kgreen

1940 Buick 70-76C – My ultimate automotive experience

38 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Post 1, Opportunity

Opportunity is often the motive for an action.  All too often opportunity trumps planning.  Looking tempts opportunity, then planning takes a furious turn to action.  I stumbled onto a 1940 Buick Roadmaster last summer while looking at other project cars and realized that I had found my ultimate automotive experience.  My next task was to convince the Minister of Finance, to whom I have been happily married to for 22 wonderful years, that this was her opportunity as well!  As is typical of the male in our species, I considered subterfuge.  I planned a trip to Arizona where the car was located, planning to “just to see the car” but enjoy a visit to the Grand Canyon, a tour of Sedona and other desert wonders and a stay at a very nice resort.  My ulterior motives were not lost when on the plane ride out, she caught me reviewing paint and interior color options.  I knew then that this was going to cost me.  One for the attempted false motive and two, for whatever her decided opportunity was as well.  She kept suggesting that before any future packages of car parts were delivered to our house, something that could fit in a ring box must have priority. 

The trip turned out to be absolutely fun, Arizona is a beautiful state.  All during the return trip to Atlanta I had visions of Buick parts being delivered to my doorstep, though interrupted by concerns for visits to jewelry stores, into which I had never entered.

 

The following is a picture of a 1940, series 70-76C shared and owned by Terry Boyce (allcars) with whom I have recently become acquainted through this forum. His car is a truly stunning example of the beauty that Buick was capable of producing. Pictures of mine are forthcoming.

 

 

 

michigan car.jpg

Edited by kgreen
typo (see edit history)
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Looking forward to pictures of yours.

T'would be on my wish list if the big one came in!

 

Sounds like the trip was nice. I love Arizona too.

Good luck with the Minister. :)

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Ken, I think that Arizona 76C has found exactly the right person to bring it back to its original glory. There's a lot of Buick knowledge and experience on this forum standing by to provide insights and help. We'll be looking forward to the pics and progress reports.

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 Glad to hear of your purchase, it will be great car to drive. I have a '41 Roadmaster coupe which I love driving. You are also a smart man, getting your Lady on board with the new project. I did something similar when I wanted a '69 a short while ago, though I didn't have to take to Arizona to convince her.

 Looking forward to seeing the pictures of the '40, and love to hear more about it.

 Keith

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Picking up the car in Phoenix.

IMG_4073.JPG

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trip stats for the ride home.  I got much better mileage dragging the trailer empty than with 4,200 pounds on it.  The next shot is the obligatory gas station shot.  Every time I drove into a gas station for fuel I felt great pride in my load.

gas station.JPG

gas station.JPG

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great looking car

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Very envious, Ken. Good luck and please share your progress with us.

 

  Ben

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Post 2, Distractions

How often does a project sit in a static state in the garage, unattended because of distractions by other commitments and priority’s?  It’s just me? darn.

My search for a notable 1940 model Buick project started over 30 years ago.  I became endeared to my original 1940, series 40-41 as a teenager.  It was my first car and I knew every nut and bolt on it having disassembled practically the whole car.  That restoration started when I was 15 but never finished.  Distractions included high school sports, long cold Vermont winters without a heated garage in which to work and eventually college causing the project to die in its tracks.  It was sold as a project, never to be seen by me again.

Through intervening years, I had satisfied myself with other special interest vehicles as opportunity and availability would throw them in my path. Working with my hands, challenging and growing my skills was relaxing and gratifying as my work absorbed me. Although another Buick was always on my mind, distractions from its’ purchase were put on hold for marriage, children, starting a business or two, remodeling our homes and then the enduring expense of college for the kids. 

Another problem is room to work.  I have two special interest cars already, along with tools needed to perform my work.  A 1967 Mustang convertible that I finished two years ago and a 1941 Ford pickup that was midway through sheet metal repair.  Neither one can be parked outside.  Everything had been tediously stuffed into a typical residential two-car garage built in 1961.  When I needed to work on either of the cars, I either stored on temporarily in a warehouse or I pulled one of the cars into the driveway for the weekend.  Then the tedious task of rearranging all the stored stuff, set up temporary work benches then worked through the weekend.  My house is in a neighborhood not known for people using their garages for anything other than parking cars, bicycles and lawn mowers.  I once had a minor project parked outside in the driveway and the city gave me a nasty notice.  Oddly, I may not belong in this neighborhood.  I’m the guy that doesn’t golf or hang out at the pool, but fixes things, welds, grinds, paints and otherwise uses the garage as a workshop.  The new cars are parked outside.

