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1963 Wildcat conv. 4-speed


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#1 Pete Phillips

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 02:39 AM

Can't keep this off the net any longer--I'm about to burst with excitement over what I've found. Two BCA buddies and I went together and jumped on this '63 Wildcat convertible with factory 4-speed transmission, about 3 hours after it first appeared on Ebay a couple of weeks ago, with a reasonable "buy it now". I've researched it a bit, and have learned that there were 30 '63 Wildcats with 4-speed, of which 6 were convertibles. Can anyone else verify that? How many could be left?
The car arrived today from New England. The floors, rockers, and rear quarters are shockingly rusty, and my heart sank when I first saw it. But I started that 401 and eased it from the transport truck into my garage. Man, this thing runs nicely and sounds just like it should. 87,000 miles appear to be original. Transmission and clutch seem to be good. The next decision is whether to jump in and do the $5000 to $10,000 that this thing needs in body work, and how far to go on the interior which is original but somewhat faded. I only have 5-6 other projects waiting for my attention...! What's it worth when done...any guesses or experience? Should we just put a new top on it and fix the rusted brake lines so it can be driven as is? Anyone know of a rust-free '63 coupe body that I can get for body parts? Every panel on this convertible has some rust, with exception of the hood. Thank goodness the frame is solid and rust-free, and the cowl seems fine.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338
Sherman, TX

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#2 Pete Phillips

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 02:41 AM

Trying again on photo attachment.
Pete

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#3 Pete Phillips

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 02:45 AM

One more photo, after car got cleaned up from its long haul.
Pete

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#4 Pete Phillips

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 02:50 AM

Here is a photo of the passenger side floor. Previous owner stuck a red and white metal sign over the huge rust holes. Scary, isn't it? Left side floor is not quite this bad. I'll need all of the encouragement that I can get!

Pete Phillips
BCA #7338
Sherman, TX

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#5 Glassesguy

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 03:38 AM

Pete:
What a find!! I say do the things you need to do to make it safe and drivable, then go have fun with it while you finish the other projects. Put some shine on the chrome and spray bomb the rust for cosmetics. You know darn well if you start going all the way on this one, unanticipated things will come up and push your other projects back even further. Take the car to some shows so the smart a-ses there can see Buick had the performance and power to rival any 409, 413, or 406 that was on the streets at that time. Keep us posted with pictures of your progress. Great work on the Bugle.
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#6 imported_Thriller

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 04:01 AM

Sweet find Pete. The body doesn't look that bad, compared to what my '66 'Cat was, although your floors are in tougher shape (I just had to get patches in the trunk).

You darn Texans are so spoiled for bodies... <img src="http://forums.aaca.o...mlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I'm not sure I'd want to drive it if it meant risking falling through the floor <img src="http://forums.aaca.o...lins/blush.gif" alt="" /> Other than that, though, the car looks to be a decent driver. Have some fun with it while you whittle down the number of projects.

Oh yeah, go smoke a 409 for me <img src="http://forums.aaca.o...mlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
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#7 Guest_imported_MrEarl_*

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 05:31 PM

So you're the one that grabbed it. I saw it one night and thought this ain't gonna last long and sure'nuf it was gone the next day by noon. CONGRATULATIONS.That's an awesome car and one helluva find. A 63 Wildcat would have been nice but a convertible!!! I don't think you'll have any trouble doubling your money on this one. <img src="http://forums.aaca.o...mlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.o...mlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Glad to see it go to someone so deserving and worthy.

#8 Guest_imported_MrEarl_*

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 08:40 PM

Pete, Man I can't quit thinking about your getting this car and just what a rare icon of the EARLY muscle cars it is. The 63 409 Impala SS is about the only thing close to being in its class. As far as value, I don't think you will find much to compare it to thus you will basically be setting it's own worth. In my opinion, properly restored, it could be worth just as much as some of the 70's muscle cars that typically sell in the six digit figures. What this is saying though is that there is only one way to restore this car and that is to a #1 or concours condition. So maybe you should go ahead and drive it around and enjoy it a little now before you get started with the restoration.
BTW I notice it didn't take you long to get this one home did it? <img src="http://forums.aaca.o...mlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

#9 Skyking

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 11:14 PM

Peter, nice find! Right in my backyard (sorta speaking). This car deserves nothing buy the best restoration possible!! 63's were the best looking years, with all that nice stainless.........Good luck with your project.
Bob
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#10 59 98

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 01:05 AM

Welcome to the world of the 63-65 4-Speeds, Pete! Great car and great buy, no doubt. That one is an oddball too as it does not have the long console, rather the floor shift with buckets. Very strange. Best bet for the body is to find a decent but needing restoration coupe or conv., they usually don't break the banks in sales dollars. 63 Wildcats are extremely cool, but just don't bring what the Chevys bring, which is great for buyers like us. As far as how much to spend, how much do you like the car? The more you are around it the more you will like, trust me.

Enjoy the shifting!

