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Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday Extavaganza – A 1956 Buick Century Wagon with Factory A/C

Jim Brennan August 3, 2011 For Sale, Wagon Wednesday 11 Comments

Welcome to another Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday Extravaganza. Wagon Wednesday has been one of the more popular features here that I thought I would kick it up a notch with a grouping of desirable Station Wagons that anyone with the means would love to own. And here is a vintage Buick that has some very unusual options for its time. Let’s discover this 1956 Buick Century equipped with Factory A/C….

The 1956 model year was a high point for the American Auto Industry during the Eisenhower Administration, with cars that were getting more powerful, glamorous, colorful, and ever more desirable. Who would have guessed that in only 2 short years, the country would be in recession, that there would be a wave of smaller imported cars that would find eager buyers, and that there would be casualties in the automotive landscape. Kaiser was already dying, Nash and Hudson would soon be pushed into retirement, and Packard would cease to exist. This was also a year before the flamboyant Exner Chrysler products would debut, the tailored looking 1957 Fords and Mercurys took to the streets, and the even flashier full sized models from Cadillac, Buick and Olds.

Which makes this Buick somewhat special. The 1957 Buick Caballero Hardtop Wagon was breathtaking, and made the Buick Wagons from the year before look dowdy. Of course, we have the advantage of being Monday Morning Quarterbacks when it comes to designs from the past, and what was once dowdy has turned handsome with time. This wagon sports only 84,000 original miles, and has been optioned with the 322cid V8 Nailhead engine producing 255hp, Buicks Dynaflow automatic transmission, Factory Air Conditioning, power steering, power brakes, Selectronic AM radio, in-dash gauges, electric clock, windshield washers, factory tinted glass, padded dash, and deluxe two tone upholstery.

This car looks relatively plain compared with the bombshells Buick is known for during this era, but this car is significant nonetheless. Bidding currently sits at a little over $20,000 with an unmet reserve, and I expect a realistic reserve to be at or near $80,000. There simply isn’t another wagon quite like this one, which is really bad news for the rest of us. See the listing here.

  • $kaycog
    • Mad_Hungarian

      Ooooh, I want THAT one!

  • Man, I love the upholstery. Not quite $$$ love, but it is very cool.

  • topdeadcentre

    I was just in Acadia, Maine over the weekend. I should have had this car to go car-camping with!

  • tonyola

    Buick was going through some difficult times in the mid-'50s. The cars were selling like crazy, but the Buick reputation had slipped since the 1954 re-design. There were problems with the transmissions and brakes plus the assembly quality was suffering because Buick was cranking out the cars so fast. Word was getting out and sales began to plunge in 1957. It wouldn't be until the early '60s before Buick recovered.

    This is a nice wagon but $80,000? Yikes. That sounds like a hell of a lot, but Hemmings has a 1953 Estate Wagon (last of the woodies) for $110,000, so what do I know?

  • dukeisduke

    What model is that a/c compressor? I know a guy that had a '59 Chevy Kingswood wagon with factory air, and it had a similar compressor, but with a longer housing. Both of these predate the A-6, which first appeared in the early '60s. The Corvair first got a/c as an option in '61, and it used a green-painted, reverse rotation A-6 in that year only – GM then figured out that the A-6 worked regardless of which way it was spun, so after '61 they were black, like other A-6s.

    Another odd thing about mid '50s Buicks is that they put the year of the car on the logo in the grille – this wagon's would say "1956 BUICK". The story I read in the book "The Buick" (I have it at home) was that owners complained about the fact that other people could easily tell they were driving last year's model just by looking at the emblem.

    • FЯeeMan

      Enhance. Enhance. Enhance.

      I'll be gosh darned, I can't tell that it says that from these pictures. 🙁

    • FЯeeMan

      bah, none of my replies have shown up today.

      I hate Hoonibbles!

      • dukeisduke

        When I was a kid, one of our neighbors had a '56 Special two-door hardtop, with a black painted top over pink and white. Also, if you check out the high resolution photos with the eBay ad, you can see that it says "1956 BUICK CENTURY" on the front and the back.

        • sporty88

          Planned Obsolescence at its best – advertising the model year on the badgework

  • Robert Hayden

    I bought it. That lovely old wagon is heading for a new home in Melbourne, Australia.