Norman Timbs sought to create a unique car for his personal use. In 1947, that desire and vision coalesced as the Special. Far from a backyard tinkerer, Timbs was a mechanical engineer by trade and had begun his career working for the innovative Preston Tucker on the short-lived Tucker automobiles. Later he worked with several companies producing Indianapolis winners such as the ”Blue Crown Specials”.
The Norman Timbs Buick Special
To create the Special, Timbs worked with fabricator Emil Diedt. The visually stunning automobile was created completely out of aluminum. The frame is a series of 4 inch aluminum aircraft tubing that sweeps up over the rear wheels. The entire design is meant to epitomize the pre-WWII Auto Union Type C and the Mercedes-Benz W25 Avus Grand Prix cars.
The vehicle is powered by a Buick Straight 8 mounted mid-ship, just behind the smallish driver’s compartment. The brakes, steering, and many of the other mechanical aspects of the vehicle were sourced from various Mercury vehicles. The Special stands just 4 feet from the ground to the windshield, is 18 feet long, and has a wheelbase of 117 inches. Aside from the unsurpassed visual beauty of the vehicle, the most interesting aspect of its design is the lifting rear portion of the body. With the touch of a button the entire rear of the vehicle lifts hydraulically to expose the engine, fuel tank, and spare tire.
The Special was featured in the October 1949 issue of Motor Trend and was billed as a ”Home-Made Streamliner”. The title alluded to a car that could be made on any workbench, by any builder. The article also mentioned that the build took 2 ½ years to complete at a cost of $10,000, an unheard of amount at the time. The car was re-discovered in 2002 sitting in the desert. It has been restored to its fully functional self and is currently being featured by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA.
Image Credits: ConceptCarz.com
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