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1953 Buick Roadmaster 72R 4-Door Riviera Rare Survivor Low Mi Extensive Docs

  • Price: Ask a price!
  • Condition: Used
  • Item location: San Clemente, California, United States
  • Make: Buick
  • Model: Roadmaster
  • SubModel: Roadmaster Riviera Rare Survivor
  • Type: Sedan
  • Trim: Roadmaster Riviera Rare Survivor
  • Year: 1953
  • Mileage: 50,491
  • VIN: V1271947
  • Color: Carlsbad Black
  • Engine size: 322 Fireball V8 "Nailhead"
  • Number of cylinders: 8
  • Power options: Power Steering, Power Brakes
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Dynaflow Automatic
  • Interior color: Blue
  • Drive side: Left-hand drive
  • Options: Selectronic Radio - Original - Works
  • Vehicle Title: Clear

Buick Roadmaster 1953 Description

1953 Buick Roadmaster 4-Door Riviera

Buick’s 50th Anniversary Roadmaster

Model 72R


All Original Documentation

3 Owners

1st Owner - Lady - 27 Years - Long Beach, CA

2nd Owner - 15 Years - Bakersfield, CA

Current Owner - Foothill Ranch, CA 22 Years

Rust Free CA Car Always

50491 Miles

VIN #V1271947
Chassis #26927676

(on Driver’s Door)

322 (5.3 L) Fireball V8

188 HP

Twin-Turbine Dynaflow 2-Speed Automatic

4-Wheel Power Drum Brakes
Power Steering

Selectronic AM Radio - Works


10-Bolt Rear Axle

Original CA Black Plate

(Original Large Black Plate was switched in 1964 to small Black Plate)

(All Registrations from 1953-1980s Verify)

Body Plate Decode:

Model Year: 1953

Style # 4719 - Buick Roadmaster 4-Door Riviera

Body # B C - (B) South Gate, CA

Trim # 79 Seat Material - Blue Pattern, Nylon

Bolster Material - Blue Broadcloth

Paint # 51 - Carlsbad Black





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I am helping a friend sell this rare 1953 Buick Roadmaster. Just as a matter of reference, I have been judging cars at all types of show levels for over 25 years and have extensive experience in restoration of many marques. I am extremely picky and probably grade more on the lower side when evaluating vehicles. I would consider a 10 on my scale to be a Concour Quality vehicle, just so you have a reference. This example is collector quality and is a solid #2- Condition vehicle from my perspective, on the normal scale. I have an interest emphasis and extensive expertise in the area of Survivor/Preservation cars and their forensics. On the Survivor Scale I would rate this Buick a solid 1, and only because it was repainted somewhere in its past.

This gorgeous ’53 Roadmaster Riviera is a unique combination of totally original survivor type car with restoration in just one area, the paint. The overall feel of the car is that it is a show car, but it is not concour level. It’s what I would call a Show-Driver. This would be a wonderful car to take to local shows and parades, but would not stand up in a concour level judging format. It would do very well in preservation class.

What mostly grabs me about a survivor type of car like this one is the overall feel and sense of a car well cared for; displayed by the character in the paint, emblems, upholstery, etc. This “feels” like an older car… not a brand new restored car. This is my preference as I want to enjoy a car; driving it without the worry of what might happen to a perfect car. If you like a nice shiny collector car with a little of that worn couch feel to it, then you are going to love this car.

If you are a top shelf collector looking to build a concour vehicle, this would be a really fine specimen to start with, as the body panels are nearly flawless and being a California car it’s whole life there is not one spec of rust anywhere. The body panels are all original to the car. All the pieces are there, no inferior reproduction anywhere to be found. I will rate the different areas of the car below.

