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1949 Super Sedanette Survivor


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Saw this on Craigslist and had to take a look. It must have liked me because it followed me home. Does anyone here like these?

I was specifically looking for a Buick of this vintage that was as original as possible, and I found it. The car has 41k miles and apart from an older repaint it appears to have been untouched. It's virtually 99.9% original and complete. It came from Ohio where it spent its entire life, as I'm told. But surprisingly there is very little rust and no rust-through. I believe it has been in storage for most of the past 30 years or so. The Sears Allstate tires have like-new tread and no cracking, but the date code is 153, which I'm guessing dates them to 1973?

The original interior is complete and mostly intact. There are a few small splits in the upholstery on the front seatback corners. The door panels have some water stains. Carpets and floor rubber is intact and in fair shape. The tube radio even works and plays old music! I swear, when I turned it on for the first time the first station I could tune in was playing something from the '50s!

The motor starts immediately, runs smooth, quiet, and clean. It's got the Dynaflow, so the engine has hydraulic lifters.

Unfortunately, and this is not really surprising, the brakes are inoperable. They were working, but before taking it on a test drive I tried pressing very hard on the brakes to test them. I was rewarded with a pop-hissss and the pedal sunk to the floor. It blew out in a section of the hard brake line that runs on top of the frame rail behind the master cylinder. So a total brake system rebuild is on order. It's going to be a while before I get to drive it.

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Edited by Wheelnut (see edit history)
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Hey wheel nut, welcome aboard. Nice find. Honor it's past by keeping it original. What did it eventually sell for on Craigslist may I ask as I believe it had been sitting for sometime?

Any questions you have regarding how to approach and implement any rescue plans this is the place to post them. Come on over to the Post WWII side of the fence around here and theres lots of folks to bond with.

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Hey wheel nut, welcome aboard. Nice find. Honor it's past by keeping it original.

Oops! I've already gone rogue... I'll be replacing the brake piping with stainless. Don't want to have to be changing them again 40 years down the road.

What did it eventually sell for on Craigslist may I ask as I believe it had been sitting for sometime?

I'd rather not say other than that I probably paid top price for it. Sometimes opportunity does not repeat itself and what's a thousand or two when it means you get what you want?

More pics:

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Great score... I love the 49 Sedanettes !!

I'm a little biased as I have a project one.

Please post many pictures inside and out so I can see what mine needs to be like.

Will do. It should be a pretty good reference to "how it was made".

Feel free to ask for a particular shot too.

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Anyone know for sure what the brake shoe width is on the fronts for this car? I ordered brake parts from Bob's and it listed 1.75", but the listings from other mainstream auto parts retailers all say 2.25". I had a back drum off and verified that it was 1.75". Are the fronts the same? Can the wider shoes be fitted? Also, places like Rock Auto have the parts for about half of Bob's prices, but I'm less confident about the fitment.

Edited by Wheelnut (see edit history)
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Thinking about stitching up the small splits in the front seat upholstery, I discovered that the fabric tears too easily. It's probably all just too old and weak to stand up to use, and it smells old too. So I'm going to have to reupholster.

I took some photos of the fabrics used in the interior. Found what appears to be the exact fabric for the seating surfaces at LeBaron Bonney:

https://www.lebaronbonney.com/cart/fabricbytheyard.php?Cc=WOOLPATGRY

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Not sure about the others yet. There is a tan-gray nappy flannel type fabric for the headlining, a plain gray on the front seatbacks and the door panels, and a gray vinyl on the lower door panels and seat bases.

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Thanks Steve. Did you ever get your interior for the Roadmaster sorted out?

Haven't yet...just got her road-worthy and enjoying as-is for the present. However....eyeing up your LeBaron-Bonney page with interest......

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Looks really nice! Your question about brakes - get the factory shop manual. Various vendors sell it scanned to .pdf on CD, and there's usually quite a few originals on eBay or Amazon. I've got the hardcopy for my '51, and it's nice to just look through. I've got the .pdf for my '55, and unless you know what you're looking for, it's not so easy to just flip through - but it's nice to print just a page or two that you want to take into the garage. The brake specs are in there. Though by now maybe you pulled the front wheels off & measured...

I see several originals on ebay - search "1949 Buick shop manual" - one for $19.95, another for $25. (And quite a few others at dreamer prices) Scanned to CD for about $30.

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Gosh that's a nice interior! Too bad the fabric on the seat corners is gone; you could almost leave it as-is, color changes over time notwithstanding. Of course, the fabiric wouldn't hold up too well. The armrests and pull straps are especially attractive, maube reuseable?

The radio face looks a little different than mine, and the knobs are different for sure.

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Thanks guys.

I did find the shop manual for download on http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/ after seeing a reference to it elsewhere on this forum. It covers 1948-49. Says the brakes are 1.75" so that's good since thats what I ordered.

