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New 37 Buick Special Model 44


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Hello all,

Just wanted to introduce myself as new to the forum. As the thread title indicates, I just recently purchased a 1937 Special 44. Although in pretty rough shape, it is apparently (from the pictures I have seen) a nearly complete all original vehicle, that thankfully hasn't been hacked up by anyone along the way. The car was an impulse buy -- I probably paid too much for it, but once I stopped to look I had to have it. I am hopeful that I can get it running as it sits, and then figure out where to go from there. At this point, it has probably been sitting for at least a decade, probably longer.

I must admit, having never touched a pre-war vehicle before, it's difficult figuring out where to start, or what to do. I think I spent 3 hours on the internet just trying to figure out what model it was. That was how I stumbled upon this place. Anyway, I look forward to sifting through the vast amount of information on the forum. Its obvious you guys have a lot of knowledge, and that this is a wonderful resource. I will try to add some pictures to the thread in the next day or so, so you all can have a good laugh.

For now, the Fisher body tag info is:

Flint, Mich.

1937 MOD: 44

Style No. 37-4401

Body No. 4361

Trim No. 300

Paint No. 500

VIN: 3105547

Engine Code: 43278122

As I saw in another thread, hopefully, I won't get an "OH, you bought THAT one."

Brian D.

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Hi Brian, Welcome to the forum. This is a great place to share and obtain info. Hang around here long enough and it becomes like family. If you haven't already, you should pick up a shop manual and owner's manual. They can usually be found on E-bay. Also, I see you are in Jersey. I suggest you make plans to go to the AACA fall meet in Hershey PA. You will definitely find your manuals there and probably plenty of parts too. Things like brake parts, engine tune up parts and much more. The dates are October 8, 9 10 & 11. You can still find a hotel room, but it will be a bit of a drive from the Hershey show grounds. You can find out more info right here on the AACA site.

Lots of luck with you car !

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Brian:

Welcome to the land of endless adventure!!! A 1937 model 44 is a nice find. And will take some love and understanding. Just remember at the onset it will not always love you in return. I have had my 37-41 for 27 years and we have had our ups and downs. Best wishes for a good relationship and count on us from the forum to give you a hand.

Larry

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Welcome. I like the model 44, but I'm prejudiced as that's what I own. Glad to see you are geting acquainted with a few of the web sites. I believe you just joined the 1937-1938 yahoo group? Parts are fairly easy to come by and there are a few good sources for parts.

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Frame serial number = 3105547

range for Flint was 2,999,497 to 3,219,843

Engine serial number = 43278122

4 = Series 40 (Special)

3278122 = sequential number, range for 1937 was 3,166,225 to 3,396,936

FLINT, MICH.

1937 MOD. 44

STYLE No 37-4401

BODY No 4361

TRIM No 300

PAINT No 500

1937 = 1937 model year

MOD. 44 = Buick model 44 = 2-door sedan - plain back, 5-passenger

STYLE No 37-4401

37 = 1937 model year

4401 = Fisher body style number

4 = Buick

4 = Series 40 (Special)

01 = 2-door sedan - plain back, 5-passenger

BODY No 4361

4361 = 4361th 4401 built at Flint, MI

TRIM No 300 = Tan Bedford Cord, available on model 41, 44, 46, 46S, 47, 48

PAINT No 500 = solid Imperial Black

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for the welcomes. It is a 44 2 door slantback, which I think is just a really cool body style. I have no idea on original production, but I do know you don't see them very often, if ever, cruising "regular" car shows.

Bigdogdaddy - Thank you much for the heads up on the AACA show in October, as you just changed my plan for that weekend. That is only a 2 1/2 hour drive from where I am, so I think I will head out on Saturday and have a look around. Seems like a great way to spend a fall saturday....beats the heck out of raking leaves!

1937-44 - I did join the yahoo group as well. I have a fair amount of experience with cars, but have never touched anything pre-50's before. I am looking for anywhere I can find to get more information. Its great to hear you say that parts are relatively easy to come by. Even though the car is virtually complete, one of the scary things is the few items that are not there and replacing other stuff that will inevitably be too far gone.

Sean - thanks for the information. I really appreciate it.

