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1937 Buick Model 48: RESTORATION HAS BEGUN! (Photo)

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I can't resist posting another "before and after" comparison.  Gary, you are a gentleman and a scholar, and you have really helped me figure out how to tackle projects with my own car.  Kudos to you!





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Sunday March 11, 2018:  Sometimes the little things.........


Today marks 14 months since taking the first bolt out and starting this restoration.

Update regarding the interior:  LeBaron Bonney got a bad dye lot, and the interior won't be shipped until they test the new fabrics, so I'm kinda in neutral waiting.

In the meantime, my lease is up at the storage facility, and I had to bring the Model "A"'s home.

Little bummed, as I really like working in the open space, and thought I'd be totally finished by now, but some things you just have no control over.


So I installed the front license plate, started getting rid of some restoration "residual things" and had to clean up to make room for two more cars!




The license plate was the very first thing I removed.  The fasteners were completely rusted and unusable.  During the restoration, I bought these bolts for the rear hood hold down.

They come in a pack of 10, so there were plenty left over.




I first ran a 5/16 bit through the hole to clean up the powder coat.  Then, squared off the opening with a file so the shoulder fit snug.




Being the license bracket has an "offset" or a "drop" where the bolt inserts, I used a hacksaw to remove one side of the bole head.




Dressed it with a flat file




And now the bolt sits in the license plate support nice and flush.

Sometimes these little things take quite a while to get just right!




So now the front is looking good.....except getting that hood lined up at the top. Still needs some tweaking there, but Bob said he'll help me get it just right.




Now it's time to move the beast.  She's had the entire garage to herself for over a year and I had to get my other cars from storage.

So, I spent some time cleaning up the garage to make space.  (I have to get four cars in a three car garage)




Out in the daylight she goes!




Then it's almost magical what happens when the sunlight hits that paint!




Really looks beautiful outside.




Let me share a couple of photos.




Just so cool.




Then I sat on my plastic crate, started her up, and parked it in the single bay.

John came over and we drove to the storage place and got the Model "A"'s back home and the garage is totally filled up!




As I'm going through the parts I removed and won't be reusing, I got these photos of the glass markings.  

I was just wondering if any were original or if both were replaced being they have different marks on them.





Does anyone etch these markings into new glass?  Or is there a kit or a clear plastic stick on?





So, I'll keep you updated as the interior saga unfolds.


Enjoy your Sunday!


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You're right Gary, that paint really pops in the sun! 


My cars leak and drip too much for carpet on the floor, but I feel your pain (or, joy!) about more cars than garage spaces. 


I fit 4 in an oversized 2, luckily the older cars are narrow. 



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58 minutes ago, ILIKECARS53 said:

I know this the Buick Pre-War forum, but I am sure all would like to see some pics of your Fords.



My Fords:




The one that started it all. 

1930 Model "A" Deluxe Coupe.

Purchased October, 1993




1930 Model "A" Roadster.  Purchased in 2003.  So much fun.

It was basically set up to show.  The previous owner got a Senior, then sold it.

John and I had to do a lot to get it running correctly, but no body or interior work.




I drive and show the roadster whenever practical now that it's running well.

This is at the Monmouth County Concours d'Elegance in the Fall of 2015.  I actually drive it up Rt. 34 to the show.





1914 Model "T" Touring.

Purchased September 2013.  (Every 10 years I get the itch!!)

My son and I took this right down to the frame and restored her like the Buick, every nut, bolt, cotter pin.....




The "T" was a 14-month restoration, but this is where I gained the confidence to take on the Buick.

She's got her original motor, radiator....




Before the Buick had to get squeezed in there, they all had a bit more room!


Thanks for asking to see them!  




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It looks like both of those are replacement pieces due to their date codes but the LOF piece looks like a 1941 replacement that was probably sourced from the Buick dealer. There are companies who reproduce glass with the correct date codes but I have not researched it to know who to recommend. Here is what original glass markings from May of 1937 would look like. 


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I ordered replacement glass for my 36 Pontiac from a glass shop on the east coast.  I took pictures of the etched logo on the glass and the glass shop replicated that logo on to the new glass that he made for me.  On your replacement glass, did they etch the logo into the glass for you?  If I recall, GM had two or three different suppliers for their glass needs.  If you needed glass (after 1937) you could have a different purveyor supplying you with the glass.  Some of the parts specialists can let you know how many different glass suppliers worked with GM back in the day.



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Bitchin Buncha Fords.  I especially like the Roadster.  Beautiful.   


