Motor City

25 July 2015

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Lot 146

1957 Buick Century Caballero Estate Wagon

  • Chassis no. 6D2016949

$100,000 - $150,000


Model 69. 300 bhp, 364 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, Twin-Turbine Dynaflow automatic transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with torque tube and coil springs, and four-wheel power hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 122 in.

  • A beautiful and rare hardtop Buick wagon
  • Two private owners from new
  • Restored by Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage
  • Autographed by “George W. Bush #43”


It was not until 1940 that Buick added a wagon to their catalogue, though specialty builders had constructed bodies to special order on Buick chassis prior to that time. Although many manufacturers confined their wagons to the lower-priced series—Ford considered them commercial cars until 1939—Buick made them upmarket models. The introductory 1940 wagons were in the Super series, although in 1941 and ’42, they moved down a notch to the 40-B line, the more upscale of two Special models. Always, though, they were called Estate Wagons, leaving no doubt as to their status.

After World War II, Buick’s Special offered sedans only. The wagon reappeared as a Super and was joined by the longer-wheelbase Roadmaster stablemate for 1947. Bodies for both were built by Ionia Manufacturing Company in Michigan. By 1949, the wood sections appeared ornamental but were, in fact, still structural members of the body. What Buick lacked in being a Johnny-come-lately to the marketplace was more than made up for with the last true wood wagon in 1953. Following the groundbreaking Plymouth Suburban of 1949, all other manufacturers had long since gone “all steel.”

For 1954, Buick, too, went all steel, with two handsome four-door Estate Wagons, one in the Special series and the other in the reestablished Century line. These offerings continued into 1955 and ’56, but for 1957, Buick had another trick up its sleeve. There was a four-door Estate Wagon in the Special series as well as a Riviera hardtop Estate Wagon. The more upscale and more powerful Century offered a hardtop wagon bearing the moniker Caballero, invoking a Spanish idiom. Interestingly, the Caballero was more popular than either of the Special wagons, with 10,186 built. A third seat became an optional accessory.

Purchased new through William Murphy Buick in Culver City, California, this 1957 Century Caballero Estate Wagon is believed to have had only two private owners. Its first owner, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, kept it until 2012, when it was donated to the George W. Bush Foundation. At that point, it was fully restored by Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage and signed “George W. Bush #43” by the former president on the inside of the driver’s door. The restoration was done by Leno’s team at no cost to the Bush Foundation, whereupon the car was sold to benefit the George W. Bush Military Service Initiative, a charity for post-9/11 veterans.

At restoration, a couple of technology touches were installed, including dual circuit power hydraulic brakes and Vintage Air climate control. The six-passenger wagon has a large covered storage well in the rear section. Other equipment includes power steering, a radio, and seat belts.

Having covered only 647 miles since restoration, this is virtually a new vintage car, with a few hidden modern touches. With its history and personal presidential touch, it is a truly unique Buick.

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

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
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

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
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

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
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

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
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

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
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

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
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

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
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

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
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

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
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

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
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

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
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

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
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