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55 Buick Bugle article, questions and comments

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Here are some questions and comments on the 1955 Buick article by the editor in the Bugle.

1-Pertaining the the air conditioning: "Air conditioning was a rare option in any car in 1955.

For Buick, 1955 was the final year for the air conditioning

system to be located mostly in the trunk of the car. This

system featured two clear plastic ducts carrying the cooled air

from the rear package shelf into the roof behind the

headliner, with outlets in the headliner." I have never seen this feature on 55's (earlier models did have outlets in the headliner).

post-30648-143141759556_thumb.jpg

This feature is shown in literature: 55 Buick Air

Did any 55's have outlets in the headliner?

2-Pertaining to heater hoses: "the

Buick automatic transmission has a water cooler attached to

it, in which ¾-inch diameter rubber hoses send radiator

coolant back to the transmission, where the fluid is

marginally cooled, then the water circulates back—

eventually—to the radiator tank. Old Buicks (prior to 1956)

with Dynaflow coolers and under-seat heaters notoriously

require up to 40 feet of heater hose per car, making hose

replacement in one of these an all-day job."

All of my 55's have 5/8-inch heater hoses and only require 34 feet of hose. The heat exchanger is more than adequate, not marginal and it should not take all day to change the hoses ( I recently replaced all hoses and belts and installed a repaired radiator in 3 hours).

3-Pertaining to leaks: "The

Dynaflows are notorious for fluid leaks, so just accept it, get

used to it, or else prepare for an expensive removal and

resealing job."

Any transmission this old that has not been rebuilt with modern materials will leak. Most leaks are at the torque ball at the rear and can be fixed without removing the transmission. None of my 55 dynaflows leak.

4-Pertaining to the vent housings: "Firewalls

should be body color, except for the two semi-circular

defroster/vent housings, which should be semi-gloss black."

All of the originals that I have seen are covered with undercoating. Some 'personalized' cars have gloss black, chrome and even elimination of the covers.

5-Pertaining to white walls: "If the

car has wide whitewalls, they should be between 2-1/2 to 3

inches wide." I have never seen a 3 inch white wall on an original factory supplied tire. My Century had 2 1/2-inch...I measured 2 5/8 on the larger Roadmaster tire. Are there any 3-inch tires out there?

6-Pertaining to the grill ornament: "The circular emblem in the center of the grille

ornament should be painted red, white, and blue, but this

is often overlooked on a restored car."

This true, but the one pictured shows the center unpainted. It is black on all of mine. (There are some ornaments with the Buick crest and I don't know if they are painted)

post-30648-14314175954_thumb.jpg

7-Pertaining to the trunk handle: The concave area

between the ribs of the trunk ornament should be painted

black on Specials, Centurys, and Supers, but owners of

restored cars usually neglect to do this.

I have never seen this on original handles/ornaments. (It would be nice if true, since even the best chrome plater leaves pits and pimples in this area)

post-30648-143141759561_thumb.jpg

It has been my passion to maintain and restore correct 55's. I will soon need to start selling some of the old iron and I don't want to try to negotiate with someone with the Bugle article in hand. I also would hate to see someone on the 400 point judging field with some of these issues noted here.

Bonus picture of correct low mileage original...coming soon.

post-30648-143141759589_thumb.jpg

Willie

post-30648-143141759526_thumb.jpg

post-30648-143141759548_thumb.jpg

Edited by old-tank
ww size (see edit history)

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1-Pertaining the the air conditioning: "Air conditioning was a rare option in any car in 1955.

For Buick, 1955 was the final year for the air conditioning

system to be located mostly in the trunk of the car. This

system featured two clear plastic ducts carrying the cooled air

from the rear package shelf into the roof behind the

headliner, with outlets in the headliner." I have never seen this feature on 55's (earlier models did have outlets in the headliner).

This feature is shown in literature: 55 Buick Air

Did any 55's have outlets in the headliner?

No.

Many 1954 A/C jobs were modified by removing the plexiglas ducts from the headliner ducts. The result was a much more efficient operation. For 1955, the headliner ducts and headliner registers were eliminated. For one reason or another the sales brochures did not show this change.

