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1958 Limited Four Door Riviera


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I hate rustdust! :D

I left for Vegas for 2 days, and when I came back, there were 4 boxes waiting on my porch. It's an early Christmas at the Martin house!

Green engine paint

Transmission seal kit

Head gasket kit

Oil pan gasket

Engine mounts

Trans mount

Brake shoes

Wheel cylinders

Brake hoses

Sway bar bushings

Panhard bar bushings

Rear axle bushings

Dashpot

Carb kit

Coil spring insulators

Front end suspension kit

Plug wire looms

Exhaust manifold french locks

Frame mount pads

Body mount bushings

I think that's it...

cars_order.jpg

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The first '58 Limited I ever took notice of was a black 4-door parked all one long winter behind a repair garage in the alley behind my dad's downtown office building in Edmonton. I was about 12 at the time, so that would have been 1966-ish. The Buick was less that ten years old but, typical for the times, it was pretty much worn out and was likely never driven again. In addition to those amazing stretched quarter panels, I was really intrigued by the speedometer, which read to a maximum of 200! It astounded me that such a huge car could have once been so fast. My bubble sagged when my dad explained that it was probably originally a European export model, likely military, so that the speedo would be in kilometers per hour, not miles.

Somewhere I've got a Canadian $1 postage stamp from the 1980's, which features the silhouette of a '58 Limited 4-door parked by a Saskatchewan grain elevator. The image is tiny but crystal clear to a Buick buff like me.

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Rob...that's cool...I probably licked some of those stamps, but alas took no notice at the time.

Adam - what brand of engine paint did you go with? I can't tell from the can. As always, I'm trying to figure out how to get the correct colour north of the border. There are a couple brands available, but don't know how good they are as a match.

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I replaced the upper and lower ball joints, and replaced the control arm "bushings"....(absolute nightmare!) and painted said control arms. The lower ball joints had been replaced at one point, but the uppers were still riveted to the arms. It took me 2 hours to remove them.

The uppers are mounted on the frame, but have left the lowers off until tomorrow when I hope to tackle the springs.

I realized this evening when I tried to fit the new brake lines to the frame that they sent me the wrong front lines! It's not worth sending them back, so I used one of the old lines that is still good, and altered the new one to fit where it should go. I have to go to the parts store in the morning to flare the end I cut. I bought the lines from Right Stuff. Everything else appears to be correct.

Sigh...tomorrow's another day!

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I have one of those torpedo flame throwing beasties that burns diesel/kerosene. I turn it on for about 30 minutes before I go into the garage. I let it run for another 15 minutes while I'm out there....by that time, I'm sweating bullets. It does a nice job. It stays cozy for a couple hours, then I fire it up again to keep it warm.

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I ended up using all new lines on the front, as opposed to using one of the old ones that LOOKED good. It gave me a reason to buy another tool (double flare tool!). So, some decent progress was made today.

I used a combination of 3 compression methods to get the front springs in. Ratchet strap wrapped around the control arms, my homemade spring compressor, and the store-bought compressor. At any given time, I had at least 2 of those items on the chassis to prevent sudden explosion of the control arms. The drivers side was simple, but the passenger side spring didn't want to seat in the lower arm correctly. It kept spinning out of the sweet spot. I finally got it done, though.

I was able to get the passenger side backing plate, wheel cylinder, and brake hose hooked up before I had to go to dinner tonight. It's starting to look like something, now!

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Adam

I try to look at a restoration as not one big project, but as a bunch of small projects. There is a certain sense of satisfaction when some of the big pieces are coming together...along with the fact that you are finally dealing with CLEAN parts. You never did tell us how much fun it was to paint the frame...I hate painting frames, along with installing headliners (both have to do with abusing a creaky old body).

Willie

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Adam, You are moving along just great and making everyone jealous and aware of their shortcomings. Keep up the good work.

Stevo

Ha Ha, yea thats for sure. :D I have come to the conclusion that Adam is not human.........or secretly has a crew of guys working for him.

