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1947 56C Project "Can't finish unless you start"


jackofalltrades70
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I was finally able to get out in the garage for a couple hours tonight. I got animated, and took the front end off so I can prepare to start cleaning the frame. Everything up front was pretty solid, have a couple dents to take out of the front fenders, but everything come apart pretty easily considering that it hadn't been apart in 60 years or so. I'm going to take the body off the frame within the next week or so, the floor pans are all gone and the trunk pan too. Any good, easy ideas on how to keep the thing together? I've purchased another car and will be putting another body on my frame that is solid. I just wanted to keep the old one together until I decide what its fate is.......repair and sell or what??:D

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Another night in the garage........removed the rear bumper,rear fenders,etc. Tomorrow I will start trying to get the convertible top folded back and ready to come out. I know I'm going to need help removing it.

Question: How does the chrome trim that runs around the back of the car (where the tacking strips are) come off? I don't want to hurt it as it already has a couple dingers in it. I might start working on cleaning the frame tomorrow evening.

Matt:)

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Matt,

I can give you pretty good instructions on how to remove the moldings at the rear of the convertible top on your '47. I made detailed sketches of the attaching hardware when I restored my '48 Super back in 1993.

The moldings are held on by a combination of thin sheetmetal channels and molding clips.

There are 3 channels, one located behind each door opening an one centered in the rear. In between the side and rear channels, there are two molding clips on each side. The channels are long pieces that have a little flange on both sides that the molding "snaps" down onto.

The retaining nuts for the clips are accessible through holes in the inner body sheetmetal. If you look in the top well at the curved area where the sides meet the rear, you should see these openings.

The moldings can be released from the channels by carefully prying up with a putty knife to release it and then slide the putty knife along the molding channel to free it the rest of the way.

If you are not clear on this or have other questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. These moldings are hard to come by and you don't want to damage them. I hope this helps.

Mike Lawson

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Thanks Mike. I'll try to see what I can try to remove tomorrow. I 'm pretty patient when it comes to removal of things, just have to take my time. I just had a little while tonight so just scraped on the frame. I keep spraying the body mount bolts so they keep soaking and hopefully will come loose without too many problems. Nice car by the way.:) I love convertibles!!!!

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I managed to remove the moulding and "WITHOUT" damaging it any more than it was. The mouting bracket on the drivers side came off with the moulding and is rusted beyond repair. The rear and the passenger side is in much better shape and I was able to take off easily.

I also managed to lubricate all of the pivot points enough to fold the top back. As soon as I can get a hand, I'll pull it from the car.

I have to start working on the body mount bolts so I can get it ready to take off the frame. Maybe next week I'll be somewhat ready to pull the body and roll the frame out.:)

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Today I talked with a gentleman about soda blasting the frame and then the car after I get it mounted back on the frame. I'm getting really excited about getting the old body all the way off the frame so I can repair 3 or 4 spots that are rusted "a little too much" and then I'll get it blasted. Only bad thing is that he's 1.5 hours away. I guess I should order a rebuild kit for the front end so I have it here. Looks as if my daily driver is going to be nicer than I first thought. I figure that if I'm already there, better do what I can correctly.

Question.......Does anyone have a pattern for door panels and the back seat panels for a 47 56C? I have one from the rear seat area that is kinda 50% there, but the other 50% is what bothers me.

Thanks

Matt

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Matt,

I'm glad to hear you were able to remove the trim moldings without damaging them. Sounds like you are making good progress on the car.

When I restored my '48 convertible, I installed a complete new interior from Hampton Coach. It fit great and looks great. I saved all the original pieces and panels for future reference. I would be happy to loan you these parts for patterns. I know the trim on the panels is different on a '47 than on a '48 but the sizes of the panels would be identical. Let me know if you are interested, I'm located just south of York, PA.

Mike Lawson

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Matt,

You are gonna want to make any body (rust) repairs with the body on the frame or the heat from welding can change the dimensions of the finished car. Also, FYI, they should sandblast the frame, soda won't remove rust.... AND while he is at it, see if he will powdercoat it for ya, mine was around $600 total for blast and coating "satin" black.

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Matt,

You are gonna want to make any body (rust) repairs with the body on the frame or the heat from welding can change the dimensions of the finished car. Also, FYI, they should sandblast the frame, soda won't remove rust.... AND while he is at it, see if he will powdercoat it for ya, mine was around $600 total for blast and coating "satin" black.

Mike,

Thanks for the tip, but I am going to change out the body with another that is rust free for the most part. I was curious about "saving" the original body and working on it a little at a time as I find extra time after I finish the car. The other has no frame but is complete.

