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karasmer

Burned out Buick

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I am looking into an old Buick that has been in a fire. Anybody know of problems one might have in the restoration of a car that was in a fire? metal fatigue, paint not sticking, warping beyond repair???

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While it was not a Buick, my father bought a complete 1966 Corvair convert that had been in a garage fire that started in the rafters and collapsed onto the car before the fire dept got it out. You can imagine the roof and complete interior was gutted and the paint on the upper parts of the car was burned off to the bare metal.

He had access to another 2dr and thinking he could save the convert went about trying to clean it up. It also had the usual rust typical of these cars and the result was....... found when he primed it, every panel on that car had been warped so bad it would have been nothing but bondo to smooth it out.

In his case it was not worth the time and effort so depending on the severity of your Buick (engine compartment fire, interior only, one part of the exterior, etc) IMHO I'd say take a long hard look and ask: how is it going to look when it is done and at what cost.

Oh, in Dads case it did give him something to practice on his repairing skills and saved the drive train for his other convert he found in much, much better body condition.

Good Luck.

Doug

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My father and I bought a fire car once (at a price too good to pass up) and it turned out to be a nightmare. It had a complete engine fire. The body was good but the engine compartment was burnt. We grossly underestimated the amount of damage a fire could do. Anything that was not heavy metal was destroyed. All wiring, rubber hoses, vacuum hoses, plastic clips and connectors were completely destroyed. Plus it was a real mess working on. We never did got it running again and sold it to a salvage yard for a big loss. From my experience, I would think real hard about getting a fire car.

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Like a building, every fire is a bit different in terms of damage. Some are rebuilt, and some bulldozed I would say, it all depends. With both buildings and cars, it all depends on the historical value of saving it. I would think before rendering an opinion, the year and model are important and possibly some photos. A hot fire can distort the frame, and then you have real serious expense, in addition to the above mentioned..

John

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As an Ins Damage appraiser I see these all too often. Four words of advice---- Run away, run away !!!!!

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Agreed. Fire plays tricks with virtually all electrics (connections, relays, switches, etc) even on the wiring harnesses that are not burnt through. Add to that the fact that fire will burn through the primer and rustproofing inside of any metal panel it reaches, and you have the likelyhood of fast and large areas of rust from the inside out. RUN!!!!

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The car is on the Minneapolis craigslist 30 buick, the guy wants best offer over scrap value. The problem comes in is that he thinks he can get $700 in scrap Ya ok.

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Call a local scrap yard and find out what they pay. Vehicle weights are published in several places. See if 700 is reaonable based on scrap weight. I this is a 1930 Buick, consider damage to the wood body frame.

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If you have a MUSEUM it might make for good display. My uncle in South Bend area had a museum, 8 plus million dollars worth of Indiana produced cars, and he set up a display with a burnt car and barn beams laying over it. He had a good time with setting such up.

Dale in Indy

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Hey now, lets not beat up that Minesota Guy too much. It looks like the license plate up front can be salvaged.

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Just a few years ago I bought this 1912 Buick Roadster on Ebay for parts. I sold the Buffalo wheels and most of the big engine parts for what I paid for the whole car. I kept the engine jugs with all the cage valves, clutch & rear end assy for spares for my 13 Model 31 Buick. The spare tire mount fit perfectly on my 15 Speedster, and I still have odds and ends like brake drums, brake bands, etc. that I may need someday to keep my cars going...

Although there were puddles of babbitt that melted out if the engine bearings, the heavy castings were intact. Mine is a special case though, as these parts were mostly interchangeable with some of my other Buicks. But if you have the room to store parts, it is a lot less expensive than having new parts cast or machined...

My $0.02

post-41092-143138838444_thumb.jpg

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Thanks for the link Larry - better able to make comment now.

First up this is a master series and I doubt being burnt put the car in this condition. Looks more like it has been quietly rotting away and a grass fire has come through and finished the job.

A wooden framed car can't be compared to an all steel body when it comes to repair/restoration. The all steel body relies on the condition of the steel panels, floor etc for structural integrity. In many cases if burnt the steel body loses temper and in most cases is impossible to repair and get a good finish.

But with wooden framed bodies the strength comes from the actual wooden frame - the sheetmetal is only nailed on to cover the frame. Some older cars were simply fabric covered such as early aircraft were.

So to this vehicle.

It is a reasonably rare model and at the very least would be an excellent source of spare parts. It would not be beyond restoration if you could do the wooden frame yourself ( many people have ), the biggest difficulty would be the lack of old timber to use as templates. There are members of this forum currently restoring identical cars who would help out with photos and measurements I'm sure.

The important sheetmetal is possibly usable, other parts such as hoods, fenders, valance panels and the like are common to different body styles of the same model - so sourcing better panels ( especially that hood and radiator shell ) would be very possible.

As to price - well $700 is too much. A previous post lists scrap metal at about $180 a ton - the remains would be less than 2 ton so the seller would have to be satisfied $350 - $400. For that figure this would be well worth buying - as Mark said if it was too far gone to restore ( or you didn't want to invest the $'s ) others would appreciate the chance to purchase a lot of the desirable parts.

Edited by 50jetback (see edit history)

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I was thinking more in the way of $250, It was in a shed fire, the springs got so hot they reversed and there are parts missing such as the windshield frame and whatever else. I am putting together a parts roadtrip so I plan on seeing it firsthand.

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