Regional Co-Director South Central Region BCA
Vice Director Alamo Chapter BCA
Assistant Chairman BCA Driven Class
1955 Special 2 dr. sedan (BCA Gold Senior Driver)
1955 Century convertible (Updates at Me and My Buick http://forums.aaca.org/f163/55-centu...ct-272999.html)
1955 Century Estate Wagon (Driven Hard and Fast)
1948 Buick powered hot rod
1931 Model A hot rod
Tires: you are going to get to pay$$$.
Coker tire has L78-15 tires for $169 in 3 or 4 inch white. These would not be correct for judging, but would look good and give good service. If you drive more than 5,000 miles a year consider radials such as those from Coker tire or Diamondback. If you get radials, they will not be correct for judging either. Also ask for the date code on each tire before they are sent...you don't want tires more than 6 months old.
55 Centurys: 63; 63; 66C
1951 Ford F-1 with 264 nailhead
1976 Olds Delta Royale
People who use tools bleed a lot!
Nobody has too many friends!
When I see the chrome on top of the rear fenders I see a 52 Buick. I see its posted as 51 Buick . I agree the data plate info will be interesting.
I know that dealers often added paint , and maybe trim to cars at the dealership, whether to a customer's order, or maybe in this case to make the 'old' model year, 51 look trendy and current with the new 52s. The next model year often arrived on the showroom floors before all the prior year models were sold... who knows... maybe the dealer installed the rear fender top trim to add some showroom sparkle.
John, BCA #1271, ALPCA 688
38 McLaughlin 4 Dr Special,Iron Man
47 Roadmaster Conv.
58 Pontiac Parisienne,Canadian version of the Bonneville
67 Coronet 500
Some other differences between a '51 and '52- a '52 has a "squared off" deck lid and a '51 is more rounded. Also a '52 has 19 grille teeth (including the 2 "baby teeth" at the ends) and a '51 has more ( I'm not sure how many as I don't have a '51 lol) -Dave BCA#46470 1952 56C
Last edited by retirednow; July 31st, 2012 at 23:50.
Found a couple more slides from back in the first days of Dad's '51. Here's a shot from on their honeymoon, and one taken in front of my folk's first house.
Also, if all the stars align properly, the car should actually BE here by the end of the day! Found a guy who can move it for us, who actually lives not far away, is familiar with where we live AND where the car is. So hopefully during the coming week I'll be able to share a lot more information on the status of the car. It's gotta go into a single car garage, but it's big enough to have a workbench at the front and on one side -- not quite as small as a typical 50's era single, and it's going to have to do. It's actually a three car garage, but has three separate stalls, two with no wall between, and this one separate from the other two, but this one has the good lighting and workbenches, so that's where she's going. Pictures of arrival later this week I hope.
At 200 miles I would contract on a local rollback to do the job. If you find one interested ask for a quote. I would think $2.00/mile is more than reasonable. That is $800.00. I will tell you my straight trucks need to be in the $1.50/mile range to make a profit. You should be in the $600.00 range for transport. I contracted on a rollback in VA to transport my Buick. 200 mile round trip. $350.00.STILL trying to find someone to trailer it from St. Paul about 200 miles to here.
I would think a local club member would be willing to help out for gas money. There is bound to be someone with a pickup truck and a flat bed car trailer that can take on the drive.
Adam MartinBPG# 1358BCA# 397651960 Buick Electra 225 Convertible
TIM, those latest pictures are priceless! If you don't restore this car and share it with the world, your family will have my permission to disown you. That's a real piece of North American history there, please treasure it.
1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
Yep, sure glad I learned at an early age to stand on my head, NICE PICTURES, for sure.
I wish you well,
Dale in Indy
Car trailers can be rented from places like Uhaul. Just need a friend with a pick up.
