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The Century name first appeared on the Buick in 1936, Century signifying the car’s top speed of 100 mph. The Century combined the smaller body of the Buick Special with the 120 bhp straight eight engine from the larger Roadmaster and Limited models, resulting in the first real “muscle car.” The resulting power-to-weight ratio gave it a top speed in the vicinity of 100 mph and lively acceleration, at about half the price of an Auburn.
By 1939 the Century was sporting a 320 cid eight putting out 141 horsepower, one more than the Cadillac’s largest V-8, with a base price of just $1343. This car has several rare options including sidemount spare tires and “streamboards, which replaced standard running boards for a more streamlined look. Buick had several firsts in 1939. The most significant was the industry’s first standard turn signal lights, but instead of incorporating them into the taillights, they were part of the trunk medallion. Buick also introduced the
first pushbutton tuned radio that year. And for the first time in a Buick, a column shifter was used leaving the front floor unobstructed.
- First year for “Century” model was 1936
- Buick put Roadmaster motor in Special body and said it would go 100 mph
- First U.S. car with turn signals standard
- Buick was the pace car at 1939 Indy 500
- Price new: $1,343