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1949 Buick Super 4dr restoration project


49_buick_super

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There she goes. Being towed off to the shop for the major phases of the restoration that will take until February or March next year to complete.

I've been working on this project since October 2006. My plan has always been to do as much of the disassembly as I could with my limited facilities at home while pressing forward with restoration of component parts. Much is finished but much is left to go and most of that is now in much more capable hands than mine.

What I thought I would do here is share some of my photos from the work of the past six years while at the same time, posting updates with photos as the work progresses at the shop.

The car is a 1949 Super 4dr. Allendale Green. I first saw it sitting for sale at a car repair shop located along my route to work. I drove by it for one whole month and finally the urge was not resistible any longer. I stopped once, twice and brought money on the third visit. Thinking back, I can't believe I waited so long to pull the trigger.

The car is a complete, original survivor with factory original paint. The original upholstery was covered with seat covers that bore 1954 manufacturing tags when we got around to the disassembly at the upholstery phase. We drove the car locally and enjoyed it for four years before the restoration was started.

I have hundreds of photos and videos taken during the disassembly of this vehicle. Some I will share here to compare the original with the restored. If anyone out there is working on a similar car and you need any reference photos, let me know.

Dan

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Here's a few photos taken before the start. The paint is what you would expect for a car of its age. I don't know the history of the car but I suspect it was garaged for a good portion of its life. The engine appears to be a late-series 248 c.i. A few dents on the rear. Those on the bumper were probably inflicted by an old-style clamp-on bumper trailer hitch.

All of the big chrome pieces have been re-plated and are in storage waiting to be installed on the car after body work and paint. I have a few small pieces left that I'll have re-plated while the shop work is being completed.

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Very nice pieces...thanks for posting!

I don't ever recall seeing a generator with that stainless band around the back portion of it...is that normal for this vintage of generator?

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That band covers the access area for the brushes, and yes, surprisingly under all that grime, the band is stainless. This generator is OEM for this vehicle.

Cheers,

Dan

Very nice pieces...thanks for posting!

I don't ever recall seeing a generator with that stainless band around the back portion of it...is that normal for this vintage of generator?

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  • 2 weeks later...

New springs for the 49 Super arrived today. I ordered from Kanter. Shoddy finish, but ok, whatever, I can fix that. I was interested in the box because of some other posts I've read about Kanter Springs. These are shipped from Easton Detroit Spring and are labeled as "Made in U.S.A." Looked at their web site and they claim to have been in business since 1937. It took about two weeks for the springs to get here. A Kanter sales rep called me after I ordered to tell me they ordered them from the factory on customer orders. Free shipping.

http://www.eatonsprings.com

Dan

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I love the car, totally jealous of the chrome !

Wait until you see it put back together again. All that chrome as been replated and it looks fantastic. In these post-war years, the copper plating process was often skipped on factory parts - just nickel and chrome. That was the case on all the chrome on this car. These replated parts have been done right and the finish looks deep.

Dan

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Wait until you see it put back together again. All that chrome as been replated and it looks fantastic. In these post-war years, the copper plating process was often skipped on factory parts - just nickel and chrome. That was the case on all the chrome on this car. These replated parts have been done right and the finish looks deep.

Dan

Who did you send your chome to? There is no one on the Island that does chome here any more.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just starting restoration of 1949 4dr Buick (think its a super), will know for sure later today when its delivered. Was interested in your offer of pictures of restoration project so I would know what is to come. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Amanda

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I have accumulated photos and videos of all aspects of the disassembly of my 49. If you can take it apart, I probably have photos and/or a video that documents how I did it or fumbled through it. Certainly way too many to post here but if you will send me your email address in a PM, we can correspond when you need something.

Just picked up my air cleaner from the powder coater and it sure looks nice. I'll post a few pictures later tonight.

I also just replaced my exhaust manifold with a reproduction that I received yesterday. I must say that I am very impressed with the quality of this new batch of repros from Bob's that are made in the US. I'm also going to post some photos and comments about this with some comparative photos of the OEM exhaust manifold along side the modern reproduction.

You are about to start on a fascinating and fun project. I've been working on mine for several years now and things are starting to come together. I think the only advice I would offer is this: If you get frustrated with something that isn't working out, then just put it down and walk away. Come back later with a fresh look and refreshed attitude. Don't force anything. Penetrating oil, patience and heat are your best tools on rusty fasteners - especially on the stainless trim.

Dan

Just starting restoration of 1949 4dr Buick (think its a super), will know for sure later today when its delivered. Was interested in your offer of pictures of restoration project so I would know what is to come. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Amanda

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REPRODUCTION EXHAUST MANIFOLD AND EXHAUST VALVE BODY

I decided to go with a reproduction exhaust manifold and valve body from Bob's due to a small crack in the original exhaust manifold and valve body. I received it yesterday and I am impressed. I've attached a few photos to compare the OEM with reproduction.

The images mostly speak for themselves. Look at the machined surfaces that accept the plate retainers on the studs. The reproduction manifold has a cleaner and more distinct surface area. The exhaust valve body is correct in all respects except that it is missing the valve plate. Bob's reports it has been omitted as a performance hinderance and something that was notorious for sticking closed and causing issues. (I'm not well enough informed to have an opinion at this point.) The casting seams have all been dressed by a grinder on the reproduction manifold but are present in all their ugly glory on the OEM manifold.

The small discolorations you see on the OEM manifold are rust blushes. I had them blasted but did not paint them when I realized I was going to buy the reproduction parts.

I've looked the reproduction pieces over very carefully and unless there is something that I cannot detect at the metallurgy level, I can't see why these will not work as well or better than OEM. Bob's reports this new production run are manufactured here in the US now and are not Taiwanese knockoffs.

