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diablorick

1956 Buick Century Restomod

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Hey guys, new to the group here, and though I've built several cars, this is my first Buick. I am building it for a good friend of mine and I wanted a place to document the build so people could find info if they are building the same thing. 

I'll start with a little background. Chuck purchased this Century in 1980, in California. He drove it out there for several years but the motor blew in 1990. Shortly after this, he moved back to Ohio and kept the car in the garage, where it sat until last year (2017). We dug it out and brought it to my garage, where we made plans to create a really cool restomod. 

Here is what we started with:

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Next, we found a 455 out of a 75 Buick Electra and tore that down and sent it off to the machine shop. We also got the matching 350TH trans and sent that to AJ's for a rebuild.

After rebuilding the engine, we added a March front end kit, which included the alternator and AC compressor.

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Next, we chopped off about 3' of the frame, including the front cross member. We welded in 2x4 box steel to accommodate the custom front end from Scott's Hot Rods. We gave them our inside frame measurements and they built a custom IFS for our Buick, complete with air bags. It was a pretty straight forward installation. Weld in the new cross member, weld on the upper air bag mounts, and weld on the upper shock mounts. After that it was just installing all the hardware.

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Once it was all mocked up, it was just a matter of tearing it back apart, painting it, and putting it back together.

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Then running the air and brake lines.

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For the back, we decided to go with a Ford 9" rear end out of a 91 Lincoln Mark VII. It was the perfect length and came with disc brakes already on it.

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After stripping everything off of it, we started making the mounts for our custom triangulated 4-link suspension.

 

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Once all of that was welded in place, we blew it apart and painted everything. Then made the custom mounts for the air bags and shocks. We used the stock spring location to mount the air bags. We fabricated a lower mount for our Firestone bags, that they screw onto. Then made a flat 1/4" mount for the tops.

 

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At full drop, she is 3" of the ground!

 

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Next we installed our power steering reservoir, AC dryer/accumulator, fuel pressure regulator, and throttle body fuel injection system. We also added all of the wiring for our engine and our Classic Industries gauges sending units. We also installed custom made Taylor plug wires.

 

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We are currently working on getting the body ready to go back on the frame (first mount of many). There was some very minor rust holes in the floors so we cut it out and welded in patches.

 

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Then we cut out the old vents in the firewall and welded in patches.

 

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Next we applied Lizard skin to the inside and underneath.

 

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That's where we're at right now. We will be applying Dynomat over the Lizard Skin on the inside next, and then we will be ready to put the body back on the car for some fitting and wiring. Stay tuned!

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Moving to the interior now. Started installing the Dynamat this weekend and working on the dash. Sorry I don't have more pics of the dash process but when you do body work all the time you forget to take pics sometimes. I'll explain what I did though. I started by removing all the chrome and trim. Then I used the plasma cutter to cut out all the areas that I would be installing gauges and accessories. I re-shaped the angled part, at the bottom of the old gauge cluster, so that it would be flat and allow room for the new gauges. I taped off all of the front areas and then fiberglassed the back. Once I had several layers of fiberglass on the back, I turned it over and put a layer of resin on the front. After that, I used 3M fiber filler to create a solid base layer and recreate the center "hump" to match up to the edge chrome vents. After this I used lightweight body filler (USC) to flatten everything out. Then I drilled the holes for the gauges. I will get it finished up today and post some update pics later.

 

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We did a little more work the last couple days. The dash bodywork is just about finished. It's in primer now and everything was test fitted. Just have to do a few minor fills and one more primer coat and it will be ready for paint.

 

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When we set the body on the frame, we weren't really happy with the drop in the rear, so we made some shock extensions and welded those on to give us 3 more inches of drop in the rear.

 

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We also got the 16 Ga sheet metal for the new firewall. The plan is to seal off the old openings and insert drains at the lowest points (to drain water from the cowl) and then seal everything and install Dynamat, then weld the new firewall on top of it.

 

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Should get a lot done this weekend. I'll update as we go!

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OK, we got a few more things done. We finished filling the spots on the dash, but I wasn't happy with the match on the left side (where the chrome piece butts up to it) so I ground it down a little and rebuilt it. Got the last primer coat on it and it's ready for paint.

 

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Got the drains installed on the firewall and fiberglassed over the openings. 

 

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I fabbed up some mounts for the radiator, condenser, and fans. The fan mounts will be attached to the radiator after they're powder coated.

 

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And I got the air horns mounted and plumbed

 

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The manifold set for the air ride came in so I got that installed. all the bags are plumed with 3/8" nickel copper lines. The air ride will be controlled with an Arduino and a 4" touchscreen.

 

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The wiring will be here next week so I started working on the schematics. I drew up a diagram of where everything is, on the car, and tomorrow I will brake everything up into circuits, and then I will make individual schematics for each circuit.

 

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