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High Desert

How do I get my parts car out of my life without restoration regrets?

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I'm sort of an anti-packrat.

I currently have two cars in my workshop, the 57 Roadmaster Convertible, and the 57 Roadmaster Hardtop Coupe "parts car" without engine/transmission. The convertible is mostly unmolested and complete. It had a damaged grille, front bumper, ps fender, and inner fender well. All of those have been swapped out, and now the convertible is complete. I would love to get the parts car out of my life, but am concerned that I will wish I had it around during restoration.

My idea is to strip all the parts off the donor car that can be stashed away in smaller storage areas like a shed or workshop attic. This would basically include everything except the main shell of the car and the stripped frame. I know the frame of the convertible is sound, and the main body of the convertible is in 10x better shape than the parts car since it spent much of its life under a roof and not driven (it stopped running in the late 60s or early 70s).

It really bothers me to have both of these large vehicles taking up space in my workshop. Am I crazy to want to get rid of the main body/frame of the parts car, and just keep the smaller stuff around for the restoration?

BTW, storing the parts car in the yard is an immediate no-go with the wife, as is paid storage off-site.

I have never fully restored a car, and would like to hear feedback from those with experience.

Thank you.

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Edited by High Desert (see edit history)

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It would be really really nice to have the one car together while the other is apart. You will be amazed at how many things you won't be able to figure out how to put back together. I would vote getting rid of the whole car will be a mistake.

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My 55 Buick parts car was stripped to the bone, the frame cut up, and along with all kinds of parts thrown in the woods. Over the next 2 years I was in the woods a dozen times scrounging for parts for myself and other people including pieces from the frame that ended up in a Skylark.

You have two choices. Send it to the crusher and forget about all the parts you wish you had back, or keep as much stuff as you can that you will never use again..........Bob

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Put them on skates and you can move them around as needed! besides it looks like you plenty of room!

but seriously, more pictures...

Edited by 72gs455
Additional thought (see edit history)

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That's a pretty big garage you have there. Do you have enough height to put in a 4 post lift and put the parts car up there? And I too would vote for keeping the parts car till you have the convertible restored and useable. One never knows what miniscule piece that is unobtainable will be needed, and you already have it plus a live example of an assembly manual. Both priceless!

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The workshop is pretty big. I designed and built it for this purpose. The ceiling above the parts car is 10', so not tall enough for a lift. Above the convertible the ceiling drops to 8'. I can't get the top down until I can move it back to the 10' area. I agree that it would be nice to have a fully assembled reference car. I'm just not sure if it is worth the tradeoff. Seems like I will need lots of room just for disassembly of the convertible.

72gs, there are more photos on my original thread from when I brought the car to NM from KS.

http://forums.aaca.org/f162/my-fathers-first-car-1957-roadmaster-357010.html

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Well, maybe you can add a small addition to the back that will hide the parts car?

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First off, the advice regarding having a fully intact parts car around is right on the money. No better reference and Murphy's Law will bite you the minute you even begin to think otherwise.

Secondly, I would cut a large enough section out of one side of the shop using the exiting framing as a starting point, pour a 12 X 24 pad and frame in ( 3 sides only needed ) an attached storage area to store and work on the the parts car. The frame out would be quick and dirty once the pad is poured and the walls could be used for storage as well.

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Use the parts car for storage. I ignore request for parts if the extras, were sold, given away or thrown away.

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So far it sounds like the concensus is to keep the parts car around, and intact. This is confirmation of the nagging feeling I had in the back of my mind as I was trying to think of ways to get it out of the way. It will be some work, but maybe I will just swap locations of the cars in the workshop so the convertible has the higher ceiling. Maybe I keep the convertible on jack-stands, and put the coupe on rollers so I can move it around if needed.

I appreciate everyone's input. Being able to add more room in the shop would be nice, but that option is not really available. I designed and built the workshop with cmu block. Not much room in the back, or either side to expand.

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The convertible looks done to me. I'd leave it on the tires so it can be taken for a ride occasionally. :) Skates for the parts car is a good idea. Chances are most everything else you need can be removed from the topside. Once you have the convertible where you are comfortable, then the hardtop can be stripped for whatever else is salvageable and the carcass deleted. Of course none of this can be done without keeping some parts around. Considering your self described ( anti- pack rat ) attribute the bigger question may be what do you salvage, and how long do you keep it? This may be an issue that really gets to you if parts are just laying around in boxes and you forget what you even kept.

I for one will recommend that you use that loft area for a designated parts bin, with open shelves and nothing kept in boxes. If need be put up plywood or sheetrock to block the view, but forget the boxes. I did that in my old shed and when the rodents made an attempt at occupation, it was pretty gross digging through those old boxes to eliminate their DNA samples. The little basturds!

Then I recommend you keep everything forever. I still regret throwing away parts years ago ( including a 56 Dynaflow with a dropped reverse strut).

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I know how you feel but everyone is right about a reference car. I'm on year 2 of reassembling a 53 that was taken apart 30 years ago and every day I wish I had another one to look at. Then there is the issue of sending a 57 Buick away in a cube to come back as yard furniture. I have repaired one barn and built another on other folks land just to keep my 57 Olds parts car from being crushed till I can find someone to pass it too. I thought I had it handed off once to a guy who was coming to get it every weekend but he was "hung up" in Texas. I finally figured out that he was in jail. I hung the 40 Ford coupe body from my garage ceiling and put the frame under the deck.

Its hard to protect the Wealth of the Nation.

