MCHinson

1938 Buick Century Model 61 - Four Door Touring Sedan - Trunk Back

Recommended Posts

Hi Matt,

i too find lots of things under old re-upholstery jobs. The fact that the original upholstery is still on the frames is a very good thing. Not sure if you’ve installed an interior kit before but I would like to offer some advice if you don’t mind. Measure the heights of all the cushion/seat back edge beads in the front corners, middle front, and the height of the cushion padding across the back edge recording all the measurements. Even though the seats were recovered and possibly sagging some, these measurements are where you want to set your new cover heights. Lots of guys pull their old upholstery, don’t record those measurements, and they have no reference point to work with. Mark the center of everything and work the center out. With the later year cars, the center on some seats doesn’t matter much as the covers can’t really go on any other way but correct. The late 20’s and early 30’s cars I do are another story and are more like upholstering a piece of furniture. Sometimes you start at center, then do the outside corners, then fold and staple/tack the material between to get it wrinkle free. Stuff and restuff corners, pleats, staple down, pull staples, stuff more, restaple, etc. If you already know the above, just disregard!😁

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Luckily I have a 1937 Century Model 61 to compare with when I start doing this job. The seats are not identical, but very similar. I think I have a good idea how to go about it, but I have a local friend who installed one of these kits in his 1937 Century recently and I have another local friend who runs an auto upholstery shop that I can go to if I get in over my head. Between the photos that I took while disassembling the Century seats and also the seats from the body donor Special, I think I will be OK. Before I pulled everything out of the interior kit box and found the instructions from LeBaron Bonney, I was a bit nervous. After finding and reviewing their instructions, I think I will be OK. Time will tell. I wish I could get started on the upholstery but I think it is best to get the body metal work done and paint before I do anything with the interior kit, so I boxed it all back up to protect it until I get ready to deal with it.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually upholster my seats a month or two before they’re needed and put them up in my spare bedroom. This allows the materials to stretch and settle some.  I look them all over to make sure I have no lumps, low spots, or unevenness and adjust any areas I don’t like so when I’m ready to install them, it’s just a drop in and I’m done.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was sort of thinking of doing something like that but I need my daughter to go back to college. The spare room seems to be rather full of all of her dorm stuff right now. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine flew the nest a long time ago even though I’m only 56. Oldest is 35, lives local, and a veterinarian with her own practice with dog day care. Other daughter is 31, lives in FL, and a registered nurse. My son is 28, also lives in FL in his own house and is a union industrial electrical foreman running crews all through the southeast of the US. Son was the last to go and he left 6 yrs ago. While it’s great knowing all are doing well and on their own, it’s not so great when you no longer see them as often as you’d like to. So both my upstairs bedrooms are empty. One we use for company, one gets lots of car parts in it! My Olds interior is just about done at LB/HC and I will be going to pick it up soon. I’ll let the leather relax some then cover all the spring sets and the room will get filled again with seats for a while. Right now, even my upstairs tv room has a great looking set of 32’ Oldsmobile headlights, horns, and headlight bars in it! LOL

 

NOTE: meant to add that after I cover the seats and put them in my spare room, I bag them just to keep them clean. I also put them in the car then pull the bags when they’re in place. The plastic helps the seat cushion slide under the seat back in some installations. I’m also going to ask LB/HC not to box my seat upholstery but instead, leave them flat so they get no creases or stress marks in the leather from folding. 

Edited by chistech (see edit history)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today was not a very effective day. I spent some time buffing the rest of one side of the 1938 Grill. When I had buffed the top of that piece, it looked like the grill would buff out well enough to use without rechroming. As I buffed the rest of it, the bottom section was clearly pitted worse than the top. 

 

I had decided to check out the wheels on the recently acquired 1938 Model 67 a bit more closely in anticipation of potentially using any of the wheels that might be in better condition than the current wheels on the 1938 Model 61 project. After a close inspection, it appears that while they are very similar to 1938 Buick wheels, they are apparently later Buick wheels. The hubbcap clips are not in the proper location on the wheels to hold 1938 hubcaps.