NASA may have landed a rover on Mars last night, but we landed a Roadmaster in the garage! Was contacted by a fella who saw my post in the trailering section of this forum on Friday who said he could do it this weekend, told me he'd see me Sunday evening, and he did. He made contact with the fella who had been storing the car for years down by St. Paul, arranged for pickup safely loaded the car early Sunday, and arrived here dinner time. Car had a flat and his air pup unit was kaput, so they loaded it with the flat (it was parked on grass). We put on the 1950's era wide white BALD spare tire when they got here, roller her off the trailer, and with one of the fellas driving, me, my Wife, and three members of the college football team who live next door, we managed to put it into the garage, perfectly centered, right where I want it to work on it. Dad and Mom (it's in one of their garages, they live next door to us now) were so excited to see it. Dad hadn't seen it since 8 years ago parked on 4 flats in a barn, and Mom I don't think had seen it for over 30 years. Dad just kept saying "I can't believe it's here" and Mom kept exclaiming how "It's not the big pile of rust I was expecting!" the car is amazingly solid. Much better than I was expecting as well. The bod is solid. There's no rust out in the usual places on the fenders. Bang on these fenders and they're solid steel! The frame is rock solid. Inside the headliner is perfect. And it turns out that it looks like the original Buick upholstery has been covered by seat covers all these years (pictures coming in next post -- this is a two-parter). Windows, doors, locks, key all work fine. Dad is so thrilled to think this car may drive again! Pics below -- trailer delivery, and Mom and Pop with their honeymoon car! They were pretty emotional, and I was over the moon about it's safe arrival. Coming up, some underhood shots, and data plate.
Today I had a chance to finally look at the car a bit from a mechanical point of view -- past the amazing wonderment of it actually being here! Near as I can tell, it's all here, complete, as it was when last on the road (1970). My first concern was to find out if the engine was frozen (stuck, seized, whatever phrase you like) so I decided to pull the plugs, planning to quirt some oil, and try to turn the crankshaft with a breaker bar. The plugs are relatively new -- a good sign I figured. Can't remember the number off hand... Champion something, with an 18 in the number.. anyway. The plugs were snug but not tightened to what I would consider driving torque. Upon removal some were oily! Like, with clean motor oil! After removal, I took a deep breath, put the breaker bar on the crank and it moved! Smoothly and readily, with no forcing! It appeared to me that the folks in charge of storing it all these years must have been oiling the cylinders every so often, taking into account the oily plugs!
As I started checking out other things I discovered what to me looks like a pretty old electric fuel pump. No fuel lines connected to this or the original pump still in place. The inlet side went to a long clear plastic hose, and the line to the carb was nearby. So I'm guessing at some point the caretakers started it up, and perhaps the original pump died and they went electric, and it was easier to run it off a fuel can? I have no real idea -- obviously further investigation will be in order as the tank I'm sure is cruddy, and the line from the tank could have issues, etc.
So, what I'm thinking is to order a new original style fuel pump for it. It's not really necessary to switch to electric, is it? After all, they drove this beast all over the country with no issues for years with the original design, right? Anyway, that's what I'm thinking. I don't know if the original pump died or they just made it easier to start occasionally with the electric or what. But I'd like to start off with a fresh new fuel pump anyway. As you can see in the photo, it's not exactly "installed" but just shoved in there and I'm guessing that the bracket it's bolted to doesn't belong in the car, right?
You can see one of the hood latches - nearest the firewall on the passenger side - is no longer mounted -- haven't figured exactly what's supposed to be holding that in place, but I'll investigate after I find the flashlight!
Data plate photo attached too. Translators welcome.
Also, my Wife discovered that it appears that the seats are seat COVERS and the original Buick upholstery is under them and probably never sat on, as we all remember the car with these seats, but the original velour is underneath and looks like new. Will the original stuff hold up to use now? Obviously, too, all these photos are before we've attempted to clean up the car at all. This is pretty much as it left storage, except for taking out about about 100 dryer sheets tossed in to keep critters away.
