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Any ideas for funding a restoration?

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So, I'm tired of seeing my '42 76S collecting dust in my garage and, while I'm still poor, I have acquired most of the missing pieces for the car. My question is this: Is there any grant funding available to restore historically significant vehicles?

I guess I have a few other questions, too"

1. The car is in pretty rough shape, what are the logical restoration phases that would be manageable so I can start formulating a plan of action. I've decided I probably wont try to do the work myself, so funding is a big hurdle and biting the project off in chunks makes the most sense.

2. Does anyone know of a good restoration shop in N. California who can get this car back to its former glory? Since it's quite possibly the only blackout 76S left in existence, I don't want someone to do a hack job.

3. What other words of wisdom might you have for someone trying to restore a very rare vehicle?

post-63759-143139195365_thumb.jpgThanks!

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OK Jared: I can see at least 30-40K farmin' that baby out. It could also wind up a black money hole if you make certain choices that don't work (like a lousy shop that tells you what you want to hear, takes your money and goes belly up)My suggestion. Sell it, save up and buy a good one. A good one is way South of 20 Grand and it would be much much much easier. Unless you are absolutely bonded with this or it was your Grandpa's...it's a dead horse if you don't have any dough. The fact that it's the only black out in existence I believe is interesting and has no bearing on this car's value in any condition. Mitch

Edited by lrlforfun (see edit history)

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A "professional" restoration will run $60,000 - $80,000. Trust me on that. Lets say you do most everything yourself including sheet metal work, except say for final body prep and paint, you're looking at $30-40k and thats if you are very conservative spending your money. A corner cutting restoration at a butcher shop will run $$35,000 - 40,000. Obviously I'm making some assumptions on the current condition of the car.

Many times I funded smaller car projects in the $10k range by not buying a new car for a daily driver for a 4-5 years. With an older paid-for car I only carried liabilty insurance so saved money there as well since a newer car would require collision coverage. That means sucking it up doing more maintenance on an older car but it frees up capital. Of course if you are already driving a beater with no plans for a new car that won't help you.

Before you start doing anything to the car, you need a professional assessment of the cars condition top to bottom with estimates on what all it will need as far as parts and labor. So you'll need to make contact with someone who is familiar with old Buicks as well as being upo to date on restoration work and go from there. Spending one dime before doing this is like jumping off a bridge without knowing how deep the water is.

As far as the grant.........perhaps if Barry Soetoro gets relected he will find a way to take more money from taxpayers to offer grants for historical car restoration. LOL.

Now that Willy's Jeep Wagon in the pic is something of real interest!

By the way, I was in Folsom CA while vacationing. What a beautiful town that is. We loved it there. Nice people

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)

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I suspect that before you could apply for any grant, from anybody (including "Shark Tank"?), you'd need to have some sort of estimate of what all work would be needed and related pricing. Plus ultimate "ending value" of the vehicle.

Certainly, you might find other better ones similar to the one you have, but I suspect they'd need some work too. Therefore, you might be better off fixing what you have instead of getting another "money pit" (although it might be a little shallower).

"Restoration" is a very broad word which can have a highly variable definition. Best to break-down the project into operational areas . . . engine/trans, rear axle/rear suspension, front suspension/chassis, exterior, interior, etc. Then you can focus on each one separately, over a period of time. To me, a key thing is to have the vehicle "operational" and "reliable" FIRST! This ONE thing will keep it from being in any of the definitions of "junk vehicle". Also, once it is operational, keep it licensed and insured . . . for good measure (many "antique" vehicle policies are inexpensive compared to regular insurance, provided you have the "locked building" to keep it in).

Save that "killer paint job" for last. In the mean time, some "satin black primer" can work well, even if some of the body work might need to wait. Plan on it being about a two year project, too! Or a little longer.

I understand the uniqueness of the vehicle and it's relationship to "history" of that era, but such situations (as mentioned) are not big "improvers" of what the car can ultimately be worth . . . now or later, fixed up or not. Trying to "sell" the specialness of the vehicle to anybody who might "give you money" to fix it up can be a "hard sell", I suspect.

Perhaps you might investigate donating it to the Buick Heritage Alliance so that it might have a better chance of finding a home, where its historical significance might also be better appreciated. And, possibly, a Buick enthusiast who might be better able to give it the work it might need could find it?

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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Jared, In 1961 when I was about 13 this book showed up at our public library:

post-46237-143139195401_thumb.jpg I own a copy today because that book set the path of my life. American books like that were not common at the time and it was a true treasure.