2-Pertaining to heater hoses: "the

Buick automatic transmission has a water cooler attached to

it, in which ¾-inch diameter <nobr style="color: rgb(62, 62, 62); line-height: 12px;">rubber hoses</nobr> send radiator

coolant back to the transmission, where the fluid is

marginally cooled, then the water circulates back—

eventually—to the radiator tank. Old Buicks (prior to 1956)

with Dynaflow coolers and under-seat heaters notoriously

require up to 40 feet of heater hose per car, making hose

replacement in one of these an all-day job."

All of my 55's have 5/8-inch heater hoses and only require 34 feet of hose. The <nobr style="color: rgb(62, 62, 62); line-height: 12px;">heat exchanger</nobr> is more than adequate, not marginal and it should not take all day to change the hoses ( I recently replaced all hoses and belts and installed a repaired radiator in 3 hours).

When I read that, I had the same thoughts.

3-Pertaining to leaks: "The

Dynaflows are notorious for fluid leaks, so just accept it, get

used to it, or else prepare for an expensive removal and

resealing job."

Any transmission this old that has not been rebuilt with modern materials will leak. Most leaks are at the torque ball at the rear and can be fixed without removing the transmission. None of my 55 dynaflows leak.

Mine leaks a very small amount. Just a drop or two. Such a small leak, I've not had to add any trans fluid since I had the trans rebuilt ten years ago....

5-Pertaining to white walls: "If the

car has wide whitewalls, they should be between 2-1/2 to 3

inches wide." I have never seen a 3 inch white wall on an original factory supplied tire. My Century had 2 1/2-inch...I measured 3 5/8 on the larger Roadmaster tire. Are there any 3-inch tires out there?

I have an original tire, 2-1/2" WW
6-Pertaining to the grill ornament: "The circular emblem in the center of the grille

ornament should be painted red, white, and blue, but this

is often overlooked on a restored car."

This true, but the one pictured shows the center unpainted. It is black on all of mine. (There are some ornaments with <nobr style="color: rgb(62, 62, 62); line-height: 12px;">the Buick</nobr> crest and I don't know if they are painted)

Attachment 178816Attachment 178817

I noticed this , too. The center of mine was black 43 years ago when Dad got the car. The article on the original Roadmaster in the same issue , shows a black center.
7-Pertaining to the trunk handle: The concave area

between the ribs of the trunk ornament should be painted

black on Specials, Centurys, and Supers, but owners of

restored cars usually neglect to do this.

I have never seen this on original handles/ornaments. (It would be nice if true, since even the best chrome plater leaves pits and pimples in this area)

Attachment 178820

I don't recall seeing that painted black.... I don't have a strong recollection... My car does not have that type of handle...
4-Pertaining to the vent housings: "Firewalls

should be body color, except for the two semi-circular

defroster/vent housings, which should be semi-gloss black."

All of the originals that I have seen are covered with undercoating. Some 'personalized' cars have gloss black, chrome and even elimination of the covers.

Mine were undercoated prior to 1970. And , are, now... I would say the undercoating is original.
It has been my passion to maintain and restore correct 55's. I will soon need to start selling some of the old iron and I don't want to try to negotiate with someone with the Bugle article in hand. I also would hate to see someone on the 400 point judging field with some of these issues noted here.

Bonus picture of correct low mileage original...coming soon.

Attachment 178822

I agree... I shook my head with disappointment as I read the article. The photos of the original Roadmaster in the same issue should have been used as the guide for originality.

Willie,

I sadly agree with you...

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Something else on the same article; on pp 14 & 15

A photo appears from a spring '55 sales brochure.

The caption in the issue describes the four cars

"1955 Buick Models

from top (clockwise):

Century,

Super,Special,

Roadmaster"

The cars that actually appear in the photo are,

from the top (clockwise)

Century63, Century66R, Special46C, Super56R.

A Roadmaster does not appear in the photo

Edited by bhambulldog
edit 46C 56R (see edit history)

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This post illustrates perfectly why it would be helpful to take a moment with each new monthly issue of the Bugle to see which themes are planned for the future. The themes are posted every month on page 4. If you have knowledge about a specific car model, be generous with your time and offer help on that particular issue. Contributions BEFORE articles are written are much more useful to fellow club members than criticism AFTER the magazine is delivered. Not fair to eat the bread if you wont help bake it, said the Little Red Hen.

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Contributions BEFORE articles are written are much more useful to fellow club members than criticism AFTER the magazine is delivered. Not fair to eat the bread if you wont help bake it, said the Little Red Hen.

