CHASSIS NO: 15697347
• Custom Built by Bayliff Coach Corporation of Lima, Ohio
• The only one known to exist
• Great running car in excellent condition
• Dependable Buick power
320.2 cid inline eight-cylinder engine rated at 152 HP, two-speed Dynaflow automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live axle rear suspension with coil springs, four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 130.25”
The era of the coachbuilt car reached its zenith in the early 1930s. It was then that a chassis could be ordered from companies like Duesenberg, Packard, Marmon, or Rolls-Royce, and then fitted with bespoke bodies from Willoughby, Barker, Darrin, Locke, Dietrich, or Le Baron. This method of building a custom car was all but gone after World War II, but some decades later in the 1970s the long-lost art of coachbuilding was revived by a small company called the Bayliff Coach Corporation of Lima, Ohio. C. Budd Bayliff was an enthusiastic Packard fan who had purchased the Packard name and trademark in 1978. It was here that Bayliff found his calling building “modern” Packards using a General Motors chassis. The cars built by Bayliff ranged from simple cosmetic changes to a complete reworking of the entire body. Bayliff’s output was never large, but it is known that several modern Packards were built on a variety of chassis as well as four hearses and a prototype for a front-wheel-drive Miller-Meteor Eldorado. Although the company’s output was small, Bayliff’s work does represent an interesting chapter in automotive history.
Offered here is an eye catching example from Bayliff’s history built on a 1950 Buick Roadmaster chassis. One look is all that is needed to tell there’s something very special about this well-proportioned car as its four-doors are a most unusual sight with the top down. Built by Bayliff in the 1980s, it started life as a Buick Model 72 Roadmaster and Bayliff’s company worked their magic from there by turning it into a four-door convertible. In an interview with Bayliff some years later he revealed that they started with a very low mileage car in excellent condition. Buick’s signature four portholes on the sides of the hood tell the world that this is a top-of-the-line Roadmaster. Finished in a gorgeous Regal Red, this large Buick makes a dramatic statement from any angle. Buick’s grille up front for 1950 could only be described as massive with a waterfall theme featuring nine vertical bars. A large gunsight hood ornament complete with trim spear adorns the ultra-long hood, and an equally large rear bumper set the tone for a glamorous car. Bayliff’s coachwork reveals a meticulous eye for detail as all body seams look factory correct and in excellent alignment. The interior is equally impressive in fine red upholstery and tan carpets with matching tan paintwork on the dashboard that offer a look of bespoke elegance. All trim appointments are nicely polished, and the large white steering wheel carries the Buick crest. The trunk is also nicely finished in fine carpet and even carries a cover for the spare tire. The top is also most intriguing in that it has four-positions. The front is capable of coming off separately to resemble a “town car” with an open driver’s compartment. The rear can also fold away to create the appearance of a traditional Landaulet. Of course, the full top can also be fully raised or lowered out of sight for a clean and uncluttered look. Power comes from Buick’s dependable inline eight-cylinder with more than enough power to cruise at modern highway speeds. The engine compartment is nicely detailed and fully sorted and the present owner reports that it is a pleasure to drive. This big car rides on chrome wire wheels with wide whitewall tires for a look that’s all class. This Buick has received accolades at every show it’s been to.
The era of the coachbuilt car is long gone, but for just a brief moment a man had a vision of what could be. To that end, this Buick Roadmaster Custom by Bayliff, with its incredible length and nicely proportioned body lines, makes for a stunning car that is like no other. Certainly, the work “unique” is overused, but in this case, it truly is unique as the only one of its kind ever built. For a Buick that carries a touch of elegance in a unique way, this is a special car.