I thought about keeping the upholstery and just sewing in new panels where it was split, but the fabric is too weak, at least where I checked on the front seat. It has several splits along the front edge, so I'm pretty sure it won't stand up to being sat on. I may be able to get away with just redoing the front seat. I'll take it on a case-by-case basis. I do want to drive and enjoy this car, not just trailer and show it.

Steve, the radio knobs are probably wrong. I found a different set in the glovebox that look like the right ones. The radio may have been changed out at some point.

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This looks just my first Buick I got when in high school. Same color, model, mileage and interior and was in about the same condition. The neighbor across the street had been using it to drive to work for a couple of years when it started not to run well and he had it parked next to his house. My buddy and I went over and I asked him if he wanted to sell me the car as he was not driving it anymore and had sat for about a year. He told me if I could get it running I could have it. Dived in and filed the points, cleaned the plug and bought a carb "kit" for it and diagnosed the electrical and battery needed charging. About all I could afford at the time. Got it running and it ran great. Eventually decided to give it to my friend across the street that I had grown up with and we were best of friends since he did not have a car. That started him on to being a Buick guy for life and kept that car for years and eventually bought another 49 to replace that one. Oh yeah the memories . . .

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He told me if I could get it running I could have it.
That was quite a generous neighbor! My first car was a '61 Special station wagon that my brother gave me after it had been T-boned. I found a '62 Special wagon that a neighbor had in his yard for years on flat tires and with the windows all shot out. Like you, Iasked him if he wanted to sell it, and he gave it to me for $25. I then used the '61 as a parts car to fix up the '62 and finished it in auto shop at the high school.

Had a chance to look at the brakes of the '49. Very little wear but they're a bit too rusty to trust them. Anyone know about Grizzly Syncro brakes? I thinks these shoes may be quite old.

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... the radio knobs are probably wrong. I found a different set in the glovebox that look like the right ones. The radio may have been changed out at some point.

Beautiful car Gerald! I am looking forward to a ride in it. Remember that 1950 Oldsmobile Coupe that I had in Alaska? Well it had a "Wonder Bar" radio which had a mechanical seek feature that actually worked pretty well. I am curious if Buick used the same or a similar radio during this period.

Thanks,

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Excellent point Willie, however buick man would add that even new bonded shoes should be tossed.

Wheelnut: That was back in 1969 or so as these cars then were just considered round fender old cars what with all the square cars out then and they were used for going to work by the blue collar guys, or used as hunting cars or just sat along side of houses or found in the back of used car lots just waiting for someone to come along and see the beauty of it all. ..... by the way, those shoes look good. How do the drums look?

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I'll be replacing the old shoes. I already got a relined set from Bob's. Yes they are bonded.

Unfortunately the old shoes were contaminated with axle grease and brake fluid. The picture is after pressure washing. I don't know if the contamination was gradual or relatively late, but I'll probably need to replace the rear axle seals and front grease seals. I've got all the rest of the new brake parts except for the hard-line set which should arrive in a few days.

The drums look good for wear but they are going to need to be skimmed slightly to take off the glaze and slight rust pitting and to give the proper surface to bed in the new shoes.

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Most of the bottom side is heavily coated in this old rock-hard undercoating. That's probably what protected it for so long. But a lot of it is now peeling off and rust has gained a foothold on all the bare areas. That will need to be stopped.

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This car has a small collection of the original paperwork still in the glovebox. With that I was able to verify that it still has the original engine. I also see that the car was delivered on April 1...

There is a punch-card that I guess is some sort of build-sheet. It lists the options the car is equipped with, colors, trim, build date, etc. Anyone know what gear ratio the "optional" ratio was?

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More new brake parts arrived today. I was impressed with the quality of this new hard line set from Inline Tube. It would have been a lot of work to try to reproduce all of these parts myself. I hope it fits. At least the hose fittings are the right size.

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Yes, it IS a lot of work!! I went the el cheapo route and got a pre-cut (not pre-formed) set on EBAY. Regretted that!! Caused me a whole bunch of headaches. I was told to go with Inline Tube but couldn't justify the added cost. After creating my own lines, I now see why the extra cost is justified. Good luck with yours. Looks like a quality set up.

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That's a really amazing set of documents you have with the car, a nice addition to its' history. The vast majority of those get lost of thrown out, of course.

I also did what Robert did, I got a set off of ebay and bent them up myself. Kind of a pain, and I damaged a few and had to get replacements. The inline tube set looks much nicer!

Keith

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Time to get dirty!

Take a look under this thing. Just about everything is coated in that wonderful mix of leaky oily, sludgy-sticky tar-grease stuff that gets everywhere and in everything. I'm looking forward to sliding around under there on my back and mucking about in the stuff to fish out the brake lines. Come on, you know you wish you could be there! :)

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What's that they say about things that seem too good to be true?

It probably was too much to hope for that the new brake lines would actually fit. These weren't even close. Inline Tube listed the same part number for '49 and '50, and I specifically stated the year and model of this car in my order. So the pretty parts are going back to them.

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  • Wheelnut changed the title to 1949 Super Sedanette Survivor

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