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1940 Buick Special...3rd owner and 1st project...


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Well, this is my first time on here, and I'm happy to say that I am very optimistic that I will find all the help and advice that I need after reading how good some of you are!

I am the proud owner of a 1940 Buick Special 4-door. It was my husband's grandfather's car, and he was the 2nd owner. The car was parked in 1965 because the started went on it and grandpa couldn't afford to get a new one!

I have never restored a car before, let alone done a complete ground up restoration, but I'm up for a challenge!

I guess what I would like to know first and foremost, since I can't find a whole lot on the internet about it, is what is the difference between a 40,50, etc series? I guess I'm not sure what I really have, and therefore don't know what literature to get. I do have the original owners manual, keys, and title (thank you grandpa for being a hoarder!) so that's a start!

Any information I can get would be appreciated, from where to find NOS parts, to where to start, etc.

I live in Northeast Wisconsin, so if anyone is from up here I'd love to get together and pick your brains if we have spare time!

Thanks for being here for everyone like me who doesn't know where to start...you gave me this as a starting point and I think we will have a great relationship!<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

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Hi Abbie

I am a new comer here and you have come to the right place to start. My 2 cents worth is you cannot begin until you know what you are starting with. Put the car undercover and take photos of it from all angles both inside and out as well as undersides of the frame and doors . Lift up carpets and floor coverings and photo the floors as well Dont forget to photo inside the trunk and under the hood. While under the hood if you photograph the ID plate of the car and post a photo here of the plate someone will tell you about your car model etc. Make the photos as high resolution as possible and file them carefully in electronic form as you may need them for future reference in years to come. Get your work shop sorted out before you start, A nice work shop with good light, warm and dry makes the work easier. Organise some good tools and equipment before you begin. If you try to think and plan ahead before you embark on any stage you can avoid the mistakes of others and having to do things twice. Suggest you join the Buick Car Club as well and search out some books about Buicks in general.

Cheers

Andrew

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Abbie,

Welcome to the Buick forum! I assure you that you will get lots of help and encouragement from this group. When you join the BCA you will receive a roster with all the members listed in your area with the Buicks they own... That in itself is worth it. Along with that, you will receive one of the finest monthly car magazines available with ads for suppliers with part and services for your Buick. Join the BCA and when you get your BCA membership number, send it to me to join the Prewar Division for free...

Here are some links that should be helpful...

http://www.buickclub.org/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.buickclub.org/prewar/BCA_PWD_index.htm</SPAN></SPAN>

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http://forum.eastwood.com/upload/forumdisplay.php?2-Ask-Eastwood&daysprune</SPAN>=</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.lucasclassictires.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.olsonsgaskets.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.prewarbuick.com/links.php</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.restorationstuff.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.special-interest-autos.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

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http://www.vintageandclassicreproductions.com/buick.htm</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.riwire.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.buickheritagealliance.org/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.secondchancegarage.com/public/186.cfm</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.zenithfuelsystems.com/prod_carburetor.htm</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.haartz.com/en/consumer_info/Restore_Guide/intro.asp</SPAN></SPAN>

http://old-carburetors.com/1927-Dykes.htm</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.classicautoshocks.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.lov2xlr8.no/broch1.html</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.buickclub.org/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.buickclub.org/prewar/BCA_PWD_index.htm</SPAN></SPAN>

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http://forum.eastwood.com/upload/forumdisplay.php?2-Ask-Eastwood&daysprune</SPAN>=</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.lucasclassictires.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.olsonsgaskets.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.prewarbuick.com/links.php</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.restorationstuff.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.special-interest-autos.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

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http://www.vintageandclassicreproductions.com/buick.htm</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.riwire.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.buickheritagealliance.org/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.secondchancegarage.com/public/186.cfm</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.zenithfuelsystems.com/prod_carburetor.htm</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.haartz.com/en/consumer_info/Restore_Guide/intro.asp</SPAN></SPAN>

http://old-carburetors.com/1927-Dykes.htm</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.classicautoshocks.com/</SPAN></SPAN>

http://www.lov2xlr8.no/broch1.html</SPAN></SPAN>

Edited by Mark Shaw (see edit history)
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Welcome aboard Abbie !!!!!

