I don’t remember why I got interested in the Buick again, but in March 2011 I put a photo
and an appeal for information on www.prewarcar.com , a dutch website for vintage cars.
This is the article http://www.prewarcar.com/prewar-my-prewarcar/show-a-pre-war-mystery/mystery-uk-built-buick-015197.html#comments .
I had also put a similar appeal and photo in The Automobile magazine, and this was published in the May edition.
I reckoned that as someone had spent a lot of time and money restoring the rolling chassis, including new wooden wheels, new radiator etc, that a company somewhere must remember doing the work.
At this stage I was presuming it was done about 10 years ago, as the chap I bought it off had had it since about 2004. I later found out it was more like 20 years.
A couple of weeks later I received an email from John Barringer saying he owned the Buick in about 2001. And then it started to get really interesting.
The email from John pointed me towards David Polson in Bedford, from whom John had bought the Buick. I rang David & Pam Polson, and they confirmed that they had indeed owned the car in the 1990′s. They did not do the restoration, it had already been done.
They ran a wedding hire company and had intended building a wedding car on the chassis, but never got round to it. They could not remember who they had bought the Buick off, but did think it would have been someone local. David also said he would not have bought a car without registration papers.
David and Pam were very helpful in providing the names of 2 local Bedford newspapers. I then emailed these with a photo and an appeal to readers for information on my Buick.
This is the article, but no photo was published.
A couple of weeks later I got a phone call from Craig Smith. His mother had seen the appeal in The Bedford Times. Craig said he had sold the Buick to David Polson, and Craig’s Uncle, Ray Butcher was the chap who did all the restoration work. He later gave the part restored Buick to Craig.
Craig said he had some photos of the car when it was found, and of the restoration, and, great news, Craig knew the registration number, and he had one of the original number plates!! Yippee!!
I went down to Bedford 2 weeks later, and copied the photos and Craig lent me the number plate- which is UC 8426, a London number for early 1928. The London vehicle records no longer exist unfortunately.
Craig said the Buick had been inspected by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) and re-issued with its UC 8426 number. A check on the DVLA website confirmed that it is still on the DVLA computer as a 1928 Buick, and it is blue colour. I have now applied for the V5 reg in my name, but without the chassis number I might not get it.
I am still waiting with fingers crossed. The DVLA have the correct chassis number on their computer, this is why it was not a good idea to guess a number and stamp it on a new plate. But they won’t tell me what the chassis number is. Thanks!
The pic above is one of the photos in Craig’s album. The chap on the left is Ray Butcher, next to him is Bill Reeves.
The barn is next to Westgate & Birchington Golf Course in Kent UK. Westgate-on-Sea is near Margate.
I contacted Bill Reeves a few days later and he remembered the Buick and said it was previously owned by a Mr Ivor Read.
Googling Ivor Read was very interesting. Ivor owned a building company in Westgate, AG Lockwood & Co, and he also owned the golf course!
Margate Civic Society have published 2 articles about Ivor, his company, and his cars. http://www.margatecivicsociety.org.uk/Margate%20Civic%20Society%20-%20Spring%20Newsletter%20(350).pdf
http://www.margatecivicsociety.org.uk/Archive.html click on issue 343
When I first bought the Buick, I was told it was once used to tow a gang mower on a golf course. Craig confirmed this story and so did Bill. And I now knew the golf course.
I also emailed Queenie Johnson who worked for Ivor Read at Lockwoods, and she remembered the Buick, and thinks it belonged to Ivor’s sister Olive Read.
Queenie thinks the car was a 2 door with a dicky (rumble) seat. That might mean it was bodied at a coachbuilders elsewhere, not the General Motors factory.