As we begin our journey to visit this 53’ Buick we can’t help but notice there’s something special in the air. Maybe it’s because the time just changed and the tell-tale signs of spring are apparent. Heading toward the county side, the lots got bigger and the city faded behind us. It was warm and fragrant from all the spring blooms in the air. The kind of day you would “make the time” to go for a ride. Especially if your ride is as slick and gorgeous as this one. Gazing at everything else we missed the driveway. Not hard to spot though, as Glen Allen had opened the garage door and there she was – A 1953 Super Riviera Two door Hard Top 50th Anniversary Edition.
This was the second one owned by Mr. Allen, the first was ordered from the show room floor, two tone red with black top, 1953 Buick. The Allen’s have been corvette lovers for decades. Mr. Allen rebuilds the cars from the chassis up. They love cruising and enjoying long trips with their restored beauties. On a trip to Santa Cruz one year, they stopped by a bank. Mr. Allen picked up a penny nickel and there it was, a 1953 Buick located in Merced described like the one he once owned. He talked with the Mrs., and they decided to stop by and have a look at it. But of course you can’t just “look” at something that’s screaming “Buy Me” so they bought it on the spot for $2,200. Two weeks later it was delivered.
It was in bad condition. Both sides were caved in and between two previous owners it sat out in the elements for about 25 years. Rust and oxidation had taken it’s toll on this car. Mr. Allen got started but took his time with this one. 11 years and $14,000 later is what you are looking at today. He did all the body work and painted it himself. All of the stainless steel polished back to life and the all of the chrome re-chromed, which in itself probably cost more than the price of his original Buick back in ‘53.
As the restoration was nearing it’s completion, the engine was given a thorough going through. As he started her up, the first time in decades, she roared to life. The Nail Head engine (the first V8 for Buick, which replaced the 263 straight 8, from ‘53 to ‘56) purred loudly, happy for the chance to stretch her legs. Mrs. Allen came out to visit with us as we photographed and we all enjoyed some laughs. One I liked in particular was a comment Mrs. Allen made, when they were no longer going to do route 66 in corvettes – The Buick was too comfortable!