g-g-g0

1957 Buick Special Restomod Project

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My car days go back to the 50's but during my wifes terminal illness I had disposed of all my toys and parts. After she passed and I had found a new lady to be my wife I decided that I was ready to get back into cars.. In 2007 I bought an original 53 Buick Super Convertible. A 20 footer that ran well and a fun car to drive. I had mostly driven Buicks after starting my work career so I guess that is what drew me to them. After going to some local shows and the 2008 Flint BCA event I became attached to '57 Buicks. I loved the lines, especially the Special/Century with the 3 piece rear glass, so I set out to try to find a decent one to start with. While attending the BCA National Show in Colorado Springs, I spoke with Frank Lyle about the possibility of finding a nice rust free project car in Colorado. He told me of one a little south of Colorado Springs so we went to look at it. It was a total project, basically a very solif body. Ended up buying the car but now I am from Indiana with no trailer. So we go home and plan another trip west to get the car. As it turned out my son had moved to San Diego and had a car that needed to go to him. So I load his car on my trailer and off we go to San Diego via Colorado Springs. We unload his car and leave my truck and trailer at Frank Lyle's and off to California we go! I Fly back to Colorado Springs and pick up my truck and trailer and go pick up the car. Denver had a foot of snow that morning and I needed to head east to try to out run the storm which lasted half way across Nebraska! What a trip!!!

 

Any way, made it back to South Bend and got the trailer and car back in the garage. So attached are the only two pictures of the car that I have after it was purchased. Even these are after some of the dis-assembly of the fenders and hood were done. Was so glad to get home with the car that I failed to take any pictures. Many more to come as this has been a long project with hopes of being debuted at Allentown.

 

Gary

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Well the next step in the process was to disassemble the body down to individual parts and determine how I wanted to go about getting them stripped. I made several inquiries and did a post on the HAMB seeking input as to whether sand, media or chemical dip was the way to go. My conclusion for me anyway was to do the chemical strip. There was a location in Indy and price wise they were very competitive. Loaded all the parts in the body and off to Indy I went. Stay tuned!!

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So if I may ask,,,,,what is the going price for a chem strip here in Indy?

Dale in Indy

P.S. did you ever visit the SR RAY MILLER car museum in Elkhart? Ray was my mother's brother, I have family there, grandparents on Apple road.

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Dale

Yes I did visit the museum before it was closed. Very nice collection of fine cars. Too bad the Elkhart manufactured vehicles and/or complete collection were not retained in Elkhart. There was a fellow on the AACA forum not too long ago looking for an Elkhart.

As for the cost of chemical strip at Ready Strip, my car was dipped in 2009 so not sure what current pricing might be. At the time my job was $2300. Very happy with their work and plans to take some fenders down this spring.

Gary

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So glad to see you doing a build thread here in the Modified/Performance Forum on this Gary. I remember when you first bought this car and how excited you were about it. Thanks for posting and look forward to following. Looks like you have taken some great detailed pictures of the process so far. Hittin the "follow button" now.

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That is a REAL TO LIFE shot,  super sharp,

 

The reason the car collection didn't stay in Elkhart is the much younger wife.  He died, she wanted the cash.  The total for the  car collection at the RM auction was nearly 10million.  I was at the two day auction, Ray of course was my Uncle.  We played basket ball on his sand lot on Apple road for years.

 

Dale in Indy

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Yes, I knew it was about the money. There were some expensive cars in the collection.

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Back to the subject at hand. Pictures of the body after the dip do not do justice to the process except for the one of the trunk floor panel. It looked like it had just come out of the form die! Next order of business was to get some primer on the components.

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Ok, now that we have some of the preparatory issues out of the way it is time to get serious aout this project! Next major consideration is the frame. The car definately was going to have a modern frame and suspension. So research went in how to procede. While in San Diego and at the Good Guys show in Del Mar, I met with the folks from Art Morrison and they quoted a nice package however, we decided that since they had not actually built a '57 Buick frame at that time, we would be best served to explore a more local shop rather than one 2000 miles away in case there were design issues. We investigated a shop in the Chicago area but again they had done a '57 Buick frame and their lead times were not practical for this project. I had worked with a some what local restoration shop, Verne's Restorations, Bridgman, MI on some other minor issues with my other cars and it was decided by all involved that they would build the frame and the car.

 

So here we go with the build! It was decided to use pre-formed components from Chris Alston's Chassis works along with their suspension and steering components. So here we are getting the old frame on the frame table, leveling and components welded to the table for future reference. As you will see the new frame will be a mix of new components and a few (very few) components of the old Buick frame.

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post-96232-0-01726700-1456251760_thumb.jpost-96232-0-35425000-1456251811_thumb.jSorry for the delay but back to business again. More cutting and measuring and fitting and measuring and fitting and measuring and cutting and you get the picture!

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So now we have the trunk pan removed and made sure the body still fits whats left of the frame and we start on the front crossmember.

