Eric W

1951 76R Roadmaster project

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The car did arrive. Nice to have finally found one more or less local. I think this one was about 60 miles up the road, maybe 70. The owner had to come to Tucson for the title, so he just brought the car as well! It was an original Tucson car - spent first 30 years or so around here. The guy I got it from bought it about 30 years ago and had it in Nogales, AZ (Mexican border). He's to the point where he couldn't see getting around to fixing this one up, and his preference is Lincolns, so this Buick needed to go.

Given my situation with the other cars, the plan is this will probably be on hold for a while...

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Definitely agree with Ben. What a great wife!!! And keep at least one garage door closed whenever she is around. LOL

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NOW THAT IS A BUICKFUL SIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!

Congrats on the new toy Eric. Me thinks that may well turn out to be the classiest of the bunch. Nice garage too by the way.

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Congrat's Eric on your addition to the stable!

Man do I love those western desert cars! Yes they have dried out rubber and same issues with upholstery but seeing the solid straight metal brings tears to my rust belt eyes.

I was in a Pheonix wrecking yard way back and found a really nice complete rear bumper off a 58 Roadmaster 2 door that I should have just bought the whole car but.... being just over 2000 miles away was more than I could afford then.

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That same trip we went down to Nogales into the duty free part which was a real eye opener to this Canadian easterner!

Good luck with the Roady!

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Thanks for the encouragement, guys. After getting some dollies to get it moved over so all would fit, I was too tired to even start taking inventory. It's going to need a LOT. A big part of that will be "finishing off" the '55 so it can make its contribution to the '51's. The '55 was "on the road" when I got it. The '51's not so much. So that will eventually be 2 more back on the road...

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In the pic of the three cars in the garage, does the 51 on the left have a different grille ? It looks like a Merc grille. Or is it just the picture makes it look like that ?

I really like the 51 Roady, maybe because I have a 53 Roady, same model.

Phil

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The '51 on the left is the 41D. From looking at the specs in the shop manual, it's about 6" narrower overall. Both have the original parts, but I haven't looked at them close enough to figure how the width difference was accounted for between the two different body styles. First impression is a lot of the extra width on the 76R is in the outer fenders - so you don't really get much more between the doors or in the seat width.

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If it is like 55's the roof and windshield may be lower on hardtops giving it a lower and wider appearance.

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One negative of my car is that as it sits, it's a "restoration started" kind of project. As in, someone removed a bunch of parts, and they're no longer with the car. As such, I've found a couple of photos of the headliner in some cars-for-sale ads. The inside of the roof on this car reminds me almost of a convertible - maybe that's the look or style they were going for. Exposed headliner support strips, and the "dome" lights are one on either side with no wiring or anything in the middle of the roof. Even the package tray (behind the back seat, below the back window) is body-color solid painted metal.

Anyone have any photos of what the inside of the roof looks like? Photos of the lights on either side?

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I said this was going to be a story about storage for a while. But I found some headlight buckets including bulbs & trim rings. When I got all that, I realized I needed the adjuster screws. I contacted the seller, and he sent them over too. So I got those put on. Also found lenses for the parking and reverse lights, but those are on eBay every day it seems. Made up some fake-e-holes for the fenders from some polished aluminum I had sitting around so the fenders wouldn't look so sad. Attached below is the design I plan to paint onto these so they look a little more like the real thing...

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Before headlights and parking lenses...

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After headlights and parking lenses... (yes, I got the hood kinda up, but the hinges are messed up on the right side)

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When buying headlight buckets and trim rings, check that your car (or the seller's) includes these adjuster screws...

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Fake-e-hole covers on the fender...

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Design to be painted on...

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I'm not sure I'm ready to put this on the "wanted/forsale" page, but, looking at Pete's photo, my car is going to need essentially everything in Pete's photo. I found what was being sold as a '51 courtesy light on ebay, but now I'm not sure what side, because it was sold as a "Left", but the switch is on the opposite end from the Left on Pete's car. True, it's 1 year different & slightly different shape, and maybe they decided the switch would do better on the other end. (Or maybe what I got is a right - it would make sense for the back-seaters to have easy access to the switch.) I'll get the part number.

