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This past week I've been working on a number of items.


Now that I've got the gloss levels I want on the painted parts, it's time to re-assemble the instrument panel.

The chrome trim panel turned out great!


Rear view of instrument panel early in the assembly process. The glove box and a few components have been installed.


Front of dash with glove box door, heater/ventilation and lighting controls installed.


I think this is so cool looking...


Glove box, clock and passenger air outlet:


Instrument cluster installed, a;long with the dash wiring harness. Harness came from YNZ Yesterdays Parts; it has been a joy to work with.
The temperature and oil gages are not in the instrument panel; they are already plumbed into the car and awaiting installation into the dash.




Front view with instrument cluster installed:


I installed the vent and heater plenum and the flexible hoses for the dash outlets before installing the IP into the car. I'd rather do this on the bench than laying on my back under the IP!


Here you can see the passenger side hose connected to the air outlet, as well as the glove box lamp wiring and the heat/vent control cables. The cables are temporarily banded together to simplify the installation of the instrument panel. Once this is in the car, I will route the individual cables to the plenum, vent and heater controls.


To prepare for loading the IP into the car, I removed the steering wheel and dropped the column as far as it would go. You can see the two black struts that attached the column mounting bracket to the firewall, just below the windshield. I think 57BuickJim will help to load the IP. He's got a lot of experience at this, having done 2 or 3 of his own cars. I'm following his advice on what to build up before installation and what to leave for "upside down in the car" work. All the firewall deadeners and insulation are in place, the e-brake pedal assembly is installed and connected to the cable and the windshield wipers are complete. 


Hanging at the base of the windshield and covered with painter's tape are the Temperature and Oil Pressure gages. The temperature gage line is already installed in the driver's side cylinder head. The oil line will be in place before the IP is loaded. Then I will route the lines and install the gages into the back of the intrument panel.


Making good progress this week; more soon.

Edited by 95Cardinal
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1 hour ago, 95Cardinal said:

I think this is so cool looking...


I much agree with you on all accounts Joe! :)

Especially with having polished up the paint!


Really starting to come along! B)

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Lots of updates this week; I'm catching up on recent progress.

I found an original brake line on a car that was being parted out locally.
I didn't think it looked like an OEM piece, but a google search and some bookwork made it clear that this was the correct part.

I took my time and used a tubing bender plus a few different diameter pipe fittings and even a 3.5" diameter resonator case to make the proper bends; came out pretty good.

I had a professional glass installer come over to install the windshield.
He filled the glass channel in the rubber gasket with bedding compound and laid a bead of bedding compound into the glass channel on the body. He inserted a cord into the pinch weld channel of the rubber gasket; the ends of the cord were positioned at the bottom, center of the windshield and taped to the inner glass surface.

Here, we are setting the windshield in place. You can see the cords taped to the glass.

That began a lengthy process of using the cord to coax the rubber channel over the pinch weld flange, while continually positioning the glass into its correct position.

Here's the end result:

Now I get to install the moldings.

While the installer was here, we test fit all the flat glass into the appropriate channels and I bought enough glass setting tape of the proper thicknesses to install all the door and vent window glass.  I also got enough bedding compound to install the quarter and liftgate glass. I plan to tackle those pieces myself.

With the windshield installed, I moved on to installing the front inner sheet metal and the engine compartment wire harness. I started on the driver's side, since most of the harness and the battery are on this side. First piece was the inner wheelhouse, along with the core support extension.


The +12V junction block and the main section of the engine and lighting harness are resting on the inner side of the wheelhouse.The new master cylinder brake line fit perfectly.

Retaining clips aren't installed yet, but the harness length and fitment looks great.
This is the headlight and horn connector on the left side of the core support.

More soon!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very inspiring.  Been working on my 49D as well.  I am at the stage to install the steering column and have lost the shots (well, almost the entire drive/file) of the rag connection and the mounting of the steering column in the engine compartment.  Would you happen to have a couple of shots?

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2 hours ago, frame30 said:

Very inspiring.  Been working on my 49D as well.  I am at the stage to install the steering column and have lost the shots (well, almost the entire drive/file) of the rag connection and the mounting of the steering column in the engine compartment.  Would you happen to have a couple of shots?

I beieve I have a couple of images, but I won't have access to them until I return to the US in mid-May.

Perhaps someone else could chime in and help you out in the meantime? anyone?


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  • 4 weeks later...

Got back from a 3 week vacation on May 17, so I will be catching you up on April's progress...