Edited by Ole Cabbagehead (see edit history)
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I finally got around to uploading some pictures to the computer. Here is how she looks on the exterior, fresh off the trailer. You can see the tow strap I used to pull it off the guy's trailer with my grand cherokee. I wanted it tight against that cherry tree you see in the background, which almost led to a disaster right out of the gate. Thankfully by taking it slow and thinking creatively, we managed to get it dropped without incident.

As you can see, the car is almost all there. Missing only a couple trim items, and some other odds and ends. It is also pretty solid, but does have some rust damage. So far, the biggest issue I have seen is where it has rusted through at the bottoms of both doors. That will obviously require a major repair. I will get some pics of the engine and exterior up soon.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]272403[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]272404[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]272405[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]272406[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]272407[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]272408[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]272415[/ATTACH]

Edited by Ole Cabbagehead (see edit history)
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Hi,

It seemed only a few of your attachments worked for me, but looks like a fairly nice solid car.

There used to be a 1937-1938 Buick group and the monthly newsletters are archived here http://www.1937and1938buicks.com/The-Torque-Tube/The-Torque-Tube.htm . They have a lot of tech articles that can be worth there weight in gold. A newer group 1936-1938 which is a division of the Buick Club has taken their place, but is expanding to include all straight eights.

There is also a 1937-1938 Yahoo group ypu might want to join. It's free, Word of caution however sometimes we can get off topic and if you select individual emails it can become a pain.

Bob's Automobilia http://bobsautomobilia.com/shop/ and Cars http://www.oldbuickparts.com/catalog/ are good sources for parts. Dave Tacheny is a great source for used parts.

Carl

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Another good book to add to your library is the Fisher Body Manual, reprints available through parts suppliers and eBay. Great body style! Congrats.

Hi Brian, Welcome to the forum. This is a great place to share and obtain info. Hang around here long enough and it becomes like family. If you haven't already, you should pick up a shop manual and owner's manual. They can usually be found on E-bay. Also, I see you are in Jersey. I suggest you make plans to go to the AACA fall meet in Hershey PA. You will definitely find your manuals there and probably plenty of parts too. Things like brake parts, engine tune up parts and much more. The dates are October 8, 9 10 & 11. You can still find a hotel room, but it will be a bit of a drive from the Hershey show grounds. You can find out more info right here on the AACA site.

Lots of luck with you car !

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Hi Brain,

Welcome to the asylum...

As mentioned above, Dave Tacheny is a great source for parts. His number is 763-427-3460. He is in Champlin, Mn. and I have had the best luck after 6pm central time. Dave has supplied me with parts for the 37 Roadmaster and is just simply a great guy to work with.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks a lot for the sources, gentlemen. They are truly, much appreciated. Thanks to BigDog's post, I was able to head out to Hershey for the Saturday, and see tons of incredible pre-war cars What an unbelievable event. Many of the cars were absolutely stunning. Was able to talk to one fellow with a 37-41 in the HPOF division I believe (I'm still learning the terminology). Other than that, did not see any 37's.

Most of the swap meet/flea market was gone by the time I got there. It never occurred to me they would pack it up before Saturday, but I suppose weather was a factor. I spoke with someone from Bob's Automobilia, who put me on to a guy selling original tail light lenses. Unfortunately for me, he was gone by the time I got over there. I was told he had about 8 pair of them, so I will be contacting someone from BCA to try to track those down. If anyone knows of whom I speak, please do let me know. I'm going to take another shot at some more pictures, below.

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Body shots. The big problem area is the bottoms of both doors. I have read where this spot will rot out, even if the car is kept indoors. I have been meaning to dig around in the trunk to see if there is any cancer in there. Another potential trouble spot is the floor near the pedals. Other than that, we are pretty solid. The running boards look worse than they are - still a lot of solid metal there.

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Edited by Ole Cabbagehead (see edit history)
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Thanks, Carl. I had been meaning to look into the carburetor. All the posts I have seen on here have to do with the Stromberg carbs. Is the Marvel carb an original that should be rebuilt/restored?

At this point I have no idea if the thing will turn, let alone run. I paid for it as if it were a shell, even though it has the original engine and trans. If it turns, I will be thrilled. My plan is to try to get the wheels off soon, blast them, paint them, and put some new tires on it. All four are flat now, with large holes in them -- the one pictured looks old enough and bald enough to be original. Its is skinned bare. Then I will try to get the engine to turn manually (turn the axle with the car in gear), and with any luck, get it ready to start.