Right on target!!......

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Very good points, as Cindy suggests input prior to the article being published would be awesome. Another option would be to volunteer to review the article when it is listed on page 4 before it is published to help confirm details so the after effects/thoughts are minimal!

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While I regret some of the errors, and have already offered to run a correction if Willie Pittman cared to write one for the Bugle, but he was not interested when he called to complain to me last week (and I made that offer to him). I might take his remarks more seriously if he weren't going to such great lengths to be negative and overly critical of my article. I applaud his ability to change all heater hoses and Dynaflow hoses in three hours. I cannot do it that fast when they are rock hard, 50 years old, have rusted clamps that don't work, and I get interrupted by phone calls. I think a lot of this is sour grapes because he didn't bother to read in advance that the February issue was going to be on 1955 Buicks, which he obviously has a lot of expertise in. Did he offer to write an article when I publicized for three months in advance that this was going to be the 1955 issue? No.

Do I have time to call up every 1955 Buick owner I know, in advance of the issue, to ask if they have anything they want to contribute to the magazine? No. And even if I had that kind of time, I would not have had room for it all.

I received so much material and articles on the 1955 Buicks from those who took the initiative and read that the February issue was going to be on the '55s, that I did not need to contact anyone to beg for articles. Yes, I should have gotten him or a similar person to proof the 1955 article in advance, but monthly publishing deadlines don't always allow the luxury of time. Also, Willie knows that no judges are allowed to carry magazines or literature with them while judging at a BCA meet--as I say, he is bending over backwards to be critical.

None of his '55 Dynaflows leak--congratulations! Does that make my observation wrong that most Dynaflows leak? I think not.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Edited by Pete Phillips (see edit history)

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While I regret some of the errors, and have already offered to run a correction if Willie Pittman cared to write one for the Bugle, but he was not interested when he called to complain to me last week (and I made that offer to him). I might take his remarks more seriously if he weren't going to such great lengths to be negative and overly critical of my article. I applaud his ability to change all heater hoses and Dynaflow hoses in three hours. I cannot do it that fast when they are rock hard, 50 years old, have rusted clamps that don't work, and I get interrupted by phone calls. I think a lot of this is sour grapes because he didn't bother to read in advance that the February issue was going to be on 1955 Buicks, which he obviously has a lot of expertise in. Did he offer to write an article when I publicized for three months in advance that this was going to be the 1955 issue? No.

Do I have time to call up every 1955 Buick owner I know, in advance of the issue, to ask if they have anything they want to contribute to the magazine? No. And even if I had that kind of time, I would not have had room for it all.

I received so much material and articles on the 1955 Buicks from those who took the initiative and read that the February issue was going to be on the '55s, that I did not need to contact anyone to beg for articles. Yes, I should have gotten him or a similar person to proof the 1955 article in advance, but monthly publishing deadlines don't always allow the luxury of time. Also, Willie knows that no judges are allowed to carry magazines or literature with them while judging at a BCA meet--as I say, he is bending over backwards to be critical.

None of his '55 Dynaflows leak--congratulations! Does that make my observation wrong that most Dynaflows leak? I think not.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Pete, thank you for taking the time to write the article. Some people have an extraordinary amount of time on their hands. I really enjoyed reading the article and was thrilled when it arrived in the mail. Here's the deal, 1955 Buicks will never be 1962 Corvettes where people know where specific drips of grease are to reside and stray chalk marks should be on the frame. Honestly, most GM cars from this era are so inconsistent, that who knows if cars built in Arlington are going to be exactly the same as those built in Detroit.

I think the best anyone can hope to get is a "pretty sure this is how its supposed to be" on the minor details of a 1955 Buick. My 1955 Roadmaster is an extremely original car, and still has variances from James Millers car. His car has a lot of things that are chromed, thats not correct that still looks great. These cars look awful with Radial tires, IMO, but people still run them. I would much rather see a 3" Bias ply than a 2" hideous Radial tire. :)

Thank you again for your hard work on the article!

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Incidentally, the tires on my car are incorrect, they are 8.20 when Roadmaster's came with 8.00 Bias Plys. However, this car is essentially the same body as a 55 Coupe DeVille / Series 62 which did come with 8.20 Bias Plys, so I thought they looked fine.

