95Cardinal

1958 Caballero

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1958 Buick Caballero


Now that the car has safely made it back to Michigan, I think I can safely start the project thread for the Caballero.

This car was offered on the Station Wagon Forum: http://www.stationwagonforums.com/fo...ad.php?t=31784

Bill (moparandfomoco) offered it up and I was lucky enough to be the first to respond.

I flew out to Albuquerque and spent a fun 4 days with Bill and his son, Anthony. As soon as I got a look at the car, I knew I would take it, so we got it ready for a short trip from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, where it would be easier to coordinate the transport arrangements.

I arrived late on a Thursday night and we went to see the car on Friday morning. This is how it looked:

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Bill and Anthony helped get the car up on jackstands and I got underneath to see what needed to be done to hold the rear axle in position.

You Buick fans know this car has a "torque-tube" drive train; without the transmission in place to hold the front of the torque tube, the rear axle is free to float around.

Here's Bill, clearing out the vegetation and making sure there are no critters under the car:

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I was happy to discover that the front of the torque tube was already chained to the frame, so all we needed to do was tie down the rear axle.

We pumped up the rear tires and headed off to Harbor Freight for some ratchet tie-downs and tarps to wrap the loose parts.

you can see in this photo that the rear axle was sitting too far forward in the frame; the tire was hitting the front edge of the wheel opening:

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We got the axle into position using 4 tie-downs (2 pulling forward, 2 pulling rearward) and re-checked the tires. The rears were leaking badly, so we pulled the wheels and went in search of a tire service shop to install inner tubes. Chihuahua Tire & Auto Repair to the rescue!

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After lunch at BackRoad Pizza (Bill knew it was a good "Triple-D" recommendation!), we put the rear wheels on and got it rolling!

Bill, Anthony and I managed to push the car from the back of the yard up to the end of the gravel driveway, where it sat next to the home-owner's Buicks:

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The muscle-men celebrate our little victory:

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We left it at the end of the driveway. Bill had found a local tow company to pick the car up the next day and move it near his house for the cross-country pick-up.

It was about 98F by the time we headed back toward Albuquerque. Yeah, it's a dry heat, but it still felt hot!

Next morning, we pushed the car a little further up the driveway so the roll-back could easily got to it. Loading was uneventful and we set off for Albuquerque.

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The truck needed fuel, so we stopped at the first available spot. The car drew quite a crowd!

Bill had arranged to leave the car at a friend's home. I truly lucked out on this deal; Bill, his wife Ruselle and their son, Anthony were SUPER hosts. We had some fun looking through the neighborhoods for old cars and trucks; they are everywhere out there!

The day after we moved the car to Albuquerque, I got to the car early and started prepping it for shipment. There was a lot of dust, sand, parts and junk in the car. Bill, Anthony and Anthony's friends helped wrap up the bumpers and get everything back into the car. By mid-day, it was ready for pick-up:

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Here's the whole team of helpers.

From left to right; Bill (moparandfomoco), Anthony, Greg, Chris and Marilyn (their Mother), who is holding a copy of "Automobile" magazine with a picture of a 58 Caballero on the cover).

I can't thank Bill and Anthony enough for their help and hospitality. God Bless them!

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I flew home to Michigan and Bill met the transport company at the car a week later. Here it is as it arrived in Michigan:

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My intention was to disassemble the car and restore it, but I have been talking to a lot of people about restoration vs. preservation.

I haven't made up my mind yet, but I am leaning towards getting it roadworthy and preserving it.

More to come!

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Great start to the story, always interesting to see and hear the very beginnings of a cars restoration/preservation.

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Great photos, great story and a great car that deserves a full restoration................Good Luck!

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95Cardinal,

I'm with Skyking...a frame on restoration is the best way to go..btw, nice ride! Looks like a real find there. Since your from around these parts, we should collectively exchange info and restoration road-blocks and a-ha experiences with our long roof projects!

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95Cardinal,

I'm with Skyking...a frame on restoration is the best way to go..btw, nice ride! Looks like a real find there. Since your from around these parts, we should collectively exchange info and restoration road-blocks and a-ha experiences with our long roof projects!

buickjim;

Sounds great!

I sent you a PM with additional contact info.

Joe

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Wow, these cars don't come in plenty, so to say! What a find and what a great story! I'm subscribing to see what will become of this magnificent car. :D

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Congratulations Joe!

Great find and a great story. Thanks for sharing and saving another Classic Buick.

Will be a great adventure, good luck and I will definitely follow your thread.

Joern:-)

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Awesome story and expertly told in pixels. Nicely done and great car too. Good to see you have a full grill. Can't wait to see this next to Jims at some point. Good luck!

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I do love Buick wagons. This one looks to have a great body but you've got a lot of glass to find. You mentioned the bumpers were inside for the ride home. Is there any interior, at least to serve as a pattern? Thanks for a good start to a long story.

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As Rob knows, my 58 Estate Wagon is getting close. If you're doing a restoration, you can PM me re hard to find parts ... like the headliner and lino that goes in the cargo area. Great project, you'll love figuring it out. MH

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I do love Buick wagons. This one looks to have a great body but you've got a lot of glass to find. You mentioned the bumpers were inside for the ride home. Is there any interior, at least to serve as a pattern? Thanks for a good start to a long story.