My next plans are to pick up a battery and see if she cranks over (no ignition wired, no plugs, etc and plenty of fresh oil squirted in the cylinders). Passing that test I'm going to order a fuel pump (Do I go with Kanter or Bob's? I bought a LOT of parts from Kanter back in my Edsel and Hudson days with no issues) or might my FLAPS have one? Then I'm going to put her up on a set of truck jack stands, pull the tires and get to work on the brakes. The rear brake drum on the passenger side had to be cut off to get the car to roll -- they tell me it was pretty well stuck to the insides and couldn't be persuaded to turn, so there's no drum on that wheel, and besides doing the entire brake system is of paramount importance anyway.
You can see the windshield has a couple vertical cracks, so I'll be needing one. Any reproducing them or should I start the salvage search?
It's going to be another big automotive adventure. My ace mechanic -- my Son Ryan, got married and moved away so now I'm going to have to do all the dirty work myself again (or wait till he comes to visit). He's one of those guys that can rebuild anything and once he starts on a project he doesn't stop till he's done. Kinda scary to go into the project without him around! However I did order him a shop manual too, so he has one on hand when I must consult.
Great picture of you mom and dad next to the Buick. I don't think Hollywood could write such a story! Looking forward to the restoration and mom/dads first ride.
Glad to hear the car is home!! Some windshields available on e-Bay 1950 1951 1952 1953 BUICK,CADILLAC, CONVERTIBLE & HARDTOP WINDSHIELD GLASS | eBay Here's another http://www.ebay.com/itm/1950-53-BUIC...887cb6&vxp=mtr Don't know anything about these companies, just posted to show that stuff is out there. -Dave BCA#46470 1952 56C
Last edited by retirednow; August 6th, 2012 at 20:26.
If you go to Hershey car show in Oct. you can start finding parts for your Buick. Also AACA has a library with info you can get on your buick.They let you look over the info and you can make copies for a fee. they will not let the info leave the Library. Have fun with the car and remember the forum is there to help you out.
Wow, what a great day in Bovey! That's Minnesota, right? Those are two mighty happy looking old newlyweds. Plenty of memories being rekindled, for sure, especially with you having lately gone through their old slides and home movies.
Please, please just get this great old car running well again and share it with your parents - and your kids - while you can all still enjoy the experience. The temptation to tear off the front clip or, more radically, remove the body from the frame, to really get in there, can wait. Spend your "garage time" digitizing the family images and grilling you mom and dad for all the stories that go with the pictures.
The Buick has proven that it will wait for your attention but old people can't guarantee that.
1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
Great pictures Tim. Thank you for taking the time to share your great story with us. You are going to have fun working on this car, I guarantee it! I've had an awesome time with mine. Now for a little advice. You can try to get her started just to see if she'll run but I really don't recommend letting it run for long. Maybe 5 minutes or so. Don't use your gas tank, run it to some clean gas in a gas can. You really need to drop the gas tank and the oil pan and possibly even the transmission pan and do some major cleaning before you let her run for any length of time. If I had a time machine, I would go back to when I got my '52 that had been sitting for around 40 years and tell myself to do these things. It would have saved me a lot of time, money, and frustration! I know you probably don't want to hear that those things need to be done because that adds to the time before she's on the road, but believe me these things need to be done!! I paid for my mistake of not doing those things and I don't want to see someone else go through all that if I can help it. If it's been sitting without regular use since the 70's I can almost guarantee you it will have at least a few inches of gritty clay-like sludge in the oil pan (that CANNOT be removed by changing oil) and varnish and rust in the gas tank. This stuff will make quick work of rendering your oiling system and carburetor inoperative. As for the windshield, I'd go the reproduction route. You'd be hard pressed to find an original windshield that hasn't started to de-laminate. On the fuel pump, you can put an original back on and most of the time it should work OK. They were driven all around the country back in the day, but nowadays with the ethanol fuels sold at most gas stations you will experience vapor lock. You can get around this for the most part by either finding an ethanol free gas station (you can start here to find one: Ethanol-free gas stations in the U.S. and Canada) or by installing an electric pump out of sight near your gas tank wired to a hidden toggle switch under the dash to aid the mechanical pump when experiencing vapor lock on a hot day. Here's a link to a site that has some information on your decoding your data plate: 1951 Buick Models . And at the bottom I've pasted in a list I've compiled of various parts suppliers for our old Buicks. Have you joined the Buick Club Of America yet? Once again, thanks for taking the time to share and welcome to the forum!