 

The only good news today is that I finally got a chance to talk with the metal worker that I hope to have do the metal work on the car. He apologized for not making it by yet but he has been abnormally busy for the past few weeks. He plans to make it by here to look at the project in the next few days.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not much progress on the actual 1938 Model 61 project but I did make some general headway today. I have made a deal to sell the 1938 Model 67 to Dave Tacheny. He is also buying the engine, transmission, front end sheet metal,  and possibly some other parts from the 1938 Special Body donor chassis. I managed to load a bunch of loose Model 67 parts into the Model 67 trunk which gives me a lot more room in the garage to work on the Model 61. I pulled the front end sheet metal off of the 1938 Special chassis but need to let the front engine mount bolts soak in some solvent before I can get them out. Hopefully I will get that engine and transmission out in the near future. As soon as I get the Special chassis stripped, I can scrap the rusty body shell and the Special frame which will give me room to park the Model 67 on the side of the driveway so that I don't have to drive the Model 67 around every day to keep from killing the grass in the back yard. I need to store the Model 67 for a couple of months until Dave will be able to get down here to pick it up. I am really looking forward to actually meeting him in person.  

DSC_0192.JPG

DSC_0193.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The engine and transmission are now out of the 1938 Special body donor chassis. It was not an easy job for one man. I like my brick driveway most of the time. When I am attempting to move an engine on an engine hoist is not one of those times. The engine and transmission are now temporarily being stored under a tarp behind the chassis. As soon as I figure out if I need to pull anything else from the chassis, I can scrap the chassis and the rusty original Century body. After that, I will reposition the extra parts and park the Model 67 in the space where the Special body donor chassis has been parked. This will eliminate the need to drive the Model 67 around in the back yard every day to prevent it from killing the grass in the back yard.

DSC_0194.JPG

DSC_0195.JPG

DSC_0196.JPG

DSC_0200.JPG

DSC_0201.JPG

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt, I notice in your pics of the front brake back plate there are signs of wear visible where the top edges of the shoes have rubbed (about 11 and 1 o'clock). These should not cause problems, but if you have significant wear like this at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions, newly relined shoes, when partly worn, can try to slide into these worn grooves and start binding or dragging on the drums. Just something to watch out for down the track.

jp 26 Rover 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I pulled a few more parts off of the body donor Special chassis/rusty original Century body today. I removed the rear assist straps and the rear vent windows from the rusty Century body. I think that I might be able to use the left rear vent window hardware to replace the one with a broken latch on the body that I am using on the restoration project. Using a small screwdriver, I was able to remove the broken glass and old glass setting material from the vent window. 

 

I removed the aftermarket fuel tank from the Special chassis. It is a molded plastic fuel tank. After a bit of online searching, I think it is a  molded plastic tank sold by Tanks, Inc. for 1937 Chevrolets like this one: http://www.tanksinc.com/index.cfm/page/ptype=product/product_id=40/category_id=63/mode=prod/prd40.htm

DSC_0202.JPG

DSC_0203.JPG

DSC_0206.JPG

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday, I disassembled the right rear vent window from the original Century body so I now have a window frame that, after being rechromed, can be installed to replace the one with the broken latch on the body that I am using.

 

I also stripped the aftermarket seat coverings and upholstery materials from the original Century front seat. I have soaked them down again and put them out to dry in the sun (assuming I get some sun in the next day or so).  I need to do some careful analysis to see if I am reusing the original front seat springs from the Century or using the ones from the Special body donor car.

 

DSC_0207.JPG

DSC_0208.JPG

DSC_0211.JPG

DSC_0212.JPG

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This morning, I finished pulling a few of the last parts from the body donor Special Chassis. I removed the two front vent windows and pulled the differential cover to make sure that it does not have 3.9 gears. I need to find some numbers on the differential gear carrier to confirm what it is before I scrap it. I also removed the locking exterior door handle. While it is badly pitted, Dave Tacheny said that I should pull it. Assuming that I don't need to pull the differential, I now only need to borrow a truck and trailer, winch it up onto the trailer, remove the steering column, wheels and hubs and then the chassis and rusty body will be ready to go. Hopefully I can soon take the remains to the scrapyard to get it out of my way. 

