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1935 buick 47 what to do with it?


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Hello, I just aquired a 1935 model 47 and i'm not shure what I should do with it. It all seem's to be here, trim and all. I don't know the value or much about the car. I don't know if I should restore it or or modify it. the engine is seized

but it is all there except the air cleaner. The body is sound but the floor and the running boards need to be rebult. The sheet metal work is not an issue. I value your suggestions. What would you do with it? Thanks Scott Roberts

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Well, I would hope that the possible answers are limited, but positive. You could restore it, customize / modify it, part it out, or sell to someone else who would do the same. I suppose letting it sit and deteriorate is another option, but not one I'd be particularly happy with personally...I've seen enough of that.

The engine being seized isn't necessarily a huge issue, although it may be.

My vote would be for restoration. Second choice would be to sell to someone who wants to restore it.

I really love the look of the '35s. There were only 6250 Model 47s produced.

I'm looking at the <span style="font-style: italic">Standard Catalog of Buick</span> and see that the models 41 and 47 are both 4 door sedans - the 47 was priced $30 lower and weighed 30 lbs less than the 41. There were over 18,000 model 41s produced. What is the difference between these?

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Hi Scott,

Any car that has survived 73 years intact is deserving of preservation.

The mid 30's Buicks are unique and stylistically beautiful. The Series 40 cars of 1934/35 used the new motor design with downdraft carbies, more power than the 50 series and a size that makes them very usable even in modern traffic.

The biggest issue is however the wooden body frame. If this is rotted it is very expensive to have replaced. If the doors aren't drooping and close nicely and inspection of the main runners shows them to be sound then everything else involved in the restoration is achievable.

I wouldn't worry about the motor being seized, all parts are available for a rebuild, the cost is similar to any eight cylinder motor. I see running motors often listed on ebay in the US ( I guess the doner cars are being rodded ). Have a look at this one.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1936-Buic...0245230430&

It's out of a 1936 model, not strictly correct but will fit straight into your model 47 and look the same except to the handfull of experts you may come across. A great way to get the car running and see if it warrants the expense of further restoration or make it more saleable to another prospective restorer..

My view with old cars is they sure aren't building anymore, any we can save for the future we should, particularly sound complete units even if there is a problem with a major component ( such as the motor ).

Would love to see some photos.

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I appreciate your concern, but no need to worry about the well being of the 47. It is in good hands. It is next in line to be repaired. I need to finish my fathers 58 special, then I intend on working on the 35 wich is high, dry and covered to prevent any further damage to it. I may have mistated myself I have no interest in letting the car waste away. My interest was in wich way to persue the project. I will be happy to post pictures as soon as I can.

I'm trying to decide if it should be a full restoration or should I modernize the systems in the car and restore the body. Anyone ever put electronic fuel injection on a straight 8?

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Staurt, Thank you for your imput, I have checked the wood in the doors and unfortunetly the doors are not very solid. On the bright side I have a full wood shop as a hobbie, and have built some furniture. My question is what kind of wood was used, OR should I rebuild the frames with metal. Thanks, Scott.

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To answer a question posted by Thriller, the difference between the model 41 and 47 is the trunk. The model 41 is a trunk back sedan while the 47 has no trunk but more room in the back seat.

I will probably be stoned on this site but this is the way I see making a decision on your car. I think cars in nice original condition should be preserved as they are a piece of history. However they do not make good drivers and are limited it their use in todays world. If a car is in poor condition it becomes a huge chore to put it back to it original condition and if its a fairly common car as your buick is it is not worth a great deal of money when its done. However, if you modify the car and upgrade it to make it more comfortable and dependable to drive you may enjoy it more than the original parked in the garage. If you are going to have to do woodwork and engine work I would consider doing some mods. I have seen some very nice Buicks that kept the original elegance of the car (no cutting) while adding drive-ability, safety and dependability.