I'll check tomorrow about blasting and powdercoating. I'm beat tonight and didn't have the energy to open the garage!:D

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Well, the convertible top is ready to come out. I have it all unbolted and folded back. Hopefully will pull it this weekend. Tomorrow I'll work on the body mount bolts.

I have a question, because now I know what my car was painted and the interior and all. Sienne Blue paint, Sienne Blue leather interior, Cord top. But, the scheme of the car when I got it was very "Patriotic". The paint was white the interior leather blue and the dash was Red/white (top half red,bottom white and the top of the door sills was red).

Any ideas besides a very patriotic person?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, after a couple of weeks of soaking the mount bolts with PB Blaster nightly, I managed to break all of them off. I tried heating them and all, but they were rusted beyond their unthreading abilities. Anyways, I have a couple more to break off tomorrow, then I'll see how to raise the body and see if I can slide it off to the side of the frame in the other bay of the garage.

Good news is that the parts car will be picked up in the next 2 weeks or so. The bad news is I know I won't be ready to put it on the frame by then.

I've been thinking that I should mount the body and get the firewall primed and painted before I mount the motor and tranny. Pros? Cons? Please help me out with this.

Matt

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Steering wheel off and ready to pull the body........gotta get a hand to get the convertible top out of the car first.........I get more and more excited/scared every step I take now!

All, Pros or Cons to dropping the engine and tranny in before the body? I don't think it will be too bad getting them in if the body is on and the firewall is painted.

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Thanks for all of the comments and suggestions. I think I'm going to put the body on the frame, then with everything off the front and the motor and tranny out of the way still, I think I can mask off and paint the firewall and cowl section. Then I'll install the motor and tranny. I've gotta try to get the body off the frame this weekend.........

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Well, plans were to get the body off the frame this weekend. Looks like its going to come off in pieces.....:mad:

I started lifting the body off and it folded between the front seat and cowl section. Also started to fold where the rear seat is. I have a wonderful Buick convertible accordian right now! Everything is loose so, I'll probably just cut the remaining metal across the section and remove it in 3 pieces. So glad I have the other car coming from "Rust-free Land"!:D

I have to take some parts out of the firewall and I was able to get the convertible top out on my own. It wasn't that heavy, or I'm stronger than I think!:rolleyes:

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Slow down Matt. Did you brace between the rear quarter and the cowl? How about side to side. There isn't enough stability with good metal, let alone a rusty mess. You need to add braces to the other body, or you will wind up with six pieces of two cars accordianed in your driveway.

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Slow down Matt. Did you brace between the rear quarter and the cowl? How about side to side. There isn't enough stability with good metal, let alone a rusty mess. You need to add braces to the other body, or you will wind up with six pieces of two cars accordianed in your driveway.

Mike,

I wasn't really worried about this body, as it's really in bad shape. I would ask of someone, a good place to install bracing, without damaging anything or "correct" places to install some sort of brace without ending up with damage in the end. A diagram, or pictures would be very helpful to make the installation of the other body as painless as possible. Matt

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Check here. As a matter of fact you may want to bring this thread back to the top since more people check in over at the post war section...

http://forums.aaca.org/f162/body-weight-only-300624.html

Also, yeah I know that body is a mess, but don't go breaking stuff you might need or can sell later.

Mike,

I've got all in the "accordian" areas taken off that could be of use. It looks to me that you bolted the rear bracket to the convertible top mounting point, what did you bolt or weld to in the front under the cowl section? I've got the material available to do what is necissary. How or where would one lift a convertible with an engine hoist? I always have the option of taking the car to work and lifting the body on with a forklift, but still need to have some accessible points to hook to.

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I agree on putting the engine in First. Be Careful lining up engine and tranny. I had a disaster when the oil slinger came loose amd got caught in between the engine and tranny - do not pass go do not collect and it cost me a tranny too. On the next round I replaced both together just to be positive. Change the shaft seal! If you do the tranny replace the front and if possible rear bearings I'm told they are available at bearing places. Take lots of pics and label Everything. Keep organized! I found that MAP gas and [ower blaster works good with tightening by jarring first.

Any news on ways to brace the back wheel wells? It's true they are not real strong and I have not figured out how to do it.

Is there a picture of the whole car?

Midwest Fabrics has the cardboard material for the panels. I made my own and used older Ford fasteners to affix them to the door. It worked great.