I removed the Plastic Air Conditioning Tubes on my car and put in package shelf vents from a Cadillac Sedan, because the tubes, however in perfect condition, look awful.

The center of my grill emblem is not painted black, as I like to see more of the Gold showing.

The Paint code for my car is BAA, not BAB, so it is also incorrectly painted.

Now the things that do bother me most are the interior and trunk, they were redone in incorrect fabrics, so they shall be redone this year if I can find the time.

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Rostram's all original car was in the same magazine. That photo's of that car should have been the guide for what an original looks (looked) like.

As Eric said, Mine has a lot of interior chrome and engine chrome that was added. After nearly 60 years many modifications have been made on cars. With so many cars that are out there that are not correct. Many people are dependent on publications like the Bugle as a guide to authenticity.

My comments weren't meant to snipe at your effort. But to point out errors that I noticed.

I received so much material and articles on the 1955 Buicks from those who took the initiative and read that the February issue was going to be on the '55s, that I did not need to contact anyone to beg for articles. Yes, I should have gotten him or a similar person to proof the 1955 article in advance, but monthly publishing deadlines don't always allow the luxury of time

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I've been reading the Bugle for years and never thought about chiming in before articles were published.

I would like to preface my following statements by saying that I know Willie and Pete personally and consider them friends. People here on the forum know that Willie has helped me in every aspect of restoration, repair and authenticity of all of my 55's. He has been driving a 1955 Buick since 1962 (five years before I was born) back when these cars were "contemporary" and just used cars. He has restored two cars to Senior status as well as helping me get my Senior award. He also owns an oddball turquoise and white car with red and black interior with less than 30k on the odometer.

Very few people know the "nitty gritty" details better than he does and to be honest, I believe he gets very irritated when somebody restores one improperly. With that said, he doesn't mind personalization like I have done on my 55 wagon and other friends have done IF they don't purport to be "original" or "restored". I get his point.

Pete, on the other hand, has a spectacular knowledge of numerous years. I would have no idea how to judge for authenticity on a 30's Buick. Or a boattail Riv. Pete could.

He also is in charge of a first rate magazine in the Bugle. Does anybody remember the pre-Pete Bugle? Night and day.

The Bugle is a reference for restorers and I THINK the point of this thread is that a retraction won't be kept with the original article, so maybe somebody trying to restore a 55 will at least paint the grille emblem black in the center.

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This is one od the reasons I no longer belong to the BCA !!!! Everyone is so worried about "correctness" that they can't just enjoy their Buicks

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A little food for thought: Ever read a newspaper article that you happen to have first hand knowledge of the details? There are almost ALWAYS errors made by the writer who tried their best to cover the story. Because of this well known problem, when I read any plublications I understand there will be errors in nearly every article. Most of the time I don't know enough about the specific subject to know what the erros are but 99.99 of the time errors are irrelevant to the person reading. Despite the inevitable, the article (whatever it may be about) always seems to serve its purpose to the mass audience.

Over the years I have purchased restoration guides for various vehicles that were written by experts on the specific model and even those ALWAYS have errors.

I think its safe to say that less than 1% of BCA membership will never have reason to concern themsleves over these minor errors covering the 55 year as they read and enjoy articles so while it may ruffle some feathers on the most knowledable, its not really a problem for the general membership.

Though I don't agree with the negative tactic used in the initial post, Aside from that it does highlight that we may have opportunities for continuous improvement on accuracy when such highly detailed articles articles are attempted in the future. It is important for us all to remember no matter who is doing the writing, it will always be very difficult to get it right 100% of the time. At some point the amount of time it takes to research and write an article has to come into play as well.

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)

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Guest BJM

1. Post a correction with photos and comment provided by Willie. Consider using the Letters to Editors section. Most major magizines do, for similar reasons.

2. Adjust the philosophy or direction of these YEAR based articles. For instance, instead of Pete putting his name to the restoration commentary, have the BCA's technical advisor for that year consider doing it. Serves 2 purposes, keeps the editor out of direct criticism of the commentary, and 2 - provides a motivated restorer with the club's go to person for restoration concerns, for that model year covered. Kind of promotes the technical advisors role.

