HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1962 Buick Special Restomod

Pick of the Day: 1962 Buick Special Restomod

Bu’Wicked is the Flint Flyer you didn’t know you needed


In the collector car world, logic has no place. Cars that may make no sense to you can rise to the top of the totem pole; likewise, cars with many positive attributes may languish. Our Pick of the Day is one of the latter, a car that has everything going for it but isn’t seen at every show: a 1962 Buick Special restomod. It is listed for sale on by Precious Metal Classic Cars in Elkhart, Indiana. (Click the link to view the listing)

The Special was part of a trio of General Motors “senior compacts” that included the Pontiac Tempest and Oldsmobile F-85. All of the Corvair-derived compacts offered something technically interesting during their three-year tenure before they were bumped up in size and became GM’s new mid-size cars for 1964. In the case of the Buick, engineers developed an interesting aluminum V8 that caused the buff books to fawn but the general car-buying public to yawn.

Buick’s aluminum V8

Called the Aluminum Fireball V8, this 318-pound engine featured a block, cylinder head, pistons, intake manifold, timing chain cover, water pump cover, and “many smaller parts” made of aluminum alloy, though the cylinder liners were made of cast iron. The 215cid V8 produced 155 horsepower and 220 ft-lb with a two-barrel carburetor. While a three-speed synchromesh was the standard transmission, a new Dual-Path Turbine Drive automatic was optional. This transmission was a “split torque” type that used both a torque converter and planetary gear set. “Smoothness of fluid, the snap of gears,” Buick claimed.

Midyear 1961, Buick added the new Skylark coupe to top the Special and Special Deluxe roster. Included was a unique roofline, the option of bucket seats, and a four-barrel for 185 horsepower. It was part of an expansion that would be followed for 1962 by convertibles, a Skylark pillarless hardtop that included 190 horsepower standard, and the availability of a four-speed manual.

But the truly big news was another fine new engine, this one America’s first production V6 for passenger cars. The Fireball V6 (standard in the Special series, with the V8 being standard in the Special Deluxe and Skylark series) was basically a cast-iron version of the V8 measuring 198cid and offering 135 horsepower with a two-barrel carburetor. Eventually, it was increased to 225cid in 1964 and lasted through 1967 when Kaiser-Jeep bought the tooling and developed it into the Dauntless V6. After the first gas crisis hit, GM bought back the tooling and eventually this engine became the turbo 231 that would make waves in the Grand National and GNX many years later.

And the V8? Rover bought the rights to it and, over time, grew it to 307cid. Meanwhile, Buick developed an iron-block that borrowed the 215’s architecture that measured 300cid, eventually becoming the 340 and 350cid. Fantastic stuff!

So, you can imagine how fantastic this 1962 Buick Special restomod is. Known as Bu’Wicked and built by several shops in the Pacific Northwest, this Buick is an esteemed 2003 SEMA Show GT winner (the first vehicle to win this award). It features the fine styling Buick was known for during the era, but in a size that’s quite friendly to today’s sensibilities. The interesting engineering has been tossed aside and another interesting Buick engine, a supercharged 455 with street-friendly 8.5:1 compression, has been inserted in place. The big-block Buick features Accel/DFI computer, T/A Performance aluminum Stage II Street Eliminator heads, forged J&E pistons, 1,000-cfm throttle body and 55-pound injectors, and custom intake manifold and exhaust. This dyno-certified, 700 horsepower engine is harnessed to a Richmond six-speed manual with double overdrive.

But Bu’Wicked has a lot more going for it than over-the-top power. Built by Bill McGlaughlin’s Hot Rod Fabrication and characterized by the seller as a “custom build with subtle body mods,” body and paint was handled by Rich Thayer of R&J Customs, who slathered on the Lexus-based Jade Mica and Silver Jade paint. Underneath, you’ll find an Art Morrison chassis with Heidts coil-overs with stainless steel A-arms, Scribner-fabricated axle housing, and Ford 9-inch center section with 3.55 gears and an Eaton Detroit Truetrac differential. Wheels are 17-inch Budnik Arrowheads, assisted by Baer Pro 13.-5-inch rotors with Baer Alcon 4-piston calipers on all four sides.

Inside, Bu’Wicked features a custom interior by Jon and Gabby Lind that includes Fiero bucket seats with custom-designed rear seat and a leather-wrapped roll bar. Glance at the door panels and note that they match the fender lines – cool!

As you can see, this 1962 Buick Special restomod is a lot of car: a Barrett-Jackson Auction-quality restomod that always gets a second glance. For $148,900, you can glance at it all day long.

Click here for this Pick of the Day.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.


  1. Bought a 62 Skylark for $150. Took it home thought I should tune it up, popped the hood, expecting a v-6, realized quickly it was a small v-8. Took off the air breather, what do you know, a 4 brl. Friend & I read the specs the all alum engine had 10 1/4 high compression pistons. Friend Mike whistled, this thing was a real sleeper. Better yet it was pink (with a white hardtop). It had a short stroke so RPM’s were almost instant & would throw your head in the backseat. Drove it to work next day, a co-worker was laughing at my lil pink car, wouldn’t be caught dead in it he said. I challenged him to a race. He laughed, didn’t think I was serious, so I challenged him again. So we were going to race after work, long straight-away behind the building. Long story short, bragging how he was going to destroy my little pink car . Old guy leaned over the table & told him, Willy’s gunna take yuh. Naw he said, I got a Charger with a 440 (albeit late 70’s, low compression smogged engine). Old guy said again, I know what’s in that lil car, you ain’t got a prayer. Spoiled my fun. Called it Pink Floyd, another one I let get away.

  2. keep in mind this 215 engine had problems. Rover bought t and by the turn of the century they had refined it to the point it was 4&1/2liters.
    It made Morgan one of the fastest cars to 60mph.


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