Don

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I agree on putting the engine in First. Be Careful lining up engine and tranny. I had a disaster when the oil slinger came loose amd got caught in between the engine and tranny - do not pass go do not collect and it cost me a tranny too. On the next round I replaced both together just to be positive. Change the shaft seal! If you do the tranny replace the front and if possible rear bearings I'm told they are available at bearing places. Take lots of pics and label Everything. Keep organized! I found that MAP gas and [ower blaster works good with tightening by jarring first.

Any news on ways to brace the back wheel wells? It's true they are not real strong and I have not figured out how to do it.

Is there a picture of the whole car?

Midwest Fabrics has the cardboard material for the panels. I made my own and used older Ford fasteners to affix them to the door. It worked great.

Don

Don,

I have already rebuilt the motor and tranny and they are waiting for the frame and body so I can install them. I have learned to label and keep track of fasteners since I was young. I have a very large box with ziploc baggies to the brim. My digital camera warms up every day to take pictures before removing things.

Thanks for the tip on the panel material. I'll have more pictures later. I need to get the body off the frame so I can clean up the frame and paint.

Matt

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Hi Matt,

This is great news and I hope that others that are going to do a project like this find this thread and take note of labeling and photographing as it is crucial. I've heard and seen some real horror stories in this regard! It's something I've been teaching the kids here about as well. I was lucky in that the frame and front end on my car were good (About all that was) I did not take fenders and such off as it was too badly rusted to practically do so. I did not have the option of non rusty parts and it seems that the RoadMasters are a bit more rare than the Supers and Specials (Rag tops not included). I'm probably going to sound sacreligious to some but I used sheet metal repairs and fiberglass and such. I did this car on the super cheap as even at that rate I had a Very tough time pulling it off. I had to be quite creative and resourceful to make up for lack of proper funding. Part of this was that I wanted to avoid the "It took 10 years (or more) to restore it" situation. My car was on the road in a matter of a few months as a rolling project. I think it helped me keep motivated on it. Did you rebuild the motor and tranny yourself Matt? You are going to have a busy summer aren't you!

Congrats on the good progress Matt!

Don

Edited by MNRoadMaster (see edit history)
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I'm not sure about an engine hoist, although I have heard it is possible. The tubing was welded at the inner kick panel area and at the convertible hinge location. The guy who welded it also welded a crossbrace between the two braces in back for lateral stability. I think Bhigdog made a recommendation to weld a little higher, but my body didn't buckle or twist. I may be able to take a close up pic in the next few days of exactly how they did it. They also sell adjustable door braces that bolt to the hinge and strikeplate locations, but you would still want to weld something between the rear quarters.

The other option for the body lift would be to follow Adam's technique and buy beer for a bunch of friends. Dole it out AFTER the body is back on! ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, we had a beautiful afternoon here today! No rain and I was in "Buick" mode this afternoon. I still have the "accordian" ready to come off the frame, but I worked on getting a lot of the "I'm gonna need you later" pieces off and labeled in baggies. Does anyone know how hard it might be to change out the upper cowl and windshield area of a convertible?:eek: Just when you think you have everything off the car you could possibly use or need or could sell, you find something else under what you just took off! Having lots of fun though!:D

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I feel I have to pass this along to make sure that the screen in the head's oil intake is taken out. This piece of info cost me quite a bit! I'm glad to hear you are making progress Matt. I can see where bracing would help for the back wheel wells - I'm not sure how to go about it though...

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O.K. Newer car body is here and unloaded. Have yet to take off the front end as it's from a 76C. I have noticed on my '47 56C that under the rear wheel wells are also this "mud red" color. It is only painted this color under the bolt on fenders. Is this normal? I want to make sure that when I get to that point putting my car back on and together that I do this correctly.

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  • 5 months later...

Well, I officially am back to work on the project. Here's some pictures of the frame. The engine, tranny, rear, brakes, lines, etc. are all complete and rebuilt. Taking it to put the 76C body on tomorrow!:D I officially have two convertible projects!!:eek: The 56C will wait out the winter under cover outside! I have found a new cowl section for it with the window frames. I also have a set of floors for the 56C. The 76C is my project for the winter. I'll be ordering the wiring harness shortly. Any "preferred" vendor for the harness that anyone can recommend?:)

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Got the body on the frame today. No pictures yet as I didn't take the camera with me. Went on with the help of my brother and a forklift at work. I somehow mis-counted and didn't have enough body mount rubbers, so I selectively placed them.:D:D First time that this body has been on a frame in 50+ years. Amazing! Now I have to get the other buick outta the garage and get this one in. Lot's of body panel beating and a little welding, but we're working with a essentially good, solid body this time. I dunno about you guys, but I'm excited for winter!! Work time on the Buick. Bonding time!:D

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