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Vintagecarguy

Driving a 1931 Buick Series 80 sedan

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We were looking into buying a 1931 Buick Series 80 sedan but we were wondering how they were to drive? How are the brakes? How is the steering? As a comparison, how much harder to drive are they than a Model A Ford?

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We were looking into buying a 1931 Buick Series 80 sedan but we were wondering how they were to drive? How are the brakes? How is the steering? As a comparison, how much harder to drive are they than a Model A Ford?

Why would you think any Buick would be harder to drive than a Ford Model A?

Buick always had good brakes, by 1931 4 wheel internal expanding, forget changing gears, you don't need to with that big straight 8 motor and the steering is excellent. With the weight of your Buick your not bouncing all over the road like those Fords and Chevs.

There's nothing quiet like watching Fords disappear in your rear view mirror once you start powering up hills.

Edited by 50jetback (see edit history)

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Why would you think any Buick would be harder to drive than a Ford Model A?

Buick always had good brakes, by 1931 4 wheel internal expanding, forget changing gears, you don't need to with that big straight 8 motor and the steering is excellent. With the weight of your Buick your not bouncing all over the road like those Fords and Chevs.

There's nothing quiet like watching Fords disappear in your rear view mirror once you start powering up hills.

50jetback, Thank you for the response. The reason I thought this was the brakes. I had always heard that mechanical brakes were a lot different than hydraulic. One friend even called mechanical brakes, "Press and Pray Brakes". I thought that because it was a heavier car it would be even harder to stop. We did have a 1948 Buick Roadmaster a few years back and I remember how you could pull away in third gear! That had a 320 in it.

Thank you again. Vintagecarguy.

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50jetback, Thank you for the response. The reason I thought this was the brakes. I had always heard that mechanical brakes were a lot different than hydraulic. One friend even called mechanical brakes, "Press and Pray Brakes". I thought that because it was a heavier car it would be even harder to stop. We did have a 1948 Buick Roadmaster a few years back and I remember how you could pull away in third gear! That had a 320 in it.

Thank you again. Vintagecarguy.

Buick had excellent mechanical brakes especially after the move to internal expanding shoes in 1930 which meant water and dust was kept away from between the linings and drums.

The big thing with mechanical brakes is adjustment - follow the workshop manual and they are excellent - the down side ( and this is why most people don't like them ) is that it is a big job to follow the book sequence. Minor adjustments are just like normal hydraulic brake adjustments, it's a major adjustment after a rebuild that takes the time.

Don't Ford A models have mechanical brakes?

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Model A Fords do have mechanical brakes. And you are right, keep them within adjustment and the work just as good a hydraulic. Right now I'm trying to sell my 1929 Model A so we can buy the Buick.

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Vintagecarguy,

I will gee a PM to you some time this week. Hopefully, we can get you into the BCA and our local Chapter.

If it was a bit warmer, I would love to get out my '32 and take you for a ride. The 80 series is larger and you will probably find a bit harder to steer than a Model A. I am curious, is this a local car? I was not aware of any '31 Sedans in this area (CT). Let us know how things turn out.

John

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Vintagecarguy,

I will gee a PM to you some time this week. Hopefully, we can get you into the BCA and our local Chapter.

If it was a bit warmer, I would love to get out my '32 and take you for a ride. The 80 series is larger and you will probably find a bit harder to steer than a Model A. I am curious, is this a local car? I was not aware of any '31 Sedans in this area (CT). Let us know how things turn out.

John

jscheib, thank you. The car is in Connecticut.

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One mistake that is frequently found on mechanical brake cars is that someone would replace the brake lining with modern hard linings. Model A's and Buicks work best with woven lining. They may need adjustment more frequently, but stop better with less heat and a lot less pedal effort. You can lock the wheels with the mechanical brakes. The narrow tires are a bigger hindrance to hard panic stops than the linings.

Bob Engle

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Speaking as someone with a 6 cyl 1930 Buick, the '31 is a good choice. The parts are much more available for the straight 8's and in '31 they switched to those new fangled sychronized transmissions.

The Model T is the one with "press and pray brakes." But even they can be adjusted properly. I can skid my '26 Tudor to a stop.

Go for it!

Dwight

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The steering on my 1932 Buick Series 80 86 Victoria Travelers Coupe is as easy as it was on my 1931 Cadillac and easier than the Model A I had as a kid (26). Go for it! Buick's are great driving, running cars with a wonderful group of people in the Buick Forum to back you up with any problem you may have.

Jay

Novato, CA

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Here's another question. Is it important that the louvers on the radiator work? Also, where can you find parts for the thermostat? Can someone fix it themselves?

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Thanks for all of the help, everyone. Now I just have to sell the Model A....

Why not keep the Model A too?:) Something to consider: granted, the 31 Buick is a much finer car than the Model A. But aside from the National meets, when you show up a a local show with your new 31 Buick, you will likely be the only one there. Sure, there will be lots of other Buicks, but they'll mostly be from the '60s and '70s, with a few '50s and fewer still '40s mixed in. And I've found that guys with '60 era cars tend to flock together, and don't have much interest in the '30s vintage cars. So while you'll be there with a unique car, which may get a lot of attention from the general public, you'll likely be sitting all by your lonesome 'cause there's no other '30 Buick owners there to congregate with. But there will be gobs of Model A Fords there at the show, and the camaraderie of the Model A owners can't be beat, and you'll all have a great time sitting around together and talking about what you have in common.