My ultimate experience awaits.  I am inventorying missing parts while it is cold outside.   Next, contemplating the restoration sequence: body off, frame and chassis, paint body, re-install body, wire harness, engine, interior.  Just not entirely sure yet.  I expect to be shocked at the cost to re-chrome parts.  Here is a pic of my garage, below.  The truck is out,the Buick is in. 

in garage.jpeg

garage 1.JPG

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You are not along

as President Trump says

"Believe Me"!

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 That's my story too. It took me very nearly 20 years to do my '41 Roadmaster, for all of the reasons you've discussed above. Kids, work, unforseen issues, a small garage, and very cold winters here in Ontario. Every fall for a few years, I would do more insulation to it, and then get tired of working on the building then start doing some more work on the car.

 The Happy Ending here is that I got my car on the road in the Spring of 2011, not fully done, but I started driving it some.

 I'm sure that you will get yours done as well, being stubborn and persistent is the key. As well as money to spend at times!

 I once compared doing a restoration to having kids, both will take more time, energy, and money than you think possible.

 Keith

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3 hours ago, kgreen said:

How often does a project sit in a static state in the garage, unattended because of distractions by other commitments and priority’s?  It’s just me? darn.

 

My search for a notable 1940 model Buick project started over 30 years ago. 

 

In my case, spot on!:o So you are in good company!

 

All I can say is keep the faith and keep us posted with what appears a solid project!

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Posted (edited)

I started the disassembly this weekend.  This was a scary decision for me as disassembly means that I have to embrace the big "C" word; commitment!  The car had substantial work done on the body already.  It had been stripped, sprayed with an epoxy primer, then a coat of some other unnamed primer.  The sheet metal that I have handled on the front clip is very solid.  The car had been re-assembled by the previous owner after an apparent loss of interest.  The re-assembly used every variant of bolt and screw imaginable.  I've begun to look into original type fasteners if only to have blind nuts to screw or bolt into rather than contorting myself on two sides of the car to remove nuts and bolts.  

 

I've started a handwritten log to describe my process, coupled with lots of photos.  This early stage of work has already developed a series of questions.  

  1. What is the best procedure to replace the awkward hood that wants to butterfly when loose.  Could this be a two man job to re-install once it is painted?
  2. I wonder if the whole front clip can be re-assembled then slid onto the car?
  3. Since the car had previously been disassembled and hastily re-assembled, I wonder what I am actually missing?

I'v decided that I will paint the car myself.  It will allow me to do the bodywork at my own pace, priming as I go and when ready, paint over a couple days for color uniformity.  

 

Fair warning: this is going to be one of those posts with long delays between reportable stages of progress.  

front view.JPG

Edited by kgreen (see edit history)
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I like where this is going!  Been there, done that!  Good luck. Here for help,wisdom,a shoulder to cry on, etc.

 

I will be following your thread!  Another convertible save!

 

Matt

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I'm still working on the CCCA, trying to get them to recognize the 1940 and 1941 Series 70 Roadmaster as a "Full Classic".  I don't have either right now, but I did buy a pair of elephant ears off a '41 last week to get ready <smile>.  I just can't get heated up over a Cadillac or Packard, even though I've had a couple of close calls lately.  Until then, they rest on my trophy shelf.  Doug Seybold and Terry Boyce also make contacts, but we keep losing.  On March 30, we have one more chance at their next Board Meeting.

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25 minutes ago, Dynaflash8 said:

I'm still working on the CCCA, trying to get them to recognize the 1940 and 1941 Series 70 Roadmaster as a "Full Classic".  

 

What does the decision to recognize the car as a "full classic" do for the car?  I'm guessing it moves the car to a different judging category.  I've spoken to Doug Seybold among others and am usually highly encouraged to make the car a driving car. I think the quote is "drive the wheels off".  That use of the car will surely keep it from having a pristine chassis and can also risk a scratch or dent here and there which will keep it out of any judging category.  I'm going to enjoy what I suspect will amount to a 2,000 hour project that will test and improve all the restoration skills I have but then I am looking forward to driving the car with great anticipation. 

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1 hour ago, kgreen said:

 

What does the decision to recognize the car as a "full classic" do for the car?  I'm guessing it moves the car to a different judging category.  I've spoken to Doug Seybold among others and am usually highly encouraged to make the car a driving car. I think the quote is "drive the wheels off".  That use of the car will surely keep it from having a pristine chassis and can also risk a scratch or dent here and there which will keep it out of any judging category.  I'm going to enjoy what I suspect will amount to a 2,000 hour project that will test and improve all the restoration skills I have but then I am looking forward to driving the car with great anticipation. 

 

  GOOD FOR YOU!!!

      Seybold is not above a little modification, either.

