HomeCar CultureMy Classic CarMy (Dad's) Classic Car: 'Green Hornet' 1942 Buick Roadmaster

My (Dad’s) Classic Car: ‘Green Hornet’ 1942 Buick Roadmaster


Brother Johnny’s 1948 Buick Roadmaster | Anthony Calati photo
Brother Mike Jr. and Dad's 'Green Hornet' Roadmaster | Anthony Calati archives
Brother Mike Jr. and Dad’s ‘Green Hornet’ Roadmaster | Anthony Calati archives

When I was a baby, my oldest brother, Mike Jr., gave my Dad a ’42 Buick Roadmaster that he had bought and drove for about a year. At the time, my Dad had a ’37 Chevy with a rumble seat — and 5 children living at home. A ’37 Chevy with a rumble seat really didn’t make the grade, but at the time was the only car my Dad could afford.

Well, the ’42 Roadmaster became a family legend. It was nicknamed “The Green Hornet.” In my opinion, it was a freak. Nonetheless, it wore its model name with pride!

My brother Johnny would tell me the stories about The Green Hornet. When  Johnny was 17 years old and I was 2, we were making a trip upstate in New York and bringing everything we thought we needed — and everything we could fit in the Buick. This is where it gets really interesting: My Dad removed the rear seat cushion and filled the space with 50-pound bags of potatoes. On top of the potatoes rode two of my brothers — Richie and Bobby — our German Sheppard, Duchess, and myself.

In the trunk were 5 bags of cement, the spare tire and some tools.

In the front seat were my Dad, my brother Patsy, and my brother Johnny.

Do you think there was enough weight in this Buick?

We were making a 150-mile trip and on the way, there were some steep hills. My brother Mike Jr. and a childhood friend, Frank, were following us in a 1948 Dodge. When we got to this one long, steep hill, Frank started blowing his horn and flashing his lights because we were going too slowly. The Green Hornet was really loaded down, so Frank thought his ’48 Dodge could outrun it easily.

To Frank’s surprise, the Green Hornet started to pick up some speed, so much speed that it waved good-bye and left the ’48 Dodge, with only two people in it, in the dust!

Yes, that ’42 Roadmaster was a freak! It out-pulled Frank’s car so bad, the Dodge finally disappeared in the distance.

My Dad parked the car for good in 1956, and it hasn’t run since the year after that. It’s still in upstate New York, though lacking some of its parts.

In 1960, my brother Johnny bought a 1948 Buick Roadmaster with the Dynaflow transmission. He still drives it!

Obviously, Johnny was really impressed and I was overwhelmed by the stories. I bought a ’48 Roadmaster Model 76S just so my Dad could ride in it. I asked him if he wanted to drive and he said, “No, just take me for a ride.”

That was just 4 months before he died. I kept the car for 39 years in his memory, but then I realized that whether I had the Buick or not, I had my memories — of my Dad and his Roadmaster.


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  1. What is wrong with those guys why the hell don”t they restore their Da’s old buick

  2. Great story, great car! The ’48 shown was one of Buick’s sleekest, most beautiful post-war designs. Like the late-40s Mercury, it lead the way into the 1950’s sportier looking models. Back when “Roadmasters” were the Kings of the Road.

  3. Love the story and the Roadmaster pictured. The trip to upstate New York is a great story and reminds me of auto related things from my youth. Most interesting to me though is the ’37 Chevy with a rumble seat. Following a 33 Plymouth that was the second car my Dad owned. My Mom, who he married in 1946, has the shifter knob from the ’37 that he put their picture in! So a ’37 Chevy with a rumble seat is close to my heart.

  4. Thank you to all involved. I was really surprised to see the photo of my brother Mike and the Green Hornet. I lost my brother in 1992 due to heart failure. His memory lives on, I have an 8X10 photo of my brother and the Green Hornet on my wall. I call it the two legends. To be honest to all of you, when I realized the photos were published and started reading it all over again. I was in tears for a minute. Thank you so much for publishing my story and my photos.

    Anthony J Caiati

  5. “What is wrong with those guys why the hell don”t they restore their Dad’s old Buick”

    That was a great question Hershel. By the time I was old enough to restore my Dad’s Roadmaster, another brother not mentioned. Thought it was a good idea to move the 42 Buick with a D6 Cat. He ended up rolling it several times, lost the engine and really destroyed the body. So The Green Hornet has been in it’s resting place on it’s roof since 1969. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was really upset for a long time. That’s all I can say.

  6. During WW2 i worked at a gas station to help out at home for 25 cents per hour.Not much but gas [email protected] per gal.The station mgr towed in a 37 Plymouth RS Conv 2 door.Gum metal gray lrather seats floor shifter P4 motor.I dreweled over that car for months nobody came for it.Finally asked him if i could buy it.He saod OK he wpuld put a battery in and deliver it to my yard for 25.00 which means about 3 months of my pay.I said Ok.I worked at a apple cooler also and would bring a bushel.of apples polished and sell them at the station to pay it off fasterTwo months later that beauty was sitting actoss the syreet in our now dormant Victory Garden.Each day i would go sit in it and dream abput getting my licence.Soon i did got registeted anf drove it to school.I was the bell of the school.On weekends we would chip in for gas/oil 5gal can cause it smoked and head for the beach on the connecticut shore line ole sound view.I kept it till i joined the military during the KoreanWar.My brother in law wanted it sold it for 20.00 thathe wpuld send me.No he never did.years later i tetutnef it was still sitting in the Victory garden but alas i made the service a career and couldnt take the 37 with me.Now 82 yo is looking for a 37 Ply conv coupe and it seems like all of em have been hot rodded and cut up.They cant take my memories of my first car away they are still very vivid.Thanks for reading Later Dick Gilbert So Hartford Ct 06106


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