But if someone has a 76R that's been wrecked (even roof smashed), I'd be interested in the inside stainless trim up both sides of the window openings, what looks like a second stainless trim that covers the lower edge of the headliner, the stainless channel sections that cover the headliner supports, the rods inside the headliner, and 1 of the 2 courtesy lights (or maybe both, if the one I have isn't really a '51).

Though the channel sections that cover the headliner supports appear as though they could be relatively straightforward to duplicate (there's a custom stainless trim maker that advertises in various magazines) - if I could borrow a set for this purpose. Likewise the headliner support rods may simply be rod stock with bends. Maybe 2 of these remain in my car - I'll pull them out and see what's what.

It also appears as though the Cadillac Series 62 and Oldsmobile 98 used this same roof structure (and maybe trim) 1950-1953, with the big change for '53 being a single-piece rear glass.

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If you look close at the under-the-hood photo in the first post, you'll see the air cleaner sitting way too low down the left side of the engine. That's because there is no intake / exhaust manifold or carburetor. I did get these in last week from a '50 that's being parted out. It is the correct carb for the "early" 51 (not sure when they changed, but I'm calling it correct for my car). After clearing the giant mud dauber nest out from under the choke housing, the carb is cleaner than what I found on the "rescue me" 41D. Still gummed up, but the gummed up area appears to be limited to the float valve. I have a new float valve that I didn't use from the 41D's carb rebuild kit.

One big finding that I have to look at as a blessing in disguise is essentially all firewall forward wiring has been removed from the car. Battery cables, plug wires, ignition coil, brake lights, neutral switch, starter solenoid, etc. My guess is, it was stored outside in an area where copper "recyclers" could get to it. Not sure what collateral damage might have been done there, but they seem to have limited the cutting/hacking to the wires. The connectors are all there. I checked the manual - it's only 11 lines to make it run/charge. It's quite a few more to get the horns (also missing) and parking/headlights back. So I might make up some non-final wires to make it run before getting a full replacement harness.

Another item I might eventually post on the "wanted" section - anyone have the bottom bowl & through bolt for the air cleaner? I have the top resonator part and the filter element part, but the "oil bowl" and long nut&bolt are gone. Not sure if there's an additional part that interfaces with the air cleaner support bracket on the manifold, but the bracket is on the manifold.

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While waiting for a new vac advance for the 41D (I believe that will get that engine running a lot better), I started on some smaller items on this car. Using the hood emblem "cross bar" that was on the car, the outer frame from a Craigslist find, and the plastic insert from a Craigslist find:

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Polishing up the "cross bar". Left side done, right side, the starting point.

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From below.

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Done with polishing. Also repainted between the side bars with flat black.

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Not quite the starting point on the plastic. There was a lot of rust residue along the bottom that cleaned off with Meguiar's Plastix. That Plastix product also shines up the surface pretty well.

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Missed an intermediate photo - I painted in the red, then decided the original blue didn't look so good - the blue was all peeled up around the edge of each diamond. So using a small x-acto chisel blade, I removed the blue. Also cleaned off the remaining blue residue with alcohol on q-tip (that orignal paint is soluble in alcohol).

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Almost done - will add another coat of red to solid/darken it in more.

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The red is Testor's gloss dark red #1104, brushed on, 2 coats. The photo in post #18 of the plastic outside of the frame was with 1 coat.

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That is a NICE detail. Between your car and Shadetree77's it's sweet the way the chrome details look new while the paint itself is a work of nature. Great job...It's really fun watching this thread.

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post-92541-143142690862_thumb.jpg - For the trunk. Not done with this yet... Little spring inside that allows the emblem to flip up to access the key hole was in multiple pieces (of rust). Is this spring available? I've got a bucket-o-springs from Harbor Freight that I was going to play with...

Those repop lenses look really good. I wasn't really planning on those, but I found them at way, way below catalog price...

Edited by Eric W
added text (see edit history)

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