One page of the book stood out and affected me deeply. This one:

post-46237-14313919541_thumb.jpg I studied that picture as an impressionable youth and dreamed that I could work the same magic the owner of that Mercer did. At 13 I would have been well advised to figure out how to get enough money to buy his car rather than the time, money, and skill to duplicate his efforts.

I have owned so many 1942 Roadmasters over the 50 intervening years, well although the grilles were changed and the names were different they were the same forlorn car. The 100 point restoration never materialized while the hundreds of little jobs I did on each accrued. However, I was never without a dream. I could always lean back from the grind and daydream about the future drives and places to go. I always enjoyed the privilege of ownership no matter what stage the progress had halted at. You can stand in a tent in Hershey or Pomona with another owner and discuss the intricacies of the part your $100 per year budget might acquire. No matter the condition, you are still a member of the elite group of owners.

The study of the mechanics and aesthetic history and development can consume hours of pleasurable time. I recently spent 3 years doing that with a 1953 Jaguar; delighted with the experience, sold the unfinished project.

How did I do? When I was 30 I bought a 15 year old Buick Riviera, my favorite car ever. Last year I bought a 1994 Impala SS. I bet I will be happy with that when it turns 50. None of the restoration projects panned out I just bought cars I liked that were in better shape and kept them. Now I have four cars that run and drive and are presentable. I can wash them, polish them, show them, but I don't dream about them. And looking back to the first daydream about that Mercer, I might need that the most. And there is this Lincoln Cosmo convert begging to come home with me:

post-46237-143139195467_thumb.jpgBernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)

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You could have someone inspect it, determine what it will take to make it drivable/safe, etc.

Then shoot some two part,( WATER PROOF ) primer on it and drive it, a rat rod so to speak. Throw some Mexican blankets over the seats to add color, and fun.

Shouldn't cost much to have someone inspect and give you the facts on getting it up and running, IMO.

Dale in Indy

Edited by smithbrother (see edit history)

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Jared, Does the engine run, does the transmission work forwards and backwards, and do the brakes stop the car? If so, put it on the road as mentioned above and drive it at least once a month. This will begin to shake out what work the vehicle needs, and then you'll be more in tune with what a restoration would cost. If not, start with what ever does not work above.

I think what you'll find is this. You will start with one aspect and find you have to fix other things as part of the project. For example, you may get the engine running and find you now need a fuel line or motor mounts or more before you can drive the car. At some point, the number of things you want to accomplish will be overwhelming. At that point keeping friends up to date with your project will provide the impetus to continue and eventually you'll find that you have a very reliable car with a reasonable to do list. That is when you will want to look at the three beauty phases ( paint, interior, chrome).

I would also recommend reading the threads in the me and my buick forum. Shadetree 77 and 57 Buick Jim's threads are fantastic reading and point out that an econimical and beautiful restoration CAN be done at home, in the driveway, while enjoying a running vehicle. In the world of Buicks, I'll go out on a limb and say, it just doesn't get much better than that!

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Listen to what Mitch said although I think his estimate of what a good restoration will cost is too low by half. A car being "rare" has little to do with it's monetary value. I hate to sound brutal but the old car restoration hobby is a very tough place for a person with high hopes but limited money and/or skill. Either drive the car and fix it up as best you can and enjoy it or sell it and save up for a decent driver. Then when you are older and have some bucks to p**s away you can indulge your fantasies.............Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)

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I'm 4 years in with my 58. I just not hung the doors back on the car after 3 1/2 years being apart. I see no end to the project, but I take a bite at a time when I have the funds to do it. If I had all the money in the world, I would've had it done 3 years ago.

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Blackout,

You have some pretty solid guys giving your some real world advice on the restoration process in this thread. Thank you JohnD, for your kind words. And if you look at my post, http://forums.aaca.org/f163/how-do-frame-restoration-294509.html it took me three years to get it from a driver to a fully restored vehicle, after a first restoration 20 years ago. I was on a limited budget as well, and did what I could when I could to get the car to be safe and sound and be a driver. I did have some experience restoring a number of cars prior to my Buick, and the experience did help me when it came time to work on the car.

My advice is if you are on a very limited budget, follow JohnD1956's approach and do what you need to do to get it to be a safe driving vehicle first. Engine, brakes, transmission, tires. After that, just work on the little parts that you can. If the floor is rusted out, patch it up as a stopgap, until you can find a decent replacement. Same with the trunk. Give it a coat of primer to make the car look uniform in color. Or, give it a quick paint job to brighten it up. Clean and polish everything (chrome, stainless, engine compartment) You will be suprised what you can do with a car wash, engine degreaser and about $5.00 in quarters.

