Emeryville Street Sighting - 1942 Buick Special Series 40A Touring Sedan
One of the smallest production years in American automotive history was 1942, the final year of civilian car production before American factories switched over fully to building military equipment for the war effort. A few companies managed to secure government contracts to build ambulances, staff cars and transport trucks based on existing models. Others retooled and provided engines for military vehicles and still others built tanks, jeeps, aircraft and countless other mass-produced resources for the U.S. military fighting World War II. Buick produced just 92,573 cars in the short 1942 model year, of which 1,611 were Series 40A Special 4-door Touring Sedans. The Special 6-passenger Touring Sedan was offered in two versions, the 40A and the 40B. The 40A was a short-wheelbase, less flashy version. The 40B was eight inches longer and included more chrome trim on the rear fenders to match the pair of "speedline" strips on the front fenders. The 40B Touring Sedan sold 17,187 copies.
This car is a Series 40A (Model 42-47) sedan that the owner told me had been in his family since new. Sadly, he was thinking of selling the old Special because, as he put it, the Buick wasn't really his style and he preferred muscle cars. The '42 appears mostly original except for the paint, which looks like an old repaint in an approximation of the original Ludington Green. The body is solid, and the interior has held up remarkably well. The "Special" hood badges have suffered the most, held in place by little pieces of metal screwed into the hood and falling apart. One of my favorite details on old cars is the vintage stickers, particularly government and military parking passes. This one bears a Department of Defense, Moffett Field Naval Air Station sticker. It would benefit from a sympathetic restoration but as it sits, it really is a true survivor and a rare car.
California Streets is a blog that celebrates the history of the automobile in California. We feature old, interesting and often rare cars and trucks found parked on public streets and roads around the state of California.
I'm a delivery driver by trade, but I'm also a freelance artist and hobby photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area with a healthy interest in cars. I love finding and documenting fascinating old cars wherever I go.