Jump to content

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

Recommended Posts

Thursday August 16, 2018:  Update on the Upholstery 


I called LeBaron Bonney yesterday and was told that my kit is going to ship tomorrow, August 17.  So I guess a few days in transit and hopefully I'll be stapling by this time next week!


I did get a couple small things done while waiting:

Stopped the heater hose from leaking at the firewall

Hooked up a master electric disconnect switch under the hood

Installed what was left of the Dyna Mat sound deadener

Found springs on Amazon that I think will be good for under the front seat

Organized for the install

OH....... And learned how to resize photos!!






This is where I mounted the master cut-off switch.

(I tucked the heater hoses inside the front fender.  I didn't want to use the bracket that hides the valve cover decal.)




I think I remember seeing another Buick mounted like this and it must have made an imprint in my brain.  (Don?)





I simply bent a heavy brass bar, drilled and dressed both ends




The bar acts as the electrical conductor and the support




I crawled under the car to try to show how I made the connections.

Forces me to check the oil and look at the hoses before I take her out.




I used the remainder of my DynaMat to cover some of the exposed metal inside the door




And under / behind the rear seat area.  This is the thicker DynaLiner self adhesive matting.




I found these springs on Amazon.  

I'm going to try to use them under the front seat.  My car didn't have the springs so I really don't know the exact size I'm looking for.




But these fit into the openings nice and snug




And will show through like this.  (Although maybe lean to the rear)




Then I cleaned everything up, vacuumed the rug




And organized my "interior kit" so when it arrives I can get moving!


Thanks for hanging in there!

It's been waaaaaaaay too long!


Have a great night!






  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright Gary, glad you are back, it`s like I can breathe again. I like the place you put your disconnect switch, but that exposed bar scares me like a live wire.. I`d recommend some shrink-wrap to cover all the exposed bar between the mount holes.  Just a suggestion.. Tom 

Edited by pont35cpe (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary, My disconnect is similar. Since the operating "button" is remote there is no force on the disconnect that might cause it to move.

I just didnt like having to open the hood all the time to connect and disconnect the battery.

What you have done looks good to me. Just watch to be sure the switch doesnt move. Sometimes the terminals on the solenoid arent really tight.


Great to hear thet you are finally getting your upholstery - you'll probably be driving it next week - in your tuxedo!


  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...


You're back ! ! 

G lad that your kit is coming soon.  Finally, you will be able to finish the beautiful Buick and drive it before the cold weather is upon you. 

All you guys are getting your interior kits.  LBB gave me sad news.  They do not make a kit for my 36 Pontiac Coupe.  I will have to order the fabric and reference pictures of other cars and hopefully,  I will get it right.  Funny how LBB makes most cars interior kits but they do not have Pontiac kits (at least for the 36 models).  They have Chevrolet but not Pontiac.  Go figure.  Guess they do not have enough demand for the Pontiacs?  I even offered the headliner, seat and door panels to LBB for a pattern for my and future kits.  No dice.

I wanted to do my interior myself but without the pre made kits, it leaves me relying on the upholstery shop.  And face it, the interior is just as important as the rest of the car.  There are no shortcuts to a good looking finish. 





  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary and 1930's Buick owners,


Originally, did the Buick's come with a carpeted front floor mat?  Or were they a rubber, embossed (at the accelerator pedal and clutch/brake) area below the pedals?  The Chevy, Pontiac Olds all seem to have the rubber floor mat in the drivers compartment.  

If it did come with the rubber, do you have a rubber mat available to you, the Buick owners?  Originally, they were either black or in my case, brown.  Brown pedals, gearshift knob, steering wheel, transmission boot, emergency brake boot.  

And the sad point.  No one makes the rubber mat for the mid 30's GM cars.  (at least for Pontiac).  Since there are a limited number of Pontiacs out there, the demand for the items are (almost?) non existent.  


I was told by the P.O.I.C.  that there are around 100 of the coupes left in the world.  Hence my desire to restore one.  But there are voids in the parts hunt that make it very difficult to complete the restoration.  The interior kit is one.  The brown floor mat is the other.  I guess that I could do as you have done here, Gary and make a carpet that can be installed in the front floor.  I have a later rubber mat that someone makes (for the later models that he says that will fit) but it is not the brown that was as the original.  It is almost translucent and a lighter caramel  brown.  Being in California (and I probably won't enter the car for judging) and lacking in inclement weather,  I can take some liberties to make the car "nicer" with a floor that is carpeted.  I am leaning towards  the wool carpet as is used in the Jaguar (very nice and a bit more plush than the LBB carpet). 