NOS and used Buick (and others) parts:
3352 South El Pomar
Templeton, CA 93465
P.O. Box 28
Dallas, OR 97338-0028
The Buick Farm
PO Box 384
Clayton, DE 19938
NOS Buick Parts & Original Literature, 1935-2012 or Present
205 Pearl St
Neshanic Station, NJ 08853
Old Buick Parts - CARS. Inc.
Antique Auto Supply
1225 Colorado Ln.
Arlington, TX 76015
Antique Auto Supply, Keeping the Old Car Hobby alive for the last 50 years"
Classic NOS Parts
Classic NOS Parts
Used Buick parts:
The Buick Bonery
4700 8TH Ave
Sacramento, CA 95820-1511
Moore's Auto Salvage
1761 Country Road
Rapid City, SD 57701
Moores Auto Salvage: Quality parts for antique and classic cars and trucks from the 1920s to 1980s.
Various Buick parts (engine, suspension, etc.):
Kanter Auto Products
76 Monroe St
Boonton, NJ 07005
TA Performance Products
16167 N. 81st Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
TA Performance Products Inc. - Your Leader in Buick Automotive Parts and Accessories
Last edited by shadetree77; August 7th, 2012 at 02:50.
Technical Article Editor Buick Bugle Magazine
1952 Buick Special Deluxe 41D (Lucy)
(My Dad And I Finally Have A Project Car)
1953 Kaiser Manhattan (Linus)
(Another One?! But I'm Not Even Done With The Buick Yet!!:p)
1979 Thunderbird Town Landau
(Highly Neglected Since I Got My Buick)
1977 Thunderbird Town Landau
(My First Car Given To Me By My Uncle w/ 20,000 Original Miles & Wrecked In 2004(not my fault) w/ 70,000 Miles, R.I.P.)
Here's what I came up with. Info taken mostly from a 1928-1954 BUICK MASTER CHASSIS PARTS BOOK.
Line #1: 1951 MOD. 51-72 . . . . . . 72 (technically should read 72R) = 6 passenger Roadmaster Riviera 4-door Sedan
Line #2: STYLE No. 51-4719 . . . . . 514719 = Fisher Style Number for a 1951 Model 72R with manual windows (514719X = hydraulic windows)
Line #3: BODY No. G 5682 . . . . . . G = Built in Flint . . . . . 5682 = the 5,682nd Model 72R built in Flint
Line #4: TRIM No. 71 . . . . . . . . . 71 = Dark Green Broadcloth with Light Green Broadcloth interior fabric
Line #5: PAINT No. 15 . . . . . . . . 15 = Sky Grey upper body with a Cloudmist Grey lower body exterior paint colors
ACCessories . . . . . B = Heater & Defroster . . . . . D = Sonomatic Radio & Antenna . . . . . P = Easy Eye (tinted) Glass
Just for kicks, ask your Dad if he is originally from 'Nordeast' Minneapolis? I say this because I noticed the SWANBERG & SCHEEFE Dealership emblem on the rear trunk. S&S was located in Nordeast Minneapolis (1905-1976) and a high percentage of people that bought Buicks from them lived in Nordeast Minneapolis. I was born, raised, and lived there for 29 years, less than two miles away from S&S; walked by their showroom on the way to high school (DeLaSalle). In fact, that's where I saw a new 1953 Buick Skylark for the first time.
