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My father's first car, 1957 Roadmaster Convertible, makes it to my worshop finally!


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I built the workshop last year so I could finally start working my Dad's car. So exciting! I will also get the 57 coupe he bought for parts, but 600 miles is a long trip. Grandpa bought it used in 1963 for $140 (I have the BOS), and gave it to my Dad to drive throughout high school. He hit a deer in '66, hence the smashed fender and removed bumper. It hasn't ran since '68.

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Edited by High Desert (see edit history)
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HD, wow, I wish my ancestors had had the foresight to store such a beauty in the family barn. If we'd had such a barn. If you need a grille, I have a pretty good spare one, which you can have for the cost of shipping. Don't know how much that would be, exactly, but I recently shipped a hood bar (goes above the grille) to California for about $110. If you're interested, I can get a proper quote on Friday, along with some pictures.

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a solid car to tackle a deer with so little damage!

A deer? Heck, how about a Toyota! Or was it a Datsun, in that cult movie from the '80s, "Cutter's Way"? The anti-hero deals with a neighbour who keeps blocking his driveway, by shoving the offending vehicle into the shrubbery, using his mighty '57 Roadmaster convertible. Awesome. The movie trailer has been posted here before but it's worth repeating - Film Noir of the Week: Cutter’s Way (1981). The choice scene is about a minute into it.

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Thanks guys. I am not buying parts just yet. Here is a picture of the Roadmaster coupe parts car (still in KS) hiding behind some stuff on my Father's property. It has a good bumper and fender that I can swap out. It will also be in NM this year, and will be parked next to the convertible in the shop. I'm not really doing much to the convertible until the coupe gets here aside from general cleaning and inspection.<p>post-95793-143142142527_thumb.jpg

Edited by High Desert
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A deer? Heck, how about a Toyota! Or was it a Datsun, in that cult movie from the '80s, "Cutter's Way"? The anti-hero deals with a neighbour who keeps blocking his driveway, by shoving the offending vehicle into the shrubbery, using his mighty '57 Roadmaster convertible.....

Why do they have to smash up a 57 Roadie? Convertible yet?!?! This really ticks me off!!!

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Looking at the KS Coupe I would be tempted to use the convertible as the parts car it has what appears to be a very good passenger side original front corner bumper piece. Absolutely almost impossible to find in good original condition. Ask me how I know. That alone would make me want to save the coupe. Besides, theres too many convertible out there anyways at shows. :)

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I like the Roadmaster Coupe too. But, imagine what it would look like with those colors refinished. I have a Super with a very good fender and I would leave the front bumper from the Roadmaster with him just to trade and save the coupe. I, at some time, would then have a convertible and a coupe. Attached photo of my old Caballero that will give you an idea of the colors on his convertible. - Dan

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Edited by Caballero2 (see edit history)
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The coupe is not in great shape. The floor needs complete replacement, no engine, no trans, all the glass is de-laminating, etc.. Trust me guys, I already considered doing something cool with the coupe. After seeing it close up, I had to re-evaluate those thoughts. It will be a great donor parts car, and an excellent reference of how things should be once I start the full convertible restoration. Don't cry for the coupe. After that, I will likely sell the remaining good parts to help finance the vert, and to help keep/get other nicer Buicks on the road. Thanks for the pic C2! The colors (from the convertible's dataplate) indicate mint-green over dover white. Not many cars outside of the '50s can pull that scheme off well! Here are some pics after a quick wash, and putting the hubcaps on.<p>post-95793-143142144644_thumb.jpg

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A factory A/C Convertible 57, WOW!!!!!
Is that uncommon? All the AC parts are there, but I am not super excited about getting them working again. Also, I was told that Grandpa painted the interior portions of the side trim gold because he preferred that color. However, in the areas where the gold paint is coming off, the original paint appears to be a shade of blue. I thought these were supposed to be red?
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The red stripe came with the optional red wheels. Factory on the wheels was black outside and grey on the inside I have not seen blue on a mint green car, However it would not look bad. Other than the red (Tangerine) there was Blue and green. I have the Duco color codes if you should ever want them. Note the stripe on the Wagon is green. As far as A/C is concerned, It is a Factory Option that is quite rare and valuable on your car. Accessory code 'N'. My convertible also is a factory A/C. - Dan