Weights

OEM manifold - 14 lbs 8 ozs

Reproduction manifold - 16 lbs 6.5 ozs

OEM exhaust valve body - 4 lbs 4.5 ozs

Reproduction exhaust valve body - 4 lbs 15 ozs

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Dan

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Thank you Dan for the quick response, yes it is a 1949 Buick super 8, will post pictures after we get it cleaned up.(has been sitting in junk yard for years and has many parts missing). We live in Ontario, Canada so getting pieces won't be that easy, but will find a way. Right now if you had pictures inside engine compartment that would be a help so I would know what all is gone.

Thank you

Amanda p

Here is e-mail address

mctessfamily@aol.com

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Thank you Dan for the quick response, yes it is a 1949 Buick super 8, will post pictures after we get it cleaned up.(has been sitting in junk yard for years and has many parts missing). We live in Ontario, Canada so getting pieces won't be that easy, but will find a way. Right now if you had pictures inside engine compartment that would be a help so I would know what all is gone.

Amanda -

Congratulations on your "new" Buick. Start a new thread for your car and post some pictures. Please also consider joining the BCA. Lots of good folks with Buicks and good advice. I sent a couple of photos to your email address. Let me know what else you need.

Dan

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  • 2 weeks later...

CHROME, GLASS AND WEATHER SEALS

Kind of a Buick day today. I drove to Tucson and picked up my tail light bezels, parking light/turn signal housings, and the upper grill bar from Royal Plating. I couldn't be more pleased with the quality of their work. I dropped off the rear license plate frame for plating.

When I got home I was inundated with deliveries. I received the placement front windshield glass from Sanders Reproduction Auto Glass. I compared the new pieces with the originals and the reproduction pieces are spot-on. All the door glass and vent window glass pieces are coming from Sanders, too. They are a little behind because they are etching the glass bugs.

I replaced the front windshield because the original glass had been scratched pretty good over the years by bad wipers. The rear glass is in good shape, though, but the seal is very hard after all these years so it gets replaced.

I also had ordered the complete whole-car weatherstripping and seal kit from Kanter and it arrived today. Every piece in the kit is manufactured by Steele and it was sent directly to me from Steele with Kanter as the ordering agent. I've been comparing the packing list to the shipped pieces and it has occurred to me that I have not seen seals for the rear wheel skirts. I don't see them on the packing list. If anyone out there has any ideas of what can be used to replace the OEM skirt seals, please let me know. The OEM skirt seals had a wire backing with hooks that attached it to the car.

Dan

PS: If you do order a whole-car kit, be sure to check the parts against the packing list. I'm short one unit. There are quite a few pieces in these kits.

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Thanks, John! I'm having lots of fun doing this not to mention the satisfaction of looting my kid's inheritance.

I am set to visit the restoration shop on the 27th to get a look at the progress.

Dan

That exhaust manifold is very nice! I also like the other parts you are restoring. This is gonna be a SUPER Super when you are done. Love it!
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  • 2 weeks later...

I went to the restoration shop today to have a look at the car and see the progress. The front fenders are off; dashboard and firewall have been completely stripped; engine and transmission are out; driveline and rear axle are separated from the car; the body is unbolted from the frame and is waiting to be sent to the media blasting shop. The engine has been disassembled. Parts are being ordered for the rebuild and other than one slightly bent push rod, nothing wrong was found with the engine that would prevent a good rebuild. The transmission is out to a good Dynaflow shop for rebuild.

Time and patience now. In the mean time, I'm occupying myself with the stainless trim and restoring other parts of the car, making them ready for installation as soon as we get the car back from the shop. One of those projects is restoration of the original radio. I feel fairly comfortable in that area as I've been an amateur radio operator since I was a kid in high school.

Dan

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Has to be heartbreaking to see it like this. I guess you gotta start somewhere, but when it's nothing but a shell, it still gotta hurt!

John,

Standing there looking at it, I had a big smile on my face because the work is getting done but I also felt a bit misty-eyed. We drove this car and had lots of fun in it. You couldn't be more right.

Dan

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  • 4 months later...

It's been a while since I've posted but there hasn't been a lot of work done on the car. The shop has been busy with a couple of projects that were in ahead of me. But work is happening. The body is at the media blasters and the frame has been disassembled and ready to start work. I was originally just going to have it pressure washed, scraped and painted but decided today to go ahead and have it media blasted and painted. Scheduled to go back and look at work progress in two weeks. I'm fairly certain that I have climbed to near the top of the work list now. A few pictures are attached from today.

Dan

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  • 2 weeks later...
Is the shop going to assemble completely, or are they just doing the body/frame work?

Looking SO NICE....

Dale in Indy

Dale,

I'm having the shop put it all back together except for the upholstery. My wife and I did the upholstery and it is ready to go into the car as soon as we get it back. Engine and transmission have been completely rebuilt and awaiting installation. All the suspension parts are here, except that the knee action shocks have yet to be rebuilt. Chrome and stainless - check, ready to install. All the wiring and weather seals are also here, ready to go. We are very much looking forward to the day when we get her back.

Dan

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The 48 Cadillac setting next to my frame leaves you speechless

I don't know about that; I could make a speech about those hokey wheels.

Your Buick's "body in white" looks terrific. Funny, in such a stripped-down state, it looks like a Jaguar Mark 2, although probably scaled up about 30%.

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  • 1 month later...

Paint - this is what I saw today. Not much more to be said. I am very pleased with the color match. Next two weeks should see the suspension back on the frame, on wheels. Restored gauges are back and ready. Tires should be here first of next week. This old gal is coming back together.

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