return to articles The Buick Bugle, Vol. 32. No. 7. November 1997.

The 1955 "CHP" Buick Century Model 68 Two-Door Sedan

by Helen Hutchings BCA #39972 Thousand Oaks, CA

Nowhere in Buick sales or showroom literature is there any mention of a 1955 Century two-door sedan, but Buick was contracted to produce a reported 270 of them for the California Highway Patrol. According to an article in the April 1955 issue of Highway Patrolman magazine, a total of six firms offered units for consideration. After thorough testing, Buick won the contract for presenting the lowest bid while meeting all requirements and specifications.

1955 Buick Model 68 Century
1955 Buick Model 68 Century in Action

The 1955 Buick Model 68 (style 4611) was a hybrid. The body was that of a Special model 48 two-door sedan. From the firewall forward, as well as the chassis, was that of a Century. The brakes are probably from the Roadmaster, since the same article in Highway Patrolman states, "The newly selected patrol cars also have the largest brake surface among all [the] units tested."

Each car was equipped with the large V-8, 236 horsepower engine. Transmissions were divided equally - 135 were equiped with the standard 3-speed manual transmission, and the other 135 had the new Variable Pitch Dynaflow. The CHP felt this arrangement would provide conclusive evidence "which transmission would be preferable for Patrol work".

What happened ultimately to these cars when they were removed from service is not known. Four of these original 1955 CHP Buicks are known to still exist, although their authenticity is questionable. All are in California. One is owned by Mac Horst of Sonoma, another is owned by Les Randolph of Riverside, and a third which has been converted into a street rod, is owned by Dan MacLaughlin of Burbank. They each proudly display the shield of the California Highway Patrol on their doors. Finally, a fourth unrestored Century CHP unit has been allegedly seen in the parking lot of a bar in Thousand Oaks. Could this be the ghost of Broderick Crawford?