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I've never seen a Barn Find respond so well to a quick washing! Wow, you've got a fabulous car there. Do you have the full interior? It'd be all leather in a square, buttoned-down pattern - outrageously expensive to replace but very nice. The floor looks good and solid. Not to quibble but those are '56 wheel covers. The ones from '57 are even nicer.

According to the '57 Buick Service Bulletins, repainting the sweepspear centres and wheels to better match a car's paint colours was an approved dealer operation. You might scrape down another layer and find Tangerine was applied originally.

Trim 710 is 2-tone green leather. A dark green convertible top was available, Code 5.

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The red stripe came with the optional red wheels. Factory on the wheels was black outside and grey on the inside I have not seen blue on a mint green car, However it would not look bad. Other than the red (Tangerine) there was Blue and green. I have the Duco color codes if you should ever want them. Note the stripe on the Wagon is green. As far as A/C is concerned, It is a Factory Option that is quite rare and valuable on your car. Accessory code 'N'. My convertible also is a factory A/C. - Dan
<p> Thank you. I'm learning a lot! Dataplate says "ACC BIN". My neighbor didn't understand why they would ever put AC in a car that had the ability to fold the top down.
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I've never seen a Barn Find respond so well to a quick washing! Wow, you've got a fabulous car there. Do you have the full interior? It'd be all leather in a square, buttoned-down pattern - outrageously expensive to replace but very nice. The floor looks good and solid. Not to quibble but those are '56 wheel covers. The ones from '57 are even nicer.

According to the '57 Buick Service Bulletins, repainting the sweepspear centres and wheels to better match a car's paint colours was an approved dealer operation. You might scrape down another layer and find Tangerine was applied originally.

Trim 710 is 2-tone green leather. A dark green convertible top was available, Code 5.

Rob, I have the seats and rear sides. The car wasn't always in a barn. It spent a good decade in the late 80s-early 90s outside under plywood and tarp. Dad knew he was losing the moisture battle, so he pulled the seats and carpet, sandblasted the floor clean and applied a rust inhibitor. His efforts probably saved the floor, but it was a sad thing to watch. Here are the seats, front bumper, rear seat sides, and snap-on convertible cover. They are all in bad shape, but the patterns and colors are there.<p>post-95793-143142144845_thumb.jpg<p>As for the wheel covers, I have four, but one of them has a slightly larger "Buick" center. I assume it is correct for the car. The remainder of the wheel covers are likely inside the coupe. I just grabbed four that looked right and threw them in the vert before heading out.

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Doesn't the ACC stands for 'accessories' and the B, I, and N are the codes for the accessories? As stated in an earlier post, someone said he also had a '57 convert with a/c, code N. What are the I and the B for?

Ed

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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Doesn't the ACC stands for 'accessories' and the B, I, and N are the codes for the accessories? As stated in an earlier post, someone said he also had a '57 convert with a/c, code B. What are the I and the N for?

Ed

'B' = Heater/Defroster; 'I' = Ezeye Glass; 'N' = Air conditionerpost-54279-143142144991_thumb.jpg Edited by Caballero2 (see edit history)
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I bet a fair number came out of the Southgate CA plant without even that basic option. Southern Californians might have found it frustrating to have to pay for the heater/defroster, to get the air conditioning (which Buick called Car Cooling, btw).

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  • 10 months later...

I haven't been able to do much significant work on the Roadmaster, mostly cleaning, spraying for spiders/insects, etc.. I did loosely reinstall the front bumper and grill, but I'm thinking that they are damaged enough that I will actually use the better grill/bumper from the coupe parts car when it gets here. The engine does turn over, and the windows go up an down with some encouragement.