He must not have to put up Christmas lights or do shopping for anything other than car parts! ;)

My only chance of catching up to him is when he goes back to working on the body. My frame was painted before his but its still bare as can be. :(

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Looking GOOD, Adam. Do you have a time in mind for finishing? I would like to attend the first club meeting it attends.

Ben

No clue...:rolleyes:

Hopefully, it will be within the next 5 years. It's been 1 1/2 already. I need to watch my budget every step of the way. An extra $25K would help out immensely!

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Absolutely Amazing Adam!

Those front end parts look fantastic. Having a '59 with an identical setup makes me very wary of ever tackling any of that work.

The front end of my '58 Chevy Truck however, came apart and went back together in just a few hours comparatively.....but the king pin setup is sooo much simpler.

Keep up the great work and keep the photos coming!

So what's next, tacking the rear end?

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As soon as I can finish the front suspension, I'll detail the rear end & hang it. I picked up a set of rear shocks for it from (of all places) Auto Zone for $16.99 each tonight.

In the next couple weeks, I hope to have it sitting on all 4 tires again! Hopefully my Winter break will be productive.

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I'll detail the rear end & hang it.

I love how you make that sound so quick and simple. :)

I assume you'll be tearing it apart and giving it the full meal deal treatment as well? (other than taking apart the pumpkin)

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The rear end is going to be a pain. I started on it this evening, and gave up after I pulled the drums and realized I (think) I installed the rear shoes on the front. I have yet to confirm this, but I'm fairly certain that's the case. So....it was a good quitting point, rather than lodge a box end wrench into the wall.

The front suspension is virtually complete, with the exception of the brake shoes and drums. :rolleyes: Tomrrow, I am picking up one front drum, and I believe I have one good drum in the basement. I just need to blast it clean.

Pay no attention to the wrong shoes..

EDIT: Those are the correct shoes on the front.

shocks_installed.jpg

I've been dreading this job...

rear_end.jpg

Edited by Smartin (see edit history)
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Adam,

I missed the part where you removed the body and went back and checked it out just now. How are those cross pieces holding up? Any bowing?

I remember my 3 body off bodies being so heavy that I did not want to take the chance of having a friend get hurt or having the body drop. But evidently all of your help had no issues.

I am pretty sure I am going to have to lift my Centurion body up off the chassis but did no plan on a full "body off" and I have been mulling over my stand options - I have a ton of cinder blocks, 4x6's, heavy duty hjack stands, etc but always worry about being under the car scrapping when something fails.

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It appears to be holding up very well. No sagging of the timbers or the body. The body shell is suprisingly light. I had a dozen people over to help lift the body, but I really only needed one guy on each corner, and a couple people to locate the stands.

32kCenturion on the centurion board JUST lifted his 72 convertible off the frame, and is restoring the chassis right now. He has a similar setup, and his body shell is fully assembled, with the exception of the front clip.

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Good to hear. On all 3 of the cars I pulled the bodies off the sticking issue was the rear frame upturn over the wheels. If not for that - needing to raise my back ends so high - then my chassis' would have rolled out the fronts with minimal lifting.

As for the removal and installation of front springs on any car, this has always given me great concern. I had an old Mopar mechanic tell me when I was 19 that he almost died when a spring went flying by his head after his compressor broke and you do hear of these "horror" stories.

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Adam

You haven't posted for 2 days!!

Don't tell a little thing like Christmas got in the way of the restoration:)

On a more serious note........I (along many others I suspect) have been following your progress with much interest and A LOT OF ENVY:D

My New Year resolution will be to get more serious about finishing my 55 and to try to get it done before you.......I suspect that won't happen with the amount of work you have achieved over the past:(

All the best for 2010

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Yep, Christmas fun has gotten in my way so far on my break :D

I might be going duck hunting this week, so my plans for getting the chassis back on the ground might be out the window....but I'll try!

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No duck hunting! Too cold, and no ducks to hunt....so in the garage I went..