I installed the center link and set the toe-in close to the alignment spec in the service manual.
This should be adequate for short moves (on and off a trailer for the near future) until I get the car aligned.

April 15 was a big day; my son-in-law and my wife helped load the IP into the passenger compartment. This was not without incident - the passenger door tried to close on my wife's finger and I managed to kink the wiper control cable when we were bringing the IP forward toward the windshield.

Both my wife's finger and the wiper cable responded well to first aid.

IMG_4505 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


I made the dash to cowl seals by sewing a vinyl outer wrap around 2 sections of foam-wrapped cord. These seals go between the dash panel and the lower cowl door opening.

20180415_140109 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


I miscalculated the clearance for the cross-car air duct hose. I had installed it in the same space that is occupied by one of the IP hanger struts. I released one of the hose clamps in order to load the IP; I will go back and re-route the hose after all the dash to firewall connections are completed.

The front hood ornament came back from plating in 2 pieces; I told the plater that I would re-assemble the parts. The plater drilled and tapped a pair of holes to accept 2 6-32 X 1/4" screws in place of the original peened heads to attach the "V" to the base. 

20180416_151421 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


I shortened 2 screws and assembled the parts with a tiny drop of silicone to act as an anti-rotation lock. 

20180416_151508 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


Part looks great!

20180416_153339 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

Edited by 95Cardinal
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Time to install the fuel tank!

Painted the straps, pre-positioned the tank, sending unit wire and straps where they needed to go, then lifted the empty tank into position. It was a lot easier than I expected.

20180423_075133 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


While under the car, I removed all of the plastic wrap that had protected the frame and running gear from body shop dust and overspray.
Looks pretty good under here!

42244749841_1031114944_b.jpg20180520_152840 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


With the dash in the car, I could see that there was a big gap between the outer edge of the dash panel and the door opening. When the car comes back from having the hood and fenders installed, I will get some helpers to assist with re-positioning the dash. The part of the dash closest to the front seat has to be rotated "up" to close the gap and allow the seals to do their job. The gap is very exaggerated due to the angle of the photo, but you can see how the bottom, front edge of the dash is tight to the door opening, but there is a big opening at the upper curve that needs to be addressed.

20180419_080412 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


Installed the main dash harness, fuse block, park brake warning lamp and began connecting all the instruments. Here's a look at the fuse block and the park lamp switch, mounted to the driver's cowl.

20180419_080448 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


Routing the control cables for the vent, heater and defroster controls.

20180419_080511 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


Engine compartment to main body harness connections all buttoned up!

firewall detail - bulkhead harness connector by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


Installing all of the underhood sheet metal, except the 2 access panels behind the front wheels. Those pieces will be installed after the under-seat heater hoses, radio antenna, speedo cable and power brake hoses and tubing is completed.

right frt wheel and sheet metal before fender installation by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


Managed to re-position the steering column clamp without removing the dash panel from the car; THAT was a relief! Here you can see tha the steering column lower clamp is in place and the outer "wings" of the dash panel are held away from the doors with painter's tape. Don't want any scratches now!

temporary installation of IP by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


The power brake reservoir I got from Pete Phillips was a 1957 version, which meant it had the tube on the bottom of the tank. The 58 version had a 90 degree inlet tube at the TOP of the tank. It was bothering me that this would be easily identified as a '57 tank, so I decided to re-work the tank to posititon that tube on top.

I removed the tank from the car and, after making absolutely certain that I could swap the brackets end-for-end, I drilled out the spot welds holding the two mounting brackets to the tank. Here's one end of the tank with the bracket removed:

Vacuum tank with brackets removed by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr



And here are the brackets:

mounting brackets - vacuum tank by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr



Re-attaching the brackets:

Lower bracket - vacuum tank by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


Tested and re-installed with tube on top!

20180419_131300 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

Edited by 95Cardinal
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You are making amazing progress Joe!

The finished work is looking wonderful!

Before you know it you will be taking your first ride.

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I'm making a big push to get the car back to the paint shop before we leave for vacation on April 27.

