone offered them in more than one series, the 51C Super and 71C Roadmaster, both designated Convertible Phaetons. The car being offered is the 120th body built out of 326 Roadmasters for 1941, or 834 Buick Convertible Phaetons in all. Built in Buick’s plant in Southgate, California, it was purchased by the current owner from a gentleman in Iowa. Previous owners hailed from Arizona and California. The car bears a service sticker from the Los Angeles area.
It received a cosmetic restoration a number of years ago and is beginning to show its age. The blue paint exhibits a good shine, and the red leather interior is in great shape. The engine compartment is nicely detailed. The engine itself was completely rebuilt by Mason Automotive in North Scituate, Rhode Island, new bearings, camshaft, rocker arms, valves and hardened valve seats for operation with today’s fuel. The Compound Carburetion components were rebuilt by Buick specialist Doug Seybold in Ohio, resulting in smooth acceleration throughout its speed range. The car handles well on wide whitewall radial tires. The odometer shows fewer than 45,000 miles, the status of which is unknown. Other equipment includes a Buick Sonomatic radio and antenna.
The convertible sedan body style still has considerable cachet, and the Buick is a fine example. The Roadmaster version was, apart from the Limited Formal Sedan, the scarcest 1941 Buick. This one is bound to please a discerning new owner. This Buick Roadmaster is now CCCA Accepted
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