Ok, now the only thing left before I can all 4 wheels back on this chassis, is to get the two front aluminum drums blasted and turned! All of the brake lines are installed, as well as the hoses, and the emergency brake cables.

Those upper rear shock mounts are a TERRIBLE design. I spent quite a bit of time massaging them to get the holes to line back up where they should be.

The rear drums fit really tight on the new brake shoes...hopefully they will loosen up when I roll it around a bit.

Shiny brake bits..

rear_installed001.jpg

It looks like I have some dusting to do. I had the whole chassis covered the entire time I was working on the rear end...I guess dust has a way of getting everywhere. Nothing a little compressed air won't fix! I had to wrap a small towel around the torque tube so it didn't rub on the frame. I really hate that design. The rear end is just swingin' in the breeze...

rear_installed002.jpg

One more shot for fun...

rear_installed005.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Brian,

It's been frigid cold here for the last few weeks, and it has finally started to warm up a bit again. I got out on Sunday morning and installed the driver side front brake drum...and adjusted the rear brakes to spin a bit smoother, since they were pretty tight on install.

I should get back in the garage in the next few days and get something done....I'm having withdrawls, too!

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Hi Adam:

SO glad to see that you are back on the project. I'm certain that many have been going through '1958 Limited Withdrawal'. I have...

Some may have seen this great 60 second TV spot introducing 'The GM Five for 58'. It's from Kris Trexler's website & it's beyond words:

The GM Five for 1958 original TV commercial Love the Limited's winking tail lamp! What I wouldn't give for a 35MM film print of this spot.

This style of advertising feels so inoffensive compared with today's in your face, rapidly cut, effects laden 30 second commercials (IMHO)...

Paul

Edited by pfloro (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

I pulled the engine apart....not good news, really.

There is a small ridge on the top of the cylinder wall, and at least one valve is burned pretty bad. The whole engine is sludged up terribly. This was not in the plans.

I may be tucking the chassis back under the body for a while so I can work up the funds to get this thing going again. I really don't want to pay for a full engine rebuild.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been following you from the time you first started your project. I know the extent that you have worked, but see that you are discouraged or have run into a stiff headwind. I thought I would write and hopefully encourage you to get back into the project. You asked me if my Roadmaster had A/C, and I am answering, yes it does. Here is some thumbnails that are close to where you are and some where you are heading. If there is anything I can do to help you along, feel free to contact me. - Dan

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Thanks, Dan, for the photos of your 57.

Yes, a stiff headwind is a good analogy for this. I'm discouraged, but am not running away by any means. It's really a matter of $$ at this point. The rate I want to continue on this project does not equal the rate of income right now :)

I've even toyed with the idea of selling my Centurion to fund this project, but I started driving it again this Spring, and there's no way I would sell it now. If I hadn't dumped over $5k in the engine in the Winter of 08-09, I might have thought differently. Heck, I've even thought of unloading the 58 several times, but I can't justify the reasons. I kept it in the first place because 1 - it's a 58! 2 - It's a Limited, 3 - it has AC and a host of other interesting options, 4, it is the same color as my friend Hank's 58.......who is pretty much the sole reason I love 58's now.

It'll get done, I just need to prioritize right now. If nothing else, I've learned so much about these cars just by disassembling this one. It should be an interesting reassembly, for sure. One step at a time!

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Adam,

Speaking from experiance, keep the Centurion. Nothing like driving an old car to take your mind off issues. If I would not had another car while restoring the Woodie, I wouldn't have made it.

Remember, half the fun is in the journey, as the Dead said, "What a long, stranger trip its been".

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Guest my3buicks

Well said Bill.

And Adam, sounds like four very solid reasons to push on with the 58, the last being the driving force I would assume.

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Adam,

Hang in there! There will be days (just as in life) that you will be down in the dumps and discouraged but do not do anything without thinking it through. When you need some positive reinforcement, get in here an ask.

Stevo

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