Buy a shop manual on the car. Look at how to take it apart. Remove and repaint those things that you can do in a couple of days. Lots of Rustoleum paint sold at Lowes and Home Depot, as well as your local Auto Parts store, can make an engine compartment look brand new, with minimal effort, just sweat equity.

And sweat equity is what it will take, if you really want to restore this car. There is no magic "grant money" for restoring cars, nor anyone really interested in paying to do it for you (museums, etc). If you really want to bring the car back my friend, the onus is on you. The guys and gals on the Buick Forum are a fantastic team of experts that can help you through difficult times, but don't expect them to do the work for you. You need to show them that you are "all in" on your restoration and trying to do it on your own.

As NTX indicated in his post, break it down into manageable chunks, and you will complete it little by little. Shadetree77 is doing exactly that with his 52 Buick on a limited budget, and he is making small dents in that list every time he does something to his car.

This hobby is not for the meek hearted, sprinter type. This is a long distance marathon that you develop a relationship with your car, and learn more about yourself that you ever would if you didn't attempt it. The joy is when you get done with it, be it 2 years or 20, realizing the fact that YOU MADE THAT CAR! You did it, learned about a vehicle, its history and became part of that history. That is the medal you receive when you cross the finish line of that marathon!

Good luck, and I hope I didn't scare you on this journey. It is a great one.....believe me!!

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How I fund a restoration:

1. Sell another car that I don't need, and put the money towards the restoration.

2. Drive a $2000 car for my daily driver, and put the extra money towards a restoration.

3. Do as much of the work myself as I possibly can. Hire professional help only for those items you cannot do yourself.

No, there are no grants to restore a historically significant car, unless you want to give up its ownership, and let the granting authority take it over.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Leonard, Texas

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Well-said John and as Jim said above, thanks for the kind words. What you said sums up perfectly what I'm trying to do with my '52.

Blackout,

If you're on a limited (and I do mean LIMITED) budget like myself, you definitely want to drive your car if at all possible while restoring/fixing things here and there. It is all too easy to lose interest in a project when it's in pieces in your garage. I love driving my '52 even if it is a little rough around the edges. People still love it and I get compliments everywhere I go in it. Things like that keep the passion alive and keep me fully invested in my project. As John said, driving it also uncovers everything you need to do one piece at a time. Drive her for a while, something breaks, spend a small chunk of money to fix it, drive it some more, something else goes wrong, fix it, etc., etc. In between part malfunctions you can focus on restoring small details (chrome, emblems, cleaning, re-painting, etc.). This process allows you to work on her a little at a time while splitting your money spending up into manageable chunks rather than going all in right from the beginning. This CAN be done on a small budget. It just takes a little more patience and a little more time. If you really love your car you won't mind a bit. Just have fun with it!

Edited by shadetree77 (see edit history)

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OK Buick People: So who wants to buy this heap from Jared for all the money? Mitch

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Blackout, all the above is a lot to digest and some sounds downright depressing. All I am going to say is DON"T GIVE UP. I remember when you first found and saved the car and you are to be commended for recognizing what it is and for going to the lengths you have to save and keep it. I see nothing wrong at all with keeping it as it is and doing the minimum to get it driveable and safe enough to drive off a trailer and onto a showfield. Have you a nice display board made explaining the cars history inviting people to sit in a piece of WW II history and hell put you out a donation jar, you may be surprised how much some folks might pitch in knowing what it will go to. I'm sure it would never equal what it takes to even begin a full restore. Maybe someone would donate some tires for the ol man or someone else offer to paint him or help with some body work. You never know about these good-hearted Buick folks.

As my ol' friend Mick says " You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you get what you need".

Enjoy it, no matter what shape it is in.

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)

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Wow, what a response! Thanks, everyone. No, I'm not discouraged by the project, just a bit intimitated. Due to my budget situation I've simply focussed on acquiring miscellaneous parts and memorabilia associated with the car. I figured it would be best to drive a beater, as suggested, and start a fund for any extra money I have to go toward the restoration job. My challenge has been identifying reasonable project "chunks". The car needs EVERYTHING! If felt kinda dumb pulling the drivetrain to rebuild it only to stuff it back in a car that would sit for a couple more years before I could bite off another chunk. But, I do see the point of taking things one at a time so I can at least enjoy the car on the road instead of in my garage. I recevied advice a while ago to save money and acquire parts until I have the resources I need to tackle the bulk of the project or at least to get it on the road. I'm patient, but I might have to find another old Buick in the meantime to run around while I save. Guess I'm a bit antsy to drive an old car again. Anyway, you all have given me a lot to think about. :)

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While you are thinking about it, how about giving us a pictorial on what you already know must be done? Do you already have a thread in the Me and my Buick forum? Start one if not and then post list of things you feel the car needs, and a few pictures. You'd want to document what you did in the end run, and maybe it will help us to help you sort out which way to proceed if we can see some of the issues you're facing.

