Thomas’ 1956 Buick Special Riviera Sedan

1956 Buick Special Riviera

1956 Buick Special Riviera


Year: 1956
Make: Buick
Model: Special Riviera
Body Type: 4 Door Sedan
Engine: 322 cui Nailhead V-8, 220bhp
Transmission: Dynaflow
Tom writes…

Since my childhood I dreamt of having one of these “Classic Cars out of the Fifties”. In 1990 I travelled to the USA the first time. On that trip I planned to make my dream come true. I was looking for, don’t hit me; for a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. A friend who lived in L.A. that time sent me some ads out of, I believe, the “Old Car Trader” some months before. The cars and prices were moderate at that time. But when I reached L.A. in June 1990 the prices for Bel Airs raised up four times for junk. But I would not like to spend that much money for this. My friend told me, that it would no problem to buy another classic car. He gave me a dozen of different car magazines. That night was very short for me, because it took so long to browse through the magazines to find the right car for me. I finally settled on a 1956 Buick Special 4dr Riviera Sedan.

The next day I called the owner of the 56 Buick, Dave Ramsey, . The car was still there and so we made arrangements for me to see it. The condition of the car was better than I expected. After checking the car we need some time to find the right (for me) sales price. I don’t know , if it is normal for a seller, but I told Dave that I would pay three weeks later, at which time I would pick up the car and he agreed. I have never met a friendly seller since then. On that deal he gave me his hand and said: “Two honest men need only a handshake to make a deal.” After three weeks I picked up the car and everything was that way we made the deal.

After the Buick arrived the restoration began. In the first winter I took the body off the frame. I changed all mechanical and chassis parts and painted the frame and the body from beneath. Every summer I used the car for cruising around and in the winter I restored it. The body was stripped back to metal and painted and the interior was restored back to original condition. All chrome parts were re-chromed and I rebuilt the engine and Dynaflow transmission.

In 1997 my project was finished but is a car ever really finished? If you’re a Buick Nut or a Car Nut you always find something on your car that you can change to the better. So I bought a Continental Kit for the Buick in 1998 and I believe it fits the car very well. Believe it or not an original Buick advertisement was used for the inspiration behind the paint scheme.

It makes the car to a real head turner. I am glad that I didn’t buy the Chevy. Since I’ve owned the 56 Buick my life has changed totally. Buick becomes a great part of my and my families life. Thanks must go to my wife Hildegard. She supports me in every way. Since 1990 we’ve owned 5 Buicks. A 1930 Buick 4dr sedan Model 47, a 1952 Super Estate Wagon (not ready ‘til know), a 1967 GS 400 Convertible, a 1992 Park Avenue as daily driver and the 56 Special. The whole family loves cruising around with the cars. A special joy for us is joining classic car rallyes which are not speed rallies but events where you have to find the right way to a location and answering questions along the way.

I have been the President of the Buick Club of Germany since 2001. Our Club is small compared to the Buick Club of America, but we have more then 100 Buicks in our Club and I’d like to invite everybody to take a look at our homepage. The address is and is available in English. If anybody has questions, please feel free and contact me:

Best wishes from Germany


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