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I've got a 36 Roadmaster with rotted wood and I also have a hobby woodshop and sawmill. I'm just about finished with the four doors and I'm using white oak and cypress for their rot resistance. As far as the original wood goes, I've seen maple, red oak, white oak, and pine(or fir, hemlock, spruce-can't tell) just in this one car. This is a slow process but I love doing it. Perhaps it could be the same for you?

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Scott,

Tell me about the stick shift 1958 46-R. I restored a metallic green one with stick shift about 7-8 years ago; reluctantly sold it in 2003, and have been kicking myself ever since. If this was my old car, I can give you a lot of background about it.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Sherman, Texas

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Hi Pete, unfortunetly my 46R is warwick blue w/411 interior. I rescued it from the Mississippi mud and found that the car was 98% compleate. It was unrestored but is now well under way to being compleatly restored. I found the car the end of feb, and the body is no longer attached to the chassis. The biggest problem My father and I have at the moment is the last two months we have been straightening and polishing stainless, Im ready to move on to something else! Only thirteen pieces left to go.

OldBuicksguy, You kind of hit the nail on the head. I love cars, I love to drive them as well. I became a buick fan in february of this year and will probably never look back. the reserch and history have been very interesting, I'm hooked. In short my father and I are restoring the 58 46R to show at BCA shows and other shows,it will be driven but in limited fashion. It is a very sound vehicle with limited production and should be preserved. The 35,47 is not in as good shape. Don't get me wrong I'm not afraid to take on any part of these projects, but I would much rather drive a 1935 buick than my 1993 volvo station wagon. (can you guess what I work on for a living) My hope for this forum is that you gentleman can advise and suggest to me the best way to preserve the 1935's heritage and appearence

yet make it dependable and enjoyable for myself, my wife and three kids.

Thanks JoelsBuick, how sturdy are the doors with the wood replaced.Mine kind of flop at the moment. Red oak and cypress are plentiful here.I will also need to find reference for the body dimentions as it has no floor in the front and needs to be squared up. The rear floor is great. Please help me build a great buick. Thank's Scott

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Scott, I've yet to glue up my wood frames so I can't directly answer your question. I first have to weld in a couple patch panels and then prep and prime before final glue-up. My 36 Limited has very solid doors and they have no wobble. This is part of the reason that I am going to great lengths to make sure that I do this wood correctly. It would be easy to glue up a twisted door that would have no chance of fitting in the opening. At this moment the door skin is about as floppy as it gets. Once it's all glued and nailed together, it will be very sturdy and will close with a uniquely muffled thud.

I'm using the white oak for the frame itself and I use the cypress for the horizontal wood that holds the window regulator and lock mechanism.

You may be better off making paper patterns or patterns out of 1/4" plywood. This is pretty easy and its a great way to ensure you have the perfect fit.

Good luck with your project,

Joel

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Hey Joel, Thanks again for the imput. I checked all four doors and 70% of the wood seems to be there,but most is not attached. I think I have enough to pattern. How are you jointing the wood together, spline or dowel or other wise?

I also noticed the front floor kicks seem to be wood, as I have not started to dissasemble the interior yet what other areas of the car contain wood that I need to inspect. The rear floor seems solid but I have yet to remove the carpet Thanks, Scott

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Scott,

The concept of body building in the 20's and early 30's was different to what we might imagine today. The woodwork in a body is the strength, the sheetmetal was pretty much nailed on to cover the wooden frame. The wooden frame was built inside a jig, doors were swung and all brackets attached. They then attached the individual pieces of sheetmetal by using hundreds ( it sometimes feels like thousands ) of nails.

I have attached some photos of my 34 Roadster frame after the sheetmetal has been removed. You will notice two main wooden rails sitting on top of the chassis ( main side sill and kick up assembly ). These are the starting point of the wooden frame. From there crosspieces and pillars are added for the floor to be nailed to and the doors to hang from. The steel floor is also nailed to wooden crossmembers.

A good book which explains this in some detail are the FISHER BODY SERVICE MANUAL'S, there is one that deals with 1933/36 BUICKS and is often advertised on Ebay ( these are reprints by CRANK'EN HOPE Publications ).

