How to Identify 1956 Buick Models


1956 was an important year for the auto industry, as it was beginning to break away from stodgy older designs and adding more horsepower. All 1956 General Motors models have similar styling, but each brand has its trademarks, including Buick. According to a price listing found on The Classic Buick, the lineup for 1956 featured variations within series numbers 40, 50, 60 and 70. Each model is a slight variation of the overall theme and all 1956 Buicks are easily identified both visually and by decoding the vehicle identification number.

  • View the Buick from either side. According to The Classic Buick, the 1956 Buick has trademark vent holes and sweeping chrome trim, beginning at the front wheel, sloping down to the front edge of the rear wheel well before sweeping over and toward the back of the rear wheel. Three chrome vent holes are located on the fenders, in front of the doors, toward the front of the car.

  • Locate the VIN Number. According to Buick God, it is located on an ID tag on a plate on the driver's side door pillar.

  • Decode the VIN number. According to the VIN decoding guide on Buick God, the first digit represents the model series, "4" for the 40 series, "5" for the 50 series and so on. The following letter is the year designation, "C" for 1956, "D" for 1957. The third digit represents the assembly plant and the following numbers are the sequential production numbers.

  • Determine the Buick Model. As the first digit in the VIN represents the Buick series number: "40" Special, "50" Super, "60" Century and "70" Roadmaster, visually determine the model within the series. According to The Classic Buick, all 1956 series cars offered a convertible coupe and "Riviera" coupes and sedans. The Special, Super and Roadmaster series' all have four-door sedans, while only the Special series offered a two-door sedan. Station Wagons are either 40 or 60 series. Since Riviera models are the only models classified as hardtops, there is no post between the front and back windows. When both windows are down, there is no obstruction.

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