1960 Buick bubbletop earns high honors at Grand National Roadster Show

Brandan Gillogly

Despite its name, the Grand National Roadster show is about more than roofless, pre-war metal. This event brings out scores of coupes, convertibles, sedans, wagons, and trucks each year. And to complement the show’s America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award, organizers present the Al Slonaker Memorial Award to a high-end custom vehicle that makes its debut at the Roadster Show in Pomona, California.

Grand National Roadster show award winning 1960 Buick Invicta Custom
Brandan Gillogly

This year’s winner is the 1960 Buick Invicta Custom presented by Angie and George Eliacostas of Chicago, Illinois. The lavish bubbletop is a one-year-only design with quad headlights paired up like the jet engines from a B-52 bomber. The build was handled by CAL Auto Creations in Bennington, Nebraska, where the crew spent countless hours expertly tailoring the car’s already impressive lines into a work of art.

We asked George Eliacostas what made him choose a ’60 Invicta. “It’s out of the box, you don’t see it done, and it truly makes a statement,” he told us, pointing out the one-year-only body lines that were factory-original on the Invicta. His Custom, however, features a number of other that make it look like a factory-built concept. The headlight bezels, for instance, are blended into the body; all of the exterior trim is made from copper, too, with far fewer seams than the factory Invicta’s thin stainless trim.

1960 Buick Invicta Al Slonaker Memorial Award
Grand National Roadster Show/Kahn Media

Fans of mid-century iron will be glad to hear that the Buick is powered by a 401-cubic-inch Nailhead, but this one’s special. It has custom valve covers and a custom intake that’s fed by way of a crank-driven centrifugal supercharger. We saw the engine bay at the Grand National Roadster show when the car was presented unfinished and in bare metal back in 2019; a before/after comparison shows the few changes made along the way.

At the rear of the car, the centers of the taillights now serve as the fuel filler and vent. Behind the license plate, where the factory fuel filler would have been, is the trunk release—keeping the trunk lid free of any blemishes. The rear bumper is a clean design that ditches the split factory bumpers in favor of a sleek, single unit.

Underneath the car is a chassis and suspension that’s every bit as worthy of display as the bodywork. “When this thing is on the rack, you can spend hours on the underside and never get tired of looking at it.” Eliacostas told us. After a peek at the reflection of the independent rear suspension’s rear differential, we had to get down on the floor and take a closer look. He wasn’t kidding: the underside is finished with the same exacting detail.

Perhaps our favorite part of the car is its restyled interior, featuring rear seats custom-built to match the front buckets. The seat back trim in all four seats is lit with warm LED lights. The effect is powerful, and it completely looks the part of a factory build. If some rogue Buick designers were looking to take on the Eldorado, this is the interior that they would have cooked up. Starline Hot Rod Interiors in Papillion, Nebraska, shaped the seat foam and upholstered the interior in custom-dyed leather and NOS fabric.

Eliacostas plans on taking the car to Florida where it will serve as a coastal cruiser. He seemed absolutely thrilled that the car was everything he had dreamed it would be. The team at CAL Creations also breathed a sigh of relief now that they didn’t have to keep the long-running build a secret. Of course, now we’re waiting to see what they come up with next.

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    Cool build. I remember forum posts in the predecessor Hagerty forums talking about this kind of thing (even to the interior that could pass as era-concept).

    I have to say that this car with all it’s beautiful lines makes it one of a kind,they just don’t make them like they used to.Love it.😁

    Owners did not mess up GM’s excellent original design. Wonderful color. Great interior reminiscent of Chrysler 300 coupes and convertible seating of that Era. The low rider cut-down suspension detracts from car’s poise and design importance. As to the pretty engine: so much power for just cruising. GM had Wonderful designs in 60s and 70s. Lovely preservation of automotive history.

    As a Buick guy I’m going to have to go and get the drool bucket. This car is Gorgeous! And I grew up with a ’60 deuce and a quarter flat top…that got destroyed due to lack of dual master cyl when the brakes went out. I’m sure that is no issue with this very special Invicta

    That’s a whole lot of gorgeous right there. Love the choice of a centrifically supercharged Nail Head. Just ups the drool factor that much more.
    Well built. Accolades well earned. Great car!

    The build quality appears to be truly exceptional! The color looks period correct and is fitting for a retro resto-mod. Think 1960 “Concept Vehicle.” I can only fathom it’s value to be “priceless.”

    I haven’t seen one of these in so long, I really appreciate it. When I was a little kid, already car-conscious, I called these “scowly” Buicks.

    Now that’s an awesome 😎 cool 😎 Ride I would add to a collection. what an amazing addition to my collection it would be.

    I have a 1960 Buick Electra 225 conv. Cruise down the road always get thumbs up. This and other classic cars cool factor. “Art on Wheels”

    I owned a 1960 Impala Green on Green for convertible in 1966 I bought from the 2nd owner for $1,800. I sold it in ‘68. Saw same car on Me in for $38k
    Would you sell the Buick?

    Please post photos of your “Deuce and a Quarter.” The Electra 225, and Wildcat convertibles are my favorites!

    Neighbor had one of those beautiful Buicks when I moved to his block. That was 45 years ago. When that car sold, I was broke and will forever remember not being able to buy a car that was ahead of its time for looks. That car was his baby and he would take it out for a cruise to the store only. It was a true gem.

    As for the one here, I am amazed at the beauty was only enhanced with the modifications made. It was so well thought out. So kudos to the owner and to GM for their spectacular designs. Both are timeless.

    I haven’t seen Frenched headlamps since my pre and early teen years. A true work of art… that you can sit in. Just remove your shoes and slip these booties on please.

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