1961 Buick Invicta
8-cyl. 401cid/325hp 4bbl
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The Buick Invicta series was all-new for 1959, replacing the Century as the brand’s full-size performance model. The Invicta had all of the swoopy style that Buick could bring to bear, with fins that started at the hood ornament and swept all the way along the car to diagonally mounted tailfins over round taillights. The overall effect was breathtaking, and for those who like the 1959 “fin wars” styling, few cars are more impressive than an Invicta.
Inside, the Invicta was equipped with the same features as the basic LeSabre of the same year, plus an electric clock, instrument panel cover, and deluxe steering wheel. Upholstery was Balfour cloth in four color combinations.
The 1959 Invicta was available in 4-door sedan or hardtop, 2-door hardtop or convertible, or as a 4-door station wagon. True to its performance position in the lineup, the Invicta carried a 401-cid “Nailhead” V-8 engine rated at 325 horsepower.
The Nailhead, so-called for its small valves, is notable because it carries its valve covers vertically on top of the heads, rather than canted at an angle, and the spark plugs are located well above the exhaust ports, which makes for easy maintenance.
For 1960, the Invicta’s fins became much smaller and less obtrusive, but the car was still a sweeping design with the look of speed to it. Buick added an 8-passenger 3-row station wagon to the line in this year. The Invicta again used the 325-hp Nailhead engine, mated to Buick’s Twin Turbine automatic transmission. The 1960 model year also saw the introduction of the Invicta Custom package, which included bucket seats and generally upgraded interior. Some were sold with leather upholstery.
Collectors really cannot go wrong with an Invicta from this era, whether they choose the elaborate fins and sculpted bodywork of the 1959 model or the more subdued lines of the 1960 model. In all cases, buyers get the renowned Nailhead engine with 325 respectable horsepower. The Nailhead is highly prized by hot rodders, so parts and knowledge exist to keep it going.