Monday, March 12, 2012

A Buick for Bill Mitchell- the 1956X Century

 We've written before about GM's Bill Mitchell and how his job was even better than being King, because he got GM to build him special cars whenever the mood struck. Lots of cars surface with claims of Mitchell in their provenance, but this one screams authentic. The car in these photos is a 1956 Buick Century convertible known as the "1956X" with a host of modifications- the owner says it was a car for Mitchell. The first clue that supports his claim is that the building in the background is the General Motors Styling Center- brand new at the time!

Lots of special details are visible in this shot. Start with the special color- Eldorados had metallic aqua in 1956 but Buicks did not. Moldings are Roadmaster in style and the hood and trunk color break is custom. Wire wheels and side exhaust are special touches. Rear CENTURY lettering is unique and name badges on the sides are relocated. Bumpers have color inset and a ribbed and bright applique. Tail lamps are custom.

See the note that says Madler? Neil Madler was a GM Photographer and he took this picture on August 20, 1956. The paint on the other side of this wall was scarcely dry then. This profile shows off the lowered suspension and the custom rocker molding with exhaust outlet. Note hard boot, a'la Eldorado. Wire wheels are wearing narrow whitewall tires, which GM is showing on Motorama cars this season.

Special paint break moldings on the hood as well. Note the 1955 style hood ornaments now on the fender tops and the standard 1956 bombsight is removed. Undercarriage and wheel wells are Dante Red. The highlight of the interior are those special bucket seats with power headrests. The driver's seat swiveled 90 degrees, the passenger seat rotated a full 180. The seats are very similar in style to those in the 1956 Buick Centurion dream car. 

The car exists today in an unrestored state. The seats were no longer with the car when it was discovered but otherwise it is described as being largely intact. We have requested photos of the car as discovered and will share them when we receive them.

Do any of our readers recognize the car? If so, please leave a comment or drop us a line. 

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