Opened up the starter relay and checked it out. It worked perfectly, so I cleaned up the contacts, the terminals and the case cover. Painted the cover and installed it.
39771610900_abaeee5209_b.jpgStarter relay 1 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

Same for the dimmer switch; tested and worked fine, so I cleaned it up and installed it.
40878740684_db598ff754_b.jpg20180420_191440 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

26722166187_f4f4840294_b.jpg20180420_200949 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

All the front sheet metal installed, getting ready to go back to the painter
39800354150_1d382fbeba_b.jpg20180421_163407 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

Ballast resistor and blower motor resistor installed, windshield washer hoses installed to nozzles, wiper motor installed.
26740261097_c4d6936c33_b.jpg20180421_163457 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

On to the rollback!
41650787761_147aa1ceb0_b.jpg20180423_131233 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

40760093245_420e923d00_b.jpg20180423_131301 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

41711552791_c66f7a2c6b_b.jpg20180423_132036 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

Installed the hood center molding, the fender moldings, the headlight buckets and the radio antenna before the panels were installed to the car.
41711554591_c16978117c_b.jpg20180424_140728 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

40812460435_a6e3e883c0_b.jpg20180424_160113 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


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A few more pics of the fenders and hood before installation:
42421421661_59372117dc_b.jpg2015.04.26 left fender by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

41519190915_1ea82d1e95_b.jpg2018.04.26 left fender headlamp bucket by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

41519170085_b0572cf75a_b.jpgheadlight bucket installed LH by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

41519165775_2663eceb7c_b.jpgrt fender with molding by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

Got these photos from Masterworks when I was still in Scotland. They did all the body work & paint.
Woo Hoo!
41519164985_5bc6075bb5_b.jpg2018.05.15 in the sun by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

41519164455_c3598b857d_b.jpg2018.05.15 Rt frt view by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

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This showed up the day after I returned:

Dash pad carton by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

New dash pad; it looks GREAT!

dash pad wrapper by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


dash pad detail 1 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


dash pad 1 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

Here are a couple of pictures of the fenders and hood. The hood bumpers are in and all the re-plated fasteners look great.

LH fender installed - fastener  detail by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


2018.05.17 hood hing detail LH by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr


2018.05.17 RH hood hinge detail by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

The hinge arms and bases are zinc phosphate plated, then oiled. Hood latch is bright zinc.

2018.05.17 hood latch detail by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

Still have some work to do; the fender moldings need some convincing to fit tightly to the fenders. 

2018.05.17 RH fender - molding detail by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

When I tried to connect the battery, I got HUGE arcs and sparks. I found a short to ground on the positive power junction post and spent a couple of frustrating hours trying to track down the short. I was finding nearly 0 resistance on the wire that feeds +12V to the coil and the ballast resistor. Took me a while to realize that I had not isolated the points. DOH! AS soon as I stuck a piece of paper between the point contacts, that circuit checked okay.

Re-checked the positive battery cable and found it had 0 ohm resistance to ground; a direct short. What I found was simple, but somewhat embarassing...

Apparently, when I installed the positive battery cable to the junction block, I installed the junction block end "upside down", causing the edge of the junction block base to cut through the heat shrink insulation on the battery cable. You can see the 2 bright spots where the heat shrink tubing was cut.

20180519_093057 by 2manycars2littletime, on Flickr

All I had to do was turn the cable over and the lug no longer touched the base of the power junction block. Easy fix, but I can't believe I didn't realize it sooner.

Next: Brakes!

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I noticed that the filler neck was not centered in the bracket opening.

Only took a few minutes to loosen the straps and shift the tank a little bit.
Much better!

I added DOT4 brake fluid to the master cylinder back in April. 
When I pushed the brake pedal, it went to the floor and I found multiple leaks in the system,

Some of the leaks were caused by my forgetting to tighten some of the fittings after loosely assembling all the lines. But some of the leaks have persisted after re-torqing the fittings. I'm still working through the system, one fitting at a time.

Meanwhile, I've brought the car back home for assembly.
This color looks great in the sunlight!
I've had to remove the headlight buckets to to re-fit the eyebrow moldings. 

The eyebrow moldings that came with the car were both damaged. In the process of straightening and polishing, the contours changed slightly. The driver's side is ready to go back on and the passenger side should be ready on June 4.

Finally got around to cleaning the blue protective coating from the whitewalls!

I've also been chipping away at trim installation; so far, I've got the hood emblem and 2 of the "whiskers" installed. It's a time-consuming process.

Today, I connected the transmission cooling lines to the radiator, hooked up the fuel and vent lines to the fuel tank, checked the torque on all the transmission mount fasteners and tried to adjust the emergency brake cables. Not sure what's going on with the e-brake cable; there is still slack in the cables with the adjuster at minimum length. I've got more work to do there... 

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Installed the fender "bulls-eye" ornaments.
It was interesting...
These are current reproduction parts. One of them dropped into position perfectly; the other was too large to fit into the base. I tried one of the original Buick parts I have; it fit perfectly.