So..............the previous owner(s)  replaced the glass in the Buick from a local glass shop.  Since the glass is all flat, any glass shop can cut and polish the edges to match existing panels.  I have a glass shop across the street from me and she can replicate the glass in my 36 cars, but she doesn't do the etching.  And that is the only difference in the glass. 


I looked for the name of the company that replicated my glass for my 36 Pontiac and I seem to have lost it.  I will research it and get back to you.  They are in your neck of the woods and can etch the proper logo/date on your glass.  One LARGE  problem.  You have to remove the glass to have them do it.  :-(   Probably won't happen unless you are shooting for the 100 point car.   However, 99 out of a 100 isn't too shabby.  I can't believe that none of your mentors didn't counsel  you on that item.



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Those cars run as nice as they look and stop just as well.  Mechanical brakes, when set up properly, are more than adequate for the task they perform. 

Remember, a Model "A" weighs only about  2100 - 2200 lbs and they actually start slowing down as soon as you take your foot off the accelerator. 

In 25 years of tooling around in my "A"'s,  I've never felt unsafe or worried at an intersection, red light or in traffic.  

Of course, I respectfully drive them the way an 88 year-old car should be driven.  Easy up, easy down.


Thanks for asking!


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One very important thing - do not use modern brake linings with the mechanical brakes. They are too hard.

The best thing is NOS or some sort of a soft woven type lining.

When I restored my '31  Buick, I lived in San Francisco. I had the brakes relined by a regular  brake shop. Driving on the hills was a horror. Trying to stop was scary.

Then I met an old brake guy. he advised me about the woven linings and the problem with modern linings. He relined the '31's brakes with the older material. The difference was spectacular. The car would stop.

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On 3/14/2018 at 2:29 PM, Randiego said:

They are in your neck of the woods and can etch the proper logo/date on your glass.  One LARGE  problem.  You have to remove the glass to have them do it.  :-(   Probably won't happen unless you are shooting for the 100 point car.   However, 99 out of a 100 isn't too shabby. 

glass bead eaching will look the same with clear over it to make it smooth after the light far off glass beading is done I have done this not for cars though but done it a lot --kyle 

 I like your garage deco.

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Sunday March 18, 2018:  Rear Armrests


I'm learning this upholstery thing as I go along.......



Here's the rear panel / armrest  kit from LeBaron.  This is the first kit sent to me. You can see the panels where the brown turned green.  

I can't use the panels, but the armrests are a different fabric, and are fine, so while I wait for the replacement upholstery kit to arrive, I decided I can at least cover the arm rests today.




I placed the old armrest and rear panel in the car to get a sense of how they assembled everything.   I made notes directly on the fabric to guide me.




Inside and ready to start removing the fabric from the arm rest support.




Here are my "steps" to install.  So I started here with the passenger side.




The underside looks pretty terrible.




I started peeling off the fabric...




and chunks of the armrest support started coming off with it!




There was dirt, dust, broken stuff, and these petrified armrest cushions!




I just kept peeling everything off, and scraping all that horse hair or whatever that stuff is.  Then stripped the drivers side.




Good thing the wife wasn't home to see this one.




After cleaning up and sorting the parts, this is what I have left to work with.




And the part numbers were clearly visible.







So, I clamped the broken stuff together and ran a bead of first wood glue (didn't work) and then went to Loctite epoxy.  That stuff works like a charm!

It all held together and allowed me to scrub everything and give it a coat of trim black.




Then for good measure, I ran a line of duct tape over the crack on the underside, flipped it over...




and laid in another bead of epoxy just to tighten things up.  The duct tape acted as a seal so nothing went through and it dried nice and strong!




And here we are repaired and ready for new covers.




A trip to JoAnn's craft / fabric shop.  I bought 1/2" foam for the armrests, and a 1/8" foam to cover the arm rest to give the material some body.

(Looks like bacon)




I traced the original arm rest foam onto the 1/2" foam.




I cut it bigger just in case I needed to roll it or trim it to fit.




So here is where the foam pad will start, just behind the ash tray hole.




I stood it straight up in front, and using my air stapler, I shot three staples to secure it.




Then, using headliner adhesive, I sat the rest of it down into position.




Next, I covered the arm rest with this 1/8" foam.  It seems to give it a nice feel under the fabric.  Again, headliner adhesive to make it stick.




Making strategic cuts, and pulling the felt around, again the headliner adhesive used to wrap the felt and stick it to the back.  I taped it while the adhesive did its thing.





