Thought I’d do a rundown of classic cars every so often- here’s the first.
History and profile of the Buick Roadster
The classic roadsters of the 1920s are among the most sought after and most collectible of vehicles today, but when they first hit the market they were merely a way to get around. At that time many people were still getting used to the idea of motor powered vehicles sharing the road with horses and wagons. Although the roads had greatly improved compared to earlier times, they still posed quite a challenge to those first intrepid motorists.
The tires of the era had to live up to several challenges as well. At the time, any journey that was completed without at least one flat tire was the exception and not the rule.
In fact, one of the selling points of the Buick Roadsters sold in the 1920s was the fact that it came equipped with not one, but two spare tires.
A classic collectible
The 1924 Buick Roadster is one of the most famous and most collectible of the classic roadsters of the era. A well preserved example is worth much more than its original $1,675 selling price.
There were 1,938 1924 Buick Roadsters sold. The roadster was a rear wheel drive, front engine vehicle equipped with a 241.3 cubic inch four liter six cylinder engine and weighed in at 3,470 pounds. The transmission was a three speed manual and the roadster featured room for four people.
The Buick Roadster did not come equipped with a heater, but the included side curtains provided some protection from the elements of the day. In addition, the engine threw off a large amount of heat, making those trips in frigid weather somewhat more comfortable for the driver and passengers alike.
Great Features for warm weather
For trips in warmer weather, the Buick Roadsters built during the 1920s featured a fabric top that could be pulled into the cabin and secured to the top of the vehicle. This innovative design provided for additional ventilation during warm weather. In addition, each side of the engine hood was equipped with 27 louvers to provide ventilation and help dissipate the heat generated by the large engine.
The wheelbase of the Buick Roadsters built during the 1920s was a generous 128 inches. This, along with the leaf springs located at each corner, helped to provide a pleasant ride. Although primitive by today’s standards, these shock absorbers were certainly capable of doing the job.
The wheels of the Buick Roadster were also primitive by today’s modern standards, but quite exceptional for their time. They were also quite stunning to look at. A typical Buick Roadster featured 4.5” x 32” tires mounted on attractive 12 spoke oak wheels.
At the time of its manufacture, the ads for the Buick Roadster made much of its extra strong frame and axles, along with its four wheel mechanical brakes. Like most cars of the era, the Buick Roadster featured running boards covered in linoleum. The six volt battery that powered the roadsters was located underneath the floorboards.
As with most cars of this bygone era, the list of options on the 1920s Buick Roadsters was quite short. A typical list of options on such a roadster might include features such as front and rear bumpers and optional wind wings.
The advertisements of the day claimed that the Buick Roadsters manufactured in the 1920s were capable of turning out a respectable 70 horsepower from their six cylinder engines, and the speedometer went up to an optimistic 80 miles per hour. Even so, many owners of classic Buick Roadsters from the era claim that the top speed is closer to 60 miles per hour rather than 80.
These Buick Roadsters came with no ignition and the car had to be secured using a lock located at the base of the floor shift lever. The car could be locked into reverse, providing an effective disincentive to many would be car thieves. In addition, a lockable storage compartment was located behind the seat.
The Buick Roadsters built during the decade of the 1920s featured a two piece windshield which was split horizontally. The bottom part of the windshield was stationary, while the upper portion of the windshield, located in front of the driver, came equipped with a single windshield wiper, which was operated manually by the driver or passenger. The dashboard of the Buick Roadster was equipped with a cigar lighter attached to the dashboard via an electric cord tether.
The back of the sixteen foot long Buick Roadster featured a single taillight, as well as a single brake light, that spelled out S-T-O-P when it was illuminated.
The Buick Roadster models of the 1920s are still a blast to drive, and many classic car enthusiasts still enjoy the nostalgia and fun of these classic Buick automobiles.