Hope this helps.
"500 Miles West of Flint"
Last edited by 1953mack; June 14th, 2014 at 17:08.
This is one of the best threads on here in quite some time.
Current Buicks...None. :-(
Past Buicks. '66 Riv / '70 Rivs (2) / '90 Riv / '72 Skylark / '72 LeSabre / '72 Electra / '96 LeSabre / '92 Park Ave. / '96 Riviera.
"The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius.". Sid Caesar
Well, I'm going to try and comment on several posts. First of all, thanks to so many for sharing such useful information -- I had a couple of the parts sources, but not most. Also thanks for the decode on the data plate.
Yes, my initial thoughts are get it fixed up into a reliable driver so we can take the Folks for Sunday drives, out to dinner, etc. Down the road we'll worry about a full on restoration. The Wife insists if we're keeping it, we're going all the way with it, but that will take time and I don't want my folks to pass away while the car sits in a million pieces!
Don't remember who asked, but yes, my folks and our family spent most of our lives in "Nordeast" Minneapolis. Dad was born/grew up in Holland, MN (down by Pipestone) and graduated from SDSU as a pharmacist. He owned a couple stores in Northeast Minneapolis (not at the same time) one was cleverly named "Ken's Pharmacy". He worked at Rolig Drug on 13th Ave NE for many years, and when Dean Rolig died Dad bought the store, and continued to call it Rolig Drug. After several robberies during the mid-later 70's including one where Dad got shot through the right arm by a drug crazed robber, he left the drugstore business and got his real estate license. He eventually missed pharmacy and got back into it. To this day he has no feeling in three of his fingers in his right hand -- the bullet severed a nerve in his arm -- and since about 1976 has had to start his cars with his left hand, reaching over the steering column. Which has led to unusual wear on the ignition switches and several replacements!
Yes, I sent off my membership for the BCA. Oddly, we joined back in '88 when Dad talked about maybe getting the car going again. We never did, but he saved one copy of the "Bugle" just in case we needed it one day -- he just handed it to me last week! In fact, back in 2007 Mom really wanted to sell the car, in fact I think the the for sale listing is still posted here someplace. That's why my stats on the left say member since 2007 -- I signed up just to post the ad! We're all glad we never sold it! Back then I was up to my eyeballs in other things, my folks still lived in the Cities, and doing anything with the car seemed very remote.
Today's investments included a 6 volt battery and a fan belt. My goal today is to just see if it cranks. No fuel, no ignition wired, no plugs installed. Just to see if she spins -- maybe go wild and see if any lights work, etc. I have to get to work on the brakes soon -- one rear drum missing in action after it had to be cut off -- so fluid is leaking.
Anyone know if L78-15 tires will fit OK? Stock is 8.00-15. I think J78 is the technical equal, but they're hard to find, especially in 3" whitewalls!
Incidentally, when Dad owned the '51 "back in the day" his twin brother had a '49, as did his father (my grandpa). Somewhere we have a slide of 49-51-49 parked side by side on the front lawn at my Grandparents house. If I find it, I'll upload it.
Great story, and those pictures are priceless. I'd love to see the one of the three Buicks!
Just wanted to come into the thread and say "Hi." I'm the son he's referring to, and I am excited that the car is staying in the family. I have no fears about taking on the project once I finally get to the point where I can go up to MN and visit. One of these days I've got to talk my wife into moving to the Twin Cities area. I'm trying to get a company in Shakopee to hire me... She's still got some college left before she gets her BA in Elementary Education. Our little girl starts school next year, too.
You all seem like nice helpful fellas. Glad you're all around. I'm sure we'll be picking your brain in the near future!
What a great story and great pictures to boot! I recommend what Robert said about the electric fuel pump. It will really save your bacon when you get vapor lock, which is inevitable with the fuel they sell these days. The guys and gals on the Forum are the best and can really help you define and fix any problems that you might have with the 51.