Now wrapped in foam, it's ready for the brown fabric covering.






I made sure the arm rest had a nice curve at the front end.




Being there are no instructions, I figured the seam must somehow line up with the ash tray, so that's where I started laying things out.




I started wrapping the fabric and tried to follow the stitching.




Pulling it taught over and around the bottom, I shot a couple staples to secure the fabric.




Then it was time to seat the ash trays.  These are the plastic buttons I made in the summer.




Careful cuts and the trim pushed into position.




Then drop in the ash receiver.  Does that knob go to the front or back?




The finished armrest.



I know I've been quiet lately but I need my interior kit to finish the restoration.  

I believe there were quite a few customers that got the bad dye lot, so I'm stuck  just waiting for the panels and seat covers to arrive.


Have a great night!






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While it could have been removed and replaced incorrectly at some time in the past 80 or so years, the one car that I have that has the armrest ashtrays has the knobs towards the front. 


I would assume that those would have been in all two door sedans, but only one of my 3 four door sedans has the armrest ashtrays. The other two just have a large ashtray in the back of the center of the front seat back. 

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Very nice job.  And for not being an upholsterer, those look very professionally done.  Can't wait to see the progress with the seats when the fabric comes in.  For some reason, after witnessing you installing the head liner (NO EASY FEAT) I can imagine that the seats will look the same in workmanship............professional.


Hope that Le Baron Bonney gets you the kit soon.  


Anyone wanting to restore an old Buick  or for that matter, any 30's car, can refer to this site on how to do it..................properly.


We will await your next post.



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Hi Guys;


Tom:  I originally ordered February 13, 2017, and the kit arrived in early May so about 8 weeks.  I was glad to have it early, and I was ready to install the rear stuff in October.  But when I opened the boxes, the panels that were covered in their "N9?" brown fabric were turning green.  It really stinks that the entire build comes to a screeching halt because a bad dye lot!  Bummer for sure.


Spinneyhill:  My first choice of armrest foam would be the Dynamat Dynaliner, 1/2" thick self adhesive.  It's got that perfect consistency and it's easy to work with.  I didn't have enough left over or I would have simply used that.  I did tell the workers at JoAnns fabrics what I'm using it for, expecting heat, cold...  and they said this will hold up just fine, so I'm trusting their advice here.  But I agree with you that a closed cell material probably will give better service in the long run.


Thanks for following along!  Have a great week out there!!




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Before you get too far along, I would check with a carpet store. They probably have some carpet padding scraps that would work better than the foam from a fabric store. It might even be free since the size you need would be of no use to them. The higher end carpet padding is also a wool product that should vastly outlast any foam product. 

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19 hours ago, Gary W said:

Good thing the wife wasn't home to see this one.


:D You really made me laugh out loud with that comment since that is EXACTLY what I was thinking when I saw the photo -- "Oh Boy, Gary's in trouble now!"  Heck, we've never seen a mess like that in your workshop, let alone on the dining room table!

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1 hour ago, neil morse said:


 Heck, we've never seen a mess like that in your workshop, let alone on the dining room table!


I wasn't expecting it to be such a mess!  I was surprised  by what came out of those armrests.  I would NEVER allow a mess like that in my garage!

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Thursday March 22, 2018:   T R I A L  R U N  - Installing Rear panel kit / arm rests


Odd title, but being Mother Nature dumped another 10" of snow on us last night, and the office was closed, I had an idea:

Being I have the interior kit from LeBaron (although a bad dye lot),  and they do not want it returned,  I decided to put myself through a "trial run" and install the defective panels just so I can learn a few tricks that will help me when the actual kit arrives.

I figured you always do stuff better the second time around, so if I mess up.......  no big deal.   Learn from it and do it better next time.


Here goes:



Here's the rear panel kit you get from LeBaron Bonney.  Basically four parts that finish each side before the seats go in.



Arm Rests:  I covered these the other day.



I got spooked enough that I stripped the fabric, removed the foam arm rest pad that I bought from JoAnns Fabric and replaced it with Dynaliner.




I placed the original just to see how it rolls over the edges.




Then I cut the Dynaliner (1/2" thick,  dense and self adhesive)  Same stuff I used on my floor over the Dynamat.




Stapled it down to create that forward roll




And with this material in position, I re-covered the arm rest and now don't have to worry about getting worms.



Pillar Panel:  



Here's the car as I was dismantling it.  The Passenger side pillar panel has a cutout for the dome light switch.  




