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Buicks Rule

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  1. Matt,

    The lines on the Stutz windows were probably done to mimic the original safety glass. I think a very early version of safety glass had wires embedded in the glass to keep it from shattering upon impact and to keep passengers from flying through it. Kind of like the chicken wire in school windows. Most likely not legal to do now so the restorer had to come as close as possible. Not sure where I read this-possibly one of the Purdy books or a history of Stutz.

  2. Steve/All,

    Those of us in the West have been stuck with 1000 or more mile one way drives to western AACA meets for years and also $1000 or more fuel and motel costs due to distances between AACA regions big enough to host meets. That's a prime reason why meet attendance is small for most western meets. And also a reason why many who attend from long distances away either fly or drive modern.

    With $3 to $4 a gallon fuel, it may be time to expect that any time a meet is more than a day's drive ( or a couple of tanks of fuel ) from the center point of major AACA membership population, show car attendance will drop.

    But, not having meets away from that center, will cause members to become discouraged/disenchanted with AACA and drop out.

    There comes a time when spending the entire family vacation budget on travel to car shows simply won't fly with the others in the family. I suspect that even AACA National Meets will become smaller and have more local ( within one day's drive/two tanks of fuel ) cars in the future.

    Having WESTERN Grand National meets EAST of the Mississippi does send a message to western folks.

  3. Late 50's. Buick Wonderbars said Wonderbar on the bar. They also had 5 or 6 pushbuttons and may have had the optional foot switch as it was available as a separate option. The strong/weak signal switch was a rotating switch behind either the volume or the tuning knob, probably the tuning knob. Later model Wonderbars had the strong/weak switch as a separate slide switch right below the wonderbar.

  4. Derek,

    Air Poise removal often happened under warranty due to problems with the system. BMD even made a special kit to facilitate dealer removal of that option while the car was still under the 90 day ( I think ) warranty that was common in the late 50's. So, that's the one 'change' that really doesn't affect it's status as a survivor.

  5. Keith--I agree the owner could simply be mistaken about the color name however the photos lead me to believe that it really is painted Arctic White rather than glacier white. Arctic White has been a stock color for years in the sixties and seventies when the car was likely painted whereas Glacier White was not used for nearly as many years.

    It looks to be a nice car, however I still suggest that it might be wise to reserve the "archival/survivor" moniker until someone that has seen the actual car in person and has evaluated it with that designation in mind.

    Brian-yes, I'm glad to see that it has the flite pitch as well.

  6. Arctic white is not a 58 Buick color. The name and color codes are different for the 2 58 whites.

    The car has been repainted and has had at least one top replacement. That's NOT an original car, it is a car that MIGHT have an original interior. It appears from the photos that the interior might have been redyed at some point. If it has in fact been redyed, then that too is no longer original. The wear spots in the leather and especially in the vinyl are an indication that time has caught up with the materials and deterioration is setting in and may NOT be something that can be stopped.

    I would also doubt the 16000 mile claim for a couple of reasons. The speedo seems stuck on 30 mph so it's also very possible that the odometer is stuck or was stuck for some time in the past. I've seen that on some 58's before, the speedo works fine but the odometer doesn't move. The interior wear is somewhat age related but a lot of it appears to be actual wear which isn't likely to happen in 16000 miles.

    However all of this is nothing more than a guess based on photos. At the prices bid, seeing the car in person would be a worthwhile investment as that interior is neither cheap nor easy to replace. At least one of the heat seals in the door panels has already started to snap apart and that is not something that can be fixed. In addition, there has been some vinyl patched into the driver's door.

    It looks like a decent car, but I would want to see it in person before declaring it an original survivor rather than an car that was restored 30 or more years ago and is now showing wear that would be similar to that of a car that had no restoration.

  7. In 64 and 65 there were a number of demonstrator/pilot cars built to allow dealers to guage customer reaction to a Buick that was fully capable of teaching GTO's some respect. They were awesome cars according to someone who drove one. Some had 425's and may have actually been the real reason GM suddenly instituted the 400 CID rule as BMD was the only one with nothing in size between the 300 and the 401. Could have even been the reason the Gran Sport arrived mid-65 as they had to do some creative math to get a 400.

