Roy Abendroth's 1955 Buick

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1955 Buick Century restyled by John Schott for Roy Abendroth of Compton, California. Known as the BuSonic, the Buick was Roy's first car. This photo shows the first version of the car as it appeared after Larry Watson had given it a Copper Metalflake paint job. Photo by George Barris
Photo by George Barris
The BuSonic at an indoor car show.
In 1964 Larry Watson resprayed the car green. This photo was taken in 1968, right before the car went into storage.
The car as it appeared after Jim Breazeale bought it.
The BuSonic during its restoration. Photo by Mark Selkirk
Photo by Mark Selkirk
Photo by Mark Selkirk
Photo by Mark Selkirk
Photo by Mark Selkirk
Photo by Mark Selkirk
Photo by Mark Selkirk
Photo by Mark Selkirk
The restored version of the car.
The car as it sat in 2007. Photo by Matt McFarland
The BuSonic was one of the featured cars at the first Customs by the Sea car show in Santa Barabara in 2019. Photo by Sondre Kvipt - Kustomrama.

1955 Buick Century restyled by John Schott for Roy Abendroth of Compton, California. Known as the BuSonic, the Buick was Roy's first car. It was rebuilt over a three year period beginning in 1959. During the rebuild, the stock rear fenders were removed and replaced with 1957 Lincoln fenders that had scoops fabricated at the front. In the rear, the fenders were reformed to house triple high-mounted exhausts. Also in the rear, two complete 1956 Cadillac bumpers were purchased for rear guards. Each side had two outer tips with a 3-inch section added between them holding three 1959 Cadillac taillights. The fenders were shaped to fit and as with all other parts, rubber gaskets were made up to seal the fit between the body and the special components. The decklid was tapered in two inches at the rear and new sills were formed to fit. A bellypan in the rear necessitated raising the gas tank 6 1/2 inches and putting in a new rear floor. The license plate holder and nerf bar was mounted directly to the frame through the pan. The mesh was hand-made. All the door corners were rounded. Up front, the hood was cut off and sectioned 4 inches. The new grille opening and the canted quad headlight tunnels were formed using tubing. The front nerf bars matched the design theme of the rear license bracket.[2]

Hydraulic Lifts

To get the right stance the frame was C'd in front and rear with the driveshaft tunneled. It was also fitted with hydraulic lifts.[2]

Copper Metalflake Paint by Larry Watson

Once the bodywork was done the car was painted in Copper Metalflake by Larry Watson of Watson's House of Style. The wheels were Cadillac wires adapted with spacers. The interior of the car was upholstered by Paul's Custom Upholstery Shop. It featured a console, FM radio, record player, bucket seats and fur trim. Under the hood, all of the detail pieces of the engine were chromed. The build was completed in 1963, having a total cost of $8,000. USD.[2]

Resprayed Green

Larry Watson resprayed the BuSonic green in late 1964. In 1968 the car went into storage. Jim Breazeale found the car and decided to restore it back to its 1963 incarnation. Jim had the Watson-applied spray replicated in modern candies, metallics and flake.[3] The restored version was painted by Don Heckman. Jamie Stormes did the pinstriping.[4] In June of 2008, the car was listed for sale; the asking price was 77,000 USD.[5]

For Sale

Around 2012 Alex Gambino of Gambino Kustoms bought the car with a friend. It was a trailer queen when he got it, and in 2019 he told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that "it has never been driven on the street its whole life. I'm the only person that ever drove it. Back in the day, the rumor was that the 3rd and 4th gear linkages weren't connected, so no one could drive it." Gambino drove it twice about 4 miles for a photo shoot. Except for that, it gas just been driven on and off trailers. The car is currently up for sale, so get in touch with Alex Gambino if you want to become the BuSonic's new caretaker. Alex can be reached at or 408-561-5744.[6]

Magazine Features

Popular Hot Rodding October 1963
Car Craft January 1964
Car Craft February 1964
Rod & Custom May 2005
Gasoline Magazine 1/2021



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