Blackout

1942 Buick Roadmaster 76S

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I also have a 42 buick. a Special series 40 model 44 3 passenger utility coupe. from your posted photos, I see you will replace many floor panels. Have you found a good source for replacement panels. I need most floor panels as well as the truck floor. Any help to find these panels will help.

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My hope is to find a donor car; '42, '46 - '48 all work I think. I think there may be some interchangeability with other GM cars, too. I've seen floor panels on Ebay from time to time. Good luck!

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Ok, so I have an update...granted it's been almost a year since my last. Upon doing ample research on the ownership history of the car, I have yet to figure out exactly if/how it ended up as an "officer's" vehicle at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. In addition, despite being the only known 76S blackout car known to still exist, I realize the car will never really be worth anything beside a unique symbol of American history. As such, I'm struggling with a variety of issues:

1. I have zero time to develop and improve the skills necessary to restore this car to its former glory.

2. The money I have saved and/or have access to will by no means fund an adequate restoration.

3. I could afford a hack job, at best, but do not want to compromise the integrity of the car should it be restored at a later date.

4. Maybe there's someone out there who would continue what I started with a love for this vehicle like I have.

5. I just want to drive it!

Alas, it saddens me to even consider getting rid of Alice, but she just sits in my garage and by the time I can do anything with it, those who can appreciate the vehicle and its symbolism may not even be around anymore. This is a tough realization that has plagued me since buying the car and while my intentions have been appropriate, after 3+ years reality it's finally sinking in. The last thing I want is to see this car leave the country, let alone California or even a 100 mile radius of Mare Island. The unconfirmed history of this car is like none I've ever known and it should probably be in a museum. Anyway, that is my rant for now. I would love some encouragement, a reality check, or any other feedback from the community.

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It's a tough decision when the "S" word comes up. So many times I have thought about selling something. And so many more times I have been glad to still have all my keepers.

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How about an update?  I finally took the car to a local shop that diagnosed some poor timing and other electrical-related issues (sitting for how long? 20+).  A little squirt of fuel and she fired right up!  Good compression and oil pressure.  Hope to get the fuel system, electrical, and cooling addressed by winter.  

1942_Buick_Start_160909.mp4

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I'm just picking up this thread. I do remember that car for sale a few years ago. It is one rare car. Nice that it now runs, and has oil pressure! Still a good idea to drop the oil pan and clean it out. I've done that on many vintage cars and it is unbelievable the sludge and gunk that accumulates in the bottom of the pan. I think that the '42 engine is nearly the same as a '41 engine, and they have a floating pivoting pick up screen that is easily knocked off, so take care when or if you remove it.

 I will give you what advice I can, as I restored a very similar car, a 1941 McLaughlin Buick Roadmaster coupe, identical to a 76S, except for a very few trim things. Mine is equally rare as yours, and it took a quite a few years to get it restored.

 You need to do what you think is right, but I have a few suggestions, and I hope that you do not mind. I too at times nearly gave up on the car, but kept plugging away at it, and took  time off to refresh myself if I got burned out.

 I also did not have much budget, at times in particular. So, I did virtually everything myself, except for machine shop work on the engine, and chrome plating. I learned to MIG weld, you can buy the units various places for not too much money, you can likely take a night school course if you do not have anyone to mentor you before you work on the car.

 I had learned to paint back in the 70's, and got myself updated for the new materials and techniques. Waaaaaymore complicated than 40 years ago. Long story on how I learned to sew, but I did, and at the time when I was getting to that stage I didn't have the budget to get it done professionally, so I did all of the upholstery myself. Used commercial sewing machines can be bought for a few  hundred. Dressmaking machines usually don't have the power to do upholstery. I bought the headliner as a premade kit from CARS inc., not too expensive and my wife and I put it in.

 Yes, there are a few compromises on my car, but the car is solid, nearly correct and looks great. A look underneath the car tells the tale that the floors have been replaced. If you aspire to something like the 400 point judging the BCA has, that will not pass muster, but otherwise it works great, and the car is solid. I do not know how close the '41 floorpans are to a '42, but there are repros available now, but weren't when I did mine. A difficult thing is to make sure that the rockers and door jams do not distort with too much heat, if so, the doors will never fit right.

 If you know of a reputable person you could get some of the hard stuff done professionally, and then do the rest yourself.

 Anyway, sorry to ramble on, and perhaps you have already been through these thoughts already, but there are ways to get things done when you are determined.

 Keith

 

 

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Like Keith, I was also overwhelmed with thought about how I was going to do something.  Especially when it came to replacing sheet metal and engine work.  You CAN do it by yourself.  Borrow a mig welder or buy one from Harbor Freight on sale for less than $100.00. Go to a salvage yard and buy a fender off of an older car and PRACTICE on that until you are comfortable. Same goes for bodywork, prep, paint etc. you will be suprised what you can accomplish.  

 

I leave you with two pictures and five years inbetween.  I work a real job at least 10 Hrs a day.......

 

 

image.jpg

image.jpg

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You've got quite the project there Jared, but it's definitely possible.

