It could easily qualify as one of the most beautiful Buicks ever made. Certainly it held that title in its era, and is unquestionably more attractive then any Buick made today. This 1957 Buick Century convertible is owned by Frank Snyder of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, who says, “anyone can drive a new car but it takes guts to drive an old one.”
Reminiscent of the gorgeous Skylark convertible, with its cut-down sports car-type doors (handy for leaning an elbow), the 1957 Century was designed when the legendary Harley J. Earl headed GM’s design studios. He is quoted as having insisted that every new GM car had to have 50 pounds of chrome-plated steel trim. Fortunately Earl moved on to cleaner and simpler forms but in the case of Frank Snyder’s Century convertible, chrome works.
A Classic Car Hobbyists Dream
Like all great classics, it comes with an interesting history. Frank Snyder bought his car four years ago from John Meyer at Happy Days Dream Cars in Warrensburg, MO. It was in excellent overall condition and the paint was good but Frank wanted it to be perfect. He removed the trim and had it rechromed. Upholstery and wiring were replaced and considerable work went into detailing and mechanical restoration. Frank describes it as a “labor of love.”
It is one of 4,015 made in 1957, of which 17 are registered nationwide, although Frank Snyder believes many more exist. It’s hard to imagine anyone willingly sending such a beauty to the junkyard. Snyder’s interest in cars dates back to 1953 when he bought his first automobile, a 1937 Ford (about the same time I bought my first, a 1935 Ford). Life in the navy kept him on the move but on retirement he turned to the old car hobby.
Frank believes fine old automobiles should be driven, and drive he does. He and his wife Norma drove it to Buick’s 100th Anniversary celebration in Flint, Michigan, and on a Contemporary Historical Vehicle Association tour to Nashville. Judges at this year’s World of Wheels car show recognized the car as “the most outstanding vehicle in the 1947 to 1963 category.”
The Classic Convertible That Makes Even a Porsche Owner Jealous
Still, as Frank points out, perhaps the most flattering moment came when the owner of a new Porsche 911 pulled alongside and said, “now that’s class!”
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