Brief History

The car was originally sold in 1953 to Mrs. Frances G. Hopkins of Long Beach, CA. She bought the car on May 15, 1953, from Campbell Buick of Long Beach, CA according to the Original Car Order Sheet and Invoice for the car, Original Report of Sale and Application for Registration and the Buick Owner ID Card. In 1970 the car transferred to Carl E. Hopkins, presumably her husband upon her death and then Rolland I. Hopkins in 1980, presumably their son. The car sold around 1985 to a gentleman that took the car to dry Bakersfield, CA where it stayed for approximately ten years before being sold to the current owner in September 1996.

Along with the extensive package of documentation that comes with the car is a business card of Benj. O. Sampson, a salesman at San Pedro Motors (Buick) with numbered notations on the back with prices for the Roadmaster. She eventually bought the car from Campbell Buick a few miles away in Long Beach for about $100 less. Clearly Frances was an astute buyer and probably in the later stages of life when she bought the car. Clearly demonstrating that she did not drive this car as a daily driver and then falling into the hands of collectors after her family ownership.

There are several of her early dealership invoices for service included in the package of documentation as well as some invoices from a previous ownership and the current owner showcasing the mileage to all be original to this car. Also, things like the wear and tear on the original seat material, the condition of the springs in the seats, to the brake and gas pedal and the overall condition of paint surfaces under the hood, on the engine valve covers, etc… all point to a car that likely spent everyday of its life in a garage and very rarely out in the sun.

The last of her invoices from 1957 shows 4400 miles, indicating during her early ownership was only driving about 1000 miles per year.

The Buick Roadmaster was the top of the line in 1953, with the exception of the Skylark, that was more of a specialty car. These cars were not inexpensive at just a tad over $4000 delivered.

My friend Joe has been an avid car collector from a really young age and this has always been one of his favorite cars. He purchased the car in September of 1996 and has attended it to it with much attention. Leisurely weekend drives and a couple of trips up the CA coast have gathered but 3K miles under his stewardship. It’s never been neglected and having spent everyday of its life in a garage in dry Southern California has preserved this rare example to near perfection.

Paint & Body

First, the Body is near perfection in my opinion. There is no evidence of damage to any body panels and original to the car. The shuts lines which I highlight in the pictures and video are nearly perfect. I have taken a magnet to every inch of this car and it sticks with authority in every area. I can find no evidence of bondo anywhere in this car. The body is not “lumpy” or wavey, it is flat and as close to perfection as you are going to find on a 64 year old car.

The Paint is in overall wonderful condition. It “looks” period. It’s not a super shiny two stage modern paint, which just looks WRONG on these cars. This looks like old lacquer or enamel. There are just a couple of small imperfections in the paint as I look around the entire car. There are no dings or any dents in the car. The paint is flat and mirror-like and shows extremely well. We do not know exactly when the car was painted, but judging from the quality of the job and the almost “porcelin-like” rock hard finish I would say in either the late 80’s to mid 90’s. This was a very expensive paint job at the time, as there is zero overspray anywhere that I could find on this car. This tells me the entire car was likely stripped, having removed all trim, etc. This fine specimen was painted by someone that knew how to paint a car and used the best materials available. Honestly, it took me a while to tell if maybe it was the original unrestored paint, due to the quality and presentation. The paint is “flat” as was probably the case when it was new. I would rate the condition of the paint at a solid 9.

The Chrome would rate at 8.5 overall and appears to be completely original and matches in condition from piece to piece. There are no imperfections or dents.. and is just slightly dull and with a good solid effort with some chrome polish and some steel wool would probably be a 9.5. All the emblems appear to be completely original to the car, as well as the screws that hold them in place. I really like emblems in this type of condition over perfect reproductions, but I am a survivor freak. I would rate emblems, etc at an 8.5.

Motor & Drivetrain

The Motor and Trans are completely original to the car. Before Joe bought the car he had his mechanic do a compression test and it was almost as good as what it was likely new. And, it certainly looks to be original to the car to me. I have a 1957 Corvette survivor with just a few less miles on it and the condition of the original paint on the block and valve covers looks absolutely identical.

The Motor starts right up and idles like a sewing machine. It does not smoke or cough or hesitate in any way. The transmission shifts smooth and effortlessly. The car has been meticulously maintained throughout its life and it shows by the way it drives.