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I'm not a current BCA member but I do have a couple of Buicks that I've restored to Gold. That said, I'm no expert on "correctness" but my experiance in the hobby and being judged tells me there is no such thing as the all knowing EXPERT that KNOWS whats correct.............Bob

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I'm not a current BCA member but I do have a couple of Buicks that I've restored to Gold. That said, I'm no expert on "correctness" but my experiance in the hobby and being judged tells me there is no such thing as the all knowing EXPERT that KNOWS whats correct.............Bob

Shade of engine colour anyone?

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Shade of engine colour anyone?

tha's what I love about this place, just try and get serious and ................

Thriller, you out there? we sure are missin ya

Edited by MrEarl
mispelled ya (see edit history)

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Shade of engine colour anyone?

How can you match it when you can't spell it? ;)...............Bob

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How can you match it when you can't spell it? ;)...............Bob

Hey Bobber,

Want some aloe for that burn?

:) :) :D

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Now, just hold on a minute...just because you Americans are lazy with the English language and have shortened half the words and have difficulty with things like colour or honour, don't get all persnickety about it.

I almost have a clue what everyone is talking about...my edition arrived this week (and is most likely still in plastic somewhere around here).

Frankly, I am in wholehearted agreement that Pete does a heck of a job. Between editing and writing a significant portion of the Bugle, he also contributes to the club in judging. I would strive to not get too hot and bothered about the finest of details.

That said, these articles do purport to be a restoration and judging guide, so accuracy is important. Not having a '55 Buick (today), it is quite possible that I would be frustrated if judges used information from the article that isn't quite correct to make deductions on a car being judged if they aren't sure. You have to remember that judging is supposed to be about fun. The thing that is wrong with judging in the BCA is that in the judges school, you are told 5-10 minutes per car and "don't kill the car" and the next day the judging teams are spending up to 30 minutes per car, complaining about how long it takes, and killing the car by finding finicky deductions. That's how you tick off folks like The Old Guy...and me, frankly. I do like the idea of the articles being written (or perhaps vetted) by the technical adviser(s) responsible for the year of vehicle.

It was also pointed out earlier in this thread that there were differences between assembly plants. When I had the Wildcat judged in Colorado Springs, a deputy told me the underside of the hood was supposed to be black. It was body colour (note correct spelling) originally and was repainted as original. So, if a relatively high-ranking senior judge is going to tell me that all cars were the same, when this is a Canadian car built in Oshawa, and that I was incorrect in painting it as it was originally (first repaint of the car was during the restoration in 2005-6), well, it tells me that

1) judges are human and can make mistakes, and

2) not all "knowledge" out there is perfect.

Heck, if it was made by man (or woman to be sure to include Roberta), it isn't perfect. There is only one perfect "manufacturer" and we aren't him.

Why does everyone have to keep bringing up engine colour Lamar? Or is it just you? Just because we paint-matched a clean piece before the rebuild doesn't mean the match was perfect, or perhaps heat had affected the colour, but losing a mandatory 5 points on something like that (especially when there are other senior judges around that who stated the colour is within the range of what they would have called correct) is frustrating. But I'm not bitter...or am I?

Heck, if you want to get uptight about judging, figure this out for me. If I drive my '76 Pace Car Replica down to South Bend with Centerline wheels on it (as is present), what might the car qualify for? The wheels make it ineligible for the Driven Class. The modified guys don't want it for Modified Driven if the wheels are the only apparent change. I've been trying to figure that one out for years. Perhaps the easiest thing is to make a deal on the restorable one for sale east of here and swap wheels, putting new tires on. That solves the riddle, but is a pretty expensive solution. I'd be interested in driving the Reatta, but I've been told to plan on bringing the children down with me (Suzanne will likely be back on chemotherapy after surgery, so doesn't want to plan to make the trip), so the border could be tough with two in the trunk of the two-seater.

For those who claim to be missing me (with every shot they've taken so far anyway), I could see myself back here, but I need to get my business further off the ground...it is far too easy for me to spend a couple hours a day on here, and that doesn't help me to feed the family nor pay their tuition.

Now back to your regularly scheduled silence (from me).

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Actually Derek, I started the colour thing as I know its a "subjective" part of judging game and that both of us have difficulty obtaining the achem "correct" shade from the one supplier in the States.

Frankly I miss your posts in general and always think of your comments when these "angles on the head of a pin" arguments arise....I meant no disrespect.

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