I had to grind off the chrome plating and some of the copper plating at the bottom of the emblem shaft to get the emblem to fit into the base. Once I got the emblem to fit into the base, I painted and sealed the base to protect the surfaces. Another case for OEM parts over reproduction parts...

BUT, they sure look good!


The eyebrow moldings are on. These are fun to install...

Then on to the grille. More bling!

The grille still has to be adjusted to fit "square" to the rest of the front end components.

I also started working on the headliner insulation today. Measure, cut, glue, repeat.


Those little bumps in the narrower piece are there because I made the first piece a little too wide. I still need to trim it around the molding retainer nuts.

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Next up: grille extensions and front park/turn lamps.

The chrome-plated die cast trim panel gets bolted to the steel base plate, then the lamp is attached to the panel.

The lamp housing attaches with studs, washers and nuts. I ran a tap through all the threaded holes to clean out all the excess copper and chrome plating from the threads.

After assembling the lamp housing to the plate, it's on to the car:


And repeat for the right side...


Just SO cool.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another case of 2 steps forward and 3 steps back...

See that little pile of oil absorber on the floor, next to the wood block?


That's the size of the oil puddle you get when you start an engine without remembering to connect the oil pressure gauge line.

I was lucky that the engine only ran for a couple of seconds!


I had squirted a little bit of gas into the carburetor and the engine fired almost immediately. When it stopped I could hear a gurgling noise from under the car...that's when I discovered that I had not connected the oil pressure gauge line after I removed the temporary gauge that was used for camshaft break-in.

Took me over an hour to connect that line; with the body on the frame, there's not much room to work - or see - under there.

Next start-up was uneventful. Oil presure is good, all gauges work and I decided to move on to brake bleeding.


Larry Schramm did all the pedal work while I handled the bleeders.

We got a solid pedal after bleeding the 4 wheel cylinders, but when I started the engine I got absolutely no assist from the power booster.

I checked the booster and it was not holding any vacuum, so I had to remove it. Not fun...
Here is the booster, coming out of the car after removing that wonderful nut, under the instrument panel and between the two pedal mounting brackets,  that holds the master cylinder assembly to the firewall.

Got it apart and found that the new internal vacuum hose had slipped off the power piston connection. 

I took off the new vacuum hose and re-installed the original hose. It has a tighter curvature and "wants" to stay on the fitting.

But even with the hose connected, the booster would not hold vacuum for more than a few seconds.

I disassembled the power piston and found that the air valve seal does not form an airtight seal against the seat unless I pressed on the vacuum piston side of the valve.

I dressed the seat to make sure there were no gouges or scratches, but it still won't seal.


I took apart my spare booster assembly and it appears that the seal in the original booster is slightly thicker than the one that came in the re-build kit.

I am still looking for the "fix" for this issue. 

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So, while the brake headache continues, I am trying to get other tasks done.

I started working on the vent window glass installation. I measured and cut the glass setting tape and cut relief notches for the corners:

Sprayed the parts liberally with window cleaner (got that suggestion from the guy who installed the windshield), and began inserting the glass into the vent window frame.

I thought I was being patient and careful, but I sliced through the galss setting tape in the area where the drip channel is inserted into the vent window.

The windshield guy reminded me that the glass setting tape can be steretched locally to thin it out if necessary. I'll try that on my next attempt...

The rest of the vent window seals and the glass frame went in with only minor trimming/adjusting required.


I've also been working on the front end trim and headlights.

My granddaughter likes to inspect my work...

Installed headlight bulbs and checked the light output; they were very dim. With all the powder coating, epoxy primer and paint on the parts, I checked resistance between the headlight attaching screws and the battery's negative terminal. The ground connection was very poor. 

Rather than scraping coatings, I added a dedicated ground from each headlight bucket to an adjacent core support attachment. Might not be "correct" for judging purposes, but I've done this on several cars now and I like the certainty of this ground connection. You can see the added ground screw and wire in this image. 

The arrow points to the ground wire attachment at the upper core support bolt. And now, the lights are bright!

Also been working on the remaining front end trim.
I was unpleasantly surprised to find that 5 of the 8 attachment holes on the outer fender moldings were partially stripped.

I had to install heli-coils in all 5 holes. Quite a stressful activity, given that all these parts are already plated.


Right side molding installed:

It took HOURS to get these to fit this well. I still need to fine-tune the hood fore/aft position to allign the front edges of the hood and fender moldings, but this is getting close!

Test-fit of the driver's side headlight door. Fits great!