There are NO LEAKS in this car. The main seal and transmission were gone though less than 1000 miles ago.

The Motor Compartment feels completely original, including all the wiring and original painted surfaces. All hoses and belts have been replaced consistently over the years and are in like new condition.

The ride quality on this vehicle is OFF-THE-CHART. The car has the feel of a 1953 Roadmaster IN 1953. This soft floating ride is simply indescribable. She drives straight down the road with hands off the wheel at 70 miles an hour. I pushed it to 80 with zero effort and she was solid solid and solid and wanted more. The car brakes very well as Joe completely restored the brake system and has kept them up over the years. The car is ready to be driven with no mechanical issues at all. Everything in this car works, blinkers… gauges, all lights, etc. I have listed below everything that Joe has done to preserve it mechanically since he purchased it.

The original radio is in the dash and after a warm up it works just fine. The car rides on a very new looking set of radial tires (50196 miles).

Joe is the type of owner that does not skimp on anything. He has the means to take care of a fine automobile to the highest level. He is also a very talented businessman and his time is dear. He kept a file folder on everything he has done with the car, brakes, tune-ups, etc.


The Interior is done in a Blue & Gray theme and is in exceptionally nice condition considering it has been in the car for 63 years. The front bench seat has worn in the upper corner where the driver gains entry and a separation in the seat under the driver area. A good upholstery guy could repair these easily. The overall condition of the interior is very good from my perspective. The dash and painted trim areas are a dark blue and the paint is simply a 10. The gauges are in nearly perfect condition and all work well. Without question, the interior material are of very high-end quality standards, which was the case in 1953. The condition of these materials is a testament to the indoor life of this little gem.

The headliner is nearly perfect. The carpets are in great shape as well and have clearly had mats in place always. How unusual to find such a nice original interior. Door panels are in excellent condition, I would rate them at a 9+. The window and door handles are a 10 and are simply works of art in these stylish motorcars. Make sure you check out the rear “wing-ding” windows at the rear of the rear doors. Again, nothing short of “works of art”. These cars were built by hand, by master craftsmen in the 1950s, they are simply as good as it gets and this one is about as original as you will ever find.


The Undercarriage is very original and unrestored (except the front-end and struts), showing no signs of rust or neglect. It is the undercarriage of a car that has 50K in minimal rain and dirt. It is very typical of how a sparsely driven CA car looks. I would rate it at an overall at a 9+ for a survivor car. There are no signs of rust anywhere. The exhaust system looks to be like new.

In the trunk is the original jack which looks like it has never been used.

An original Buick 1953 Manual and a spare tire also reside in the trunk.

This beautiful example of the flagship Buick of 1953 is a rare and unusual find today. Cars that have lived a life of leisure are getting harder and harder to find. These type of originally built, sold and stayed in CA cars are mostly in collections and never come out. Here’s your chance to buy a fabulous unrestored - but maintained to perfection Southern California classic car at a reasonable price. Okay, its a four-door, I know, but take a minute to study the pictures of this gorgeous 50’s motorcar. It does not look like a big ugly 4-door, it has the look of a COUPE in 4 door clothing, but rides like a limo. Come drive it if you are local, you will have to buy it!!!

You’ve heard of the little old lady from Pasadena car… this is the little old lady from Long Beach car.

For further questions please feel free to call Frank at 949-310-6262. I am available seven days a week from 8AM til 11PM Pacific Time. Joe’s number will also be available, just ask.

