For Sale: 1962 Buick Special in Elkhart, Indiana

Vehicle Description

There's an old saying among hot-rodders and customizers that warns, "It is just as easy to insult the subject vehicle as it is to compliment it." We've all seen certain custom cars that suffered at the hands of their makers instead of benefiting from their efforts. You know the drill. Garish neon colors combined with poorly executed flames. Mile-high hood scoops covering tame engines drenched in chromed gadgets. Geometric graphics randomly applied to bodies without regard for the shapes pressed into the sheet metal below. When it all goes wrong, the result is obvious.

1962-Buick-Special-Buwicked shows that savvy customizers know they can gain a head start to a successful outcome by starting with a popular model. In the world of Buick, classics like the Riviera and Skylark GS455 often form the basis for the more desirable customs and hot rods. But in the case of Buick enthusiasts Ted and Sue Richardson, the selection of a 1962 Buick Special put them in an odd position. Even though Motor Trend magazine awarded its coveted Car of the Year trophy to the 1962 Buick Special, in the years since, car enthusiasts of all stripes have only been lukewarm to the model.

The 1962 Buick Special with its deeply sculpted flanks and economical V6 engine (which was at the core of Motor Trend's interest in the car), wasn't the stuff of hot-rodders' dreams. Sure, things picked up after a more conservative restyle in 1964 and the arrival of the GS400 muscle models in 1965, but generally speaking, the 1961-'63 Special was overlooked by the mainstream.

It's funny how time changes things. With the passage of five and a half decades, the daily sight of stock Specials - shuttling elderly occupants to the bingo hall or thrifty travelling salesmen from one town to the next - have faded. What's left is a clean palette from which to appreciate the Special's unique, compact form. Its scarcity today even sets it above more common Buicks among younger viewers who never knew them, even as 20-year-old used cars.

Starting with a professionally rendered color illustration by Justin Milburn, the Richardsons got to work, hiring the late Ryan Butler of Bill McGlaughlin's Hot Rod Fabrication in Auburn, Washington, to handle construction of what is now known as "Bu'Wicked." Though the subject vehicle was clean and unmolested, they knew its archaic suspension and unibody were not valid in the modern performance realm. In their place went a full Art Morrison tube chassis with a Heidts coilover front suspension using stainless-steel A-arms. Out back, the odd low-pinion differential (designed to position the drive shaft extra-low due to the Special's miniscule driveshaft tunnel) was discarded in favor of a Scribner-fabricated axle-housing with a 9-inch Ford center section packing 3.55:1 gears and an Eaton Trac-Lok differential.

The stock non-parallel control arm, coil spring rear suspension was eschewed in favor of a 4-link arrangement with QA1 coilovers at all four corners. The stock 9-inch drum brakes and 4-lug hubs naturally had to go, and 13.5-inch Baer discs clamped by Baer 6-piston calipers took their place. Filling the wheel arches and adding a businesslike touch, huge 7�17 and 11�17 Budnick Arrowhead rims and equally large Michelin Pilot Sport soft-compound tires provide plenty of grip.

Under the hood, the Richardsons elected to combine Buick heritage and modern technology. Though a turbocharged V6 crossed their minds - after all, the mighty 231-cube Grand National dynasty of the '80s had its roots in the 198-cube V6 originally found in the car - it was decided the rumble of a massive V8 was the only way to go. But to keep the Bu'Wicked all Buick, the usual Chevy swap was skipped in favor of a true Buick 455 short block. Topped with a set of T/A Performance aluminum Stage II Street Eliminator heads and forged J&E pistons delivering 8.5:1 compression, the squeeze is just right to live a long, healthy life with a belt-driven ProCharger supercharger making 8 pounds of boost. Ryan Butler fabricated the custom intake manifold, blower plumbing, headers and exhaust system.

Controlled by an Accel/DFI computer, 1,000cfm throttle body and 55-pound injectors, this hydraulic roller-cammed thumper makes 700 horsepower and 750 ft/lbs of torque. In true Pro-Touring/G-Machine fashion, where an undercurrent of SCCA road race functionality trumps Pro Fairgrounds fluff, a Richmond 6-speed stick with double overdrive ensures a complete driver-car connection. Bullet Custom Engines of Medford, Oregon, put it all together and, while the car has never been to the drag strip, the 700 horsepower and 3,400-pound weight should deliver mid-10 second passes - with proper drag slicks.

Inside, Jon and Gabby Lind of Eugene, Oregon, transformed the austere vinyl bench seat interior into a more suitable cockpit. The back seat remains - replete with Buick's tri-shield logo stitched into the upright - but twin front bucket seats borrowed from a Pontiac Fiero hold driver and passenger steady in high-g turns. The entire interior is designed to match the two-tone charcoal body with tasteful Lambo Orange pinstriping adding a just-right amount of excitement.

Bu'Wicked's bodywork and paint were handled by Rich Thayer of R&J Customs in Buckley, Washington. A visit to the local Lexus dealership provided inspiration for the PPG '98 Lexus Jade Mica upper surfaces and '99 Lexus Silver Jade Pearl covering the flanks and lower areas. Tastefully applied in harmony with the Special's bullet-themed body-side sculpture, a thin Lambo Orange line simultaneously accentuates the color split and work of Buick stylists so many years ago.

In the months after its debut, the car graced the cover of Custom Rodder magazine and also was featured twice in Popular Hot Rodding. Bu'Wicked really shot into immortality, however, in the video gaming world as a playable car for all to drive in Sony's "Gran Turismo 4" game for the PlayStation II, which was released in December 2014.

Though it has just at two decades since Bu'Wicked was completed, the top-quality construction materials and professional execution are still up-to-date. Built (in part) to grab trophies like the 2003 Goodguys Street Machine of the Year (Troy Trepanier's equally astonishing "Chicayne" took top honors), this unique Pro-Touring Special is also right at home on the street, complemented in full by the modification process.

Taste never goes out of style.

Vehicle Details

  • 1962 Buick Special
  • Listing ID: CC-1826492
  • Price: $139,500
  • Location:Elkhart, Indiana
  • Year:1962
  • Make:Buick
  • Model:Special
  • Exterior Color:Lexus Jade Mica
  • Interior Color:Med. Green
  • Transmission:Manual
  • Odometer:3856
  • Stock Number:10076
  • VIN:AI4511
Listed By:
Precious Metal Classic Car Sales
30387 Old US 33
Elkhart, IN 46516

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