|The 1960 Buick|
|Me and 1960 Buicks|
|My earliest childhood memories of any car are of my father’s 1960 LeSabre coupe. He had ordered it from the Buick dealer in Barrie Ontario, and it arrived in the spring of 1960. Man, was he proud of that car. Although we had it less than five years, it went on to become a family legend, against which all other cars were judged.|
|The car that started it all for me: My Dad's white LeSabre coupe. Seen here at Georgian Bay, Ontario in early summer 1960. Keen observers will notice the dents on the left front fender of the 3-month old car. Ouch!|
Why was it so special? I suppose it was the styling, because it was not really a standout car in other ways. I know he loved the color combination of white with red interior, and it became the first in a long line of white Buicks he would own.
I fondly remember sunny summer drives in this car, and the cold winter day we brought my newborn sister home from the hospital. A less pleasant memory was the time the transmission failed in "Reverse", and we had to push it out of the parking lot in order to drive it home.
I also remember having to be very careful when helping Dad wash it, so I wouldn’t cut my little hands on the rusty rocker panels. But most of all, I remember my incredible disappointment when it was replaced with a new but boring 1965 LeSabre 4-door sedan in the fall of 1964.
|Dad's 1960 Buick was a Canadian-built car and actually had the dark red ("maroon") interior that was virtually identical to a U.S.-built Invicta. See the Table of Contents to find the section of this site that describes the differences between the US and Canadian versions of 1960 Buicks.|
|California Connection-Part 1|
|My aunt's LeSabre convertible in Palo Alto, California (October 1969).|
For a brief time in the late sixties, I lived with my aunt and grandmother in the San Francisco area. At the time, my aunt had a 1960 LeSabre convertible. It was white with white top and a stunningly beautiful red and white interior. Her car was unusual for a LeSabre, as it was incredibly loaded with options. In addition to the typical extra-cost equipment, it had power windows, power antenna, and wonderbar radio. If memory serves me correctly, it even had the power seat. Ironically, she’d bought it in 1965--around the same time my dad traded his in.
As if all this wasn’t enough to brainwash me with 1960 Buicks, my aunt’s ex-husband drove a 1960 Invicta convertible which I saw on several occasions. His was silver, which was "dulls-ville" compared to the beautiful white over red combo. (I don't recall the interior color of the Invicta, and I was too naive to check if it was the rare bucket seat model.)
In the early seventies, my aunt decided to retire the Buick. Although it had over 100,000 miles, it was in good rust-free condition. It was relatively worthless at that time, but she was insistent on giving it a good home. I’d always shown a keen interest in it, and it was offered to my father and I as a courtesy. Unfortunately, we lived on the east coast at the time and foolishly declined to invest in the shipping cost of about $500. She ended up selling the car to a local California man who promised to care for it. But his promise couldn’t stop the motorist that ran a red light and T-boned the convertible. Thus, it went to the great junkyard in the sky.
Out of sight, out of mind. By the 1990s, I'd nearly forgotten about 1960 Buicks. How could this be, you ask? Job and family commitments were part of of it, but more importantly, I lived in a Chevrolet culture. I worked with Chevrolets in my day job, I collected and restored Chevrolets, and most of my friends were Chevrolet guys.
In June 1992, COLLECTIBLE AUTOMOBILE magazine had a feature story on 1959-1960 Buicks. Among the great pictures contained in this article were several of a white 1960 LeSabre convertible, with red interior. The car was owned by (ret.) Rear Admiral Thomas J. Patterson. The sight of his car, complete with those great California black plates, reignited the lust I had for my aunt's car, and 1960 Buicks in general.
With my entry into world wide web in the late 1990s, I found that there were others that shared my passion. I began to correspond with other 1960 Buick enthusiasts and also to track the description and location of interesting examples. (That was the beginning of my 1960 Buick database.)
I decided I needed to have a 1960 Buick and began looking in earnest for a nice one. Initially I focused on coupes, like my Dad's car. Eventually, I considered all models and styles. I traveled thousands of miles and looked at many cars. I found out a really fine 1960 Buick is a tough car to find! Through rose-colored glasses I did buy one, but quickly realized it was a bigger project than I wanted to handle.
Meanwhile, like a recurring dream, Admiral Patterson's white California LeSabre surfaced again. This time as a Drive Test feature in the February 2001 issue of Special Interest Autos (SIA). I began to realize that a white LeSabre convertible with red interior was probably the Holy Grail of 1960 Buicks for me.
|COPYRIGHT 2005 by Gregory L. Cockerill. All text contained herein, including interviews/recollections of other parties, is my original work and is owned by me. This also applies to all images of my white 1960 LeSabre convertible. As such, the aforementioned material may not be used without express written permission. Other images presented herein are either from the public domain or used with permission of the owner(s).|