Kosage Chavis

1955 Buick Century

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After removing the front seat skirts, I found a few interesting items tucked underneath the driver's seat.  This can has to be almost 30 years old.  Not sure about the cigarette pack.  The most interesting were a bunch of old check stubs dated as early as 1974.20160827_173309.jpgWhen I bought this car from Robert Tollenaere, he mentioned that he bought the Buick from an older lady who's husband died a while back.  Turns out the name that appears on these check stubs was the husband of the woman who sold the car to Robert Tollenaere.  I then got a little curious and decided to do some research.

 

The name of the guy on the check stubs was Clarence A. Dively.  Turns out that Mr. Dively passed away in 1978 at the age of 75 in Hampton, VA.  His wife, Mary V. Dively, passed away much later in 2001 at the age of 88 in Hampton, VA.  Even though I could not find any more info on Mr. Dively, I did find an obituary for his wife.  The obituary stated that she passed away after dealing with a "long illness".  There is also no mention of any children and states that her sister and sister's husband were her primary caregivers before her death.  

 

I do know that Robert Tollenaere bought the car in 2000.  So based on all the info, I was able extrapolate these things...

 

This car was once owned by Clarence A. Dively and kept at their house in Hampton, VA.streetview.jpgMr. Dively had this car at least as early as the early 1970's.  In 1978, Mr. Dively passed away and naturally, all his belongings remained with his wife.  In the year 2000, Mrs. Dively became very ill and had to move in her sister's house.  Being that they had no children, she put the house (pictured above) and the Buick up for sale.  Mr. Tollenaere literally lived just 3 blocks down from the Dively residence.  Mr. Tollenaere probably either saw the car or heard about it from someone he knew and then purchased it in 2000.  Mrs. Dively passed away about a year later.  After purchasing the Buick, Mr. Tollenaere would move to another house about 5 minutes away, still in Hampton, VA.  He owned the car for about 12 years before putting it up for sale.  A coworker of mine would then spot the car, informed me of it and I purchased the car in late 2012.  I am at least the 3rd owner of the car.

 

Still would like to know of anything pryer to the early 1970's, but this will have to do for now until I can find any other clues.  

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My car was born on the assembly lines of the General Motors Assembly Plant in Wilmington, Delaware (pictured below).Hist-cars_sd.jpgOut of 80,338 of these cars, mine was the 17,688th off the line.  The upholstery is blue cloth/blue vinyl.  The exterior paint is stafford blue metallic on top, condor yellow at the center and stafford blue metallic at the bottom.  This is the body label from my car.20160908_165651.jpg

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What my garage shelving unit looks like at the moment with all the boxed up and stored Buick parts.20160908_164852.jpgStarting to run out of room.  Will have to build another shelving unit in here soon to make room for more parts.

Edited by Kosage Chavis (see edit history)
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Today, I got a little time to break away and touch the Buick.  Decided to remove both car doors.20160910_173506.jpgFirst, locate the door hinge bolts.  There 3 at the top and 3 at the bottom.20160910_173641.jpg20160910_173826.jpgRemove only 2 bolts from each set, leaving one still in it's place.  Then, remove the last bolt from the bottom hinge first.  Place a jackstand at the base of the door to support the door before removing the very last bolt.  I put some cloth between the jack and the door to avoid any damage to the door.20160910_174435.jpgRemove the last bolt.  Carefully slide the door from its hinges.  The door is a little heavy, so be careful.  Showing the hinges.20160910_174807.jpgShowing the doors off of the car.20160910_174707.jpgAll in all, this was more easier than what I thought.

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Hey, it looks like you have the same aftermarket mirrors as me! That's the first time I've seen that type of mirror on another Buick, I'm not alone! lol

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2 hours ago, Beemon said:

Hey, it looks like you have the same aftermarket mirrors as me! That's the first time I've seen that type of mirror on another Buick, I'm not alone! lol

Good to hear from you.  I am sure your mirror looks better than mine.  My mirror is actually damaged.  I will have to replace it at some point.  You take it easy.  

