5-6 October 2017

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Lot 247

1940 Buick Super Estate Wagon

  • Chassis no. 0K0612500
  • Engine no. 54012662
  • Body no. 473

$175,000 - $225,000

  • One of 495 U.S. models in the first year of Buick Estate Wagons
  • 5,000-hour restoration by Doug Seybold
  • Extensive list of prestigious awards

Buick came late to the station wagon business. Not until 1940 did such a style appear in their catalogue, but the GM division made up for lost time with a series of elegant wood-bodied cars right through to 1953. In fact, Buick was the last major manufacturer to offer real structural wood bodies in passenger car lines.

It happened in a roundabout way. As told by historians Terry Dunham and Lawrence Gustin in The Buick: A Complete History, Evelyn “Bunny” McLeod, a Hollywood socialite and wife of director Norman Z. McLeod, gave a party at her Beverly Hills home. In attendance were GM’s Harley Earl and Buick president Harlowe Curtice. Mrs. McLeod happened to mention that she did not own a Buick because the marque did not offer a station wagon. Upon return to Detroit, Earl set out to design one and Curtice placed an order for 501 bodies, 495 for U.S. sales and six for export.

Construction of the bodies was entrusted to Biehl’s Auto Body Works in West Reading, Pennsylvania. Mrs. McLeod was presented with the prototype car in a well-publicized ceremony at the Coconut Grove nightclub at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Built on the 121-in. wheelbase Super chassis, it was designated the Model 59 Estate Wagon in accordance with Buick nomenclature and was powered by the 107-bhp, 248-cu. in. valve-in-head straight eight used by the rest of the Super line.

Buoyed by the celebrity publicity, the Model 59 quickly sold out. Buick followed up this success by ordering 1941 Estate Wagon bodies from Hercules Body Company in Evansville, Indiana, which had the capacity to deliver greater volume. After World War II, Ionia Manufacturing Company in Ionia, Michigan, became the principal supplier for Buick and other GM wagons.

This handsome 1940 Buick Super Estate Wagon received a 5,000-hour restoration at Doug Seybold Restorations in Westlake, Ohio. The body is framed in northern ash, with African mahogany panels. All hardware is polished stainless steel, as is the exhaust system. Its list of awards is long: AACA First Junior, First Senior, Grand National, Senior Grand National, and an AACA National award for the “Best of the Best.” Buick Club of America awards include BCA Senior, BCA Gold, and a BCA award for the highest-scoring car at a national meet. At the Glenmoor Gathering it was the best woodie of 21 shown. At Stan Hywet in Akron, Ohio, it won First in Class, Spectators’ Choice, and Judges’ Choice. It was the Top Pre-war car at the Arthritis Foundation show in Columbus, and also Best at Charlotte Autofair in North Carolina.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver


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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more