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Brilliance Hiding in Plain Sight

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by Roger C. Johnson

When the Resto-Mod fever takes hold, car builders are more likely to start with a vehicle from the mid-50s to the early ʼ70s.

Buick Super 8 resto engine PicmonkeyGM powerplant provides several hundred more horses than the original

Why not? These machines were first produced during the classic sweet-spot of time in automotive manufacturing. They were already awesome-looking and had a solid history of performance and style that everyone knew about and loved. But the long arm of Resto-Mod fever is perfectly capable of wrapping itself around almost any older car from any decade you care to mention, and if you want proof of that, here it is. Say hello to this 1947 Buick Super 8 convertible.

This near-stock-looking Buick perfectly hides the monstrous dose of workmanship and technology it has received during its build process. The body was taken off the frame and stripped of paint with media-blasting, then reconstructed with masterful touches like welding the rear fenders to the body structure for a more fluid look, then block- and hand-sanded to create laser-straight panels everywhere.

Hood, trunk, door and fender gaps were made precise during the reassembly process, then the entire body was sprayed with a custom mixture of Valspar to seal in the body’s absolute perfection. The original frame was replaced with a modern, high-tech Art Morrison GT chassis that was finished in the same color as the body and includes power-assisted rack & pinion steering and JRi coilovers offering adjustable ride height, in addition to superb handling characteristics.

Buick Super 8 speedo PicmonkeyNew gauges maintain look, feel of original dash

Rolling art such as this Buick Super 8 is entitled to the best in braking capability, so Wilwood’s 6-piston calipers were selected and operate efficiently with 14-inch vented rotors inside each wheel. Stainless brake lines and a GM hydro-boost system make sure the act of bleeding off forward motion is done effortlessly and dependably.

That forward movement is the product of a GM crate engine, a 6.2-liter LSA supercharged powerplant generating 580 horsepower and 550 ft/lbs of Corvette-inspired torque. GM’s beefy 4L85E 4-speed automatic with an overdrive high gear backs up the sophisticated V8 engine. This tranny is actually designed for applications generating as much as 685 pounds of torque. Call it a safety barrier. Third gear is one-to-one, and the overdrive fourth gear offers a cruise-happy .75-to-one ratio. An oversized 38-gallon stainless-steel gas tank ensures your driving pleasure won’t ever end too soon.

The interior of this modernized retro-classic will keep you surrounded by all the luxury and comfort that was impossible to experience in 1947. Nine hides of fine European leather trim the driver’s compartment, which also features custom power seats engineered to offer additional legroom and the added comfort that goes with it. An Ididit tilt steering column with a custom-made steering wheel further dial in the human factor to ensure a pleasurable seating and driving position. A push-start ignition button was used on most cars up to 1949 and then lost favor for decades, but was rediscovered in recent years. This Buick had one then and has one now. It’s just one more example of how a true classic design element lives forever.

This Buick’s dashboard gauges have been upgraded with units from Classic Instruments and maintain their stock location and original ʼ40s style, but with the underpinnings of razor-sharp modern technology and the corresponding function that goes with it. Power windows and top give this car’s driver additional fingertip control for all-weather cruising. A set of 18-inch billet Foose wheels with whitewalls that are actually part of the wheel provide a classic and modern effect all at once.

Buick Super 8 side view PicmonkeyOne last look


There’s also has a custom Kenwood sound system incorporating electronic navigation, iPhone integration, Sirius XM radio and a backup camera. LED lighting throughout is assured by a complete American AutoWire harness with a built-in CTEK battery tender. This beautiful, trendsetting Resto-Mod was completed in March 2018 and has a mere 1,000 trouble-free miles on it since then.

If you’re looking for a unique collectible car that is perfectly willing and able to deliver contemporary and dependable performance, all the while cloaked in the prestige and luxury of an era gone by, then it’s no secret that this is the very car of your dreams. And it’s right here, in plain sight.


Editor’s note:    The Buick Super 8 Roger Johnson has described is one of the beauties to be auctioned at Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Palm Beach auction held April 11 to 13. We enjoy these televised events, which fuel so many of our automotive fantasies. With the updated running gear in this vintage Buick it would be a shame not to turn this car into a daily driver. But we can’t imagine leaving it the parking lot while running into the grocery store to pick up a quick six-pack. And we definitely wouldn’t want to let some young man on a resturant’s valet parking team have the keys while we went in for dinner. Maybe keeping our bidding in the realm of fantasy is the safest way to go.

For up-to-date information about this vehicle, click HERE   For a look at the entire 2019 Palm Beach docket, click HERE.

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