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Father & Son 55 Super


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It's been recommendation that I use this thread for our project -- Thanks again to all those who have read and responded to my post, I feel like we can now proceed with giving this classic a new life. Attached are some pictures: What's been done - Pulled out radiator and had it refurbished, flushed out system (three times; very rusty), replaced hoses and install thermostat. Painted fan cover and reinstalled. Pulled out Fuel Pump and will either buy the kit or send it on to be redone. Next: Check the brakes and fuel tank, thanks to those who have helped.

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Wow! That's a stick shift '55 Super, model 56-R. I have never, ever seen a 1955 56-R with standard shift. There was a 4-dr. sedan Super with stick shift at the BCA national meet in Rochester, Minnesota a few years ago. Congratulations on finding a very oddly equipped '55 Buick. The standard shift cars are so much faster and more responsive than the Dynaflow ones. Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

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Looking forward to hearing more about this rare 3 speed and your progress on getting it back on the Buick Highway. I'm interested in seeing the engine serial number. Something is telling me that this isn't the original engine. For instance it appears from the picture above that this engine originally had a power brake air line coming off the intake manifold but it appears to have been cut and crimped. I do not think power brakes were available on standard transmission cars. The engine number can be found stamped into a flat machined surface of the engine on the left side between the middle branches of the exhaust manifold.

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Great find!! I will be following this, for sure. Is the rest of the floor in the same shape?

Ben

The rest of the floors are in much better shape -- We've taken the seats out and I think we can get by with just replacing the drivers side for now. Keep watching -- Today, I tried to pull the gas tank out. Not much luck, but we will get it...
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1166849 on right side (drivers side) 1166849 space 6 or 5 on the other side (passenger side) on the manifold it has 1165384-1-15 (the second dash has a circle around it). The Reservoir say transmission fluid type A. Thanks for your interest -- any and all comments are welcome...

Edited by Jomaholz (see edit history)
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Looking forward to hearing more about this rare 3 speed and your progress on getting it back on the Buick Highway. I'm interested in seeing the engine serial number. Something is telling me that this isn't the original engine. For instance it appears from the picture above that this engine originally had a power brake air line coming off the intake manifold but it appears to have been cut and crimped. I do not think power brakes were available on standard transmission cars. The engine number can be found stamped into a flat machined surface of the engine on the left side between the middle branches of the exhaust manifold.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]203187[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]203188[/ATTACH]

1166849 on right side (drivers side) 1166949 space 6 or 5 on the other side (passenger side) on the manifold it has 1165384-1-15 (the second dash has a circle around it). The Reservoir say transmission fluid type A. Thanks for your interest -- any and all comments are welcome...<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

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Update: Fuel pump was sent in per advice given here - "Then & Now", should be back next week. Fuel tank is also going to be refurbished, also should be done by the end of next week. Hoping to put it all back together and fire it up as soon as I get the parts back, then I'll post results. Thanks again for the great advice and if you are attending the National meet, have a great trip and time.

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Met your brother and dad at the meet. Your brothers car is fantastic. It is great that you are pursuing what may be an even more rare car than his. I expect someday they will be side by side. I would love to see that! I would love to post a pic of his 55 Roadmaster convertible, but just discovered that I lost that picture.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update -- Evan and I got the 55 Buick Super running; still needs a muffler, brakes and much more.... But it's running, Check out video.

. All & any advise still welcomed -- Thanks to everyone who has helped out.
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  • 3 weeks later...
post-95135-143142163254_thumb.jpgThis is why I'm doing this -- Quality time with my son. The 55 Super is running and driving (all 3 gears work and reverse) -- it is a blast to drive. Still needs muffler and front brakes (kind of over spent this summer), but we are excited about our progress and will take the next step soon. Thanks for all the support and looking forward to that next step....
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Gee, imagine over spending on an old car. I'm sure none of us have ever done that... hahahaha....Famous last words...I'm only going to do a little work on it....It won't cost much... We've all been there!!!

