Pick of the Day: 1951 Buick Special, with a great straight-8

Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.

The straight-8 is a bygone engine configuration that was once common for automakers seeking enhanced performance and refinement. Buicks were powered by straight-8s for more than two decades, in varying displacements.

Sometimes referred to as the Fireball Eight, Buick rolled out the engine across its entire lineup beginning with the 1931 model year, and the straight-8 continued powering all Buicks until it was replaced by the 322-cubic-inch “Nailhead” V8 beginning in 1953. 

The Pick of the Day is a straight-8-powered 1951 Buick Special, offered in West Babylon, New York, by a dealership advertising the club coupe on ClassicCars.com.  It’s finished in a two-tone black and silver, and adorned with lots of chrome accent trim – including, of course, its Buick-signature portholes on the side of the hood.  The upper portion of the toothy grille even spells out in cursive script “Buick Eight.”

The dealership states that this Special was female owned for 30 years and has been shown at special events.  It has its original engine, which is paired with Buick’s Dynaflow automatic transmission.  While specifics around maintenance history are not called out in the ad, the sedan is said to run and drive great and has been mechanically well-maintained, according to the seller. 

The Buick lineup in the early 1950s was easy to map out, with just three models starting with the Special (Series 40) at the entry-level position.  Moving upward came the Super (Series 50) with such features as distinctive rear side windows.  Sitting at the top was the Roadmaster (Series 70) flagship with “sweepspear” fender trim and wide chrome panels below the windows and doors. 

Buick aficionados will be quick to point out that the Roadmaster was the only model with four portholes on each side of the hood instead of three.  That styling cue was a visual nod to the Roadmaster’s straight-eight being 320 cubic inches as compared with the 260cid of lesser models. 


The seller has included detailed photos showing the dashboard and interior, which though imperfect appear to be in decent shape for a driver-grade vehicle approaching 70 years old.  The dealer is asking $9,900 for this Buick. 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

The post Pick of the Day: 1951 Buick Special, with a great straight-8 appeared first on ClassicCars.com Journal.