1937 Buick is rolling tribute to Sen. George W. Norris

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Sen. George W. Norris’s 1937 Buick Roadmaster is back on the road, again, at least for limited engagements such as the Heritage Days Parade.
Courtesy photo

After many years of sitting idle, the last car owned by the late, great U.S. Senator, George W. Norris, has been repaired in preparation for use in upcoming parades and special events.

Now 80 years old, the 1937 Buick Roadmaster had been out of use in recent years, sitting in the garage of the historical Norris Home at 706 Norris Avenue in McCook.

A lasting symbol of Norris’s life, the big, black Buick was returned to McCook from Washington, D.C. following Sen. Norris’s death in 1944.

Upon its return to McCook, the Buick was used frequently in parades and special events, including a tour of the eastern United States in 1967 conducted by Joe Horner and John T. Harris Sr.

But, in the years to follow, the Buick was used less and less and fell into disrepair. Finally, in 2007, Chris Wagner of the Wagner Auto Group led an effort to get the old car running again.

With the help of Galen Hickert, a mechanic at Wagner Ford, the car was repaired and made ready for a return to parade use.

However, once again, the big Buick was used less and less, and once again needed repairs.

That’s when, early this year, Dawna Bates, site supervisor of the Norris Home, and Dr. Warren Jones of the Norris Institute called on the staff at Wagner Chevrolet-Buick to get the car fixed up again.

There were lots of problems — including locked wheels and seals and bearings which needed replacement — but Myron Guthrie and Brian Wells of the mechanical staff at Wagner’s managed to get the Buick parade ready.

“It still makes a lot of noise but it runs,” says Jay Blauvelt, service manager at Wagner Chevrolet-Buick. And the car is spiffy looking, featuring new white wall tires like the ones which were popular back when the car was new.

Plans are to have the big, black 1937 Buick on view in this year’s Heritage Days Parade, scheduled in late September. Arrangements can also be made to see the historic car by calling Bates at the Norris Home, (308) 345-8484.

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