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1931 Buick 96C Convertible Coupe - AACA and CCCA First Place AwardEstimate $800,000 - $1,000,000. Photo by David Newhardt, Courtesy of Mecum Auctions.

One of America’s best-selling cars in the 1920s, Buick entered the 1930s with more stylish offerings that approached Cadillac in their quality, including under the hood where a new straight-8 OHV engine delivered more power than ever before. Two small-displacement engines a 220.7 CI version and one at 272.6 CI, were used in the lower-caste 50 and 60 Series Buicks respectively, but the one reserved for moneyed customers was the 344.8/104 HP version found in this excellent 96C. The straight-8’s arrival seemed well timed to counter similar engines from Buick’s competitors, but the Depression hurt sales, dropping Buick to fourth place; the division sold just 843 of its Series 90 Roadsters before discontinuing the model at the end of that year.

Today there are precious few known examples of Buick’s fabulous 96C Convertible Coupe left in this world, including this multiple award winning 1931 rumble seat version that was the Classic Car Club of America’s National First Prize winner in 2014 and repeated the same honor in Antique Automobile Club of America competition in 2015. A Pebble Beach award winning restoration firm invested 6,000 hours performing a professional body-off restoration on this car, and the returns on that investment are evident in every detail. Finished in two shades of original Buick Martinique Blue with contrasting Black fenders and splash aprons, Colorado Tan wire wheels with wide Whitewall tires and matching Haartz top and leather interior. The full complement of exterior accessories includes dual side-mount spare tires, dual cowl-mounted driving lights, folding trunk rack, a rumble seat and Mercury mascot. Driven 10 miles since its completion, this exceedingly rare Buick is recognized by the CCCA as a full classic.

Mecum Monterey 2015