I agree with Rob (MacDonald) that you need to enjoy this beauty with your parents while you still can. A Sunday driver is a great thing to have for the whole family to enjoy. The "full tilt" restoration can be done in manageable chunks..and still keep it a driver for your enjoyment. Can't wait to hear more about the wonderful history and ride that you have.
1957 Buick Riviera Estate Wagon - 49D -WIP (work in process)
1957 Buick Special - Model 48 2dr Sedan (BCA Gold Senior)
1969 Pymouth Road Runner 2dr HT- 440 4 Speed
2005 Ford Mustang Convertible
I feel like I'm just working in baby steps here, but the latest: I squirted a couple ounces of motor oil into all the cylinders -- even though the engine turned smoothly with a breaker bar on the crank, I figured plenty of oil wouldn't hurt anything. I picked up a typical 6 volt tractor battery -- which I'm sure far surpasses anything they had in '51. Made sure everything was off. Connected it. In the car tried things one at a time to see if anything worked. ALL the lighting seems to work! Had to turn the lights on and off a few times to get reliable contact, but I'd expect that. Defrost/heater blower works, horn, the accessory Fog Horn Dad added (WOW is THAT annoying) even the temporarily installed electric fuel pump works. Clock wound but doesn't run (expected that). Replaced the fanbelt ($4.71 at my FLAPS). Added some oil to the generator oil holes. Finally, tried cranking her over (no plugs, ignition coil disconnected, etc) and she turn over smoothly and with great conviction. So, starter and it's related electrical devices seem to be working fine and the engine spun smooth and free. Radiator has some antifreeze in it -- can't see anything at the top, but non rusty bright green antifreeze comes from the drain spigot. Spritzed some oil on all moving parts, pivots, etc. as everything was pretty darn dry.
The only trouble spot I have so far is one hood hinge. The one nearest the firewall on the passenger side was just hanging free by the cable. Close look revealed the pivot part of the hinge was no longer connected. Looks like the pivot is just two rivets? I imagine this would be repaired just fine with a couple bolts/nuts? Or is there a better way? I suppose a rod or bolt all the way through would work fine too. I'm guessing this is common as that's a pretty big hood to be supported by those small rivot pivot points.
Did I mention earlier there was a pair of pants in the trunk? Nicely folded, 1950's mens pants. Kept there in case you had to change a tire or some such in your Sunday duds. They're intact. I'm going to run 'em through the wash and see what happens. If they were my Grandpa's they just might fit me, if they were Dad's, no chance.
Found a couple more slides of Mom with the car from when it was relatively new -- but still sorting through mounds of slides so I'll wait to see if I find more for any scanning. Fun searching for them. When I last saw most of these slides on the big screen in the living room I was a kid and didn't appreciate all the car shots as much as I do now!
I am going to order up a stock fuel pump. Even though the ethanol fuels have taken over, here in Minnesota there's an exception to the law for collector cars and small engines, and since we live in the heart of tourist territory we have a ton of boaters and snowmobilers up here, not to mention 4-wheelers, etc during hunting season, so nearly every station has a non-ethanol pump. Additionally I have ready access to Sunoco racing gas (one station has it on a pump for the stock car racers around here) and I know folks at the airport and can get aviation 100LL gas out of their pump (used to use this mixed with some regular gas in my Edsel years ago).
So that's what I know so far. Have to order a lot of brake parts, and these old knees don't much care for working on brakes!
I have it on 50/50 good authority that L78-15 tires will fit fine. Is this a consensus? There are huge 8.00 - 15 snow tires on the back, with plenty of room around them and between them and the fender, and the front are different -- one is marked 8.15/8.20 - 15 the other is marked 8.20 - 15 and they look really small on the car. Coker has some L78-15 3" white wall radials at a decent price -- gotta have the wide whites of course, and need driving tires -- don't care about correctness for judging, etc. Need function over correctness. Tubeless tires work OK on the stock rims?
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