  8. Actually, it's easier. Making the upholstery from scratch when you can get the material means you're building the whole seat from the frame out and you build the components up to fit one piece at a time. While the repop stuff OUGHT to fit easier, it's a one size fits all cover that requires everything else to be modified on the fly to fit.

    If the material can be purchased, even when seat kits are available, I would MUCH, MUCH rather do it from scratch and make sure everything fits than fight with a kit.

    Most of my upholsterer friends feel the same way. They often spend more time messing aroung making a kit fit than they would working from the springs out from scratch.

  9. A week or so of 100 degree weather is nothing. I'm talking about 3 to 4 months of those temps day in, day out with cools in the 90's in the middle of the night. That's when problems start to happen.

    MTBE was in a phase out situation and it's something like 2010 or 2015 until it's finally gone. Dave probably knows the exact date. As of last week, Sam's in our area stated simply ETHER blend in summer.

    It's probably best to just be aware of what you're putting in the car and look/listen for changes so you can catch problems before they become major. And, CARRY FIRE EXTINGUISHERS, just in case of a disaster.

  10. Dave, Guy,

    Minnesota, Iowa are relatively cool states with high humidity. In the high heat southern states, or low humidity/high heat southern states the the mileage drop with either blend is more pronounced. I agree about the low boiling point of modern gas being a problem and alcohol behaves a bit better but the ether stuff ( usually MTBE ) is problematic.

    I just saw at Sam's Club last week that we get alcohol from them in Winter and now Ether MTBE in the summer. However, that might be particular to Sam's.

  11. Jake/Bryan Moran--A wise man reads the shop manual for that particular seat and follows the procedure therein. The correct answer to the question depends on the seat, the sculpturing and how it's designed to fit, however, starting with the inner most pieces and working outward is usually a good game plan since ringing the outside down first makes it kinda hard to get to the inner anchors.

  12. Dave,

    Ethanol has been part of our life for about 10 years. Fuel economy drops about 20% in the old cars. It is harder on rubber and can lead to vapor lock and other hot weather reliability issues, particularly for cars that already tended to behave strangely in hot weather. If there is old crud in the fuel system, be ready to change fuel filters and potentially fuel pumps and lines when the crud softens just enough to fill everything with mud.

    Some of the first gas tank sealers are not alcohol resistant so if you have a tank that was sealed quite awhile ago, it could get ugly.

    The only consolation is that the ethers are much, much worse-30% or more economy drop. Fuel evaporation from carburetor bowls while engine is running leads to fuel starvation, rough idle and vapor lock.

    Given a choice, I would prefer alcohol over ether and try to adjust my fuel buying habits appropriately.

    You may also find it necesary to adjust tune on the engine based on what fuel you are using.

  13. JD,

    Key word here is Legendary. And a couple of other issues that come up with repop stuff. Legendary seat covers fit VERY tightly even over old, worn springs and padding. If you've replaced any of that things can get interesting really fast.

    The repop foams are a one size fits all that fits nothing well, if you're using those. They are denser than the original as well as thicker/fatter and so forth. I believe the new ones are urethane rather than latex which changes their characteristics a bit. Resculpting will probably be needed to make them fit inside the pre-made seat cover.

    Repop seat springs are a heavier guage-sounds great until they don't have enough give to make the seat sit right. Throw these into the mix with the foam and seat covers and you're trying to stuff.... Well, let's put it this way, a size 4 lycra whatever, won't cover a size 24 bottom without a real danger of catastrophic failure. Even if you get the cover ringed down, you may find yourself sitting ON the seat, rather than IN the seat.

    Even though it's $, it might be worth taking the project to a local upholsterer recommended by your local club. He or she is probably familiar with those seats, and possibly even Legendary's work, so he/she can do what needs to be done to make them fit well.

