Century first appeared on Buick’s roster in 1936, the same year that Buick replaced its numeric series names with something more memorable: Special, Century, Roadmaster, and Limited. Century was most meaningful of the new names because it signified the car’s top speed, and the 1939 Buick Century was accomplished in other areas as well. Often called “the first muscle car” or “the banker’s hot rod,” Century combined the smaller Special body with the 120-horsepower straight eight from the bigger Roadmaster and Limited. The result was an excellent power-to-weight ratio giving a top speed in the vicinity of 100 mph and lively acceleration. At about half the price of an Auburn speedster, the Century was a performance bargain.