ELIDA — This 1938 Buick Special is a star. Car enthusiasts might recognize it from the television show “Wrenched.”
Dick Jenkins, of Elida, hand-built this beauty. He installed a 1953 Buick Skylark steering wheel, installed a Chevy Motor and lowered the frame.
“I have to raise it 6 inches when I drive it. If I don’t raise it high enough, I hit road kill,” Jenkins said.
Back in 1933, Buick accounted for a mere 2.9 percent of the automobile production. By 1938, that share was up to 8.8 percent.
Harlow “Red” Curtice became president of Buick in 1933. His first move was to create a new car. He, however, knew his limits. He called upon Harley Earl, General Motors’ vice president, to design a car that he would own himself. Thus was born the Buick Special. Earl is given credit for the sleek, rounded style. The car was quiet and comfortable, and sales soared.
Even though 1938 was a dismal year for the economy, Buick produced 168,689 cars and moved up to fourth place in the auto industry behind Chevy, Ford and Plymouth.
Jenkins built this beauty himself. It took him 340 hours.
“There’s nine cans of clear coat from Walmart on the exterior,” Jenkins said.
His car captured Best of Show in Piqua the week before coming to the Westgate Charity Car Show in June.
Jenkins is building a Packard next. Curtice and Earl would be pleased to see their styling still being such a hit with car lovers.