 

I bought my 51' when I was 28, so I know what you mean about the age thing. A lot of the technology (if that's even the right word for it) on my car was completely foreign to me when I began. Up to that point, I had only played around on modern cars - nothing much older than the early 1990's. I remember reading the manual for my Buick and thinking "what is a torque tube!?" I had a terrible time figuring out how to open the hood when she arrived on the flat bed and it took me a good 25 minutes to figure out how to start the thing! I'm not sure about yours, but you have to press the gas pedal to start mine - after the key is turned. Push the gas pedal to start??? No 90's kid would ever think to try that, left to his own devices. I had to phone a much older friend for help. :P Don't hesitate to ask questions, even if they sound stupid. I felt pretty dump asking "how do you start this thing?" but as it turns out, it wasn't a stupid question. 

 

Best of luck to you with your restoration! Hopefully your wife is as patient as mine. That certainly helps! :lol:

 

 

 

 

Edited by WhipperSnapper (see edit history)

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I should also add: 

 

The problem with these older Buicks (even the rare ones) is that the cost to restore often eclipses the value of the car, unless you're willing and able to do most of the work yourself. If you farm out the body work, paint, engine rebuild, transmission work, interior, etc. you can easily spend six figures on a ~$40,000 car. A donor would certainly help, if you could find one cheap enough.

 

I'll definitely have more in mine than it's worth at the end of the day. Sometimes it's just about saving a car that most folks would otherwise scrap. I know that feeling well. :mellow:

 

 

 

Edited by WhipperSnapper (see edit history)
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44 minutes ago, WhipperSnapper said:

The problem with these older Buicks (even the rare ones) is that the cost to restore often eclipses the value of the car, unless you're willing and able to do most of the work yourself. If you farm out the body work, paint, engine rebuild, transmission work, interior, etc. you can easily spend six figures on a ~$40,000 car. A donor would certainly help, if you could find one cheap enough.

 

I'll definitely have more in mine than it's worth at the end of the day. Sometimes it's just about saving a car that most folks would otherwise scrap. I know that feeling well. :mellow:

 

  That would be the same situation with my '41 Roadmaster. Even doing most of my own work, I still likely have a bit more in it than its' worth. To be honest, I didn't count. I just bought when I had the cash, etc.

  Keith

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Another update...

 

The radiator is rebuilt with new hoses and thermostat.  I fixed the fuel delivery issue by rebuilding the carb and fixing my own mistake of failing to reattach the fuel pump diaphragm plunger upon inspection.  The following video shows the new carb in place with fuel delivery for the first time since the 1990s.  The choke heat thermostat tube is broken and I'm sure I need to dial in the timing, but I have her down to an ok idle for now.  That is until the exhaust manifold broke...

 

Does anyone know where I can find a replacement center section/collector piece for a 1942 Buick 320 with a single carb?  The other side of the collector is also broken and held together with a hose clamp--is the part weldable/salvageable?  

buick new carb start.mp4

buick exhaust.jpg

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 If it has a single carb, it has been changed sometime in its' life, as they would come from the factory with dual carbs. Not that it is otherwise a problem, as the engine will have enough torque and horsepower to cruise nicely. Broken manifolds are a common problem on these engines, take care when reinstalling, not too tight is important. There is info about this subject on the forum.

 Glad that you are making progress!

 Keith

Edited by Buicknutty (see edit history)
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Ok, so I have the new center section, now how do I couple it all together?!  The new piece is quite a bit beefier than the stock piece but everything seems to line up ok.  The female ends are slightly smaller than the male ends on the other two manifolds.  

new center exhaust.jpg

Edited by Blackout (see edit history)

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Got her back together and purring again.  To think the refurbished intake/exhaust manifold and rebuilt carb are probably worth more than the entire car.  Labor of love!

IMG_20170812_133332_863.jpg

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I've always heard they (the two ends to the center) must fit somewhat loosely so they can expand.  And, that is rust stopping the expansion that causes the end pieces to crack.  I don't know, that's just what I've been told.  I have two perfect used ends I would sell for $400 plus shipping.  I'd only be selling them to pay for something I want to buy for my new acquisition...................putting on paper bag over my head...................my new 1947 Packard Super 8.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)

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On 9/17/2016 at 7:43 PM, jackofalltrades70 said:

Like Keith, I was also overwhelmed with thought about how I was going to do something.  Especially when it came to replacing sheet metal and engine work.  You CAN do it by yourself.  Borrow a mig welder or buy one from Harbor Freight on sale for less than $100.00. Go to a salvage yard and buy a fender off of an older car and PRACTICE on that until you are comfortable. Same goes for bodywork, prep, paint etc. you will be suprised what you can accomplish.  

 

I leave you with two pictures and five years inbetween.  I work a real job at least 10 Hrs a day.......

 

 

image.jpg

image.jpg

 

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Good work Jared. Hopefully we will see you on the road around here sometime soon! BTW I found a great metal work guy in Vallejo that got all the filler out of mine and hes not too expensive.

 

Phil

 

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Over the past couple weekends I decided to experiment with some oven cleaner and wax.  Now, I know the reaction most people probably have, but I've already committed to taking down to bare metal once I have the available funds; I just wanted to see what was under the horrendous layer of goopy primer covering the entire car and to see if there was any hope in bringing out some sort of patina prior to full tear down.  I found at least 6 different colors on the car (original brown base and metallic maroon; some salmon color, red and blueish grey paint, and a nasty top layer of brown primer covering just about every exposed surface including rusted panels.    

 

Also, I found beauty rings and the 42's center caps.  Any idea where I can find correct center cap clips? 

 

 

Buick Patina.jpg

Buick Center Cap.jpg

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