Dale Turner’s 1947 Buick Super dubbed the “Superliner” is a fine example of retrofitting a classic body with the innovations and technological advancements of today. It is an exhibition of classic form and technological progress. In this feature we’ll take a closer look at Dale’s beautifully modified Buick as well as a history of this prestigious classic.
The History Of The Buick Super
Buick has had a long and prestigious line of models throughout the years and is still among one of the most sought after makes among classic car enthusiasts.
The Buick Super is a full sized automobile that was manufactured between the years of 1940 through 1958. It shared a body platform with the Buick Roadmaster, Buick’s flagship model, between the years of 1946 through 1957.
The Super was eventually succeeded by the Electra in 1959. There was a brief stint in 2008 until 2011 where the Super made a return as a performance trim level option on the V-8 powered LaCrosse and Lucerne.
The Super originally featured GM’s new and improved “torpedo” C-body. This body style featured shoulder and hip room that was over five inches wider, the elimination of running boards, and an exterior that was more streamlined and two to three inches lower. The roomier build allowed for a six passenger ride to remain comfortable by providing ample leg room. This update in body style was heavily influenced by the Cadillac Sixty Special.
Four body styles were offered for the Buick Special; a 2-door coupe, a 2-door convertible, a 4-door sedan, and a 4-door convertible. It was in 1942 that Supers adopted a fastback styling. Bodies were also wider and lower than the first generation of Supers. Convertibles from 1942 featured “airfoil” front fenders which were given the name because of the way the fenders flowed into the lines of the rear. This look remained relatively unmodified for the duration of second generation Super production.
By 1946 standard equipment included an auto choke, clock, ash compartment, turn signals, and woodgrain instrument panels. One of the most beautiful features of Dale Turner’s Buick Super, are the interior’s door panels, dash, and steering wheel all featuring some beautiful wood work that we’ll go into further detail about in this feature.
The stamped grille with vertical bars remained a detail of the Super’s front end up through the late 1950s. “Exterior series identification was found on the crossbar between the bumper guards front and rear.” The car featured an IFS with coil springs and in ’46 a total of 119,334 units were sold. That year more than 76.98% of Buick sales were Supers. It’s a number that foreshadowed a long and well preserved career for the Buick Super amongst classic enthusiasts.
In 1947 the combination of a roomy Roadmaster body with an economic Special power plant solidified the Super within the American community as a consumer favorite for yet another year. Little changed from the previous model except for a redesigned front grille. “Stainless lower body moldings made a single line along the body and continued onto the standard wheelhouse shields. A white Tenite steering wheel was standard while the instruments were round and set into a two-toned dash panel.” That year Buick sold 159,588 units of the Buick Super, a company record at the time.
Dale Turner’s ’47 Buick Super – The “Superliner”
Rod Authority asked Dale about a few of his favorite modifications to the car. There are more than 80 custom components, modifications, and one-off parts combined to make this beauty the wicked ride you see here today. The Superliner has been updated to suit the technological updates of today while maintaining a classic eloquence through the Buick’s timeless body.
Hood cut in half, welded into one piece, pinched, and pie cut
A-Pillars laid back 4 inches
All custom glass
Cameras in place of rear and side mirrors
Shaved door handles
One-off Classic gauges w/copper trim
One Off 22-inch wheels w/floating center caps and engraved “Superliner” logo
Ridetech Shock Waves w/Ride Pro-E System
Shaved tires and sidewalls
DuPont deep deep black paint – flawless
We got a chance to speak with Dale and gained some deeper insight about his Super. “Superliner” is no stranger to the rafter lights of showrooms or the camera flash from admirers at local shows. Dale and Cindi Turner enjoy the full spectrum of car events from the grand productions to local show-n-shines around and near their hometown of Canal Winchester, Ohio.
Dale recently showed “Superliner” at the Detroit Autorama. You can check out Rod Authority’s coverage of the event as well as a couple photos of “Superliner” from the show here. The car also made an appearance at the Goodguys PPG Columbus Nationals, the superbowl event of the Goodguys show season. Dale has a few more stops planned for the 2013 show season before hitting it hard in 2014. If you’re going to be at this years Goodguys Indianapolis, NSRA Tampa in October, or Goodguys Kissimmee, Florida in 2014 you might just catch a glimpse of Dale’s flush ride out on the circuit.
Awards And Honors – A Showtime Knockout
Despite being a recently completed project, “Superliner” already flaunts a long list of awards and honors including the Detroit Autorama’s First in Class, Kid’s Choice, and Best In Show: Interior.
It also won Best In Show at a North East Philly Local, Best In Show at an event thrown by Lancaster, Ohio’s Corvette Club, Most Unique Award at an Earth Angels event in Lancaster as well, Best In Show at the Obetz, Ohio Zucchini Festival, and Best In Show at Canal Winchester’s Labor Day event. As you can tell Dale Turner’s Buick is shaping out to be a heavy weight. “Superliner” certainly won’t be falling on blind eyes when it comes to showtime.
Mod Profile & Owner Background
Dale came about his ’47 back in 1992. He had acquired it through a deal that was frankly, awesome. $3,500 total for…not one…but two cars! Dale had gotten a four door sedan, which he ended up selling, and the ’47 Buick Super from the transaction. It doesn’t get better than that.
“Superliner” had been cooped up in a barn since the 60s and when Dale acquired it, the car was in great condition having all its original sheet metal intact. The only thing that needed to be completely replaced were the rocker panels. It took Dale six years and $400,000 in parts and labor to complete the Super. We asked him what his long term plans were for the car and Dale is sure and set that the Super is something that will be kept within the family and passed down as an automotive heirloom.
Mike Lomaka was the rendition artist for the Superliner project. Dale said that a lot of attention was given to the design of the car’s front end. “We compared three or four front ends, the mini grill that lines up with the bigger one was Mike’s touch.” Paul Atkins and Eric Brockmar were responsible for the interior while the modifications and restoration was handled at Garret’s Rod Shop.
Dale Turner said that the aim of this build was to stay true to the original theme of the Buick Super as it came off the line but to create a Super that would stand alone as a one off classic through mild modifications and subtle integrations of modern technology.
Dale got the idea for his side and rear view cameras from his motor home. He liked the backup camera feature and wanted to integrate that into “Superliner” so bought several kits of the same camera and had custom housings made for them.
One of Rod Authority’s favorite features of Dale’s ’47 is definitely the custom woodwork. The one off steering wheel, shift knob, panels, and dash all feature the custom bent and formed ambrosia wood.
Although its hard to see in the photos Dale explained that there is a iridescent luster that the wood gives off due to the beetles that naturally burrow into it. When those beetles die and decompose their crushed shells are what give this particular wood its unique sheen. It’s amazing to see that in a car full of so much advanced technology the organic wonder of nature still lends itself to complimenting the overall package.
We would like to thank Dale for his time and for making this feature possible. Dale wanted to thank everyone involved with the build especially Garret and his wife for writing all those checks.
Before ending our interview, in our usual fashion, we asked Dale what he had to say towards the youth who might have an inkling for cars. He said, “If you have a desire to work on a car, whether its $1,500 or $150,000 it doesn’t matter you can still make it your car. That’s what street rodding is all about. Having a ball is what matters, not the amount of money put into it. I’ll probably have less fun on “Superliner” than the cars I spent less money on. But you only live once and it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for awhile.”