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Jared:

Reading all the posts I readily concur with the opinions given. I had done the same as you except my infatuation with antique cars started close to 50 years ago. To my family I was the crazy 7 year old who had just seen Disney's "Absent Minded Professor". Now believing all antique cars were magical and could fly! Memorizing information in the "American Heritage" antique car postcard collection. (I still have them) Only dreaming some day I could have an antique car to drive. To me at this time antique ment pre-1930.

Pleaded with my parents to let me buy everything from a 1916 Model"T" to a 1924 Chrysler. In 1971 I bought a one owner, well kept 1937 IHC pick-up. I spent the next year ruining it because of my lack of skill, lack of space and lack of money. (I hope it is in a better place). My start with Buick came in 1973 as a $750.00, 1938 brush-painted Special, including mismatched size tires(also painted white walls). All my fathers mechanic friends tried to talk me out of the Buick since no one would work on it and parts would never be found. Sold it to a fellow near Pittsburgh. I hope it is still around.

After school, jobs, marrage, family etc. I had the "itch" come back in 1987 and bought my 1937 Special. After blowing the clutch on the drive home from Altoona Pa. I took on all the repairs myself and quickly became overwelmed! I picked at it for the next 25 years. All this time not enjoying driving an antique car. Last October My wife and I decided to buy another Buick to drive and finaly enjoy while I got back to the 37.(see thread "looking for a driver Buick") When the call went out for 1937s at the Buick nationals, we contracted to get the 37 finished up as a driver. Finaly we would participate in club activities! The shop promised to have it able to be driven to the meet. As mentioned in other threads the cost was over double what we budgeted, and double what the car could be worth. The cost was only directed to reliable driveability. No internal engine work. Brake system rebuilt, front end, fuel system redone, radiator and new wiring harness. No glass, no chrome, no uhpolstery work.The only cosmetics were 2 patches and closing up the 1" holes cut for turn signals and the wheels being repainted, since I was assuming to drive to North Carolina and new tires were in order. (If my "ship would come in" I could repaint the car later). This would have been great if only they had it done when promised. It was just delivered 2 weeks ago and driveability is still an issue.

In hind sight I should have posed questions as you have first then use the good advice from the experienced people here on the forum.

Nowpost-79073-143139198247_thumb.jpg back to picking at it myself.

Larry

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OK Jared: I have noticed over the years that many people giving advise on formus are so happy to envision spending your hard earned money......which in my ego-inflated, somewhat narcissist, not incredibly credible opinion...........BELONGS IN THE BANK instead of this car. It may be right for somebody but it's not right for you. Mitch

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Jared,

I had another thought. Maybe you can go to the local high school and see if they need a project car to work on in the auto body shop. Perhaps they will perform some of the body prep and rust repair work for a minimal investment, or gratis. They usually need donor cars and yours would be a unique item for them to work on. Hey, it's worth a shot!

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which in my ego-inflated, somewhat narcissist, not incredibly credible opinion.
well I agree with that part :rolleyes::)
your hard earned money..........BELONGS IN THE BANK instead of this car.
now you're starting to sound like my wife.

but I still say spend your Buick bucks wisely on getting it driveable and safe and enjoy the car for what it is.

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OK Jared: I have noticed over the years that many people giving advise on formus are so happy to envision spending your hard earned money......which in my ego-inflated, somewhat narcissist, not incredibly credible opinion...........BELONGS IN THE BANK instead of this car. It may be right for somebody but it's not right for you. Mitch

You make a good point. About 80% of the time a forum (not just this one) will happily promote spending someone else's money. However, I think most of the advice in this thread is pretty good. Ultimately our cars are toys and should never be considered a priority over the more important things in life.

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Also a point to ponder is that most of the guys who have provided advice on this thread have spent THEIR HARD EARNED money on their project. It is and always will be about priorities, but I don't think that the nature of this thread is telling Jared how to spend his money, just trying to provide him with ways to make it work for him on his budget. WE have all been in that situation and advice can be useful in making decisions. Just my humble opinion.

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