If any one else has a source or suggestions, I will be very receptive to hearing from you on this subject. 


One thing;  once all the old "barn finds" are restored, I wonder if there will be any source for after market products if the demand dwindles?  It seems to be harder to find parts today than it was just 8 years ago.  



Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe one of the ones that Bob's Automobilia sells might work for you with some very minor work to remove the Buick logo? They have both black and brown.




I am thinking this one is probably the closest to what you need: https://bobsautomobilia.com/interior-floors-and-doors/floormat-w-jute-backing-brown-1934-36-.-ff-36bnu/

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it is a Buick logo, I think it is a Fisher logo. The mat may even be correct for Pontiac, but I am not sure. I believe you should be looking at 1936 40 series, because Pontiac used the smaller of the 2 Fisher bodies.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...



Thank you for your tips on my floor mat dilemma.  I will contact Bob"s Memorabilia (I have procured the gearshift boot in brown from him.  The Pontiac gearshift boot is the same as the Buick/Chevy/Olds boot and it was available in brown (along with black).  I will chat with them regarding the floor mat.


Again,  did the Buick come with a rubber floor mat in the front? Or was it "upscale" with a carpeted front area?





Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Paul White said:

How much success do you think I have had trying to secure a rubber mat for my RHD '36??!!!


Is it a Fisher body?


I Imagine if it is, that you could get an unpunched one from Bobs and punch the holes on the correct side. He does list them unpunched in both brown and black. Shipping is likely to be expensive.


If the body is Holden, or some other body builder, I have no idea. Bob's pictures are nearly useless, but I believe that is a Fisher logo in the middle of the 1936 mat.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Friday September 28, 2018:   Confirmation from LeBaron Bonney  AND  UPS!  


Finally......  The interior kit is on it's way!!!


I received an e-mail from Mr. Scott Holbrook, President of LeBaron Bonney,  at 1:45 this afternoon that my panel set is shipping TODAY!  


This was followed by a confirmation e-mail from UPS at 3:52 this afternoon with all the shipping details and a tracking number.


UPS also confirmed delivery on Monday, October 1 by the end of the day.


So....  after an eight month hiatus, I'll be back in business soon!


Have a great weekend everyone!


**  I'll be attending the NJ Concours d'Elegance at Bucks Mill Park in Colts Neck tomorrow (Sat, 9/29).  

The Buick was originally invited, but unfortunately because this rather long delay, I had to change my registration.  I'll be bringing my 1914 Model "T".


Thanks for hanging in there!  I can't wait to install the interior and go for my maiden voyage.  I hope it all goes well.



  • Like 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that you've received the last major elements for completion of the interior and, thereby, your restoration, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to mention that now is not the time to rush things in an attempt to just finish the job in a hurried fashion. Your documention of the restoration project shows a careful and deliberative effort in every aspect, big and small. A rushed job now just to get it done may be very tempting, but you've waited patiently this long to surmount the last hurdle, and a continued careful and "attention to detail" method will pay off in a top notch interior job.


After all, you've missed the entire summer season of touring and a chance to enjoy the hard won fruits of your labor. Nothing left now except a chance to enjoy driving your beautiful 37 Buick through the exposive fall colors before being put away for next year.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Saturday September 29,2018:  New Jersey Concours d'Elegance

Bucks Mill Park, Colts Neck


I hope you all don't mind if I go "off topic" and share some photos from Saturday's NJ Concours d'Elegance.  The show was very well attended and the grounds were beautiful.  The weather was absolutely perfect and the entire committee, from the Judges right on up to the Grand Marshall could not have been more hospitable.  My Buick was originally registered for the show, but being it was not ready on time, I ended up bringing both my Model "T" and my Model "A" Roadster.  We arrived around 8:00 in the morning.  The drive up Route 34 was just great!  About 60 degrees, little morning moisture in the air and the beautiful sound of that Ford humming right along.  It just doesn't get better!





My 1914 Ford "T" Touring out on the show field.

(I really apologize for the quality of these photos.  The resize just looks terrible.  Loses all its quality...)




I was situated along the back row with other cars in "Class 1":  1900 - 1929




The Roadster was in "Class 2": 1930 - 1939




The Roadster took 2nd Place in the class!  




But the highlight of my day was when the Model "T" took first place in Class 1.  




After the winners are notified, there is a Parade of Concours Winners at Victory Lane.