The headlight doors are attached with chrome-plated, brass barrel nuts, attached to studs mounted to the headlight bezel. I made new studs, using 10-32 screws.

I also re-shaped the barrel screws to allow insertion through the holes in the headlight doors. After installation in the headlight door, the barrel screws were originally flared to retain the barrel screws in the door.

T-3 headlights are installed; next step is to attach the seals to the back side of the doors and install them.

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  • 1 month later...

It's been a while...busy summer so far!

After repeated attempts to bleed the brakes and determining that there is a vacuum leak in the booster system, I decided to remove all the power brake system and install regular brakes.


Step 1: removing the booster and master from the firewall...again!



Step 2: Prepare the master cylinder and the master-to-junction block line for installation



Step 3: Re-furbish the manual brake pedal mechanism. The mechanical advantage of the manual system is much higher than that of the power brake pedal linkage.





Step 4: Install the pedal assembly, master cylinder and brake line.

Step 5: Fill and bleed the system.

Finally, solid pedal and no leaks!


I removed the vacuum fittings, check valve and tubing but I left the vacuum canister under the fender. I plan to re-install the power system at some point.


When I was working under the hood and testing the booster, I saw fuel stains on the driver's side of the intake manifold and it was wet with gas after running the engine.

The engine was also running extremely rich.

I pulled the carb off the car and found that the passenger side float well was about 50% full, but the driver's side was nearly empty.



The well plug screw was wet and I found that the sealing surface on the screw was gouged and would not seal. All the gas had drained out of the float well into the intake manifold.


I picked up some small diameter O-rings and chose the one that fit the best.



Re-assembled everything and tested with fresh plugs. No more leaks and no fuel stains under the carb!



Installed new gaskets on the headlight doors and installed the doors; another layer of bling!





I have a couple of sets of sun visors, neither of which had the correct perforated material. I cleaned and polished the sunshade pivots and set them aside until they are needed.

 I stripped the old covers and pads off the substrates.


The substrates were delivered to CARS Inc., in Auburn Hills, MI (the Chevrolet restoration guys, not the Buick guys in New Jersey) where they will be re-covered with the correct, perforated material and get new clips.



With all the gauges working, I thought it was time to install the new dash pad.




I couldn't be happier with the dash pad. It was done by RD Autoline in Bodafors, Sweden.

I sent them my bare steel substrate along with color and grain samples. They took it from there and did a GREAT job!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had the headliner panels painted recently.
I had to modify the dome lamp opening to fit the lamp housing.



This is the original dome light from this car. The chrome bezel has been cleaned and polished and the base has been re-painted gloss white.43110059911_fbf50c6a8a_b.jpg


The new lens will make it look perfect.


Before I install the headliner panels, the replacement retainer strips need to be plated or painted to look like the originals.

The original parts appear to have been vacuum metallized or perhaps backed with a "chrome" mylar film to make them look like chrome.


I can get them vacuum metallized on the exposed surface, but that won't look like the original finish. I'm still thinking about how to make these look correct...any suggestions?



All the glass frames have been polished or re-plated as required.
When it came time to install the new glass in the frames, I started with the driver's front window.42463114954_2e59984777_b.jpg


New fasteners, many had to be shortened to keep from contacting the edge of the glass.28311869927_c21e18a47f_b.jpg


I used liquid soap and window cleaner to lubricate the glass tape. It took a lot of convincing with a rubber mallet to get the glass into the frames, but here's the first one:42280192445_c6de419628_b.jpg


Glass setting tape trimmed with a razor blade, ready for installation



The rear door window was more challenging.


The 2-piece roller attached to the lower sash is spring-loaded and follows the lower guide. It took me about 20 minutes per side to free these rollers up; the gap between the two plastic pieces was full of dust and rust. There is a spring (wavy) washer between the two plastic sections of the roller.

Next, I installed the front seal retainer to the front of the frame. This part gets riveted to the die cast frame and it holds the seal that matches up to the front door frame. You can see the rivet heads in this picture if you look closely at the channel.




Then I taped the glass setting tape to the window, cut relief notches in the tape at the corners and began inserting the glass into the die cast frame.42469813455_7bd7753878_b.jpg


I used a rubber mallet to coax the glass into place.

On one of my mallet hits, the rubber mallet head slipped forward on the handle and the handle struck the edge of the glass.

Result: INSTANT glass fracture! Crap...another $50 plus shipping for a new piece of glass.42945192314_da43f4a3a3_b.jpg


I decided to try a slightly thinner glass setting tape for the next piece of glass. Installation was easier and uneventful...