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On the contrary, it was heavily pitted. If it is the same mirror, you can get away with using the tri-5 mirrors as a replacement since it's a 4 1/2" bolt pattern if I recall correctly. Otherwise, to use the original Buick mirrors, you have to patch the existing holes, hope one of them matches up and then drill another hole.

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I thought I had another chance to purchase some of the AC items that I still need.  I learned that the AC clear ducts wouldn't have fit and that they no longer had the scoops.  Really got me down for a moment, but the search continues.

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I have seen a few 55 buicks, but I have yet to see this small feature on another besides mine...20160917_153021.jpga speaker fader.20160917_153032.jpg

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16 minutes ago, Kosage Chavis said:

I have seen a few 55 buicks, but I have yet to see this small feature on another besides mine...20160917_153021.jpga speaker fader.20160917_153032.jpg

Rare.... don't lose that, you won't find another.....

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Most cars didn't come with a rear speaker, I think it was an option. I habe a fader, too, but in 56 they mounted it under dash to the left of the heater control. 

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Back on the car today.  I want to remove the rest of the front dash, so I decided to remove objects that are directly attached to it...starting with the glove compartment.20160917_154547.jpgJust remove 3 screws at the hinge.20160917_154618.jpgRemoving the glove box door is actually pretty tough.  It is easier to remove when you remove the screws and dislodge the glove box liner.20160917_175841.jpgRotate door backward until it becomes free of the dash.  Showing door removed.  The lock is broken and will have to be fixed.20160917_175630.jpgGlove box liner was then removed.  I pulled it through behind the dash and then pulled down.  You will have to temporarily remove the vent cable.20160917_175902.jpgShould have a clear path to remove.  Remove very slowly to avoid tearing the liner.  In my case, mine was dry rotted and will have to be replaced.  Showing the liner removed from car.20160917_180131.jpgFinally, remove glove box light.  Remove 2 screws.20160918_140350.jpg

Edited by Kosage Chavis (see edit history)

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Moved to the clock next.  This was pretty easy. 20160917_165645.jpgDisconnect the the light bulb socket assembly (remove by firmly pulling out of socket) and disconnect the lead wire.  Be sure that you label everything.20160917_165759.jpgRemove 2 nuts and hold clock in place to avoid dropping.  20160917_165837.jpgPull out the clock from behind.  Showing clock removed.20160917_170225.jpg

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Started removal of the radio next.20160917_170314.jpgStart with removal of the knobs by removing center screw.20160917_170515.jpgSlide knob off and then slide secondary knob off.  This will then give you access to the retaining nuts at the face of the radio.20160917_171415.jpgBe sure to remove these nuts with a socket wrench.  Do not use plyers or a regular wrench, as this will more than likely damage this area of the turned metal dash.  As you can tell, looks like someone used plyers on these nuts already.  After, pull out the antenna plugged into the driver's side of the radio and disconnect the fused connection.  There are two bolts (bracket-to-radio) to remove.  These are located on each side of the radio towards the bottom, rear.  Be sure to hold bottom of radio in place as you remove the last bolt.20160917_172012.jpgSlowly lower the radio from behind the dash.  Set it down and you will still have 2 wires to disconnect.  One can be disconnected right away while the other requires an extra step.  To gain access to the other connection point, you will need to remove the rear backing of the whole radio unit.  To do this, just remove 2 screws from the bottom of the unit.20160917_172918.jpgPop the backing off and you will clearly see where to disconnect.  20160917_173053.jpgReinstall the unit backing and label wires.  Showing the radio removed from car.20160917_173517.jpg

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I had enough time to get one more piece out...the speaker grill for the front dash.20160917_173654.jpgThe cigarette lighter has to be removed.  Remove 2 screws at bottom of grill.  Be sure to grab the associated flanged nuts behind as well.20160917_173708.jpgThen, grab a pair of plyers and straighten the 3 locking tabs at the top of the grill.  You can only access these tabs from under and inside dash area.20160917_173945.jpgSlide grill in an upward motion to gain freedom from dash.  Showing the grill removed from car.20160917_174015.jpg

Edited by Kosage Chavis (see edit history)

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This weekend,  I couldn't get much done.  However, I was able to remove the terminals for the defroster.20160924_175921.jpg20160924_180156.jpgEach terminal is held on with 2 screws.  Very easy to remove.20160924_181054.jpgYou will need a stubble screwdriver for this job.  This particular terminal required something more for a tighter area.  Remove all associated flex hosing as well and just pull out.  20160925_133525.jpgShowing defroster terminals removed from car.  Could not save the flex hoses.  They were dry rotted.  I was able to begin a couple of other removals but was unable to complete.  I will post those jobs when complete.

