1955 Buick Special Riviera
*Much of the information in this document is provided by AutoMuseumOnline.com. The full citation is listed below along with a link for this information and more.
In 1955, Buick produced 738,814 automobiles, 381,946 of which were “Special” models. This particular year was huge for Buick, as the company would not reach production numbers this high again until 1983. As the third-largest automaker in the world, it fell behind only Chevy and Ford.
The body and chassis of the Special Riviera were newly recreated in 1954 and carried over into the 1955 production year. The Special model-line consisted of 5 luxurious body-types: a two-door sedan, a four-door sedan, a Riviera, a convertible, and an all-steel Estate Wagon. Fitting of the 1950s car era, the Special has a lot of big, protruding steel parts, flashy chrome, and huge white-walled tires. Being a Riviera, this car is a two-door personal luxury hardtop, designed for the everyday driver wanting a sense of lavishness. During the period of GM’s Tri-Five, when its cars were coming off the line in revolutionary style, the Buick Special had to compete with their looks, functionality, and performance.
Buick asserted, “Each model of the SPECIAL Series gives you big Buick spaciousness and big Buick quality. Seats are deep and soft and wide enough for three to sit abreast in perfect comfort. Interiors are upholstered in smart Nylon and Cordaveen with Buick’s new embossed trim styling throughout.”
This particular Buick is a multiple award winner and has been seen twice in Hemmings Classic Car magazine. The transmission has been rebuilt and new paint, chrome, stainless steel, glass, and rubber have been added to the car in recent years.
The engine is a 264-CID “Nailhead” V-8 with 188 horsepower and a Dynaflow automatic transmission. As the smallest-displacement Nailhead, it’s a small-bore version of the 322, sharing stroke and deck height but having its own 3.625” bore.
The mid-1950s Buick Special remains a popular collector car. The car’s attractive design serves as a great representation of 1950s modernization. The sporty look of the two-door hardtop is highlighted by the open-wheel look of the body.
Jay Leno owns a similar 1955 Buick, known as the Roadmaster. The Special and the Roadmaster are nearly identical sisters due to Buick’s distinct styling, which is characteristic of this era. These cars feature some of the most beautiful and classic shapes in automotive history. Thus, they have caught the eye of many loving fans through the ages.
“Classic 1955 Buick Special Two-Door Sedan / Photos and Specifications.” Auto Museum Online, Buick and GM Archives, 5 Aug. 2015, automuseumonline.com/classic-1955-buick-special-two-door-sedan-photos- and-specifications.html.