The 1955 Buick Century was one of Harley Earl’s personal favorite designs. Buick’s ad campaign pointed out that the car was ‘At the Forefront of Fashion – Thrill of the year,’ and was it ever. With a sweeping side body line, strong face, and jet-age tail, it had embodied everything that made the Mid-50’s GMs the pinnacle of American car design.
Like muscle cars of the mid- to late- 1960s, the 1955 Buick Century was built on the smallest Buick platform available for the year, but powered by the division’s largest engine. This combination of lightweight and high horsepower was appreciated by law enforcement agencies, many of whom used them for patrolling freeways and turnpikes where they were well suited for high-speed pursuits. Of the 737,330 Buicks manufactured in 1955, a mere 268 were Century two-door sedans.
Body styles on the 1955 Century included a hardtop coupe, hardtop sedan, convertible coupe, two- and four-door sedan, and a station wagon. Prices ranged from $2,550 for the four-door sedan and rose to $3,175 for the station wagon. The overhead valve 322 cubic-inch V8 had five main bearings, hydraulic valve lifters, a four-barrel carburetor, and delivered 236 horsepower at 4,600 RPM. The engine was backed by a three-speed manual transmission or an optional Dynaflow drive unit. Approximately half of the Century’s used the Dynaflow and the other half had three-speed manuals.
The 1955 Buick Century hardtop coupe was the most popular in the lineup, with 80,338 examples built. 55,088 were four-door hardtops and 13,629 were sedans. 4,243 were station wagons and 5,588 were convertibles. Buick made 268 two-door sedans for the California Highway Patrol. They were based on the Special two-door sedan, but from the firewall forward they were Centurys.