American prosperity peaked in 1955, and Buick's sales reflected this when it released its 1955 Buick Century, soaring 66 percent to more than 737,000 units and moving it from fourth to third in industry sales.

1955 buick century
The 1955 Buick Century revived the popular prewar "factory hot rod" concept.
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Flip-top fans had special reason to love Buick in '55, because this was one of the few makes with a convertible in each series. They ranged from a $2590 Special through a $3225 Super and on to a top-shelf $3552 Roadmaster. But the really rapid ragtop was the $2991 Century. Buick had revived its prewar "factory hot rod" for 1954 while giving all models a squarishly handsome new look with show-car-inspired wraparound windshield. The Century returned for '55 with the same adroit facelift accorded other Buicks, but was more potent than ever thanks to a newly fortified 322-cubic-inch Fireball V-8 with 236 horsepower. Also aiding performance was Variable Pitch Dynaflow, a much-improved version of Flint's popular automatic transmission.

Buick's '55 restyle produced a leaner, meaner look, and the Century delivered on its promise. Though magazines didn't test the convertible, Motor Trend clocked the light 2-door sedan at just 9.8 seconds to 60 mph and 106.5 mph flat out. Other Buicks weren't far adrift. All were very racy, though cars like these seldom hit the track. Still, the '55s were quick enough to give Buick its only two stock-car racing wins until the 1980s.

1955 buick century
The 1955 Buick Century offered a Fireball V-8 engine with Dynaflow transmission.

Needless to say, the '55 Century was a highly desirable road car. And though not usually the case, its convertible sold fairly well at 5588 units, far fewer than the open Special but somewhat more than the Super and Roadmaster. But then, as we said, 1955 was a very good year.

For more classic convertibles of the 1950s, see:

1950 Oldsmobile 88

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957 Lincoln Premiere

1951 Chrysler New Yorker

1955 Mercury Montclair

1957 Oldsmobile Super 88

1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

1956 Ford Thunderbird

1958 Continental Mark III

1951 Rambler Custom Landau

1956 Lincoln Premiere

1958 Edsel Citation

1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta

1956 Packard Caribbean

1959 Cadillac Series 62

1954 Hudson Hornet Brougham

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1959 Dodge Custom Royal

1954 Packard Caribbean

1957 Chrysler New Yorker

1959 Ford Thunderbird

1955 Cadillac Series 62

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

1959 Pontiac Bonneville

For more information on all kinds of cars, try these: