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The Case of the Battered Buick

The Case of the Battered Buick

Oakland, Calif., circa 1958, and yet another fender-bender. Let's move along, folks. Nothing to see here! 4x5 acetate negative from the News Archive. View full size.


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Educated Guess # 237

The accident turned the Buick and it was able to 'wobble' over to where it came to rest; note that the RF wheel is atop the curb so it [the wheel] would not have touched the pavement during this brief journey. Think the Mercury fared worse.

1957 210

The car in question across the street is a mid price range 1957 210 Chevy. We owned one and it was a smooth and easy shifting standard shift.

Plates not an issue?

@ tterrace:

Why would an undercover / unmarked car have exempt plates? Kind of defeats the purpose. But I do like the idea it might be the photographer's car.

[There's a difference between unmarked and undercover police cars. -tterrace]

Herzog & Alcatraz

The houses on the corners match up.


Looks to be a 1951 Buick Roadmaster Riviera sedan. Having owned one I can attest to its very quiet, comfortable ride and powerful straight 8 OHV engine.

re: Three Police Cars

Mounting a whip antenna on an unmarked car would somewhat defeat the purpose. It's odd that the marked cars do not appear to have antennas.

My guess was that the photographer drove the Chevy and had a police radio to get him the accident reports.

Or, he could simply have one of those new-fangled radios for the Class D Citizen Band that was created in 1958 and used it to stay in touch with someone monitoring the police calls. Both would operate in the range of 27-30 Mc and the antennas would look virtually identical.

[The car doesn't have an exempt license plate, so it's not a police or other government-owned vehicle. -tterrace]

The unmarked police car theory would necessitate plain plates anyway.

Looks like someone ran the stop sign but ...

... how did the Buick get way over there? That right front wheel looks too damaged for it to have driven over there. At least not without leaving some skid marks, I would think.

Jethro's Truck

With Jethro's truck parked right in front of the barely adequate stop sign, it is no wonder there are so many Buick and Oldsmobile casualties in Oakland. I'm beginning to wonder if the Superintendent of Traffic Safety owns a few body shops in town? His brother-in-law probably runs the only ambulance service in town, too!

Three Police Cars

With the antenna mounted on the Chevy across the street from the Ford cruiser I believe it's an unmarked car. Looks like something Dan Mathews would drive when he wanted to be inconspicuous.

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