1938 Buick Y-Job
This experimental Buick ushered in the modern “concept car.” Known as the Y-Job, because it was one step beyond an “eXperimental” car, it was built by the styling section at GM in the late 1930s. Harley J. Earl, the first VP in charge of design for GM, led the project. It was his daily driver throughout the ‘40s and represented the essence of his design philosophy – low and streamlined. At first glance the Y-Job doesn’t appear that revolutionary but when contrasted with its contemporary production cars it is a striking departure. It displays numerous ahead of its time features with the body sculpted and shaved, Art Moderne style. This included features like fenders that swept back into the doors, concealed running boards, short horizontal grille and High “power dome” hood.
Over the years Earl and GM designers continually upgraded the car. By the 1950s the car made its way into the Buick Heritage Collection and today the car is still in the care of GM. NHVR No. 14 HAER No. MI-417
Paint and exterior
The Y-Job has been repainted numerous times over the years and it was continually updated as a styling test mule and Harley Earl’s daily driver. At one point the Y-Job even donned a silver paint job. Today it is gloss black and is mostly unrestored.
Upholstery and interior
The Y-Job’s interior is mostly unrestored and features black leather upholstery. The dash is painted black with a contrasting silver band going into the door panels.
Liquid-cooled, Buick OHV inline 8-cyl 248cid/107 hp, equipped with 1941-42 Buick dual carburetor intake manifold topped with Carter 2bbl carbs.
Earl drove the Y-Job to a reported 50,000 miles. Its odometer/speedometer was replaced with a later unit now showing 25,850. Its total mileage is unknown.
Wheels and tires
13” wheels - white wall Uniroyal tires
Four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes
Dynaflow automatic transmission. RWD. Originally fitted with a three-speed manual transmission.