 

  Ben

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Posted (edited)

What it means, basically, is higher hobby recognition of the quality of the car.  The CCCA has nothing (much) to do with AACA judging, etc.  It is a separate club set up in the early 1950s to recognize only the best of cars like Duesenberg, Auburn, Packard 160 and higher, Cadillac 60S, 62 and higher; and so on.  To participate in that club's activities a car must be recognized as a "Full Classic".  Originally no Buick was a recognized full Classic.  In about 1975 I was successful in getting them to recognize the first Buicks, the 1931-1942 Series 90 cars.  In 2012 I was again successful in getting them to recognize 1931-1939 Roadmaster Series 80 cars.  In the meantime they had already recognized the 1940 Series 80 Limited, I guess simply upon the name change between 1939 and 1940.  However, then and one more time since I have been unsuccessful in getting them to recognize the 1940-1941 Series 70 Roadmaster.  This is despite extensive research and presentation of facts as to why, that I provided in 2012.  After all, the cars share the body with Cadillac 62 and outpower both Cadillac and Packard with 165 horsepower (one caveat is that Packard could get up to 165 hp with an optional aluminum head in those years).  The 1940 Roadmaster had, I think, 140 hp, but the 41-42 Buick did.  The 41 Buick dual carbs were a forerunner of the 4-barrel carb which did not appear until the 1950s and also featured an early form of positive crankcase ventilation and ram air induction.  If you don't have any desire to be a member of CCCA there is no difference, but if you do want to do their events, but like me prefer a Buick, well that's the difference.  I've never tried the 42 Roadmaster because of the body change that carried through to 1948.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, Dynaflash8 said:

  If you don't have any desire to be a member of CCCA there is no difference, but if you do want to do their events, but like me prefer a Buick, well that's the difference.

 

I sincerely appreciate your response and support your efforts.  I looked at a number of different makes before buying this Buick.  I chose the Buick.  I chose the Buick for it's stunning visual appeal, it's ability to be driven like a modern car and of all the GM marks at that time, it seemed that Buick had a great or greater deal of pride in their product.  That pride manifested itself in understated elegance.

 

Again, I appreciate and thank you for your time to share your efforts with me on this forum.  I am now off to understand more of what the CCCA and AACA means to the historical car effort.

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I edited my post to correct the impression that the 1940 Roadmaster had 165 hp.  That upgraded didn't happen until 1941.

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Posted (edited)

Continuing inspection of body condition:

 

I removed the from nose section.  These are the three parts beginning with a piece between the grill sections, the lower nose and an inner nose pan.  The lower nose section looked great when mounted on the car, but handling the part suggested an abundant use of filler.  

Center grill assy.JPG

 

This part is prone to rusting since it collects water in the bottom.  I might drill a hole to facilitate draining.

IMG_4175.JPG

 

The PO had used fiberglass reinforced with filler to create the shape.  

IMG_4177.JPG

 

I was under the impression the gray primer was an epoxy primer.  I am getting surface rust in several locations.  Given this, it seems the best option is to re-strip the entire car.  With that I get to check out the remainder of the body condition, too.  The red sharpie lines are the proposed cuts.

IMG_4179.JPG

 

The original plan was to form one complete piece.  All these compound curves were killing me and a good bit beyond my skill level.  I decided to make the repairs in four formed patches.   A left and right of center, a far right piece and a center piece.

IMG_4180.JPG

 

The first two patches were formed using a body hammer on a sand-filled bag.  I used the english wheel to smooth out the hammer indents and fine tune the compound curve.  The hammer and dolly was for finishing touches.

IMG_4181.JPG

 

Wheeling the left and right of center parts.

IMG_4182.JPG

 

Cutting the body part always causes me pause.  What's left is swiss cheese and has to go.

IMG_4184.JPG

 

Two of the attachment tabs were missing and a third was rusted badly.  I made the tabs last.

IMG_4186.JPG

 

The almost finished part.  It's been test fit on the car several times before final welding.  I attached the inner nose piece to check attachment points, a little tight, I also need to replace the "things" that the course thread sheet metal screws attach into.  The part has been primed to hold it over until the rest of the body work is complete.  Finishing will require complete stripping, epoxy priming and probably another test fit after the fenders are reworked.  

IMG_4190.JPG

Edited by kgreen (see edit history)
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Looking good. I agree that if you have suspicions about the what's under the primer, then you should take it off to make sure that the base metal is right before you go further.

Keith

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On ‎2‎/‎19‎/‎2017 at 9:13 PM, jackofalltrades70 said:

Nice metal work. I am enjoying following yoor work. 

I agree, and am learning from this thread.

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Ken , agree great classic shape car , following thread with interest , admire your skills , good luck 

pilgrim

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