To prepare the guides for the rear door glass installation, I removed the old cloth from the guides and cleaned and painted the guides, then installed new "bow drill" cloth or felt linings, to match what came out of the original parts.

This is one of the front guides for the rear doors:


The same part, all cleaned up and ready for new lining.



The construction of the front door's rear guides are interesting.



The cloth liners were not bonded to the body of the part, but were bonded to a pair of thin sheet metal panels that were then crimped onto the main body.


I flattened out the original parts and duplicated them in light gauge steel. Those old license plates come in handy sometimes!


Here is one of the re-assembled window guides, with new linings.

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The replacement piece of window glass went in without any setbacks...





Rear door windows are challenging to install, but I just followed the instructions in the Body Service Manual and referred to my dis-assembly photos a lot.41811141370_974dcd2ba9_b.jpg


Adjusting the windows has been difficulet and I'm still not done with the process. I am starting woth the ventilator window, then working back to the front door and finally the rear door.

I had the driver's side almost perfect, but then I realized that the front of the vent window frame was too close to the A pillar. When closing the front door, the ventilator frame touched the windshield molding near the top of the vent window frame.


I've got to start all over again, but at least I know I can get there!



I know that reproduction sill plates are available for these cars, but I have about 3 full sets of parts so I thought I'd try cleaning and polishing some of the parts I already have.
This is typical of all the parts; a few dings and scratches and serious oxidation.



The areas with the worst dents are circled .

I've bumped them out and am beginning to work out the smaller imperfections. This is going to take a lot of time...42043173320_9587449185_b.jpg


Starting to assemble the front bumper:



With the brackets attached to the bumper, I tried lifting the assembled bumper on a beam spanning two floor jacks.28775997127_0c71882903_b.jpg


No luck; I opted for two friends to hold the bumper up while I bolted it to the frame. It still needs to be adjusted, but it's amazing how much the bumper made it look like a car again!

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First time this car moved under it's own power since I've owned it...and probably since the '70s!42822109595_c618e7281f_b.jpg


Front bumper adjusted and aligned:



Can't wait to drive this beast!



There are a couple of updates in this next photo.
First is the polished hubcap and the new emblem, ready for installation.


And beneath the hubcap and emblems are the pre-cut deadener/insulators for the bottom of the spare tire storage compartment.


Assembled hubcap installed:





The rear bumper trim panels and all of them were corroded and/or dented. These replacements were made by Todd Reiter at Reiter's Metal Craft.

They've been primed and are painted with the dull aluminum color for the "silver" areas of the panels.



I made a template from the original parts to help with the masking. The aluminum color stripes are 1/8" wide, the black bands are 11/32" wide.42006946160_2cdddf1282_b.jpg


After masking the aluminum base layer, the black was painted and the mask peeled.42006946550_f0ab02ff28_b.jpg

One panel came out perfect, but a few areas of the aluminum paint came off with the masking tape.


Do-over went well:


Mocking up the center section of the rear bumper. It's going to look great!



Installing the deadener strips on the spare tire stowage area:



Contact cement and a rubber roller...job done!


Finishing up with the floor pan deadener installation:



Harness covers installed at all 4 door openings:


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8 hours ago, Roadmaster75 said:

Would love to see your masterpiece in person someday.....


One really has to!


I personally have seen it at various stages and can say it looks even more spectacular than his photos show.  

(Of course I'm just a bit biased...)

Truly nice work Joe!

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  • 3 weeks later...

With all the door glass installed, I began working on the glass alignment. It's been a frustrating experience so far...

I started by installing the roof rail weatherstrip retainer and the new weatherstrip.



As I mentioned earlier, the Body Service manual states that the rear door glass must be adjusted to the front door glass and the front door glass is adjusted to the ventilator frame. The ventilator gets adusted to the windshield frame/A pillar, so that's where I started.

The driver's side looks pretty close, but I don't have the windshield moldings yet. The moldings I have are for a different body style. I will start on the passenger side.29794188108_bb6b86aa23_b.jpg


Got a long way to go...





Started by installing the roof rail weatherstrip.



This is the best alignment I could achieve between the ventilator and the front door window. It looks good in this photo, but the rear of the door glass is not touching the weatherstrip.43701952442_404514aa29_b.jpg


No matter what I did, I couldn't get the back corner of the glass to contact the weatherstrip.

Going back through the shop manual instructions, I found a reference to the upper attachment between the ventilator frame and the outer door frame. I had not installed that attaching screw and I couldn't get the screw to engage the threads, so I had to remove the vent window assembly and repair the threaded hole in the door frame. The arrow points to the guilty culprit. 



