Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday Extravaganza – Two Buick Specials; Are they Special Enough?

Continuing on with our Wagon Wednesday Extravaganza. General Motors release a plethera of compacts to the general buying public for the 1961 model year. Chevrolet already had the Corvair 4-door and Coupe, and added a Station Wagon and Convertible to the mix by 1961. Pontiac introduced their own compact in the form of the Tempest, powered by a slant-four cylinder engine and a transaxle in the rear. Models included a 2-Door Sedan, 4-Door Sedan, Wagon, and Convertible models. Oldsmobile debuted the F-85 with the same body styles as the Tempest, with one major difference; It had a new 215 CID V-8 under the hood in a conventional manner. Buick was not to be out done, and also introduced their own compact in the form of a Buick Special. It also had the 215 CID V-8, but would later on introduce Buick’s own Fireball V-6. As luck would have it, there are two Buick Special Wagons vying for your attention on eBay. Let’s take a look….

This is a 1961 Buick Special Wagon with the 215 CID Aluminum V-8, and twin-turbine Automatic. It shows only about 59,000 miles, and was a California car for most of its life, after being sold in upstate New York. There are a couple of gingerbread items on the car, like the rear fender skirts (I would stash them away, but I generally hate fender skirts), and full wheel covers, but otherwise the wagon is pretty basic.

The bidding is up to $2,650 with an unmet reserve. What do you think this car would sell for? See the listing here.


This is a 1962 Buick Special Wagon, only this one is powered by the 198 CID Fireball V-6, and because of this engine, Buick won Motor Trend Magazines Car-of-the-Year for the entire Special lineup. This car shows around 47,000 miles, and according to the listing is mostly original. The equipment is almost exactly like the 1961 model above, including Automatic, Radio, and DeLuxe interior. The only real difference between the two is the Wheel Covers, and the Engine.

The bidding is up to $4,001, also with an unmet reserve. See the listing here.

Are these two Buick Specials worth saving, and how much do you think they are worth? I’m sure you have opinions, so lets hear them.

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  1. RichardKopf Avatar

    Well, the yellow one needs some whitewalls, and the white one needs to ditch its skirts, the prude.

    1. chrystlubitshi Avatar

      "….the white one needs to ditch its skirts, the prude."
      i've heard that phrase before…. just in *totally* different context.

  2. tonyola Avatar

    These are both pretty basic, but I'd give the '62 the nod for no skirts and slightly tidier styling. The rear window on the '62 has extra small panes on either side – I wonder if the center section is retractable. While these Buicks are worth preserving and the prices so far are pretty cheap, I think I'd go with something a little later, like a '67 Sportwagon.
    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/1964-1972-oldsmobile-vista-cruiser-1967.jpg"&gt;

  3. OA5599 Avatar

    I prefer my Buicks without a fireball V6.
    <img src="http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID4824/images/logo(341).JPG">

  4. muthalovin Avatar

    For that little money, I would rather spend on something else. Both are alright, but do pretty much nothing for me.

  5. dukeisduke Avatar

    Fender skirts? Not only no, but HELL NO!

  6. dukeisduke Avatar

    I'd take the '62, with the V6 and the sunny yellow paint.

  7. Jim-Bob Avatar

    The Buick 215 V8 raises an interesting question for me. Is a later model Rover V8 with EFI a bolt in replacement or did Rover change the mounts and bell housing when they started using the design in the P5? The reason I ask is because the basic design eventually grew out to something like 4.9 or 5 liters in the Land Rover Discovery and I can't help but wonder if it could be swapped in. You could Megasquirt the EFI to simplify things but the Land Rover variant would give you the injection manifold to work with. Back it up with a T-5 ( I think this combo was used by TVR or Morgan at some point) and you could have a very fun little car that would leave people at a car show scratching their heads when you lift the hood.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      Land Rover Discoveries got up to 4.6L. It is very rare, but there were a few Discoveries sold here with a 5-speed of some sort. Stock it was only about 225hp and 280 torque.

    2. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      I believe the 3.5 and 3.9 versions were still essentially the same motor, but the 4.0 and later was substantially revised and had different external architecture/mounting bosses and oil pump housings, thus the two won't necessarily fit in the same car without mods. Doable, but possibly a small can of worms.
      I may be wrong, but I am under the impression all the bellhousing patterns remained the same.
      I found all this out when I bought a 4.0 motor for my MGBGT not realizing all the differences. The 4.0 swap had not been as thoroughly mapped out as the 3.9 at the time, so the few available custom parts were prohibitively expensive for my cheap ass.

  8. Charles_Barrett Avatar

    Why all they hating on the fender skirts?
    Maybe I'm just a product of the era I grew up in, but I really like fender skirts; I didn't know of too many compacts from the early sixties that offered them. I also like the 'half-skirted' look of the Falcon Futura. This Buick with skirts looks good to me (although my opinion might change if I had to change a flat tire on the rear…)

    1. Van Sarockin Avatar
      Van Sarockin

      Falcon Future is where it's at. After it was gone, the future really lost something.

    2. tonyola Avatar

      The problem with the one on the '61 is that it looks like an obvious add-on and doesn't blend in well with body lines.

  9. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    Good catch tonyola on the rear window, and I do believe you are right, the one on the '62 will retract. Note the little toggle switch to the left of the heater controls that you don't see on the '61. I suspect that is for the rear window. That decides it; otherwise this is a tough choice. Both of the engines have their strong points. Having owned a beater V6 '65 I can attest that the six can stand up to a lot of less than tender care.
    There is a lot of Corvair structural DNA in these cars. Really, the 1961-63 B-O-P compacts are dressed up Corvairs that have been stretched here and revised there to accommodate a front engine drivetrain. As much fun as a Corvair Lakewood is, one of these Buicks is probably a more useful wagon in the real world.