the view through the windshield
1949 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon - A Great Big Luxo-Woodie

the view through the windshield

This behemoth weighed 4500 pounds; Buick ads hyped "honest heft that levels the miles with majestic smoothness." You could tell that it was a Roadmaster by the four portholes (officially name: VentiPorts) along the side. Lesser Buick models only got 3 holes.

The '49s were the first all-new postwar design from Buick and were the first models to feature VentiPorts. 1949 Buick styling was very attractive compared with its contemporaries and still looks good today. Buicks had a valve-in-head straight eight engine of 320 cubic inches. Horsepower was rated at 150. Not much power got to the rear wheels; the engine was coupled to the notorious Dynaflow automatic transmission.

The wood bodies were built for Buick by the Ionia Company who built bodies for many manufacturers. This wagon was huge with an overall length identical to that of the 1990s Lincoln Town Car. Wheelbase was 126 inches - an inch longer than the Continental Mark II.

You'd need a huge wallet to buy one - at $3,734 it was the priciest model in the Buick line. Maybe that's why only 653 were produced. (posted 7/1/08)

Remember When: 1949
car blogIn 1949, the first nonstop flight around the world was made by a U.S. Air Force B-50. The National Bureau of Standards announced the development of the world's first atomic clock.

Fads and inventions included canasta (a card game) and shingle haircuts. 'Hopalong Cassidy', 'The Lone Ranger' and 'Roller Derby' debuted on TV.

New words included afterburner, bikini, simulcast and community college. The GM Motorama appeared for the first time at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. The first two Volkswagen Beetles were sold in the U.S. Key ignition replaced starter buttons on some Chrysler products.

New products included Sara Lee cheesecake, Oreo cookies, Silly Putty and the infamous Denver Boot. The minimum wage was raised from 40¢ to 75¢ per hour.

Joe Sherlock auto sketch

George Orwell wrote the novel '1984'. New recording artists included Burl Ives, B. B. King, Dean Martin and Fats Domino. Top songs for 1949 included Vaughn Monroe's 'Ghost Riders In The Sky', 'Some Enchanted Evening' by Perry Como, Frankie Laine's 'Lucky Old Sun' and 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer', recorded by Gene Autry.

The N.Y. Yankees won the World Series, beating the Brooklyn Dodgers.

illustration copyright 1989, 2008 Joseph M. Sherlock

Other Pages Of Interest

copyright 1989-2011 - Joseph M. Sherlock - All applicable rights reserved


Disclaimer

The facts presented in this blog are based on my best guesses and my substantially faulty geezer memory. The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Probably.

Spelling, punctuation and syntax errors are cheerfully repaired when I find them; grudgingly fixed when you do.

If I have slandered any brands of automobiles, either expressly or inadvertently, they're most likely crap cars and deserve it. Automobile manufacturers should be aware that they always have the option of giving me free cars to try and change my mind.

If I have slandered any people or corporations in this blog, either expressly or inadvertently, they should buy me strong drinks (and an expensive meal) and try to prove to me that they're not the jerks I've portrayed them to be. If you're buying, I'm willing to listen.

Don't be shy - try a bribe. It might help.

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