After repairing the threads, I re-installed the ventilator and tried to set the ventilator relationship to the windshield frame.

I installed the windshield reveal molding so I could see the exact relationship between the ventilator and the windshield pillar.



The ventilator and pillar relationship looks great, but I still can't get the upper, rear corner of the door glass to contact the weatherstrip unless I allow the front of the glass to travel at least 1/4" beyond the top of the vent window frame.

The Service Manual states that the upper, rear corner of the window can be adjusted to travel higher by raising the rear attachment of the inner panel cam. The circled area in this picture highlights the rear cam adjustment on the left front door.



I've done that, but I still could not get enough additional travel.

I lengthened the slot for the rear attachment point, giving additional upward adjustment to the rear cam attachment, but that didn't give enough additional travel, either.

That led me to look at the window frame and glass assembly itself. This window frame had to be repaired and reinforced due to corrosion damage at the bottom of the channel. 

I feared that the repairs increased the thickness of the lower sash enough to force the forward, top corner of the glass too high in the vehicle. I also saw that I could get additional room for adjustment if the back of the door glass frame wasn't so tight against the rear guide.


I removed the window from the door and took the glass out of the frame.

I re-set the glass, concentrating on getting the glass as far rearward in the rear sash as possible.

The re-installed glass was easily adjusted to align with the ventilator.


Now, on to the rear door...



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My helpers finishing up the deadener in the rear compartment.



Now that the passenger side windows are adjusted, I am moving to the driver's side. I am still missing one of the reveal moldings, but I can get everything lined up and ready.

I started by aligning the ventilator frame to the A pillar. I noticed that the inner panel moved when I tried to tighten the attaching bolts.

I found that there were 3 spot welds holding the 3 layers (inner panel, reinforcement and outer panel) together.

One of the 3 welds only held 2 layers together, causing a fatigue failure adjacent to the weld.


Got some advice from some VERY experienced friends...


They recommended drilling and tapping 3 holes in the 3 layers, then using 3 fine thread set screws to lock the layers together. The set screws and the interfaces between all 3 layers are coated with JB Weld epoxy.




Repair worked great!

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After repairing the broken weld, I installed the ventilator and lined it up to the A pillar.

On this side of the car, window alignment was easier and took a lot less time then the passenger side. Part of the time savings was due to what I learned on the passenger side, but the other big time-saver was being able to get the glass aligned without dis-assembling the window sashes to re-position the glass in the perimeter frames. All 3 of the windows on the driver's side (vent, front door and rear door), were correctly seated in the sashes.



Now, on to one of the challenges I face with the interior...


These cars were built with a molded trim cover over the inner rear wheel wells.



Most of the restored cars have had those molded covers replaced with sewn vinyl covers.



I want my wheel wells to look like the originals....so...

57BuickJim and I agreed to work on this little project together. 

Jim found some supported vinyl with a very stretchy, knit backing. The grain is a very close match to the original grain, as it appeared under the folding seat latches.

We thought about this a long time before we took the first step...

We cut a piece of the vinyl with enough extra material to allow us to hold the perimeter and we attached the lower, front corner to the inner fender, at the floor.42118740060_0fc0581e65_b.jpg

It took us a couple of hours over two evenings, but with me pulling at the rear and along the perimeter and Jim applying the adhesive, warming the vinyl with a heat gun and stretching the vinyl into position, we were able to get a very nice result.



The puckers around the perimeter will be trimmed away and any wrinkles near the edges of the wheel well will be completely hidden by the load floor and the trim moldings that surround the floor.

Now, I have to touch up a scuff mark and dye the vinyl to match the dark tan color of the interior.

This is exactly what I hoped to accomplish!
One down, one to go!


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On ‎8‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 8:52 AM, Roadmaster75 said:

Simply spectacular work on a spectacular Car.....!

Would love to see your masterpiece in person someday.....


I was over to Joe's house today and the car is truly spectacular.  It should be at OKC next year from what the current plan is.

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7 hours ago, dei said:

Nice Team work you guys!


Jumping the gun I'm sure but what is the dye process to match the interior colour?  


I plan to use custom mixed SEM color coat.

I've had great luck - on many projects - with that product.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The interior of this car was typical of a desert car that spent too much of its life in the sun...

These are the driver's side door trim panels; crispy critters!