Matt

#11 70Wildcat

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 12:38 PM

Good luck on that,will really be something when it's finished. Just to show you what a small world it is.....I met a gentleman last summer at a gas station I hang out at. He's a parts salesman,really a Ford guy,but we got to talking and he told me that he had picked up a 64 Wildcat convertible but really didn't drive it much,said his sons weren't into it etc. I think he was thinking of selling it but hadn't made up his mind. Hadn't seen him since. So yesterday for some reason I thought of him and was talking to a friend about him and the car. Went to get gas and there he was on a sales call. We got to talking and I asked him about the Wildcat. He told me that he still had it and thought he was going to keep it. Now being a Ford guy he doesn't much about Buicks. I then found out that it's a 63 Wildcat convertible not a 64. We talked about an hour....he's forgotten more about cars than I'll never know,but he wanted me to tell him all about Wildcats. Also found out he lives about 15 minutes from my house and he wants me to see the car. He had it out last week. Burgundy with a tan top,chrome wheels,buckets and console with an odd option of a two barrel carb. Sounds like a strong condition 3 car. Just missing a few interior pieces. So after New Years will hook up with him(hard to wait that long). My buddy who owns the gas station told me last summer that he thought that someday I would end up it. I think he might be thinking about selling...told me that he was thinking about a Shelby,but I'm not pushy,hope he enjoys it and if he gets bored with it....I'm in the neighborhood. Of course my girlfriend always says...."You don't have room for another car"...probably could hide it under cover on the patio and tell her I bought new lawn furniture.

Mark Lewis
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#12 old-tank

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 04:21 PM

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Here is a photo of the passenger side floor. Previous owner stuck a red and white metal sign over the huge rust holes. Scary, isn't it? Left side floor is not quite this bad. I'll need all of the encouragement that I can get! </div></div>
Pete, that is a painfully familiar site(like this)...at least you might be able to haul watermelons in this one...Willie
 
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#13 JohnD1956

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 02:02 AM

Oh Boy! A 63 Cat with a convertible and a 4 speed. Mr. Earl is right. The car has to have a top quality restoration. But before that, you can still get some nice driving time in that baby!!! I love that thing!

Was this car advertised in the Bugle back in October? I had asked my Brother to look at one advertised in RI since he moved there this year. And he agreed, but then I called him off. I just don't have room for another Ragtop without kicking the 56 outside. These stupid Northeast winters really take a toll on the cars. But that one looks salvageable and like a lot of fun besides.


Good Luck with it Pete. Maybe you can do a feature on it in the Bugle with some more pictures while it gets pieced back together over time?

JD
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#14 59 98

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 03:59 AM

Pete, is that a 59 Parklane Cruiser with flesh colored interior I see right next to the 63? If so, I have that same exact Merc (color and all) parked next to my black 63 4-speed coupe. Very good taste in cars!

Have fun with the stick shift!

Matt

#15 Pete Phillips

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 11:08 PM

Thanks, guys, for all of the advice--it is greatly appreciated as we try to decide what to do with this car--definitely leaning towards a full restoration if we can swing it. No, I don't think this car was not advertised in the Bugle recently. And, yes, that is my 1959 Mercury Park Lane 4-dr. hardtop parked next to it, black-on-black car with original paint. Man, you guys have good eyes!

Pete Phillips

#16 DaveCorbin

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 11:34 PM

For all of you to turn green over:
Considerable work with the body plates and the engine has revealed that Pete's car is an ALL NUMBERS AND CODES MATCH CAR. It's not a 401, it's the 425 engine with a 4 speed, positraction, white with a black top, red bucket seat interior, optional red floor mats present. It even has the red accelerator pedal, the red brake pedal and the red CLUTCH pedal pad on it in decent condiion.
Rare? Try maybe as few as 3 1963 Wildcat convertibles with factory 425 4 speeds !!!!
Regards, Dave Corbin

#17 59 98

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 03:57 AM

If it is a JW car, shouldn't the motor be silver? I thought the 63 425 motors weren't painted Buick green. In the first picture the car has green valve covers and oil fill cap. If it is a real JW car, way cool.

Matt

#18 DaveCorbin

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 07:48 AM

Dear 4-speed:
The engine is in fact a JW engine and the stamped numbers match to the car number. Remember that this is a Wildcat, not a Riv, and an option that was introduced inside the model year. This probably accounts for the engne being the standard color. The dirt and crud also indicate an original engine. "Way cool" probably isn't strong enough!!
Regards, Dave Corbin

#19 Skyking

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 01:49 AM

So Dave, with these findings, I guess the 5 or 6 other projects that Pete has will just have to wait. This car now deserves the best restore possible. Nice Find!!
Bob
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#20 Guest_BJM_*

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 05:33 PM

Matt,

No expert here but I would expect that each of the early 4 speeds (could) would be the equivalent of COPO's in the Chevy parlance. In other words, it's not like these cars were "worked in" with the 6500 or so Wildcat convertibles and even more coupes. We know that the 401 was the standard and only "production" Wildcat offering in 1963, so any one with a 425 would be an anomoly, a quirk.

The question would be, if the 425 was a Wildcat option in 1963, who else has one and what color is the motor? I believe Dave that that motor is Buick Green and I really think the reason was that this was a special built car with a special approved build sheet out of the normal requests.

I too saw this car on ebay and mentioned it and wanted it. We are very lucky that it has fallen into good hands. I wish there was more history to it. Who would order it, special order it and go through the effort? I understand a hardtop for racing purposes but a convertible?

2nd, the history would be nice to know because I am pretty sure it would have been REJECTED as an order, and may have been resubmitted with somebody higher up approving and signing off on it. We may never know it's history of course, but it is a very important car for setting the TONE that allowed 64 and 65 big block 4 speed cars to even exist.

Just my thoughts, again I'm no expert, but I like to think about these things, how this car might have got into existence in the 1st place.




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