I hope you will enjoy the ride.

To find out about your new car, the first thing I would advise is to post a picture of the little tag that is riveted to the firewall on the passenger side in the engine bay. It will be up at the top. It has the numbers on it that will tell us a lot about your car.

Next thing is to buy a Buick parts book and shop manual, both of which are available as reprints (soft bound). Don't bother with the CD version, 'cause you can't read it on the work bench. Jolly John made me buy them when I got my '40, and I'll be forever greatfull, but don't tell him that.........

Next, please join the AACA and the Buick club. lots of know how here, and a great magazine with lots of great info that you will come to rely on.

Mike in Colorado

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Welcome aboard Abbie !!

I would reiterate what Andrew said in taking pictures of everything before you start. Do it from as many angles as you can and when dismantling anything take more pictures as you go. You'll be amazed at how many times the question will arise "where does this go ?"

Also, it helps to have a picture to go with questions too.

Is the car complete ??

Danny

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Abby, neat car, but quit teasing us with only ONE picture!;). In Buick speak, the series numbers are as follows.

Special is a 40 series, with a four door being a mod 41

Super is a 50 series

Century us a 60 series

Roadmaster is a 70 series[i think this is correct for 1940]

Limited is either 80 or 90 series, depending on a couple of qualifers.

I have a soft spot for a 1940 Special mod 41, as yours is, as my first Buick when I was 16 was one such car.

Ben

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The car is totally complete...well, I was missing 2 things so I got a parts car for half of what it was going to cost to replace those 2 parts! All of the glass is intact, and all of the chrome is there!!

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Welcome aboard Abbie !!

I would reiterate what Andrew said in taking pictures of everything before you start. Do it from as many angles as you can and when dismantling anything take more pictures as you go. You'll be amazed at how many times the question will arise "where does this go ?"

Also, it helps to have a picture to go with questions too.

Is the car complete ??

Danny

and ever better, "I know this went there, but how did it go on?" Ha!

Welcome Abbie!

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Grant,

You have a beautiful Buick!! I was contemplating doing that color on "Ollie", but I think I may stick to the origional black, or steel gray color....in 15 years when he's done!!

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Ben- thank you so much for explaining the series numbers and such. So then I have a Buick Special 40 Series mod 41 right?! And I noticed some people have "mod 41D's" and stuff like that...What does the letter mean after the mod? Im learning so much already and I can't wait to learn more!!

Thanks so much!!

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[ATTACH=CONFIG]187210[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]187211[/ATTACH]

just a couple more pictures of "Ollie" how I found him...it still astonishes me that every piece of glass is still intact and all of the chrome is there...

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post-92581-143141840352_thumb.jpg

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Hello Abbie,

You have a great looking car there with a lot of potential. In addition there should be a fairly good supply of parts available for your particular model. You mentioned doing a ground up restoration on the car. In your particular case there is a sentimental reason for wanting to restore the car, and a good one at that. I would suggest that you go into this with both eyes open however and would point out that the effort will be great. We are probably talking years of effort due to the fact the car has been sitting outside for such a long period of time. Also bear in mind that a ground up restoration of this car will easily cost you 2 to 3 times the value of the car in its finished state, even if you do much of the work yourself. There is simply no way around this fact and as long as you are aware of this at the beginning, you should gain considerable satisfaction when the task is completed. In more cases than not new owners do not understand the amount of work and financial commitment that will be required to achieve one's goal, thus leading to many disassembled and partially finished project cars once reality sets in.

I certainly would not want to dissuade you from restoring your car as I am a fan of that process myself with about 3 1/2 years into an approximately 5 year restoration of my 1930 Buick. There should be others here on this forum who are very familiar with the inner workings of your particular model who can provide you with technical expertise/advise as needed.