The Grand Marshall talks about each car that comes through

(All I was focused on was my moto-meter red line absolutely pinned at the top, and the steam coming out the overflow pipe under the car!!!)




The organizers really went all out to put on a truly beautiful event!




There was this 1938 LaSalle, 2-door trunk back sedan.  From the cowl back, the car is identical to my Buick.

It gave me a chance to study the interior, take a bunch of photos and get an overall as to how the car should look when I'm done.




Here's the rear arm rest / panel section that I'll be starting on tomorrow night.




Here, you can see the headliner welting over the door, and even the door handles are in the same spots.

"Body by Fisher"......  obviously shared the same bodies over a couple of marques.




OK....  I had to get a Buick in here!  



I'll be back in business tomorrow!


Have a great Sunday night out there!


Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites


Congratulations, Gary!  It's great to have you back, and we look forward to seeing the completion of your '37 restoration.  I have to admit I got a kick out of the photos of your prize-winning Model T because of the dude sitting in the chair to the left. Was he taking a nap? ?





  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites


your restoration progress is amazing and well documented. Your restoration of the heater will be a great guide to mine.


Can you assist in explaining how the heater is plumbed. I found in the first pages pictures showing the routing of the two heater hoses but could not find any on/off valve or tap. 


How  is the heat turned on or off apart from the two flaps on the heater box.


Rodney ?????

Link to post
Share on other sites


 My heater is the same as Gary's. There was no shut off. Just the flaps /doors on the front to control the heat and the motor/fan switch. In the summer it will still put out heat. When summer driving I would disconnect the heater hose and install a pipe plug in the fittings. One could also employ a shut off tap on the feed hose.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wednesday October 3, 2018:  Begin Interior Installation

Part 1:  Passenger's side Rear arm rests, Rear Panel, Door Panel


The panel kit finally arrived!  I immediately opened the box and took inventory.  First thing I noticed was that the armrest fabric is different that the original.  The new broadcloth panels look nice and I think they will look just fine in the car.   Let's get started!



Delivered.  Looks like UPS drove over it!  After all this time, I was fearing I would open the box to a bunch of creased panels...




Taking inventory.  Everything inside was unharmed.  




A new fabric arrived for the rear armrests.  So, first thing I did was to strip the armrests I just finished and re-covered them in this new fabric.




Set the ash receiver and punched a nail through to secure it into position.




So, here is the "new" armrest, finished and ready to go.




The rear panel needed to be trimmed.  It was missing a mounting hole, and the window crank hole was too low.  So, using a sheetrock knife, I made a new hole and made other adjustments.




After trying in the panel on its own, then with the armrest, it was time to secure the panel to the armrest before installation.

So, you throw the fabric over the armrest, and with the air stapler, secure the panel all around the armrest flange.

Push and squeeze the two parts nice and tightly then drive the staples.




Back into the car.  

***  Note:  I got a call from LeBaron Bonney today that this may not be the correct fabric on the armrest!  So I did not go any further with the rear panel  ***




Door Panel:


Being work stopped on the rear panel for now, this morning I decided to tackle the door skin.  There are quite a few steps involved to get it nice:




First thing I did was place the old panel on the door to see exactly where the edges meet the door, the overhangs, hole positions.....




I started first on the fabric piece that goes over the top of the window.

The car DID NOT  have this fabric piece when I got it, but after seeing a lot of photos on the internet, I figured how it goes in.

Here, I'm marking all the mounting holes with blue tape so I can find them easier when installing the fabric.




Once the holes were marked, I used a little double-backed tape to help secure and align the fabric piece.




Then, I went around first using tacks to hold it and create a "pilot hole" for the screws to come next.

This gives you a chance to see if you have any puckering between screw holes.




One by one, I pulled the tacks and replaced them with brass screws.





Having the upper fabric in, I started aligning the door panel.  There is an internal hook built into the door which holds the panel.  Huge help.




Once satisfied the position is good, I used the knife to open the fabric to allow the window and door lock studs to come through.








  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wednesday October 3, 2018:  Interior Panels

Part 2:  Finishing the door skin




I'm setting all those wire clips under the door skin and snapping the panel over the door.  This was a pain!  The panel has about 16 holes drilled in it under the fabric.

NOT ONE of those holes lined up with the holes in the door!  Not one.  So, hours of carefully elongating some panel holes, and straight up drilling a few new holes in the door,

I was able to get the panel set nice and flush and sitting tight to the door metal.  You see I have the arm rest holes marked for future install.




