A Buick automobile once owned by Charles S. Howard, the legendary car salesman who was also famous as the owner of the race horse Seabiscuit, is one of several high-quality vintage Buicks being displayed this summer in Hershey, PA.
The custom-bodied 1932 Buick Town Car is being displayed at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey through Aug. 31.
Chuck Bidwell’s 32 Buick.
Howard presented the car, with a body made by Murphy, to Anita Zabala Howard, his daughter-in-law, on her 28th birthday in March of 1932. Howard was the original Buick distributor on the West Coast and recently became more famous as he was portrayed in the movie “Seabiscuit” as the horse’s owner.
After spending most of its life in California, the ’32 Buick was purchased by Chuck Bidwell, a prominent car collector in Hamel, Minn. He moved it to Minnesota in 1999, where an 8,000-hour restoration was completed to bring the car back to show-car condition. In August 2003, the car returned to California, winning a major award at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as that event honored Buick’s centennial.
Bidwell’s car and three others are being displayed at museums this summer with the help of the Buick Heritage Alliance, an organization of vintage Buick enthusiasts.
Two of the cars are also being displayed at the AACA museum in Hershey this summer. They are:
JB’s 53 Buick Skylark
A 1953 Buick Skylark owned by Jeffrey R. Brashares of Dublin, Ohio. One of only 1,890 Skylarks made to help Buick celebrate its 50th anniversary, it has won numerous honors from AACA, the Buick Club of America and the Classic Car Club of America. The ’53 Skylark, a sporty convertible built on a Roadmaster body, has been widely regarded as among the most beautiful American cars ever built.
John DiFrancesco 65 Riviera
A 1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport owned by John DiFrancesco of Waterbury, Ct. Buick captured the attention of the automotive world when it introduced Riviera in 1963. GM Design chief Bill Mitchell described Riviera as an attempt to provide a cross between a Ferrari and a Rolls-Royce. The GS package on the car includes a 360-hp V-8 with dual four-barrel carburetors; large diameter dual exhausts; a large plated air cleaner and polished ribbed valve covers.
A third car being displayed under the Buick Heritage Alliance banner is a 1932 Buick Model 98, owned by Mac Blair of Indiana, Pa. It is being displayed at the Gilmore Museum near Kalamazoo, Mi., throughout the summer. Blair, who has been a chief judge for the Buick Club of America , restored the car in 1996 and it has since won numerous honors.
For more information, check out the Buick Heritage Alliance Web site at: www.buickheritagealliance.org