I have read a lot about wooden framed bodies being steeled out but to be honest it seems to be as difficult and time consuming. Okay if your trade was welding but if you're a woodworker with the equipment it makes sense to do it in wood as original.

post-31244-143137988372_thumb.jpg

post-31244-143137988375_thumb.jpg

post-31244-143137988378_thumb.jpg

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Scott, the wood joints I use are as follows: Box joints at the top frame corners; mortise and tenon for the horizontal skin support just below the window; half-lap for the horizontal support mid door; and screwed dado (non glued) for the window crank support and bottom horizontal boards. This is pretty much the way the original pieces went together.

Joel

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Stuart, Thank you for sending the pictures and the link for the book. I'll will get the book. I am starting to have a better understanding of the body's integrity and what is involved with rebuilding it. The more I find out the more questions I have. I have worked with metal and wood but never combined in a vehicle.

Joel, after you explaned the wood and the joints I starred at the front door for about half an hour to mentaly put the peices together It's starting to click. What kind of wood are you using in the floor marine ply or a special laminant?

Are you using special nails to hold your frames, and if so where can I get them. I took pictures of the car tonight, I will try to post them tomorrow. You guy's are great. I can't thank you enough. Thank's Scott

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Scott, I haven't yet decided what wood I'll use for the floor boards. The material that came out just looked like plywood to me. So, I'll most likely go back with the marine ply with plenty of varnish for protection. As far as nails go, I am using the stainless steel nails from Bob's Automobilia, sold just for this purpose.

I am investing a great deal of time in building these wooden frames and in the end, every last bit of the wood gets covered up. That's almost as bad as painting a fine peice of walnut furniture!

Take care,

Joel

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From what I can see it looks like the body itself is OK but its hard to say without a better look. The rocker panels look to still be there which is a good sign that the main floor beams may be ok. My advice would be to gut the inside of the car and see what shape the main beams in the floor are in. If they are trash you will have to replace them. Do not pull the body off of the car without replacing the beams first. Those beams hold the rear section to the cowl and the body may warp if you pull it without supporting it. Also wear a dusk mask when gutting the inside of the car. Some of the dust can damage your lungs.

The doors will need rebuilt. Depending on your skills and what you want in the end you can go wood or metal. Metal is pretty easy to do and does a nice job. It your going to keep the original door latch and window system you can probably find complete systems still in the original wood panels from a street rodder that has modified the doors to use bear claw latches and power windows. The running boards are a bear to find and you will need the back half of the fender. Looks like the grill and front bumper are good. Those are tough to find.

Anyway you decide to go you are looking at very time consuming project. You may even find its cheaper to buy a better car to start with than all of the parts it will take to rebuild that one.

Good luck and keep us posted

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Well, all of you have given me lot's of helpfull information. The consensus seem's to be that she is to rough to restore, the wood on the right side is gone and the firewall is sitting on the frame. The doors don't seem to want to stay closed. How ever I'm not giving up! I have always wanted a car from the thirty's and now I have one, no matter how rough it is. It seem the best way for me to do this is to square up the body with a metal frame and repair the sheet metal. I want to keep the out side as Buick as possable, but I don't think I can afford what it would take to do a proper restoration. Any suggestions for drive train? No bow ties please. No offense to the bow tie brigade but every car I see that has been modifyed has an orange engine. I would like to stay buick or something different. Any one have a right side running board?? Thanks,Scott

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scott your car can see the road again but it will take a lot of determination on your part. My car was actually in the same shape and i drove it today.

If you are not going original you have an open canvas. Any drive train will work. A low cost option would be to find a buick donor car with a buick 350 in it and use the engine tranny and drive shaft from it.

The reason you see so many Chevy drivetrains is because the cost is low and so many items can be bought after market to make them pretty. If you go buick you will need to use all of the factory original brackets and so forth.

Your running board can be repaired. cut out the center and replace it with 18ga. metal.

The fender is another story. You will need at the least the rear of the fender. I need a fender also and I have had no luck.

