Sign in to follow this  
project61

'32 Buick 8-50 -4 SU carbs, Twin Boattail Custom Steel Body for Great Race

Recommended Posts

So, here's the motivating "legend":

I’ve imagined that it’s 1947-50. The war is over and we won. The scrapyards are filling up with 1930s cars that were stretched to last through the rationing days, as returning veterans and families buy up any new car that Detroit has to offer. Being too young to have been in service (but having worked for peanuts at Uncle Bob’s Esso station while the older guys were away), I’m a bit short of cash, so that new-car option is out of reach. However, the old, rusted-out ’32 Buick that Aunt Millie drove is now mine for the taking, and I bet I can jazz it up a bit, maybe make it a little like that snazzy MG-T cousin Will brought back from England. Maybe I can find some fenders and bits to replace that boxy sedan body it has now… Yeah, that’s it: I know how to weld a bit, and I can do a little hammer-forming where needed. Let’s take off the body, and have at it. We’ll be the hit of the drive-in; Sue will look the peaches in the passenger seat; and maybe I can earn a few sawbucks in the Saturday open races at the fairgrounds.

Here's the first, sketch, then a how-to, with pieces parts from the "junk yard": post-48424-143141937593_thumb.jpg

The first step was to 'build' a body out of foam and duct tape to be sure it would fit and look right:

post-48424-1431419376_thumb.jpgNot too bad (shown here overlaid with the first sketch).

The twin head fairings are siamesed front fenders from a 38 caddy! The pontoon fenders are L & R rears from a 37/38 chevy sedan (well actually 4 such sedans) - though I tried at first to use MG-A fenders (too small, too new). The chassis is all restored (I kept the mechanical brakes and other running gear), but the engine now has four SU HS-2 carburettors on a custom stainless intake & exhaust manifold.post-48424-143141937618_thumb.jpg

Here's Uncle Sam testing out the finished chassis: post-48424-143141937609_thumb.jpg.

Here's what it should look like when it's all done: post-48424-143141937624_thumb.jpg

Here's what it looks like so far (most all the body work is nearing completion on another '32 frame: steel over wood construction, '33 grille shell, cut down '35 hood & cowl, cowl extended, '35 doors cut down & reversed): post-48424-143141937705_thumb.jpg

Like all projects: much longer and much more costly than planned, but it's getting closer.... I think the fenders may just have to wait - I want to get this rascal on the ROAD! jc

post-48424-143141937578_thumb.jpg

post-48424-143141937627_thumb.jpg

post-48424-143141937711_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great car, great project! I saw a 32 Chrysler sedan for sale Sunday and had a similar vision. Well done!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the 32 Imperial in particualr has some similar design elements (Vee'd windshield and grille)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is going to be an excellent car. I really like the area behind each seat. This design is like some of the early coach built cars of the '20s and '30s. Are plans to be in the 2014 Great Race?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, that's the plan (well, actually, that's Plan C, as an overly optimistic initial goal was for GR 2012, then GR 2013). But it's coming along nicely now. We've been enjoying racing around the back lot on the bare chassis, while the body work has dragged along (feature creep as it moved from Speedster to coachbuilt lovely)...

j 'it it weren't for optimism, I'd never start anything' c

This is going to be an excellent car. I really like the area behind each seat. This design is like some of the early coach built cars of the '20s and '30s. Are plans to be in the 2014 Great Race?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was fortunate to see the start of the GR in Traverse City, Michigan this year. There was at least one Buick speedster and maybe a second. I have to go back to my photos. I have a '26 Nash that I am considering making into a Speedster. My biggest problem was trying to determine is what shape to make the rear half of the car. I really don't care to have the fuel tank sitting on top right behind the driver as seen in lots of Speedsters. After seeing your sketches I think I would like to create some type of smooth body rear half. I have always liked the "hooded" effect just behind the driver and passengers head. Do you have more recent photos of the work in progress? Where in Upstate N.Y. do you live?

Al Ruckey GM Retired Engineer (fuel systems)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm... that didn't work (maybe the pix were still too large).post-48424-143142247251_thumb.jpg

Here they are again, even smaller.

jc

post-48424-143142247246_thumb.jpg

post-48424-143142247249_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it looks like a Beast, but it runs like a Beauty! The carburetors are SU HS-1's from late 60's Triumph Spitfires - IT turns out that corrected for the lower speed, but higher displacement of the Buick, they are a perfect flow match (well, we need four, not two for twice the cylinders). One per port and good to go. The exhaust matches the original eight-port surface on the head, dropping into a 2x4 manifold. Then those two join up into a single big pipe below the frame Right now, it runs along the driver's side, through a long glass-pack, and turns out and down just ahead of the rear wheel, like a proto-Lakes pipe! Looks good, sounds good, runs great!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we're down to the wire. The body work and paint took a LOOONG time! I just got it out of paint last week, and the Great Race starts on June 21! Here's what it looked like right out of the booth. Since this, I have fit the windshield with its 12 major chrome pieces, 2 glass panes, 8 minor brackets and 40 threaded fasteners; also cut the interior panels (to be upholstered this weekend), fitted the wiper system, and upgraded to a remote spin-on oil filter. I MIGHT still make it.

post-48424-14314252894_thumb.jpg

By the way, I need front turn signals: I would like to use '32 or '33 fender lights - Anybody have some to sell? jc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Fantastic result of hard work. One suggestion, if you are going to be in the great race you might want to consider adding a tailpipe. I had a side exhaust on my Nash-Healey and on trip it just got to loud to talk and understand directions.