Documentation: (all original materials that came with the car)

Original Order Sheet - 1953

Original Car Invoice - 1953

Report of Sale & Application for Registration

Buick Owner ID Car

Buick Showroom Brochure - “Buicks Greatest Cars in 50 Years”

Buick Lubrication Agreement

All Factory Hang-Tags/Wiper Tags

Buick Instructions

Buick Seat Cover Fabrics

Ventilating & Heating Brochure

Buick Delco Battery Service Policy/Warranty

Twin Turbine Dynaflow Brochure

Helpful Hints Card

Recent Mechanical Items:

47560 - Full Brakes including shoes, drums machined, wheel

bearing & wheel cylinders - front and rear

47965 - Exhaust Manifold Gasket - Complete Tune-up & Muffler

48013 - New Generator, Voltage Regulator

48182 - Seat Belts Added

48249 - New Battery Cables

48540 - New Fuel Lines, Remove and Strip Gas Tank, Fuel Pump,

Tank Sending Unit, Rebuild Carb & Fuel Filter

49260 - New Master Cylinder - New Main Seal

49269 - Rebuild and Reseal Transmission

49404 - Oil Change

49616 - Replace Upper & Lower Pivot Pins, King Pins, Alignment,

Oil Change

49767 - Oil Change

49871 - Oil Change

50095 - Oil Change

50096 - New Shock Struts-New Tires-New Aluminum Radiator $3587


The car is for sale locally and we reserve the right to cancel this auction at any time before the end of the auction. We do not have a Buy It Now Price listed.

The car will be made available for inspection by serious bidders throughout the auction. Please e-mail us if you would like to see the car. If you prefer, we can arrange to have a qualified, independent, professional mechanic perform a pre-purchase inspection for you (at your expense). It is the buyers responsibility to verifythat all of the sellers information and claims about the car are true and correct prior to the sale of the vehicle. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL NOT ACCEPT PAYPAL AS A FORM OF PAYMENT. THIS IS TRUE FOR BOTH THE INITIAL DEPOSIT AS WELL AS THE FINAL PAYMENT.
Winning bidder must contact us within 24 hours of auction end, and make arrangements for payment at that time. A $1000.00deposit is due within 48 hours of end of auction. The deposit can be made by cash (please do not mail cash!), bank check, cashier's check, or bank transfer (preferred). The remainder is due within 7d days of Auction end. The remaining balance must be made in the form of a bank transfer (preferred) Cashier'scheck, or bank check (all forms of payment subject to verification). PayPal will not be accepted as a form of payment for either the deposit or the final payment. If no contact is made within 24 hours we reserve the right to re-list the vehicle, sell it to the next high bidder, or sell it otherwise. Please arrange financing prior to bidding. Once the final balance has been paid, title transfer paperwork will be initiated.
Buyer is responsible for pickup or shipping of this vehicle. If you wish to have it shipped using a service, we will gladly cooperate, you can locate shippers by doing a search for “auto shippers”. We have relationships with both domestic and international shippers should you need some assistance.

This vehicle is being sold as is, where is with no warranty, expressed written or implied. The seller shall not be responsible for the correct description, authenticity, genuineness, or defects herein, and makes no warranty in connection therewith. No allowance or set aside will be made on account of any incorrectness, imperfection, defect or damage. Any descriptions or representations are for identification purposes only and are not to be construed as a warranty of any type. It is the responsibility of the buyer to have thoroughly inspected the vehicle and to have satisfied himself or herself as to the condition and value and to purchase based upon that judgment solely. The seller shall and will make every reasonable effort to disclose any known defects associated with this vehicle at the buyer's request prior to the close of sale. Seller assumes no responsibility for any repairs regardless of any oral statements about the vehicle. Please Check My Feedback- I value my 100% positive rating, and will do my best to keep it.

The winning bidder should have the car insured from the time the final payment is made to us. Once final payment is made, we will exercise a generally accepted standard of care, but the buyer assumes all liability and risk once the final payment is made.
Before delivery of the vehicle, the winning bidder must provide a photocopy of a valid driver’s license. Delivery is defined as the time at which physical possession of the car is transferred from us, the seller, to the buyer or the buyers’ agent or chosen transport company.
If you are not sure about something, Please ASK. Do not assume anything not listed is included. We reserve the right to cancel bids for excessive negative feedback. We reserve the right to end the listing if the vehicle is no longer available for sale.

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