Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Memories- The amazing, Buick Powered Norman Timbs Special

 Our Monday Memory this weeks is a quick recap of what is perhaps the coolest car that you've never heard of- the Norman Timbs Special. Mr. Timbs was n automotive designer who worked on some pretty cool projects like racing cars and the ill -fated Tucker, but he also had his own ideas about what a car should look like and wasn't afraid to put them into action. Working in his own garage, he created this incredible one of a kind mid-engined speedster out of hand formed aluminum over a steel tube frame.

Starting with drawing, he created 1/4 scale models and worked his way up to a full sized wooden body buck from which he shaped the aluminum panels, which he welded together and mounted the body to a tube frame he had made from aircraft tubing. The drive train he chose was a Buick straight eight engine which was mounted behind the driver's seat. The rear streamlined section of the body was hinged to allow access to the running gear. The overall car was over 17 1/2 feet long but weighed only about 2500 pounds.

The car, which cost about $10,000 to build, was featured in many magazines including the October, 1949 issue of Motor Trend. By 1954, it appeared on the cover of Motor Life, now painted white and under different ownership.

The the car disappeared for many years. It turns out that it was stored outside in the desert for many years and was all but forgotten. The good news is while the car was highly weathered from neglect, it was nonetheless still 90% original and largely intact.

The current owner, Gary Cerveny of Malibu,  bought the car at a Barrett-Jackson Auction at the Petersen Auto Museum in 2002. It was in very complete unrestored condition with few modifications from new. He undertook a complete Concours quality restoration at Custom Auto in Loveland, CO to bring the special back to its exact original specification. The car was completed in December of 2009.

This year the car was invited to the prestigious Pebble beach Concours to compete in their Sport Custom class for American Custom built postwar creations. We're pleased to report that the Special won Best In Class.  Congratulations to Gary and Diane Cerveny. It's a lovely car with a heart of a Buick underneath. 

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