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Vintagecarguy,

The louvers operate on a push-pull mechanism activated by a bellows filled with oil that expands when heated.

Bill Hirsh offers a rebuild service.

[TABLE=width: 100%]

<tbody>[TR]

[TD=class: tdRow1Color, align: center]SYL-4 [/TD]

[TD=class: tdRow1Color, align: center]SYLthermosmall.gif[/TD]

[TD=class: tdRow1Color][TABLE=width: 100%]

<tbody>[TR]

[TD]SYLPHON SHUTTER THERMOSTAT[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=class: plaintext]Shutter Thermostat For Many Cars Of The 30's and 40's[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=class: plaintext]Check for Availability[/TD]

[/TR]

</tbody>[/TABLE]

[/TD]

[/TR]

</tbody>[/TABLE]

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Why not keep the Model A too?:) Something to consider: granted, the 31 Buick is a much finer car than the Model A. But aside from the National meets, when you show up a a local show with your new 31 Buick, you will likely be the only one there. Sure, there will be lots of other Buicks, but they'll mostly be from the '60s and '70s, with a few '50s and fewer still '40s mixed in. And I've found that guys with '60 era cars tend to flock together, and don't have much interest in the '30s vintage cars. So while you'll be there with a unique car, which may get a lot of attention from the general public, you'll likely be sitting all by your lonesome 'cause there's no other '30 Buick owners there to congregate with. But there will be gobs of Model A Fords there at the show, and the camaraderie of the Model A owners can't be beat, and you'll all have a great time sitting around together and talking about what you have in common.

Pete O, I would love to have them both, but my grandfather said its either one or the other. But sometimes its good to be that one car that's different because that's when people start to really look at the car. But even still I don't mind that people won't notice it as much. I like the car and that is what really matters. Sadly, the model A is going to be sold.

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Vintagecarguy,

The louvers operate on a push-pull mechanism activated by a bellows filled with oil that expands when heated.

Bill Hirsh offers a rebuild service.

[TABLE=width: 100%]

<tbody>[TR]

[TD=class: tdRow1Color, align: center]SYL-4 [/TD]

[TD=class: tdRow1Color, align: center]SYLthermosmall.gif[/TD]

[TD=class: tdRow1Color][TABLE=width: 100%]

<tbody>[TR]

[TD]SYLPHON SHUTTER THERMOSTAT[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=class: plaintext]Shutter Thermostat For Many Cars Of The 30's and 40's[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=class: plaintext]Check for Availability[/TD]

[/TR]

</tbody>[/TABLE]

[/TD]

[/TR]

</tbody>[/TABLE]

Mark Shaw, thank you for the information. I wanted to be sure that I could have the apparatus if I needed. Thank you again.

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Don't worry, whichever car you take some knuckle dragger will pull a tape measure out of their pocket and hold it by the window or windshield. They'll grunt and say "Man, about 4 inches outta here." They may not even travel in their particular social group and be alone. Creativity gets old sometimes.

post-46237-143142445003_thumb.jpg

Bernie

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Vintagecarguy,

The louvers operate on a push-pull mechanism activated by a bellows filled with oil that expands when heated.

Bill Hirsh offers a rebuild service.

[TABLE=width: 100%]

<tbody>[TR]

[TD=class: tdRow1Color, align: center]SYL-4 [/TD]

[TD=class: tdRow1Color, align: center]SYLthermosmall.gif[/TD]

[TD=class: tdRow1Color][TABLE=width: 100%]

<tbody>[TR]

[TD]SYLPHON SHUTTER THERMOSTAT[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=class: plaintext]Shutter Thermostat For Many Cars Of The 30's and 40's[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=class: plaintext]Check for Availability[/TD]

[/TR]

</tbody>[/TABLE]

[/TD]

[/TR]

</tbody>[/TABLE]

Mark Shaw, You be the Man! Dandy Dave!

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Don't worry, whichever car you take some knuckle dragger will pull a tape measure out of their pocket and hold it by the window or windshield. They'll grunt and say "Man, about 4 inches outta here." They may not even travel in their particular social group and be alone. Creativity gets old sometimes.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]240553[/ATTACH]

Bernie

Yeah Bernie, I have been relying on 1900 to 1930 Tech to keep me going for a bunch of years now. Dandy Dave!

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Years ago some cars/trucks had a jack shaft that could hold a pulley to drive a large flat belt ,, called HAMMER MILL which drove certain pieces of equipment.

Maybe you are to young to recall.

Thats all,

DAle in Indy

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I guess the confusion is the term "accessory". I think you are talking about the shaft for water pump, etc. along the side of the engine. The stuff driven off this are not really accessory. All this can be fixed, but might require some machined replacement parts, as the best you can get for replacement, would probably be well used.

For the shutters, in a pinch, they can be discretely wedged open. Only time they might want to be closed is starting in real cold weather, and not likely you would be driving that car in the cold in CT.

John

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