Thanks,

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Annie,

Thanks for the pictures, and keep them comming.

It's good that the chrome is all there, 'cause that front emblem is now over a hundred bucks to replace, and you don't even want to know what those trunk hinges cost now....... They are "pot metal" die castings and not at all forgiving.

All the stainless trim can be removed (carefully) and the clips under them are readilly available.

Mike in Colorado

PS; I notice this is a "dual thread" on the PRE WAR forums. Should we collapse this one and jump on the other ?

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PS; I notice this is a "dual thread" on the PRE WAR forums. Should we collapse this one and jump on the other ?

Mike- I know that this is a dual thread with Post-War Buicks, and I really am not sure how that happened! I was trying to figure this out last night and somehow it was posted on Pre-war, general, and post-war...it could be the fact that I'm new or just blonde!

I would love to combine all of the threads together if that's possible, but for now I've just been bouncing back and forth between them all trying to keep up with the posts!

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[. We are probably talking years of effort due to the fact the car has been sitting outside for such a long period of time. Also bear in mind that a ground up restoration of this car will easily cost you 2 to 3 times the value of the car in its finished state, even if you do much of the work yourself. There is simply no way around this fact and as long as you are aware of this at the beginning, you should gain considerable satisfaction when the task is completed.

Michael- Thank you for reiterating that fact for me. I am VERY aware at the cost and time-frame needed for this project, and I am aware at how much of myself will be going in to it! I stated at the beginning of this (to my husband) that I don't care if it takes 10 years to finish, I want to do as much as I can myself, because of the sentimental value. (The 10 year part scared him, which is how I got a new garage fro X-Mas! He didn't want me taking over his garage for that long! heh)

This will be a battle of the wills both physically and emotionally, and I can't wait! I am excited to learn new things and meet new people and roll on down the road!

Thanks so much!

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Mike- I know that this is a dual thread with Post-War Buicks, and I really am not sure how that happened! I was trying to figure this out last night and somehow it was posted on Pre-war, general, and post-war...it could be the fact that I'm new or just blonde!

I would love to combine all of the threads together if that's possible, but for now I've just been bouncing back and forth between them all trying to keep up with the posts!

Workin on it.....

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Mike- I know that this is a dual thread with Post-War Buicks, and I really am not sure how that happened! I was trying to figure this out last night and somehow it was posted on Pre-war, general, and post-war...it could be the fact that I'm new or just blonde!

I would love to combine all of the threads together if that's possible, but for now I've just been bouncing back and forth between them all trying to keep up with the posts!

Well thanks to whoever (Mr. Earl ?) for knocking this down to a single thread. Thank you sir...

So now, per above we have a blonde with a Buick, in Wisconsin, and with her own garage to boot.........

That does it..... I'm going to elk hart lakes June Sprints this year.......

Abbie, will we see you on the "girls on Buicks IV forum" or do we have to wait for your avatar to get posted ?

Mike in Colorado

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Well thanks to whoever (Mr. Earl ?) for knocking this down to a single thread. Thank you sir...

So now, per above we have a blonde with a Buick, in Wisconsin, and with her own garage to boot.........

That does it..... I'm going to elk hart lakes June Sprints this year.......

Abbie, will we see you on the "girls on Buicks IV forum" or do we have to wait for your avatar to get posted ?

Mike in Colorado

ok not to sound too "b londe" but where is the "girls on buicks IV forum" ...

also, I've heard that there is a pre war buick car show coming to Wisconsin this summer... anyone know where???

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.... that I don't care if it takes 10 years to finish, I want to do as much as I can myself, because of the sentimental value. (The 10 year part scared him, which is how I got a new garage for X-Mas! He didn't want me taking over his garage for that long! heh)..
So another quick restoration (look at Danny's signature) ;). Some parts are common with 1939
ok not to sound too "b londe" but where is the "girls on buicks IV forum" ...