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Edited by g-g-g0 (see edit history)
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Ben

Yes to both points! The other project was 421-6speed from the state of Washington. I corresponded with him today. He got side lined on a Pontiac project and said he plans to be back on his Buick in a couple of months.

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Time to finish the frame up. Some where along the way I have "lost" some of the detali pictures of the fram build so what appears next is pretty much the finished frame. The only thing that remains of the original frame are the two side rails that still have the brackets for the body mounts and the front and rear members of frame. They are the members where the front and rear bumper brackets bolt to the original frame. All remaining components of the new frame are primarily preformed rectangular tubing supplied by Chris Alston's Chassisworks. You will a picture of the motor and transmission and rear end but will get into that in the next post.

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A level and a big hammer....This is awesome Gary. Loving seeing the progressive shots of the build, keep 'em coming!

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So lets take a look an the power plant. I picked up a 1966 425 MW code (4bbl intake) motor in PA even before getting the car home form CO. It really did not matter that is was not the more desirable MZ (2X4bbl intake) since it was going to be modified any way. While at the Colorado Springs National I managed to pick up a 1966 2X4 c0mplete with carbs and linkage from Jerry Salley. So now I have the main components for the engine build. Block was bored .030 over, heads and intake ported and relieved and a mild cam. Motor was balanced and blue printed. Couple this with a remanufactured Jasper 700r4 stage one transmission and a Chassisworks Fab 9 rear axle housing with Stange third member 3.70 positraction and we have the drive line. So for a little eye candy we add on a March serpentine drive system, Fast dual quad fuel injection and Sanderson headers and hopefully we have some giddy up and go!!!!

 

And oh by the way, Verne of Verne's Restorations the mechanical wizard is the gentleman reading the directions to see what the next step will be (LOL) and Shane with shades is the frame builder, metal former, body man and painter. Exceptionally talented guys and great to work with!

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Edited by g-g-g0 (see edit history)
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I've been extremely curious about all these new electronic TBI systems flooding the market. Apparently the new Holley system has a fuel pressure regulator built into the main body, as well as being able to control timing. For a restomod, although hard to tell from just the distributor cap, bu I'm surprised you didn't go with the MSD Nailhead distributor. With a phased rotor and an ignition box, you could run your timing through the throttle body (not sure if FAST supports that feature or not, though).

 

What are you planning for fuel tank and delivery? I know the Phantom Aeromotive system is really popular right now and is a great way to retain the stock look while also putting a high pressure pump in the original fuel tank.

 

I'm really interested in doing this to my setup (electronic TBI, new fuel pump, etc) so I'll be keeping up with your progress. Amazing job thus far!

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I've been extremely curious about all these new electronic TBI systems flooding the market. Apparently the new Holley system has a fuel pressure regulator built into the main body, as well as being able to control timing. For a restomod, although hard to tell from just the distributor cap, bu I'm surprised you didn't go with the MSD Nailhead distributor. With a phased rotor and an ignition box, you could run your timing through the throttle body (not sure if FAST supports that feature or not, though).

 

What are you planning for fuel tank and delivery? I know the Phantom Aeromotive system is really popular right now and is a great way to retain the stock look while also putting a high pressure pump in the original fuel tank.

 

I'm really interested in doing this to my setup (electronic TBI, new fuel pump, etc) so I'll be keeping up with your progress. Amazing job thus far!

 

Not being as knowledgeable on the technical side of the this system as maybe I should be, I asked Verne, the mechanical wizard of this project, to comment on your thoughts. Here is what he says. "For the Dual Fast throttle bodies, a crank sensor triggers the processor that has full control over spark advance traveling through an MSD box to a modified OEM distributor. The distributor has had the mechanical and vacuum advance mechanisms removed so no primary wires are connected to it." Hope this helps  As for the gas tank and delivery, I will cover that in one of my next posts.

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Ah okay so you're already running timing through the computer. Pretty interesting setup. Looking forward to seeing the fuel delivery system.

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Well it's time to wrap up the frame portion of this build. You thought you had taken bunches of pictures but now you wish you had more! Obviously the frame is a major part of this build but while it was going on the body with and with out front fenders were set off and on the chassis dozens of times. The secret is measure not once but twice and maybe three times. Every attaching point must be perfect or body alignment will be an issue later on! So now lets hang some hardware. The brakes are Wilwood 4 piston disc and the suspension components are Chassisworks coil over system and power steering components. Exhaust system is stainless and formed by Shane. So after this exercise it is time to tear down all of the components and off to the powder coater! More to come.

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Edited by g-g-g0 (see edit history)
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Looking very NICE, not a weekend project, FOR SURE. 

 

Wishing you well, love the rear window/roof detail.

 

Dale in Indy

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Can't get over the amount of modifications and detailed work this car is receiving. Love the sweeping design of the 57 body sides and those back windows are awesome. Can't wait to see what you do next

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