Notice that the rear door "Century" script emblem is slanted rearward and the front door script is slanted forward...
The rear door is correct; the car was built with 3 of the forward-slanted emblems. Having come from the OEM interior trim business, I suspect that someone pierced the driver's door panel in the wrong punch press or upside down in the die, depending on how the tooling was constructed. They either had to scrap the panel or install the forward slant emblem and ship the part. Obviously, they chose the latter course.

I will correct the error when I make the replacement part, but part of me wants to build it wrong because that's the way it was done 60 years ago...

I disassembled the panels to understand how they were built; the sequence of assembly is critical to re-creating the original appearance. This is a de-constructed rear door trim panel:42240269590_79d0e97676_b.jpg


I used heavy kraft paper to create patterns from the original parts. 



and made test parts using scrap vinyl from previous projects. The ivory colored material is excess from a 68 GTO vinyl roof cover...29206635327_45629a755c_b.jpg


After verifying the contours and shape of the main panel, I traced the original part shape onto new "100 point" (0.100" thick) hardboard.44149693392_3e92d5506e_b.jpg


I laid out the patterns on the main panel, along with the moldings to verify the seam positions, cut lines and armrest & molding attachment points.43499246754_c80db749e0_b.jpg


I still wasn't ready to cut the vinyl parts, so I used some of the flawed areas of the correct vinyl material to cut my "final" test parts.43658028844_67779d9836_b.jpg


Here, I have peeled the laminated padding back from the outermost edges of the dielectrically embossed inserts to exactly match the way the original pieces were cut.44374794301_962053f0f4_b.jpg


Everything looked correct, so I proceeded to cut the "production" parts...



And also cut the loft pads for the door panels and pre-punched the holes for the window regulator and  latch control spindles, as well as all the attachment holes for the armrests and moldings.42595724530_f628046464_b.jpg


I also straightened the perimeter metal edge-fold pieces and replaced the corroded parts by modifying tri-five Chevy components:42595728730_a5a55bec27_b.jpg


I bonded the pads to the main panel substrate with permanent contact adhesive



Verifying position of the sub-assembled panels onto the main panel with the trim moldings44431261122_1b2c6c3357_b.jpg


One of the "Century" emblems had a missing stud, so I fashioned and threaded a replacement stud and drilled and tapped a blind hole in the emblem into which the new stud was epoxied.42690687360_d2423255da_b.jpg



If anyone has one of these rearward slanting emblems, I need another one!


Edited by 95Cardinal (see edit history)
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Before installing the vinyl cover on the left rear inner wheelhouse, I did a little body work to smooth out a few dents and battle scars.



After another adventure with 57BuickJim, spray adhesive and heat gun!



Shortly after Labor Day, I visited my friend Pat. He is building the seats and helping me with the door trim panels.44676133521_e93a1e6ed8_b.jpg


The seat covers are looking great!



He developed patterns for the door armrest covers and he sewed the parts while I was there.



We were not able to build any of the main seat parts, but we determined what still needed to be done before we could install the covers on the frame & spring assemblies.


When I got back home with the armrest covers, I started assembling the door trim panels. I began with the right, rear door.

I installed the armrest base to the main panel with the original steel tabs and rivets where the tabs were broken or missing.

Then I added a layer of batting and the trim cover





Mocked up the armrest with the upper sub-assembly



The right front door armrest had significant corrosion damage around the upper pull handle and the entire bottom perimeter area. I was not looking forward to all that welding repair, but on a recent visit to CARS (Chevrolet reproduction supplier) in Auburn Hills, MI, I noticed several armrest bases that looked a lot like the Caballero armrests.

1955 Chevy Nomad front armrest bases are the SAME as the 58 Buick Century bases.

The reproduction parts are made of ABS plastic, so I fabricated 3 retainer tabs to duplicate the original retaining tab designs. The molded armrest upper pad might need minor modification, but the contour and size is correct.





I've also been working on the upper "C" pillar trim panels. These are steel substrates, covered with a thin layer of padding and a vinyl cover.30712032958_7d06d1bb70_b.jpg


Earlier this year, I installed the clock after having it refurbished and it only worked for a few minutes.

I recently pulled the clock out of the dash and was surprised to see a piece of gasket material trapped under the clock's second hand. As I removed the clock from the car, the gasket dropped away from the second hand and the clock began to run.

I dis-assembled the clock and found that the gasket between the housing and the lens had been glued in by the rebuilder, but it he had re-installed the pieces of the original, brittle gasket.

I removed the gasket pieces, cleaned and re-painted the black bezel under the lens, made a new gasket and re-assembled the clock. It is back in the dash and working perfectly.29621472687_c255911cb6_b.jpg



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