Before I put the pillar panel in the car, I went through and tightened the door windlace.  My friend let me borrow his pneumatic staple gun and it is far superior to the tacks I was using.

I like when the windlace is nice and straight and butts up nicely to the panels, so a little tug and it looks a lot better.




For this, I just used 1/4" staples.  It makes a huge difference in how tight the lace feels now.




I traced the back about 1/4" wider than the panel.  This way I can make my first releasing cuts to the line and not worry about going too far.




Lined up the dome light switch holes.  Then with the fabric peeled back, I popped in only two staples along the forward edge to keep it in place.




It is nice and snug to the windlace, but had to be trimmed up top where it encroached on the window opening.






First thing to notice is that there are four clips in the body to accept the side panel.




The panel, unfortunately, only had three holes cut out.




So, I had to mark and make a new hole here through the cardboard backing.




By lining up the other three, and the window crank, I roughly cut through the cardboard with a sheet rock knife.

It's crude, but I just want to create a template for the new panels.




Here, the fabric is flapped over the armrest, and I pushed it down into position.




I pushed down, but it didn't want to go fully into position.

I checked the armrest, but that wasn't holding it up.

I checked the floor, but after trimming one small spot, that was OK




Again, last year.  The old panels sit nice and even to the lower window opening.




Mine were hanging up quite a bit.




Turns out, it was the window crank hole that was 3/4" too low.  So again, I cut it along the upper edge to allow the panel to seat fully and flush with the window.

And now you can see how nice the panels align at the corner.




So I pulled the fabric back up, and went inside to tuck it in a little neater.

I used this Permatex adhesive to keep the fabric in place.




I think I need a lesson on how to make these corners less bulky!  But for today, this will suffice.




Again, any helpful hints on how to thin out this excess material.




I tried these products.  If you know of a better product, please chime in!




Back out to the car.  The panels align nicely now.





The panel lines up real nice with the windlace.

How is this section attached?  Once the fabric is wrapped around, you can't drive staples through it.

Is this where you drive tiny brads through the fabric and pull the fabric over the heads?  Or just glue it down?









First, I just laid it into position to see if there were any irregularities.  This panel seemed to line up pretty good.




So, again, I took it inside to make some releasing incisions to the fabric will lay flat inside the window openings.




Up front, I got it to line up nicely with the pillar panel.

Then I just tucked the material around the window opening.

This will have a lace where it meets the headliner on final installation.







I tried to put the garnish moldings in.  

First issue:  There cannot be any cardboard that blocks the window openings.  It just won't fit if there is any obstruction.  So back to trimming excess away.

Second issue:  You have to remove the screws and drop that felt window channel so the garnish molding supports can slip under the felt, and attach using the same screws.

So I have to run a punch through the felt, the garnish support and the screw hole in the window opening on final installation.




So here's the rough installation.  Of course, I'll take my time on final install to be sure to chase all the wrinkles out.

But now I have a nice template to follow when the real deal arrives.  

Look how that fabric turned to green!  Really gets accentuated in the photographs!

I'm happy to have had the opportunity to play around with one set before going live.  I learned some pitfalls to watch for.



I'm not expecting my kit until mid-April sometime.  In the meantime, I'll do the same thing for the drivers side.



Have a great night out there!








PS...........  A couple photos of the snow:




Wednesday evening.  Trees look cool in the landscape lights.




It was a heavy snow.  Good that it warmed up quickly today and the trees were fine.












Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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The pictures of your winter wonderland are really first rate.  Your new Nikon really catches what your eyes see.  And enhances them to boot!   We have to drive an hour and a half to see snow here.  Brrrrrrrrr!    It is giving me pause about ordering my Canon EOS.  Both are great cameras and the diff between the two are minimal.  It's just as you said;  Comfort level with what you know.  


Lucky you.  You get to "practice" with a bad lot to get it to "perfection". We followers of the build vote that it  should be your middle name.  You personify perfection and it is so gratifying to see you jump the hurdles that get in your way, coming up with sensible answers to the big problems.


Great work, Gary.



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Gary, to reduce the bulk at the corners I will cut out two “pizza slice” wedges out of the over lapped material. The secret is the “point” of the slice should be rounded to approximately 1/4” and that round point should be on the back of the panel just to each side of the corner of the panel board. This means there should be a thin strip on material that’s pulled directly over the point of the corner on the board. To each side of that strip is the pizza shaped cut out. Then pull the material back and everything gets glued to the board. I use spring clamps to hold things while it dries.

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