I've got several (damaged) headliner panels; not sure if there is a complete set.

The door trim panels and the rear compartment and center pillar covers are in the car, but they need to be replaced.

All the metal garnish trim appears to be present, except for one A pillar cover.

I have a complete rear seat (with trim cover, but not usable), but no front seat.

I have found a good parts car about 2 hours away, but have not been able to bring it home yet.

As Rob knows, my 58 Estate Wagon is getting close. If you're doing a restoration, you can PM me re hard to find parts ... like the headliner and lino that goes in the cargo area. Great project, you'll love figuring it out. MH

Thanks for the offer; I will definitely be looking for assistance!

Edited by 95Cardinal
spelling (see edit history)

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95cardinal, Frame30, and 57buickjim, did you see the white 1958 model 49 parts car that was posted on the Buy/Sell forum a few days ago? http://tulsa.craigslist.org/cto/4733697632.html Model 49 being the Special Estate Wagon with center post. In my opinion, it is too far gone to restore, but still has some nice parts on it. I'm probably the closest since it is in Tulsa, OK. and I'm in northern Texas. I was sort of thinking about it, since I am restoring a 1958 model 49-R, but I've had it awhile and have assembled virtually all of the parts I need to complete it. Was wondering if three or four of us wanted to go in on the parts car together, I could go get it, remove parts that are needed, and then dispose of what is left when all parts are removed. If two guys wanted the same part, I guess we would have to sell or have an auction of that part, otherwise I'd think any of the three or four owners could have what they need without cost. Not sure of the best way to compensate me for transport of the car, parts pulling work, etc.--just thinking out loud here--would just want my costs covered, no more.

After six or seven years, my wagon just got painted today! Will try to attach a photo.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Leonard, Texas

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Edited by Pete Phillips
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And so it begins....December 4, 2014 update

Borrowed a friend's truck & trailer and brought the Caballero home last week.

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First order of business: release the stuck tailgate latches.

It took a while, but I finally convinced the latches to release. Now, I need to get more PB Blaster into the hinges so I can free up the tailgate.

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I removed the roof rail moldings and seals, as well as much of the rear compartment trim. Lots more to do in that area!

So far, no rust or corrosion in any of the window channels; it's all just very dusty!

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Once that was done, I started to remove the front end sheet metal.

I started by measuring the gaps at all the fender/hood/door interfaces and setting the door/fender/hood positions where they need to be.

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Then I drilled alignment holes in the fender and hood mounting brackets so I can more easily - and accurately - position the sheet metal during re-assembly. You can see the small finishing nail (locator) in this fender mounting bracket photo:

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Then I started removing the attaching bolts. There must be about 100 bolts holding all this front end sheet metal together!

Got the fenders off, then the grill.

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Then pulled the fan shroud & radiator.

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I can't believe how good the metal looks under all that dust!

Neat design; the entire inner front sheet metal assembly can be removed in one piece.

I was surprised to learn that this entire sub-assembly is held on to the frame by only 5 bolts!:

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After that was moved aside, I finished removing the hood and got some assistance from my wife to move the hood to the open area in the garage.

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I was ready to quit at this point, but HAD to see what was under that dusty old carburetor...

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The throttle plates were all tightly closed and covered with more of the desert dust and crud that is all over the frame and underbody.

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I was pleasantly surprised; the underside of the throttle body was clean and the throttle shafts feel snug.

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Just for giggles, I tested the starter switch...IT WORKS! The switch contacts close at about 20 degrees of throttle opening.

I think I can make that work when I get this baby back together!

Next step: borrow an engine crane/cherry picker and pull the engine. Can't wait to see what I find under all that dust and dirt!

Edited by 95Cardinal
spelling (see edit history)

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What a great car and great project!!

Keep up the good work!!

mike

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I can't believe how nice the inner fender and brace are. Here in the Northeast, half that would be gone.

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What Skyking said!

I have always been jealous of western cars and the condition of their bodies but Cardinal, you are from Michigan and know what you have there. The other nice thing is that the bolts will come out with a bit of PB Blaster and NOT snap off in the nut!

I noticed that the car came with standard brakes? It surprises me that as heavy as it is they would not have power brakes. If you are keeping it original now would be a good time to consider a period correct tredlevac power brake unit and give you a bit more advantage there.

Also, what is the story on the missing glass? Was it busted out (shot?) or did someone buy everything but the tailgate window?

Will be watching your progress with much interest.

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As the others have said, the condition of the metal on your car is to-die-for. Amazing! Keep the photos coming.

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I really like the way you marked the body with notes before disassembly, rather than writing it on a Baggie.

Great idea.

Stolen idea. :D

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This will be an amazing car to behold when done - it is already! Is that copper a factory color? If so, even better! I look at your car and then at all the SUVs out here in San Diego, and can only say "wow - we really took a step back when it comes to road presence!" Keep up the good work and all the postings!

P.S. I spent 19 years in MI, many of them in the OEM auto industry (not GM) and I can easily see today's designers posting a pix of this car, as they usually do with other older cars, for inspiration throughout the Design studios. Also, keep in touch with Bugle Editor Pete Phillips, who I'm sure you know also is restoring a '58 Cab.

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I really like the way you marked the body with notes before disassembly, rather than writing it on a Baggie.

Great idea.

Stolen idea. :D

Glad you like the idea!

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