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Another 36 Roadmaster Awaits her turn


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In 1962 a 33 year old mother places an ad in the newspaper asking for someone who wants to sell their 1936 Buick Roadmaster. It was an attempt to replace the one they lost in a barn fire. Wanda, now 85, gave me the yellowed ad just before I left with the car that they managed to find in far northeast Texas. I held the ad and after listening to her stories I knew why she kept it and the car for so long. No doubt her attachment was a connection to meaningful memories. I also knew why she gave the ad to me; a subtle but unmistakeable transfer of responsibility for the car and its future. Less than a year after suddenly losing her son, who was "always going to fix that car," Wanda knew it needed a chance. I don't normally name my cars but before I left, I asked if I could name the car Miss Wanda - a tearful nod was all I got but that was good enough. While I could write a novel about what appeals to me about these Buick cars, I would struggle telling anyone why. I get the question all the time and nowadays I just shrug my shoulders. Here, I think people understand.

This car is in remarkable condition but my starting standards are pretty low. Afterall, for a good and solid restoration, don't they all need engine work, wood work, wiring, upholstery, glass, paint, and chrome work to name a few? The things I really value is the minimal rust-through and completeness (aka time & money). This car lacks only a couple things that I've found so far, both sidemount mounting plates are missing (although I have both locks) and one of those fancy tail light lens - but not to worry, I have an extra! I have five of the six original artillery wheels - elusive comes to mind. The hood ornament is complete but broke, as is the grill at a few places. I have successfully used that Muggy Weld stuff for pot metal and so I should be able to fix both of those. I have a spare spark plug cover that will be needed.

As far as rust goes, there is one hole in one spare wheel well, besides the one that is supposed to be there. There is one dime size hole at the bottom of one of the back doors. And, there is rust-through on the bottom of the headlight bucket (I have one somewhere in my stock). No rust-through at all on floors or trunk or bottom of truck lid - Amazing!

Of course there is only pattern quality wood left in the car. I have one '36 RM rewooding already under my belt and I'm counting on number two being much easier.

Miss Wanda has a second chance. I'll keep you posted of her progress but it won't be anytime soon. If slow and steady wins the race, then she should be alright!








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Joel, perfect intro to Ms. Wanda! One reason "why" I am attracted to Buicks is this type of story. Here's a car which had such a powerful impact on a young life that someone dug to find "this" replacement after they clearly could have walked away with anything else. And here is that person passing on the car to an enthusiast with the hope that her memories will one day be restored. And here's the enthusiast, protecting those memories and giving hope that they will indeed shine one day in the future. Good luck bringing Ms Wanda back.

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  • 1 year later...

I cleaned her up inside really well and got her dry and under cover.  I found no rust-through of the floors, not even the trunk area.  Beyond this cleanup, Miss Wanda has sat patiently waiting her turn.  I've been tempted to start on the dismantling and starting the chroming process but I have resisted as my other cars that are in progress need to be finished.  You may have seen my 1931 Buick thread where I'm getting close to having the wood work done for that car.  


Although I enjoy working on multiple car projects at one time, shop space is limited and I've learned that you need plenty of space to spread these parts out.  To that end, I have started the construction of a new shop for my cars.  It will be separate from my wood shop.  I have a compacted gravel/clay pad awaiting concrete for the 96 x 69 shop.  Doing some of the work myself has taken much time recently.  Isn't there always something else competing for our time? 


Once I start on the wood work for Wanda, my plan is to make at least three sets of the wood parts as my 36 and 37 Series 90's will have many common parts - especially for the doors.  My 36 series 40 needs wood but I don't think there's much in common with the larger cars.  I do have another 36 Roadmaster that is in really tough shape.  I'm debating whether or not to make the wood for her but if I don't, she's surely doomed.  It's somewhat easier to make multiple duplicate pieces.


My retirement plan is now set for July next year.  Then, I hope that I have the time to make good progress.


Thanks for asking,






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