Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mid Century Squared

1941 Buick Century—This isn't one of my regular "chops." I didn't change the lines of the car, I don't think the Harley Earl-directed design can be improved at all! Rather, I changed the color, added the rear fender skirts from a Roadmaster, and completely changed the location, foreground and background, for a more attractive overall composition. 

I found this classic Buick online at a car dealer's site, link below. The car was painted in what I believe was a non-stock bright blue. This particular example is REALLY desirable, even in stock condition, but had been mechanically massaged. Essentially a "resto-mod", this rare Buick is now equipped with a vintage Paxton supercharger, which must make Buick's famed straight-eight engine sound fantastic, as well as adding more than 60-horsepower. 

I decided to use Photoshop to make it look more like what I might have ordered if I had been around in 1941: a dark cranberry lower body with a platinum gray roof and center hood stripe, in the Buick style of  the day. I added the rear fender skirts to emphasize the glorious fastback roof and forward-slanting B pillars. I left the tires blackwalls, which is how I would show almost any classic car. It's personal taste of course, but I just don't care for the wide-whites most old cars sport at car shows these days. I know they're "correct" for the period, but if you look at any original photo taken back in the day, they were quite rare on daily drivers. I love the "tough" look of the large black sidewalls also.

• Link to this resto-modded "banker's hotrod" 1941 Buick Century sedanette.


  1. This Buick looks amazing as you've "chopped" it. I checked the Connors website and they say it's a Century with a 121" wheelbase, which the Century did not have -- it shared its 126" wheelbase with the Roadmaster, and its B body with the Specials on the 121" wheelbase (there was also a 118" Special using the GM A body). I'm assuming Connors just did not research carefully, as we saw with Ted on the 49 Fleetwood. That blue on the actual car is clearly not stock -- it looks like a recent and fairly well-done repaint. The wheels on the real car send a clear signal that something is not right -- I believe the 41s used 16" wheels. The beautiful fender skirts suit this car perfectly -- give it that stealth look even though it's red and grey!

    All in all, an excellent job! I'd love to see more of your work of this sort, in addition to your well-known chops!

    Paul, NYC

  2. I'm glad you like it! And glad you suggested I do more. I really enjoyed working on this. After I finish chopping a car, or working on one like this, I feel like I know it so much better. I have to zoom in and create outlines for all of the changes so I really notice how different surfaces work into each other. This car was masterfully styled. Besides the obvious humanitarian reasons, it's really a shame that WW2 took so many years away from Earl, I think he reached his pinnacle in the late thirties/early forties (although his later 40s were great too) and we could have had so many more gorgeous cars from him, to say nothing of all the other designers that enlisted.

  3. I like the color very much, it gives the car "life" instead of just plain standard colors you would typically see in the era. I could picture Howard Hughes driving in one of these right before take off.

  4. You have become amazingly good at "painting" cars - you could use this talent to "prototype" color choices on restorations before they are actually painted. Another sideline, lol!

  5. To quote The Tubes, she's a beauty. (Particularly with 60 more horsepower.)

    I had my assistant do the same with a yellow Corvette convertible, but you may not like the results:

  6. there is a Camaro in my town in that green color. it's blindingly bright! I like the Corvette you're sitting in in that green more than that yellow. very realistically changed.