The story is that the convertible top hasn't been up since 1964 or earlier. Dad said the pump never worked, so he just kept the car garaged during bad weather when he was in high school. He said he tried numerous times to raise the top manually, but it never worked. Well, this weekend I dedicated my time to getting that top up to see what it looks like. I had to remove the six bolts that secure the hydraulic cylinders to the car first, then lift carefully on the large support arms, but it popped right up!

I think the vinyl is going to need to be replaced, but I was happy to see that the steel structure is in very good shape. There is significant rust on the top of main header bar, but I can cut that out and replace since the bad areas aren't complex shapes to reproduce.

The other good news is that I will be heading back to get the parts car next week!

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Looking good! Glad the top popped right up for you. Is your parts car also a convertible Roadmaster? It needs to be a Super or Roadmaster for sure. If it is a Special or Century, a number of the parts won't fit at all. Just saying..

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Looking good! Glad the top popped right up for you. Is your parts car also a convertible Roadmaster? It needs to be a Super or Roadmaster for sure. If it is a Special or Century, a number of the parts won't fit at all. Just saying..

Thanks Jim. I hope someday to have it looking as beautiful as your Special! Nice.

The parts car is a 1957 Roadmaster coupe. It has no engine or transmission though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

24 hours of driving in the last week, and the hardtop coupe "parts car" is finally here. It is the less damaged-looking car on the left in the attached photo. The plan is to swap the damaged parts from the convertible to the hardtop, then sell the hardtop to help raise some more funds for the convertible.

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I bet a fair number came out of the Southgate CA plant without even that basic option. Southern Californians might have found it frustrating to have to pay for the heater/defroster, to get the air conditioning (which Buick called Car Cooling, btw).

Air Conditioning besides just cooling conditions the air and when turned down low also in it's function acts as a dehumidifier/defroster as well and helps to keep the windshield moisture down considerably off the windshield in so-so high moisture chilly southern california winter nights.

Edited by buick man (see edit history)
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How and where in the world did you find a Roadmaster Coupe in what looks in pretty good shape overall compared to the rug top, with no engine or transmission?

I was asking Dad about the history of these two cars during the trip last week. He said the convertible already had 80,000 miles when they bought it in 1963, and it had a well-used trailer hitch. He said the vinyl top, leather seats, transmission, and carpet were in awful condition even back then. We started thinking that the car may have been a company car for a traveling salesman with a trailer. Who else would buy what is probably the equivalent of a $40,000+ car in today's money, and trash it in 5-6 years? I do know that it was likely purchased new from "Jerry Smith Buick" in Kansas City, since it still has the dealer badge on the trunk. I can't find much on the dealership except for a guy on ebay who is selling reprints from a post-card. It would be cool if the car on the far left in the attached photo was the convertible!

Dad said he thought he bought the parts coupe for $400 in 1979, though I argued that I believed it was closer to 1989. We think the guy he bought it from had many more, and probably scavenged parts to fix other cars. The trunk of the coupe came with many extra parts, like air-cleaners, fan blades, and even a Buick a/c pump, but the coupe didn't come with a/c. That means that the guy was scavenging multiple Buicks, and just sticking extra parts wherever he could find space.

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The past few evenings were spent removing the damaged fender from the convertible, and loosely fitting up the replacement fender. I still need to repair some sheet metal on the car that bolts up to the fender under the headlight area, so everything will stay loose for now. I also bought a quart of mint green and a quart of dover white paint, so I will clean the new fender and make it match the car a little better. My plan has been to just get it running and driving for now, and fully restoring later.

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Looks better already!

Thanks Paul!

Since taking the fender on and off is a bit of work, I decided to throw a quick paint job at it so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. Now I just need to sort through all the different grill and bumper pieces to find the best ones. It does look better than the day I pulled it from the barn though!

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Not sure if the chrome headlight bezels were original for the convertible, but I prefer the look of the painted bezels, so that is what I am keeping.

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