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Enjoy the ride - I cherish the years my Dad, grandfather and uncle shared with me under the hood of my Buick when I was a kid. There was nothing that couldn't be fixed - although they were both a little gutsier tearing into things than myself. My grandfather predicted it would go to college, and it did - twice. Always told my Dad we'd restore it together and we sorta almost just about got there - try not to let life get in the way. I still fondly remember him driving it when I was too young to drive, and me driving him around on fathers days when he was too old to drive. There are never enough of those days. Have fun with your son, remember its a learning environment, keep the questions coming. Absolutely great crew here to help you out when you get stuck.

Oh - and met your brother and dad at the meet also - another awesome car!

Edited by KAD36 (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

At the Crossroad

We are having a blast with this project: Had the radiator, gas tank, fuel pump rebuilt; replaced driver's side window and did a lot of spit a polish. We also found some miscellaneous parts here and there. Drained and cleaned all the fluids, flushed everything out, changed the oil filter then refilled all the fluids and sure enough -- it started! It doesn't have a muffler and the brakes are weak; it has second hand master cylinder and the front brakes are crimped off. But it did fire right up and sounded pretty good, I then put it into gear and all three (1st, 2nd and 3rd worked as well as Reverse), -- Yes, it's a three on the tree manual transmission, which I'm told it rare for this vehicle. By some accounts only 1 to 2% of the 85,656 in production, not sure if this is accurate? But if it is, only about 900 - 1,800 in production... which would make it pretty rare.

The reason for this inquiry is simple -- how far should I go before I get into it too deep. Everything cost so much, even when you do your homework and find what seems to be good deals, it just nickel and dimes one to death. What I need in addition to what I've already stated: Driver side floor is pretty much gone, the rest of the floors are solid; complete interior including door panels and some hardware; and a lot of body work (rockers are pretty much gone, rear quarter panels are also in rough shape). I did get a Roadmaster front end that I could use, as well a passenger door, with the purchase of the car -- chrome is pitted and in rough shape but not all of it is terrible and it's all there. The electrical is suspect with some working and others not; the glass is okay, but the windshield could/should be replaced. The list goes on and on...

I'm enjoying this, so cost isn't really the only issue -- but there comes a time when one has to pay the bills and consider their (ROI) Return and Investment - however that can be measured. I already know that I would be unable to do a complete restoration with the limited resources I have. Also my mechanical expertise is tested with every step -since me and my son have been doing most of the work. I've never did anything like this before and tools and know how become a challenge. I appreciate all the help and support I've received here on the AACA forum -- But, with that being said, what do you think? Is this worth pursuing? or is it time to get out of it? I'm at the crossroads with this project and needing some input from the experts. Thanks for your time and consideration.

Sincerely

John & Evan

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John and Evan,

The floor pan replacements are available and shouldn't be a really hard job to do. The panel itself shouldn't be too expensive either. Repairing what needs to be repaired for it to be safe is first priority. Ie. floor pan ( I would then coat all the floor with POR15 or something similar), go stuff and stopping stuff and sorting out the electrical.

There are many resources for the rest of the bodywork, or you could play with fiberglass, etc. It's your car and looking for a ROI should be one of your last worries. The time working on the car with your son and the memories created are priceless! You will also have a car you can enjoy, no payments and you fix the rest a little at a time as you go along. Might be a $200.00 repair this month and a $50.00 repair 6 months from now.

Any car that you try to restore, by the time it's complete, you are going to be "over your head" in one way or another. But, doing the work yourself, you have a much better chance of being "on top" and you also have the skills learned and the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Just my two cents, but look at my projects and you'll get an idea of how far you can go or what you can do.

Matt

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John

Do you fish? Or hunt? NO return on investment there.

Without pictures, it is difficult for us to advise on a particular item. If it runs, steers and stops, enjoy it. A temporary patch can be put into the floor board, if it is bad enough to let water in.

Time with your son is priceless. Hang in there.

