MCHinson

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

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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!😁

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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.  

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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.

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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. 

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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)
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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.  

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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.  

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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.

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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

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