Brian

Edited by Ole Cabbagehead (see edit history)
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You will definitely learn a lot about how different they used to think back then as designers and developers . I have owned my 1941 buick special since 2000 and am still learning also just now rebuilding the original 248 straight eight . Good luck with the future work .

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Ole cabbagehead, I think I talked to you and the gentleman from Lancaster, Pa. with the 37 in HPOF, could be mistaken, but I believe that his car was a model 61 (Century). I am working on a 36-61, (complete body off) which I started 37 years ago. Drove it home and took the door panels off to replace cracked glass and window channels, next thing the body was off the frame. After 31 years in business, I finally got back to it last year. Engine has been rebuilt, brake cylinders resleeved, all new brake lines,fuel lines vacuum lines, exhaust system,wiring harness,carb and fuel pump rebuilt, etc. Soon as I figure out how to post pictures I will do so. Live 12 miles from Hershey. Your car looks very interesting, keep us posted. Les Monn

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Yes, the 1937 Buick in HPOF at Hershey was a Model 61. It is owned by a Richard Williams of Lancaster PA. I hung around it for a while until Mr. Williams returned so I could talk with him. He was gracious enough to open up the hood and driver's door so I could get some better photos. I was very interested in his car because I just recently purchased an identical 1937 Model 61.

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Hi Brian,

1937 Specials could have had either the Marvel or Stromberg on them when they were new. When I bought mine it had a Carter carburetor on it, but the choke control on the exhaust manifold told me mine originally had a Marvel. There are still some out their running the Marvel and don't seem to have a problem, but some people told me the Stromberg was better so I eventually converted mine to the Stromberg AA-1. To be honest I still haven't dialed mine in to run as good as it did on that old Carter.

Here is a link that might help you in the future with your project; http://www.1937and1938buicks.com/information_links/information_links.htm There used to be a 1937-1938 Buick group that disbanded about 9 years ago, but if you will look to the left you can access all the old Torque Tubes (newsletters) which are full of information. Of course the Buick Club and the straight 8 division should be of assistance. There is also a yahoo group for 1937-1938's that doesn't get lots of activity, but might be of benefit to you.

Carl

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Ole cabbagehead, I think I talked to you and the gentleman from Lancaster, Pa. with the 37 in HPOF, could be mistaken, but I believe that his car was a model 61 (Century). I am working on a 36-61, (complete body off) which I started 37 years ago. Drove it home and took the door panels off to replace cracked glass and window channels, next thing the body was off the frame. After 31 years in business, I finally got back to it last year. Engine has been rebuilt, brake cylinders resleeved, all new brake lines,fuel lines vacuum lines, exhaust system,wiring harness,carb and fuel pump rebuilt, etc. Soon as I figure out how to post pictures I will do so. Live 12 miles from Hershey. Your car looks very interesting, keep us posted. Les Monn

Les, Notwithstanding my screen handle, I was the younger guy looking at that car with my father. I think we were actually talking about the tail light lenses when you walked over if you are the same person. You guys are right, it was a 61, I forgot that. I was actually explaining to my dad the easy way to tell a Century from the Specials -- and we were talking about the front fenders, and how the front end is longer to accommodate the 320.

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I would be very careful trying to start and/or drive a car with wiring that looks like that. It looks to be in much the same condition my car was in when I bought it.

Agreed! I have no designs on driving it before I go through the brakes, electric and fuel systems. But first and foremost I do want to prove out that it will run, because if it won't I have some big decisions to make. After I confirm the engine isn't seized, would you guys recommend I attempt to run it by jump starting it, as opposed to trying to hook a battery up and turn the key? I am open to any suggestions. I've never started on a car that has been sitting this long and/or wouldn't run when I bought it.

Brian.

Edited by Ole Cabbagehead (see edit history)
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I'd just hook a jump box up to it to see if it cranks. You can use 12V, that won't hurt the starter unless you crank it for a really, really long time.

If you weren't so far away I'd give you my extra 6v battery.

Make sure all of the lights, radio if it has one, etc are all turned off before trying to crank the engine.

