Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Fabulous 1961 Buick Flamingo- Made of Recycled Parts?

1961 Buick Flamingo Motorama Car

Recently I showed you Bill Mitchell's Buick 1956X Century, which had many custom touches including lowered suspension, wire wheels, a two tone metallic special paint scheme and special floating bucket seats including a passenger seat that rotated 180 degrees. I've been in touch with the current owner of the car who reports that it was found quite intact except that the bucket seats and rear seats were missing. In their place were conventional bench seats front and rear with the S. O. number of the 1956X on a tag underneath.

But where did the bucket seats go?

I don't have an answer yet, but I have an idea.

Enter the 1961 Buick Flamingo Motorama show car. Created for the final General Motors Motorama, It's basically a 1961 Buick Electra 225 convertible finished in a special Flamingo Pink color, with two tone pink leather interior and...floating bucket seats including a 180 degree swivel on the passenger side.

Were the 1956X seats recycled into the Flamingo?

Can't say for sure, but there is a precedent.

In my old files from Buick, I have most of the correspondence regarding XP-810, Mitchell's original Silver Arrow, S. O. 40210. Here is a quote from a memorandum of october 15, 1962, concerning the interior of the car:

"Astra" front bucket seats to be installed. These will be furnished by making use of the seats being removed from the 1962 Buick Skylark Convertible advance interior car (S. O. 40224). The existing six way adjuster on the driver's seat will be reworked to fit the Riviera underbody conditions, while the passenger's seat is to remain as a stationary seat.

The memo goes on to stipulate that the entire interior is to be retrimmed, so the appearance of the seats could change completely.

While I'm not claiming that the 1956X seats were used in the Flamingo, I'm entirely convinced that they were replaced with conventional bench seating and the floating bucket seats were retained for reuse in another car, whether it was the Flamingo or another car of the era.

I guess General Motors caught on to the idea of recycling before the rest of us did.

180 degree rotating bucket seats in the 1961 Flamingo Motorama Car

1961 Flamingo on its Motorama Display Stand

Were the rotating bucket seats adapted from Mitchell's 1956X Century?


  1. It makes sense, not only from a cost perspective, but from an expedience standpoint, too. Even though we revere all of these showcars today, many of them weren't considered art back then, but probably just "last year's show pieces." I can imagine a process where the designers and craftsmen remembered parts of earlier cars and decided to use them again because they liked them and they worked well in their new projects. Great post!

    1. The GM motorama show cars were intended to be scrapped after their tour of duty..they were never intended to be shown forever...

  2. Interesting. It does make sense to do that!