|The 1960 Buick|
|Dealer or Factory Installation?|
This period photo is from the files of a western PA newspaper. Included among the four new 1960 Buicks is a LeSabre convertible.
The size of the photo makes it difficult to notice, but the convertible has an outside rearview mirror (OSRVM) already installed, suggesting installation may have been performed by the factory...at least on some cars.
This fuels an ongoing controversy about whether OSRVMs were standard on convertibles. According to a well-respected 1959 collector, '59 literature clearly states all convertibles and 225 models had a standard OSRVM. My extensive collection of 1960 literature makes no mention of standard OSRVM on any 1960 models, and only lists the feature as a dealer accessory. In fact it is not even shown on the car order form.
However, this photo suggests that the OSRVM may have either been standard on convertible, or at least factory-installed upon request. The mystery continues.....
|1960 Buick Colors|
Internal Buick documents prior to 1960 start-up indicated there would be 13 colors, of which 3 (Arctic White, Sable Black, Pearl Fawn) were carried-over from 1959. However, by the time production rolled around, there were actually 15 exterior colors for 1960. Tampico Red was added to the list of carry-over colors, while Lucerne Green was an additional new color. All of the final 15 colors were Magic-Mirror Acrylic Lacquer, and are listed by name and code in the "Body Tag Decoding" section of this website.
Although I’ve not seen any sales figures for the different colors, years of casual observation suggests Arctic White was easily the most popular choice. Interestingly, a March 1960 Wards Automotive Reports article stated that black had fallen from second most popular color to fourth, and that less than 7% of 1960 Buick buyers were choosing it.
So if white was in first place, and black was fourth, what were the second and third most popular colors? I don’t know. The light blue (Chalet Blue) is seen frequently, as is the metallic beige (Pearl Fawn). The metallic maroon (Titian Red) was also fairly popular, at least on the Invicta models. Let me know if you have a data source that ranks 1960 Buick color choices.
|Ordering Your New 1960 Buick|
The 1960 New Car Order Form was revised several times. The initial version, dated August 17, preceded the new car introduction date of October 2. The first revision was issued October 12, 1959 and expanded the available combinations of interior and exterior colors, and categorized them as either “recommended” or “acceptable”.
The third copy, or second revision, was dated December 10, 1959. It made some corrections to clarify available content and options, and made permanent antifreeze (option “Q”) a seasonal requirement for all orders. It also pointed out that the center console would now be included on the Electra bucket seat models.
The January 8, 1960 edition made some significant changes in interior trim color availability by adding new choices. Examples of this include the all-red interior for both buckets and bench seat on the Electra 225 convertible, which was previously a red and white combination. On Invicta & LeSabre wagons, a red interior was added. LeSabre hardtops and sedans offered a revised red interior using black cloth to supplement the existing red interior that used a red/black cloth. (Read more about this mid-year madness in the website section about production changes.)
The fifth and final version of the 1960 Buick order form is dated April 20. In this edition, several interior combinations were dropped. Discontinued trim combinations included the red cloth in the LeSabre hardtops and sedans, the maroon of the LeSabre and Invicta wagons, and the red & white leather of the Electra 225 convertible. Other revisions included additional clarification of option content and availablity.
For more discussion on changes during the model year, see the website pages on Production Oddities.
Unfortunately, the order forms are too large and the print too small to show them to you. If you have specific questions about them, please email me.
|Can You Say Ugly?|
The GM factory photo at the left (dated 9/59) shows the rare "standard" LeSabre steering wheel. One look and you'll know why it is rare.
The most noticeable characteristic of this wheel is that it comes in any color you want, as long as it is white! (So it will clash equally well with any interior color?) No wonder LeSabre buyers rushed to spend the $16.13 necessary to get the stylish color-keyed "deluxe" wheel that was standard on the Invicta and Electra models.
|It is sometimes said that the white wheel was used only with manual steering, but that is not so. Either wheel was available with either steering system. However, it is true that the white wheel has a larger diameter, which would offer additional leverage with manual steering.|
|1960 Buick Window Sticker|
Here's an example of an original 1960 Buick price label. These were glued to the inside of the left rear side window and showed the "suggested" retail price.
This particular example is from a Flint-built Invicta 2-door hardtop coupe. Unfortunately, we can't tell the car's colors from the window sticker, but we can see that it was ordered with two-tone paint scheme #1, which was roof only.
This car was popularly equipped, but not unusually loaded. Options include heater, power steering, power brakes, and whitewalls. It also has the "safety group" which consisted of backup lamps, speed buzzer, map light, glare-proof mirror and park brake alarm. Tinted windshield and 2-speed wipers with washers round out the conveniences. (Wheel covers, automatic trans., & clock were already standard equipment on the Invicta.)
Did you notice anything strange about this car's content? It does not have a radio! Whether this was because the buyer did not want it, or because the dealer planned to install it as an accessory, we'll never know.
|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).|