But the first thing would be to change all of the fluids. Engine oil, coolant, clean the fuel system, put some oil in the cylinders, etc. and then see if you can turn over the engine by hand.

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Also, if you are going to use 12V, unhook the line to the fuel tank sending unit if you can. Doubling the voltage with the same resistance also doubles the current, but increases the power dissipation in the resistor by a factor of 4 (2 squared). The fuel gauge will peg, of course. But the resistance of those coils is pretty high resulting in low current so I think you are OK there.

Cheers, Dave

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Greetings all,

In my role as a technical adviser for the 1936-8 group, there have been several recent instances of bent pushrods on engines that have been idle for many years upon initial startup. Typically, this is caused by one or more stuck valves. The valves get stuck when condensate forms on the valve stems, causing the valve to bind up in the valve guide. The pushrods are the weakest link, and they bend easily. I would suggest that you do something like the following steps to do an initial start on a Buick that has been idle for years and you don't really know the condition of the engine:

  1. Remove the spark plugs, and shoot some anti-sieze (liquid wrench, PB Blaster or similar) into each cylinder. Let this stuff sit in the cylinders for a few days before attempting to turn the engine. This should free up any rings which are stuck to the cylinder walls.
  2. Drain the oil, being particularly attentive to what comes out when you first remove the drain plug. Water will settle into the bottom of the pan, and you will see it first if it's there. I'd expect a little water from accumulated condensation, but not too much. If is more than an ounce or so of water, removing the pan and inspecting the internals is justified. If you decide not to remove the pan, fill with light (15W or 20W) non-detergent oil.
  3. Remove the valve cover. Use a small pry bar to make sure that all of the valves are free. If you find a stuck valve, see if you can work it loose with the application of liquid wrench and possibly heat. At this point, you may find it more convenient to remove the rocker shaft to improve access to the offending valve(s), and you can inspect the valve springs at the same time. If you find rust spots on the valve springs or have a severely stuck valve you cannot break loose, I would recommend removing the head and having it reconditioned at a machine shop before you attempt to start the car.
  4. Remove the bottom cover from the bell housing. This will expose the flywheel, and with the spark plugs already removed it will be very easy to manually turn the engine. The first movement of the engine may take a bit of effort, but once loose the engine should turn smoothly and easily. Note that the timing mark is stamped on the front of the flywheel, and it's much easier to find and highlight it with some white paint while you have the bell housing cover off. Otherwise, it's nearly impossible to find the timing mark by looking through the inspection port (above the starter).
  5. If no binding, replace the various covers and try to start the engine using a supplementary fuel supply and a known good 6V battery connected directly to the starter, with a jumper to the hot side of the ignition coil. This circumvents the wiring harness in the car so you're less likely to get a nasty surprise. (Note that you can manually trigger the solenoid to engage the starter, so there's no need for an electrical connection to the solenoid.)

These are simple, yet very robust engines. Since you have some history working on later cars, there is nothing here which should cause you difficulty. On the pre-war cars, the way the engineers solved various ancillary problems (automatic choke and vacuum start lock-out) can be very unique and not intuitive. Otherwise, getting it started the first time should not be all that difficult.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to email me directly.

Regards,

Jon Kanas

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Brian --

Before starting a car that old that has been sitting that long, I would sure drop and clean the oil pan and oil pickup screen, especially if the engine was at some point switched from non-detergent to detergent oil. (I've seen oil screens in such circumstances so solidly blocked that not a drop of oil could have made it through.) And, before firing up, be sure to pre-charge the oil system -- easiest way is to apply a pump oiler to the oil pressure gauge outlet.

For what it's worth, I'm getting ready myself to walk the talk on the yucky oil pan procedure, since I've recently acquired an excellent original '30 series-44 rumbleseat roadster that has not been run in 40 years. I shudder to think of what that oil pan looks like!

Good luck with that beyond-cool slantback!

~ Charlie Manes

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I'm shocked, too. The cleanliness of that pan is amazing! Could this be a relatively fresh engine that's been on detergent oil since overhaul? (There appears to be new-ish paint on the crankcase casting.) By the way, sometimes I wonder about that guard plate attached to the oil screen -- seems a good place for sludge to accumulate in a seldom-used engine.

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