Back into my box of parts to dig out the vent window crank and the window crank and door opening handle.

I used a little silicone on the stud and inside the handle, and slowly in the vise I steadily drove it home.




I was careful to go little by little and protect the chrome and the plastic from getting marred.




It takes a little effort, but it went down nice and spins smoothly.




Then the door bling.  So nice seeing all these parts again!  I just used a little hand pressure to seat the plastic into the chrome escutcheon.




I slipped the clip down into the slot.  I made sure I could see a small tang on each side inside the window riser.




Then, some pressure and the handle slides over the stud and that clip grabs the groove in there.




So the handles are back on.  I put them on the way they were in the car when I got it.  Is that door handle supposed to be horizontal?




Passengers side tonight.  Notice:  Window garnish and arm rest not yet installed.

Armrest:  LeBaron didn't ship it in this shipment.   They are re-covering it in this fabric.





Garnish molding:  It gets a nice welting around the front, top and rear surfaces. 




LeBaron sent two weltings, one for each garnish molding.  I started making a nice fold and make my preliminary measurements.




And quickly realized the welt is about 6" too short.  Both are measured the same length so they are sending new ones soon so I can button up the door skins.




Moving right along!


Have a great night





  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

I will defer to Brian's 1938 photos. I suspect that they were the same in 1937. All that I have ever seen have been somewhere between that angle and totally horizontal. I have never seen any that were vertical. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If the handle position is adjustable, I like to think some discretion can be applied to position based on the factory photos, other restorations, and your preference and comfort. 


In my 27 Buick and 62 VW, I sat in the cars with the door closed, windows up, then down, then where I might commonly "Crack" the window open for a little air, and noted my knee and arm and elbow position against the door, and factored that in to the choice of final handle positioning. 


There's nothing like traveling with a handle digging into your knee or leg, especially when you realize you could have easily avoided it by rotating a handle by 2 or 3 notches. 


It might be similar to saying an adjustable seat is shown all the way back in a factory photo, but not adjusting it forward for your own comfort when driving. 

Edited by 27donb (see edit history)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Friday October 5, 2018:  Installing Interior Panels..... Post 1 /4


Due to the photo size thing, I'm going to break tonight into four separate posts to tell the story.

This kit came with NO instructions at all.  I'll document how I did it, but please remember I am not a professional installer.

(But I'll take any advice from those of you who are!)



Today I got to install a couple more panels installed in the car.  I did the drivers door, and the passenger side rear panel kit / armrest / headliner welting...


So, the new fabric LBB sent me to cover the armrests is the coordinating color to the 2-LM panel fabric.  I didn't order this new fabric, but it's what I'm getting.  

Being this is the final fabric, I was able to finalize the rear quarter panel pieces.


Here goes:

Driver's Door Panel



First, I measured and tacked that cardboard-backed fabric around the window opening.




Once it was tacked, and it laid nice and straight, I finalized the installation with small  brass screws.  

The blue tape helps me find the small holes in there when you are working black on black and looking up into the lights.




Then I hung the door panel over the internal hook, and carefully started to cut the fabric to allow the door handle studs to come through.




All three exposed and the door panel is sitting nice and straight.  




I had to push the car outside to install the panel because there is simply no room between the cars anymore.

I first clipped in the metal retainer clips into the door skin.




Moving the panel over to the door, hook it again and get the studs to poke through.




I went around the entire perimeter either marking where new holes had to be drilled, or shifting the clips around to fit into existing holes.

I used a gold sharpie marker to mark the door where the clips line up.




Now, with a piece of wood under being the door, I drilled any holes that I needed to to get the panel to sit just right.




For the final time, install the spring behind the window crank, lift and hook the panel, line up the handle studs...




And pop all the clips in place.  Now the fabric pieces are installed.


Next.....  Drivers door (2)







  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Friday October 5, 2018:  Interior part 2:  Finishing the drivers door




Back to the box labelled " REST OF THE BUICK"

It's nice to know the rest of the car's small parts are in that little box!!




The door handles and chrome escutcheons.




Press on the knobs with the vise and a little silicone




Ready for prime time.




I installed all three clips in the handles. You can see them inside the handle.  The plastic escutcheons snap in place.




And into the door they go.  I did re-position the door handle to a slight backward angle like the book shows

Does that handle wear a groove in the upholstery after a while?  It seems to rub into the fabric......

The other knobs don't rub anywhere.




And satisfied the door panels are in for keeps...  I finally threw away those nasty, smelly things!



Part (3) next.



  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...