Good Luck

Pat

Edited by 53 Roady (see edit history)

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Another option, one that I have done a couple of times, is to sell at a very nominal fee or give the parts car to a salvage yard that likes older cars. In the upcoming May issue of the Bugle, you will see an article on a salvage yard near me that has lots of older cars and promises to never crush them. So, I have taken a couple of my parts cars there and simply asked the owner to pay for my gasoline that I spent getting there. The cars are still there, and if I need something off of one, I can always go look at it, or buy the part back, and knowing where the car came from, the owner will cut me some slack on the price.

Another possibility: If someone wanted to restore that Roadmaster 2-dr. hardtop, it could be done with a '57 Super parts car that I recently bought. A '57 model 76 is a rather rare car, and my parts car has a good grille, good frame, perfect rear bumper ends, perfect front fenders, a complete but stuck engine, and a lousy interior.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Leonard, TX

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Another option, one that I have done a couple of times, is to sell at a very nominal fee or give the parts car to a salvage yard that likes older cars. In the upcoming May issue of the Bugle, you will see an article on a salvage yard near me that has lots of older cars and promises to never crush them. So, I have taken a couple of my parts cars there and simply asked the owner to pay for my gasoline that I spent getting there. The cars are still there, and if I need something off of one, I can always go look at it, or buy the part back, and knowing where the car came from, the owner will cut me some slack on the price.

Another possibility: If someone wanted to restore that Roadmaster 2-dr. hardtop, it could be done with a '57 Super parts car that I recently bought. A '57 model 76 is a rather rare car, and my parts car has a good grille, good frame, perfect rear bumper ends, perfect front fenders, a complete but stuck engine, and a lousy interior.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Leonard, TX

Thanks Pete, but now I am concerned that I may have upset the antique Buick gods by using the coupe for parts. When Dad bought it in the early 1980s, it was always intended to be the "parts car" for the convertible. I have never really seen it in any other light aside from maybe as a potential hotrod. It never had an engine or transmission, the lack of transmission allowed the rear axle to wobble and tires to engage with the rear fenders, so they are bent. It has significant rust on the rocker panels, some can be seen in front of the rear wheels. I assumed it was a lower-end Roadmaster because it appears to have come with the dog-dish style hubcaps (you can see the clips on the photo of the rim below), which are still in KS because I didn't need them for the convertible. The radio has no wonderbar. The lower dash is padded instead of solid like the convertible.

I don't know the differences between the different models of Roadmaster. If it is possible that someone out there would seriously want to attempt restoration, maybe I should stop stealing parts. I'll attach some photos. Maybe someone can decipher the vin and shed more light. I'm feeling like a jerk now.

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Edited by High Desert (see edit history)

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Don't feel like a jerk. You haven't crushed anything. I'm real glad you are thinking about finding it a home or at least the parts a home.

Pat

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Don: Having had a low production output of 2,812 units on Roadmaster Coupes for 1957 as compared to some 64,00 or so 57 Chevy Bel Air Coupes for 57 it is indeed a rare car. The VIN tag indicates it is a rather early production unit as well since Buick started the run at the number 1001.

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Storage units in my area cost about $100 to $120 per month. I have one that is 10' X 10' X 20' with lights. I have lot stored there and a good relationship with the owner would get me another bay for a month or two just to get some elbow room by parking one of the cars there. Twelve hundred bucks over the course of a year doesn't buy a lot in the way of restoration. At the end of two years things should be pretty well settled, references made, and the discovery that everything worn out on the good car is bad on the parts car unless it is physical body damage, that you already swapped.

It's a good option when one considers $30,000 to $50,000 on an easy restoration. I wish I could write that renting space is an incentive for speedy work and early completion. Maybe for some, it sure ain't happened here.

Bernie

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LOOK AT ALL THAT ROOM!

my garage is 24 X 28 and I have a bench, a 54 body on a trailer, 54 frame, engine on stand , air compressor, fridge, a couple work tables, welder, harley... Oh wait I need more room too!

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I'm going to see what it takes to get a title for the coupe. It would be cool to be able to sell it to someone who could restore it. Without the title, it is just a parts car.

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Have you considered finding a less fussy wife? Just kidding of course. We just sold 2 Cadillac parts cars that a customer "gave" us. It took 3 years to find a buyer at barely scrap price.

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Have you considered finding a less fussy wife? Just kidding of course. We just sold 2 Cadillac parts cars that a customer "gave" us. It took 3 years to find a buyer at barely scrap price.

I always say, "Marriage is about compromise. Compromise is when nobody gets what they want." Then she rolls her eyes. That said, she isn't the reason the house garage stays clean enough for us to keep our daily drivers parked there. I do that. She is more likely to keep useless junk around than I, and is lucky to have me to throw stuff away or sell it when she's not looking. Because we live in the sandy desert, storing the car outside would be a bad idea. The spring winds would have it covered in sand, and the local wildlife (snakes/centipedes/scorpions/black-widows) would fill it in less than a year.

Now that I know how rare the coupe is, I can't let it go to scrap.

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I have a friend who totally disassembled an early REO truck and hid it around his property. The frame fit neatly and almost invisibly behind the foundation plantings, the engine was under the skirt of his above ground pool, fenders etc in the garden shed, and the doors wrapped in plastic and slid under the bed. Obviously, he had a very understanding wife. Oh, I forgot. He had various sheet metal pieces and mechanical parts stashed on the flat roof of the car port. Out of sight as long as he kept them near the center of the roof.

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