Ben

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Find your comfort zone as far as money goes. We ALL get in too deep. Fix as needed and then drive it. Surely, something jumped out at you when you first saw the car that told you to buy it. Remember that feeling as you work on it. That is really all you can do. Even show winning trailer queens are expensive to maintain, and often times the enjoyment you get from those cars doesn't revolve around actually driving the car. Even when I am putting gas in driver quality automobiles, people talk to me and reminisce. Every time...

Get it running and stopping. Put a license plate covering the drivers side floor hole. That will work for now.

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John & Evan

You have entered the conundrum we all get to in the old car hobby.....!

I agree with my colleagues above.... my 2 cents follows:

1.) fix the floors, rockers, etc with available correct patch panels. These will stiffen up

the structure, too & if you sell it ... you'll have one important job the prospective buyer

doesn't have to do. As stated these are not a lot of money .. A stick shift Super deserves to

repaired with the correct pieces!

2.) do some cosmetic patching of the other crusty, blighted areas like lower fenders, wheel wells,

You can use metal if you have the tools, but fiberglass and Evercoat can do wonders for

a temporary fix for not a lot of dough.

3.) Get it running and stopping reliably; replace the entire brake system, incl. lines. New tires, shocks, and, then

service what's needed on the front end steering/suspension components .

4.) Get all the gauges working & identify any wires that may cause a short due to bad insulation &

cover or replace them.

5.) If you don't have a shop manual.... get one off of eBay!

6.) Take the seats out and "de-stink" them & cover them with some inexpensive seat covers

then re-install over a nice new carpet set (over your newly repaired floor!)

All of the above would yield a very desirable, marketable Buick for NOT a lot of money. AND, you guys get to

enjoy driving it and having fun with it until that day comes to sell her. The next owner can pop for the $50,000 rotisserie

restoration , OR, keep on improving it as a driver.

mike

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Rome wasn't built in a day, and I'm sure people lived there before it was done. In otherwords, keep this car. Do what you can, when you can, focusing on what must be done to make it useable, and developing plans for continuous improvement.

This car is special. First, its a 55, and a 3 speed, and a Super, 2 dr Riviera, and it has a 4 BBL. I don't know about anyone else here but to me those are all solid reasons to hang tough on this one. And I'll add three more, Black, with a red interior, and driveable ( as opposed to a trailer queen) ... Priceless...

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  • 3 weeks later...
...what do you think? Is this worth pursuing? or is it time to get out of it? I'm at the crossroads with this project and needing some input from the experts. Thanks for your time and consideration... John & Evan

The title of your thread is "FATHER & SON 55 SUPER"

To me, the title pretty much answers all the questions. I would give everything I own to be able to have one more day to work on a car with my Dad.

Dan

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  • 1 year later...
post-95135-143142917134_thumb.jpgUPDATE: It's been awhile and we still have her - Not much interest on E-Bay or Craigslist. So I had the transmission redone, and a new muffler from Waldron's - Drives great and sounds like it should. Fun to drive with the three-on-the-tree, rides nice and goes fast. Just wanted to thank everyone who has followed this thread for your support and input, really couldn't had done this much without your knowledge and encouragement. Got to show her off a bit at the BCA Regional in Brooklyn Center, MN and it was fun - parked next to my brother's completely restored 55 Roadmaster Convertible -- before and after. Thanks again, we will just do what we can a little at a time. Evan gets his licence in 2015.
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Very Nice !!!

I'm glad to see you're driving and enjoying it!!

When Dad was teaching me to drive, he let me drive the Roadmaster to and from shows.

Teach Evan to drive with the clutch, and he'll be way ahead !!

(Dad also taught me to drive in his '36 Buick and '52 Chevrolet with clutch)

Edited by bhambulldog
t (see edit history)
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[ATTACH=CONFIG]289171[/ATTACH]UPDATE:...Got to show her off a bit at the BCA Regional in Brooklyn Center, MN and it was fun - parked next to my brother's completely restored 55 Roadmaster Convertible -- .

And it received just as much, or dare I say more, interest. Your brothers convertible is a top notch vehicle. But yours is the envy of those who know how rare it really is.

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