Fred Zwicker

Interior Door & Window Handles - 54 Buick

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I am getting to the interior next week and have slightly pitted door, vent and window handles - all without grooves, except one small window handle, which has grooves. My crank handles are black, without the center being chrome. In checking with CARS, Bob's and other sources, here is what I found:

Bob's Automobilia: Door and Window Crank Handles: - "1954-57 Replacement Style, Chrome. Not Exact" Picture is not too clear, but it appears that there are grooves in all of the handles. $10 each. The window cranks handles (in picture) appear to be black with chrome centers. Door handles may have grooves, but picture is not too clear. Bopb's new catalog does not list handles for the 54 Buick, but their old catalog did so as described above.

CARS: Door Handles for 1954-1958 Special, Century, Skylark. Chrome Plated 5" Drumstick Style. Part DH-542. $26.50 each

CARS: Window Cranks for 1954-1958 Special and Century - Replacement Style with Chrome Knob: WC-548R (Window Crank) $26.50 each. VC-548R (Vent Crank) $26.50 each. Picture does not show whether grooves in window handles, but door handle appears to have grooves.

FUSICK: Catalog shows Window and Vent Crank Handles for 49-58 Olds - look good, but crank handle is all chrome. $26.50 each. Also stocks 49-53 Door Handle 5-1/2" long cast chrome. Hard to tell in picture if it is the same as the '54 Buick. $24.50 each.

PONTIAC Sources: Most stock similar handles, and most crank handles have black knobs with chrome centers, but all have grooves in the stem part of each. Ames has some really nice ones of that type - probably what I used on my Safari. As they have the black window crank handles, this might be the best choice at about $30 per pair. Door handles are $24 a pair, but have about 4 grooves in the handle stem. Ames also offers quick delivery from stock in most cases.

Having my existing handles plated is possible, but removing the crank handles prior to having plating done looks to be more than difficult, and may not even be possible. Considering the high cost of plating of pot metal and difficulty in removing the handles, feel that my best bet is to purchase a replacement set. For judging, is this a problem if not a 100% match? (repro handles will undoubtedly be different from the original).

Any ideas on which source would provide the most original looking handles? I bought a set of repro handles for my '55 Safari and they were very nice, with black handles on the window cranks with chrome centers, but with grooves. It is my understanding that '54 Buick handles had black knobs, but did not have grooves in the stem portion of the handles.

Often when a car is being restored and exact replacements are not available, reasonable replacements are acceptable. I also posted this thread on the '54 Buick Forum, as need some advice soon.

Thanks, Fred

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Hi Fred, this is a little quandry in dealing with 1950s Buick/Olds/Pontiacs, I have similar issues on my 1957 Star Chief.

Take a look at danchuk.com for the ribbed handles with black knobs as you describe. I would say that if you buy a complete set (including matching ribbed door handles) no one doing AACA judging would notice a thing. The Buick club probably would. But the cost would be less than half the price of a rechrome, assuming the unlikely idea that the original black knobs could be removed and reinstalled safely. The only inauthentic detail would be the ribbed handle. Good luck, Todd C

Edited by poci1957 (see edit history)

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Fred, I have had the same problem. I ended up scouring eBay for some nice ones. I originally bought the "ribbed version" but they were not the same. They are exact for a 55 - 57 Chevy, but not the Buick. I think CARS has the door release handle, and Bob's or Fusick has the Window handle. Have not found the ventilator. But, the ones I did get from them were exact replicas of the originals.

If you want the ribbed repro's send me a PM. I have a whole set for a 2 Door vehicle (vent, window and doors). I would gladly work out a deal with you. I never used them.

Regards,

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here's a set from my lil BlueBird Special to show what they look like. I grab them off ebay anytime a really nice one comes on. I have a set I can loan you for show if you don't find originals or correct repro's by then. In fact I think a certain Skylark may still be wearing a set of vent cranks. (I ain't worried about it though). ;):D

post-31987-143138761838_thumb.jpg

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Fred

Thanks to Lamar's picture I now know that 54 handles are the same as 55. The only way to be correct is to use the originals---none of the reproductions are correct. I have mine chromed after removing the knob: clamp the crank in a vise (soft jaws) and carefully apply heat from a small torch to the backside while holding the knob with welders gloves. You want to apply just enough heat so that the plastic releases from the stud. Tell the platers to tape off the stud and the area where it attaches to the window regulator. While the parts are at the platers you can refinish the knobs: find a bolt that will screw into the knob, cut the head off and chuck it in a drill. With the drill turning apply the knob to a spinning buffing wheel with plastic compound. If buffing only does not restore it, start with increasingly finer grits of sand paper on the spinning knob (welders gloves again). To install heat the stud and press the knob back on.

Send the best cranks and handles you can find to the plater---it will be cheaper. Also sometimes the best knobs are on the worst cranks. I usually need 2 or 3 sets to make a good one.

Willie

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none of the reproductions are correct.

...and after worrying about the primer color on the front of the torque tube pumpkin, how can you throw completely incorrect parts in a visible area?

Borrow some good ones from Lamar until you can restore the correct ones like Willie said. On my Special, I just cleaned the original handles. Even though they aren't completely perfect and have some tiny pits, they are correct.

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...and after worrying about the primer color on the front of the torque tube pumpkin, how can you throw completely incorrect parts in a visible area?

Borrow some good ones from Lamar until you can restore the correct ones like Willie said. On my Special, I just cleaned the original handles. Even though they aren't completely perfect and have some tiny pits, they are correct.

Today I checked all of my handles and I have plenty of original door handles and will send a pair to be plated. I also have plenty of window handles, so will experiment with one to see if the plastic knob can be removed, following directions furnished by Willie. If so, I will send the window handles to the platers, I have only one of the correct small vent window cranks - the others have the grooves. But I think I have a pair of non-grooved vent window cranks on my Pontiac Safari, so can do some switching.

We won't get to this until next week, but I will post as report at that time.

Thanks for so much help on this.

Fred

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Fred, I think I have one or two of the vent window handles in my stuff. They will need to be replated for sure. I can send you them. PM me if you are interested with address I can send them to. Let me know.

Regards,

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Hey Fred, I would be interested in where you send them and how much is the estimate. I have some for my car that need replated, let us know how it goes, thanks, Todd C

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Progress Report

We had good results in removing the knob yesterday, per Willie's advice. We put the metal part of the handle in a soft jaw vise, and heated the center of the stem from the back side, pulling the knob off using a pair of welder's gloves. It took more heat than expected, but it finally pulled off perfectly. We did only one so far, but got it right on the first try. There was no damage to the knob - now have to be sure we don't lose it, so I attached a piece of masking tape to the black knob to be sure it will show up later. A plastic zip lock bag would have been better, but I did not have any in the shop yesterday. Those who have done full restorations will know all about losing small components.

I then called my plater and sent him the handle for his testing. The problem is that the smalll stem attached to the handle must still swivel after plating, so hope that he can come up with a good method. I don't see a problem in reattaching the knob and think it can be done without heat; instead using some bonding glue that we have at work. We wlll experiment with one first. I know that plating is more expensive than buying new handles, but in this case is necessary, since no one reproduces these handles in their exact form.

Once I hear from my plater, I will find out the cost of plating the 4 window handles and two door handles and will post this information. This should be in a week or two.

Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread.

Fred

Edited by Fred Zwicker (see edit history)

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Fred, I think I have one or two of the vent window handles in my stuff. They will need to be replated for sure. I can send you them. PM me if you are interested with address I can send them to. Let me know.

Regards,

PM sent - Thanks Jim,

Fred

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