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Just a thought on your engine choice. My humble opinion is that the original drivetrain is the best, most interesting, and most worthwhile for any car - especially these Buick straight eights. They are wonderful things.

But, if you decide to drop in something else, why not consider an inline six, like the ultra dependable Chevy 250? These should be readily available, and at least have the right look in that long, narrow engine compartment. With an overdrive transmission, you may also end up with reasonable cruising economy.

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Yes, please, please, please don't put a cliche in the engine compartment if you don't go original. laugh.gif

That said, at local cruise nights with a lot of rods and only a few original cars, it is the car with the original engine that gets more attention than a chromed-out small-block Chevy in a '32 Ford. Straight-8s are always an attention getter. Most folks have never seen (or even heard of) a straight-8.

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OK,OK, you guy's win straight 8 it is (buick of corse) but what size and what year? It has a 233cu with babbeted rods, The cylenders have thick scaily rust in them, and I don't know how long the plugs have been out. It's cooked. You guy's know more about these engins than I do. So what do I build,that I can bolt a manual overdrive trans to and have multiple carberation or even injection ? Don't worry about mounts I can figure those out. And performance is the other question. Thanks for helping, Scott

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A 263 from a later straight-8 would probably fit pretty easily and give you better performance and still keep it all-Buick. I think all the 263s have insert bearings. You could even fit it with a factory dual-carb setup from a '41 or '42 small series for some extra zip. Rebuild parts for these later engines are readily available and although they're not screamers, they can be made to run pretty well, especially in a relatively light car like yours. I put a 3/4 race cam, raised the compression, ported the head and a few other things on my '41 320 and expect it to run with modern traffic without any issues.

I'll look up the website when I get home--there's a great discussion board that covers modifying these engines and there's one fellow there who really knows his stuff when it comes to making the 263 run.

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Hey Matt, Could you give more information on your engine,and did you find the web site you were making refrence to. I have been looking at engine sizes and now i'm realy lost. Does anyone have a book on just the straight 8. I want one that I can build up. Is the 320cu. the largest one and how different are to outside dimentions from the 233, Thank's Scott.

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Hi Scott,

Here's the website I was talking about (thanks for reminding me to find it):

http://www.teambuick.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=91

I don't think the 320 will fit in your engine compartment. It is significantly bigger in every dimension than your block, though it looks very similar at first glance. This is one BIG engine. It also weighs 750+ pounds. A smaller engine will obviously be lighter and less weight is the same as more horsepower and the car will handle better to boot. I think a good-running 263 could deliver similiar performance, and perhaps much better if you don't need to keep it original-appearing.

On my own 320, I did things that will work on any engine: more compression, a hotter camshaft, ported head, , a 3- or 5-angle valve job, lighter stainless valves, better piston rings, balanced rotating assembly, things like that. I didn't do anything radical because of the limitations of the intake and exhaust manifolds on the engine. But like I said, if you're going to hot rod it and original appearance is secondary, you can build something much more effective to take advantage of these things and more.

Pick up this book, too (it has a lot of hot-rod straight-8 Buick info in it):

http://www.californiabills.com/books/chevyspeed.php

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John, you see her as I got her. So far total investment

$53.67. I have been geting great imput on how we are going to build this car. Matt has convinced me we have to keep the straight 8 probably a 263, Joel has me straightened out on using oak and cyperus in the frame work. Alot of people are contributing. We are on our way to building my first 30's buick!!! Thanks, Scott

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  • 4 years later...

Hi, i just picked myself up a 35 front and need doors. So i will make them but i need a profile. Would it be possible to put to get a profile cut out of a door?

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I have personally restored cars like this ( and worse ) but I was younger and keener with better eyesight. My advice would be to shelve this car and go and look for one that's going and you can do a cosmetic restoration as you enjoy it. Keep the current car for spares and / or part it out to get some cash for your next project. Some may say it's a waste to part out but at least you'll be helping out other owners with parts to get theirs going. You could keep the chassis and body shell and rod it. That will still require plenty of work ( down the track )

That's my honest opinion.

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