RARE FIND UP FOR AUCTION
CLASSIC BUICK HAS DONE ONLY 238KM
A SPOTLESS 57-year-old car with just 149 miles (238km) on its odometer could well be the ' barn find' of the decade, or, more correctly, the Sale of the Century.
The 1958 Buick Century two-door hardtop is owned by Les Woodruff, of Bedfordale, who bought it at the Carlisle sales in Pennsylvania in the 1970s.
“It had done only 72 miles,” Mr Woodruff said.
“I met the original owner, who bought it new from Mark Buick in Kansas City, then found he had no use for it. After years of being parked in his garage, he decided to sell it.
“It was a brand new 15year-old then, and now, after 57 years, it's still brand new.”
Mr Woodruff, now a spritely 84, fell in love with Buicks in 1938, when a neighbour in Victoria, bought one.
“It was the most beautiful car I’d ever seen,” he said.
“It had coil springs and just sailed over the corrugated farm roads. I’ve loved them ever since.”
The Woodruffs moved to Williams in WA, in 1957 where they bought a 570ha farm, but sold it 25 years ago and moved to Bedfordale, where Les and his wife June settled on a 3.6ha property.
They built a vast steel barn on the property to house their collection of automobilia, which at one stage included 25 different Buicks. They called it House of Buick.
The couple had two daughters and a son, who unfortunately contracted leukemia, and died at 20.
As word of the House of Buick grew, various clubs held functions there and all monies received went to Camp Quality or the Leukemia Foundation. Scores of letters and certificates of thanks are posted on the barn wall, recording the thousands of dollars donated by the Woodruffs.
But it’s all become too much to handle in the advancing years and Les and June are selling and moving to a retirement village in Murdoch.
The 1958 Buick Century, with 322 cubic inch V8 engine, is finished in pale pink with an off-white hardtop, is a mobile time capsule, capturing the classic US style of the 1950s and has been per- fectly maintained in the big barn.
It also houses another Buick, a 1972 Electra twodoor hardtop, also a lowdistance runner at 145,000 miles, also immaculate.
Plus there’s a showpiece Diamond T truck, an ex-Adelaide Diamond T fire engine, hundreds of oil and petrol metal signs, US and other rego plates, headlights, crankshafts, two fuel bowsers, a wooden wall phone, a stunning fully stocked Buick Bar and hundreds of other items, all going under the hammer on February 28.
Auctioneer Garry Black expects the ' 58 Buick Century to fetch $80,000 to $100,000, but admits it could be a conservative figure.
“It’s such a rare and unusual item that will probably be worth much more to serious collectors of American auto history.
“A ‘new’ 1957 classic is a truly remarkable find anywhere in the world.”
Also to be sold are four collectable tractors, a Fordson Major with front end loader, a 1920/30 Fordson steel wheel, an Inter Farmall and an Oliver from the 1940s. Proceeds from these vehicles will go to the Woodruffs’ charities.
Les Woodruff with his classic '58 Buick.