Western Suburbs Weekly - - Drive way - Bill Buys

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.

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