Turn back the clock: ‘New’ 1941 Buicks on display

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Super Convertible Sedan loaned by Michael Kaminsky well represents the 1941 model year, one of Buick’s most popular years of production among collectors.

Buick Heritage Alliance and Petersen museum display ‘new’ 1941 Buicks

By William C. “Bill” Anderson
BHA Vice President

The news throughout 1940 was of one Hitler triumph after another. Only a massive rescue by the British Navy prevented capture of the entire British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk. In America, there was little interest in becoming involved in another war. Yet the country began building its armed forces and supplying war materials to the British and Russians. The increased production from the arsenal of democracy provided many jobs in the United States, which were welcome after the Depression years of the 1930s.

The war in Europe continued to take its toll as the calender pages flipped from 1940 to 1941, but America was on the move. Concerns that the United States might be drawn into the conflict were brushed aside by some as their thoughts turned to buying a new car. Americans who had recovered from the Great Depression and the following recession were finally in a position to consider a big purchase again. The time may have been right, too, if that old car had one repair bill after another. Plus, if war came, no one knew what might happen. Many folks thought it was better to buy that new car in 1941, because the chance might not come for years. For those car shoppers, a visit to the local new-car dealership was in order.

Today, the experience of looking at new 1941 Buicks at a dealership in downtown Los Angles is again a reality. On the first floor of the Petersen Automotive Museum at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard, you will find a 1930s dealership showroom faithfully re-assembled within the museum’s confines and featuring samples of the “Best Buick Yet.”

Greeting you as you enter the Buick showroom is a Monterey Blue Super convertible sedan with a red leather interior. In the center of the showroom is a Super sport coupe in Mermaid Green over Cedar Green upon which every dealer-installed 1941 Buick accessory has been applied.

A Super Sport Coupe loaned by Carlos Wilhelm has every dealer-installed accessory available in 1941.

Finally, the “dealer” has a Limited Formal Sedan finished in Silver French Grey over Lancaster Grey, if your finances are really secure; the sticker price is $2,310.

Perhaps one of these cars is for you. If not, Buick has a full lineup of 26 different 1941 models, including many sedans, with prices starting at $735.

This step back in time featuring one of Buick’s most popular model years was made possible by the Buick Heritage Alliance in conjunction with Petersen Automotive Museum curator Leslie Mark Kendall and the generosity of each car’s owner. This special display will continue through July 29.

The Buick Heritage Alliance is a not-for-profit organization with a singular focus on preserving the heritage of Buick automobiles and the people who made them for the benefit of restorers, collectors, historians and anyone interested in Buicks. Find the BHA online at http://buickheritagealliance.org or call 614-361-7299.

The Petersen Automotive Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd,  Los Angeles, CA 90036. It can be reached by phone at 323-930-2277 or www.petersen.org.
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