DSC_0215.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished putting the vent window assemblies back together with new rubber, glass seals, and rechromed pieces on the Fiat I'm working on. What an annoying procedure. I like the looks of the construction of yours much better! Enjoying your progress.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking in my Republic catalog....

 

The '38 series 40 diff's were either 44-10 or 39-10. So just count the teeth on the ring gear? They are both the same diameter. Series 60 ratios were the same, but it is interesting that the order is opposite in the catalog - 39-10 first, whereas the series 40 is 44-10 first. You probably already know all this, however.

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found a few numbers on it but I have to take a better look to make sure it is the original ratio. If it has been converted to 3.9 to 1, then I will pull them. If the original 40 series ratio, they will just be scrapped unless someone says something really soon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Matthew,

big job, but nice to get the additional bits, you never know when you need them. Hope you remove the wiring clips on the firewall before you scrap it 😀😀😀😀😀

Rodney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Rodney, I have already removed them and bagged them up for you. I think I have the other two items that you wanted too. Send me a list of anything else you need and I will get it all boxed up for you in the near future. I am hoping the metal work guy will be ready to take the project car soon so I can get a little bit more room in the garage to make it easier to get to the rest of the Special parts that are stacked in the back corner of the garage so I can get them out and get ready to let Dave Tacheny pick up everything that I am selling to him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not much progress on the 1938 Century. I am still waiting for the metal work guy to be available. I have now removed the 1938 Special seat frames and spring from the Century and have installed 1938 Century seat frames and spring in the car. The Special seat parts are now being held for Dave Tacheny. I would like to be able to go ahead and do the upholstery work on the seats but I think a medical issue with my hand might prevent that. I am waiting for a appointment with my Orthopedic Doctor but think that I will probably have a delay on any significant work on the car for a few weeks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear that. I have been following you from day one.  I just bought a L-37  Oldsmobile 4 Dr. Touring sedan.  I wish there was as much help for Olds as there is Buick.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have had one of the, if not the, wettest June and July ever this year. It is another dark depressing rainy day here. There is not much to do while I wait for a doctor's appointment but just had to get out to the garage and accomplish something since there is not much else to do. I decided that the front vent windows and front window dividers were going to have to come out for some work and also because they need to be out for painting eventually. This morning, I decided to tackle that job. I was able to remove the screws holding the vent windows and window dividers fairly easily. Only a few screws required any solvent to remove. All of the screws were bagged up and labeled.

DSC_0229.JPG

DSC_0230.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This morning, I removed the windshield wiper hardware. I then removed the cowl vent assembly. The previous owner of the body donor car had removed most of the bolts from the cowl vent but one of them simply would not cooperate. Apparently someone previously put an incorrect nut on that bolt and it would turn, but it simply would not unscrew. I finally used a small angle grinder to grind the head off of that bolt which allowed me to remove the cowl vent. 

 

 

DSC_0231.JPG

DSC_0232.JPG

DSC_0233.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I did not really do anything on the Model 61 project today, I did accomplish some Buick work today. The remains of the original Model 61 body and the remains of the body donor Model 41 chassis are history. A friend came over today with his truck and trailer. I winched the hulk up onto the trailer and we strapped it down. We then took it to a local Metal Recycling yard. I think the photos explain it better than I can with words. It was a bit sad seeing it lifted off of the trailer, but I really did pull anything with much of any value off of it. About the only usable parts that I let go was the differential and torque tube and the front shocks. I could not give the differential away and I did call Apple Hydraulics to see if they needed any core front shocks and found out that they have plenty of these. Apparently they would like to buy some 1939 and later shocks but have no need for anything prior to 1939. 

 

After that, I rearranged the rest of the extra parts that Dave Tacheny is going to be buying along with the Model 67 and covered them all up with a tarp. I raked up all of the leaves under the driveway parking spot and I then moved the Model 67 out of the back yard and into the driveway space previously occupied by the remains of the body donor car.  I now will not have to drive the Model 67 around in the back yard each day to keep from killing the grass, although it was sort of a fun daily game.

DSC_0253.JPG

DSC_0255.JPG

DSC_0257.JPG

DSC_0259.JPG

DSC_0267.JPG

DSC_0268.JPG

DSC_0269.JPG

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now