Al Ruckey

Detoit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Al. I'll be lucky to get a rain hood on it in time! Just two weeks left and still not legal. I'm VERY angry at my paint guy, who promised me the hood and taillights stanchions this week, but hasn't even started on them!!!! IT may be a bit unfinished when we roll. As for the exhaust, I have a resonator there that makes it pretty tolerable, noise wise. Plus, I'm nearly deaf in my left ear anyway, so it's not much interference when conversing with my navigator on the right!

I hung the dash last night - engine-turned with the cluster from a '34 Buick, but mounted centrally. IT is BEEYOOtiful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, that didn't work out quite as planned. There was an old fatigue crack in the axle and on the first day of the race, it snapped. WE towed it home and ran in the 61 Imperial. Those with excess time on their hands can read the day-by-day blogs at www.greatrace.com. MEanwhile we need an axle! Thanks to those whom I contacted for help on the road, but now we must get serious. WHo has a 1932 50-series rear axle???

Thanks, jc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OH no! Sorry about the axle. Sounds like no one was hurt.

Next year everything will be done and you can focus on winning!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks fantastic! Bad luck re the axle

How does it run on the 4 SUs did you have much trouble with sizing carbs/jets/needles? We have a '31 90 and have dreadful trouble with the Marvel and modern fuel and I'm sorely tempted to go the SU route

regards

Jules

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for Kudos, Jules! You reminded me that I had not posted any pix of the 'finished' car (I say 'finished' becaue I have yet to complete the top or fit the fenders, but it's driveable and road legal now). Pix are attached below, including the engine with carbs.

Anyway, to the driveability and matching: yes, it's very good. I chose the smallest SU's and the only model where the float bowl and main throat are aligned (venturi axis is truly horizontal, not tilted down toward the manifold). These were AUD tagged and fitted to early Mini's and Spitfires only. They have the 1.25 inch venturi bores (and generic type HS2). Those engines were 1275-1300 cc and spun up to 5,000 rpm max, which meant they flowed about 95-115 cfm there (assuming full volumetric efficiency), and they each used 2 of the HS2 carbs. The 230 cubic inch engine on our '32 Buicks tops out at 3200 rpm, for a full-fill flow of about 213 cfm. That means FOUR of those same HS2 carbs is a very good flow match.

Now, in fact, there's a bit more subtlety to SU matching, having to do with precise needle tapers, for idle and mid-range metering, but I fitted the AN needles for the spitfires for a throaty, rich burn (BO, DD, or AAN needle tapers are leaner midrange). I get just a bit of carbon blow on a full-throttle stomp, but otherwise no issues. Here are some pix:

post-48424-143142672252_thumb.jpg

It all goes to the old family motto (emblazoned on the grille emblem): Tene Manu Forti ("Hang On Tight!")

jc

Looks fantastic! Bad luck re the axle

How does it run on the 4 SUs did you have much trouble with sizing carbs/jets/needles? We have a '31 90 and have dreadful trouble with the Marvel and modern fuel and I'm sorely tempted to go the SU route

regards

Jules

post-48424-143142672196_thumb.jpg

post-48424-143142672204_thumb.jpg

post-48424-143142672213_thumb.jpg

post-48424-143142672218_thumb.jpg

post-48424-143142672227_thumb.jpg

post-48424-143142672231_thumb.jpg

post-48424-143142672235_thumb.jpg

post-48424-143142672244_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking great. Odd how some speedsters can look "finished" without fenders, and yet your design seems to require them. Can't wait to see it done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking good! and thanks for the SU info, definite food for thought-I shall need to work out if the 345ci 90 engine would require slightly larger ones

cheers

Jules

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really nice looking speedster. I saw the chassis at the show where Uncle Sam was, 2 or 3 years ago, and it sure has come a long way from there!

Thanks for posting the pictures.

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pulled the engine over the weekend. It was making slappy noises when cold and the oil blackened too quickly. I discovered ALUMINUM pistons - somebody had swapped out for the original iron ones before I got it. They were uncoated and especially #1 & #8 were scuffed and worn. A little pitting on the cam rollers, too. I took it to J and M Machine in Southborough, Mass. for a careful rebuild while I work on the fenders and top fabric over the winter. Some very interesting other work in J and M: a 1937 V-12 Lincoln mill, with a massive cast aluminum crankcase and bolt-on cylinder blocks; a funky crank from a 30's Voisin, part of a concours restoration for a famous owner; a huge-bore Seagrave firetruck motor; and lots of others, including a 1915 Buick mill. I have high confidence in these guys to make my motor strong and right!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this