Here http://forums.aaca.org/f115/girls-buicks-iv-259016.html

Edited by 1939_buick (see edit history)
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O.K. Grant, now you've done it.......

Team 40 Buick.

And then there were four, with Abbie, BigDog, Dave and me, so............

Calling all '40 Buick owners.

Put that in your avatar and smoke it................

Mike in Colorado

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Hi and welcome Abbie!

Having a '40 Buick 41D years ago, and having lived in northern Wisconsin for 12 years in Tomahawk and north of Rhinelander, all I can do is repeat the above and congradulations for taking care of and wanting to restore a nice old car! Kudos to your husband for the garage also. The oldest Buick that I own now is a '85 Riviera, one of about 25 I've owned in my life, but I have a good collection of literature and ads for all the cars that I and my late father owned in our lives,along with the needed shop manuals and factory brochures and parts manuals for them and the 2 cars in the 20's that I'm restoring.A 10 year "window" is'nt out of line for a restoration so you're right on schedule. You can find a lot of "paper" on eBay reasonably, so it wo'nt hurt to check. I sure wish I still had my black '40! There are probably a few old salvage yards up north too in case you need parts. A starter should'nt be a problem to find if you have'nt yet got one.Please post a few more pictures if you can, and where up north do you live?Thanks, and good luck!

kaycee

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So another quick restoration (look at Danny's signature)

Um, yes, an unhelpful ex-wife, delayed me somewhat, then I was distracted for a few years restoring an MG.

Then I got remarried and the rot set in :) :). 3 kids and an old house constantly in need of something needing to be done chews up a lot of the spare time these days plus I have a small business that takes up a lot of my weekends but the good side there is I can look at my old girls and dream of future glory days whilst I'm working. :)

Danny

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I have had a few cars like your Ollie. The first thing to do is thoroughly clean the car. Get out your bucket and soap, your vacuum cleaner, window spray, some lanolin hand cleaner to massage into the old rubber and clean every nook and cranny as if you were going to the biggest car show ever. Polish anything that will polish. You will really know the car when you are done.

If you are a true car hobbyist and you take one part off the result be like this:

. The dis-assembly can be smooth and slick. And cost as little as knocking over a domino. Imagine if it cost $1 each to stand up 30,000 domino's. It is easy and cheap to dis-assemble an old car. There are 300- $100 jobs to put it back together again. I can list them. So avoid making a pile of parts.

Once it is all cleaned and as shiny as it can get you will want to be sure it rolls. Each wheel will need to be checked for its ability to roll freely. If it rolls freely it will need to stop. Imagine the logic of doing a brake job before starting the engine? I have done that with an "Ollie" I had.

Starting the engine isn't just sticking a battery in and priming the carb. I've heard that story and it makes me cringe. You need to prelube every surface inside the engine. It is easy to jam the piston into cylinder wall rust where a valve has been letting moist air inside for decades. And if gramps didn't do a fresh oil change right before the starter went bad, acids in the oil have etched about .005" of babbit material off the big end of the rods. She'll rattle when the oxide wipe off. The fuel tank needs to be checked so you don't suck up dirt, rust, and the occasional wasp nest too. And I have actually found spider bodies in carburetors. You will need to check there. If the muffler is still on be sure not to set a big mouse nest on fire. Boy, do they smoke and stink!

Also any vented component that is heavy may have a lot of water that condensed inside. That is the rearend, transmission, and even the oil pan. Be careful to bring it home on a flatbed so those parts are not lubed with water while being towed home. At least the old cars have drain plugs.

I could write a lot more, just taking a break from work. The best thing is to learn from the mistakes of the group members. When I was young I tried to learn from their successes. I ended up with more dis-assembled cars than I could afford.

This car is pretty similar to yours. It was only 35 years old when the picture was taken. I was 26. It sure was cheap to take them apart back then:

Bernie

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Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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