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Got a delivery this afternoon.  I am about to immerse myself in these old relics.  Compliments of Mr. Lamar.

20160929_180154.jpg

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Those should answer a lot of questions. that wholesale parts guide should bide you over 'til you can afford a Body and Chassis Parts Manual set. 

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Once again, couldn't get much done this weekend.  I managed to remove the gage cluster assembly from the car.  20160925_140140.jpgFirst thing I did was remove both light bulbs from rear of the housing.  Just firmly pull out.  Then remove all connections.  You will have 2 screw on connectors for AMPS, 2 regular connectors for your GAS, and 1 flared nut connector for your OIL.  The TEMP line can NOT be disconnected here.  20160925_140200.jpgBe sure to not bend or twist the oil pressure line or temp line drastically.  Make slow and slight movements of either line to avoid breakage.  Remove the 3 nuts that hold the gage cluster in place.  Secure the cluster so that it will not fall.  Locate where the TEMP hard line penetrates the firewall and then move to the engine compartment.  You will now have to remove the temp bulb from the engine.  Be sure you have something to let the engine coolant spill into.  The retaining nut for the temp bulb is located just to the inside/rear of the driver's side valve cover.20161001_150350.jpgYou will need to temp remove the spring just forward of the nut.  Here's a better view of this nut.20161001_150428.jpgOnce you have GENTLY removed the nut and temp bulb, loosen the small bracket on the firewall that holds the temp line in place.  This bracket is located just below where the temp line penetrates the firewall.20161001_150258.jpgBegin to GENTLY push the hard line back into the car.  You will need to check inside the car to be sure the hard line is not kinking or bending too much.  Keep the line as straight as you can.  For about every inch or 2 you feed back into the car, check the line inside the car to readjust the line as necessary.  Patience is key here!  Once you get to the end of the hard line, you might need to remove some of the surrounding tar to widen the penetration.  Start with the nut and push throught the penetration.  I used a long flat head screwdriver to firmly push on the backside of the nut at different points until the nut is pushed all the way through.  Be sure not to let the screwdriver slip and push incrementally.  Once the nut is through, you should have enough of a cleared pathway to GENTLY push the bulb through.  Again, continue to check inside to make any readjustments.  Once the bulb is pushed through, this should free up the whole gage cluster assembly.  Showing the gage cluster assembly outside of car.  Thank God, the temp line did not break!:D20161001_154232.jpgAll in all, I would say this task is slightly difficult, depending on your level of patience.

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Also added on a 3rd groove to the water pump pulley assembly for the AC system.  Compliments of Mr Lamar.20161001_150232.jpgStill trying to find the spacer and single groove pulley for the crank.

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That temp bulb is the scariest part about doing the dash. When I had my speedometer rebuilt, I removed the gauges from the unit and left them hanging in the dash. After it was rebuilt, I went to go re-install the gauges and bent the oil and temp gauge faces, so now they stick... I've been scared to try and fix them ever since. So good on you for getting it out in one piece! It'll be easy going back in!

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Congrats on getting the temp unit out.  At this point, if you do not know that the temp unit works,  you can check the unit by emerging the bulb in some hot water.  If it does work I'd remove it from the cluster and keep it separate from everything else to avoid any accidents with it.

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Thank you.  I appreciate any and all encouragement.  It was a little nerve racking because of some of the "horror" stories I've heard.  This item will definitely be bubble wrapped and kept in a safe place.

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Decided that it would be best to test the temp line before packing up.  I don't like to take things for granted.

 

Edited by Kosage Chavis (see edit history)
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nice!  Be sure to calibrate it when you get ready to reinstall. 

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