    Or, Legendary will install the seat covers for you if you pay them. If you are close, it might be worth it as I seem to recall some warranty differences based on who does the installation.

    Pete-If this is the situation I think it is, heating the vinyl won't be enough. Of all the cars we've done, the ONLY interior problem with fit was a Legendary interior issue with seat covers. If the correct material is available anywhere else, I would choose to have an upholsterer make the seat covers rather than use Legendary. Unfortunately, some colors are only available from them.

  14. John,

    Are you sure there was a factory rear seat speaker offered in Convs that year? You might want to check some documentation before cutting into panels. The glass back window allows very little room for error in and around the top well.

    Using the old defroster vent for the front speaker when they redid the dash in 68 was NOT one of Buick's better ideas, along with one of the dumbest glove boxes ever put in a car.

    I really like the exterior style of the 68/69 but the LeMans interiors looked a lot more luxurious than the Buick's. Post what you find out on the speaker.

  15. Jake and others,

    It really doesn't help newbies when someone provides information that's either WRONG, out of date or irrelevant, whether it's about a car, or a club. Seriously, if you don't know for sure, say so in your post.

    Sweeney has forgotten more about early Rivs than most of us know, and he's in S. Cal, so he's got a much better handle on what the cars currently go for in Cal restorable condition.

    Midwestern rust issues drop the price significantly, I'll bet.

    I too would be happy to buy a bunch of nice driver 65's, for $8 each. Just like the opinion of some that you can restore a car for $10K doing the work yourself. Ain't gonna happen, especially if you have chrome work to do.

    Randy-you might want to send Sweeney an email or a private message through the forum. Depending on where you are in S Cal, he may be close and may have some ideas of cars available that you might want to look at.

  16. Carfax works. It's worth the money if you're considering any recent model used car as it will also note if the car has been flagged due to lemon repairs, possible flood damage, salvage title, etc.

    If the car came from a state with emissions testing, it should also show the mileage at each test. You can buy the service for one month for and then check out as many cars as you want. That's probably a better idea that paying once per report.

  17. 58 Roadmaster and Limited used a long, cut pile carpeting with a foam backing for plushness and sound deadening. It looks very plush and thick and is called deep pile carpeting in the 58 color trim book. 58 Centurys used Pompano nylon carpeting. No carpet samples in the color trim book that year.

    If you can find an old upholstery shop that still has the Detroit Book for that year, Pompano should be sufficient to see what a sample looks like for matching purposes. The Detroit Books were/are an upholstery industry swatch book that showed samples of almost every piece of material used on every US manufacturerss cars for a given year, along with codes, supplier numbers, etc. They were always very expensive so only jobbers and major upholstery shops bought them. Very hard to find now but worth the search.

  18. It's probably worth taking the door apart, taking it out and replacing the whole thing. Remember it does rain in St. Louis and nothing leaks worse than a vent wing. If you've got a shop manual, look through it or find a friendly glass shop that will allow you to bring in the whole A frame assembly, take it apart for you, and then assemble it when you replace the rubber. Once it's out of the door, it's not usually too hard to do.

  19. Buick--Seats 4 or 5 in a pinch, with trunk for a trip and supercharge the BUICK engine please. Power, performance, quality and comfort and drop dead gorgeous styling That's what will sell Buicks.

  20. John,

    The other issue with 63 and 64 GP and Catalina is the Slim Jim auto tranny. This is NOT the same as the 4 speed hydros used in the Bonneville. Unlike Olds where all 63 and 64 Olds had the Slim Jim, Pontiac only used it in the Catalina and GP cars. At least a manual transmission was optional on the Pontiacs but the Olds Starfires are stuck with Slim Jims.

    If you want a GP, go with a good body and a driving car. Make sure the Slim Jim is working normally. BTW, normal for a slim jim is not normal for any other tranny so make sure you like the way it drives in CO. I would think the altitude and the hills would give those trannys fits. They are somewhat fragile anyway.

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