The article in the November 2016 issue of Unique Cars on Bob Bond’s 1959 Buick has brought back memories for me that may ‘put the cat among the pigeons’ to some degree. From 1958 to 1970, I was involved in the left- to right-hand drive conversion industry.
In 1958, the Department of Supply delivered a new Buick for us for conversion to righthand drive. I remember this car well. It was a silvery-gold colour and was for the Prime Minister, Mr RG Menzies. Two modifications were requested – I believe by Mr Menzies.
On the rear quarter panels there was a series of vertical chrome moulds which he wanted removed and he also wanted the small fixed triangular window in the rear quarter panels to be hinged so that they could be opened. We did the windows which was no mean feat. The car went elsewhere for the moulds to be removed, the holes filled and the car sprayed black. The finished paint job and filling left a lot to be desired. The car, I believe, was to replace Mr Menzies’ 1949 Cadillac.
In late 1959 or early 1960, a new black 1959 Buick (the same as Bob Bond’s) was delivered to us for conversion.
Once again, Mr Menzies requested the rear quarter windows to be modified. In later years there was some wonderful footage of both cars parked end to end outside the old Parliament House in Canberra. If anyone out there has a 1958 or 1959 Buick with hinged rear quarter windows, they have one of Mr Menzies’ cars.
I guess it could be argued that Mr Menzies’ cars were supplied by the government and he actually did not own them, but they were specifically for him and he most certainly got what he wanted regarding the modifications.
If Mr McEwen actually owned his Buick he would have to be the most famous PM (albeit short term) to own one.
I believe the 1949 Cadillac which Mr Menzies did own was not disposed of until after he passed away in 1978.
ED Crikey. That would be some find, Brian. If any readers know the whereabouts of these cars, let us know.