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My 1957 75R - Big Gray


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Here is my latest project - and my biggest!  It shall be fully restored and I've got a fresh small block Chevy for it.

 

Just kidding!  About the last part at least...

 

Here is how I found it.  Smartin sent me a link on an abandoned and neglected vehicles page on Facebook.  Nobody would say where it was though, as if it was better off sitting there a number of years more.  Somebody gave a clue though so knew the area.  With the help of a couple emails to BCA members in the area, I had it's location within a couple hours!  I threw the guy a maybe price over the phone, looked at a couple days later and he stuck to it.

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It's rough...I know.  But, it's exactly what I've been looking for and saving parts for, and it's not too far gone.  Another 10 years there, and it might be.  Believe it or not though, the rust isn't quite as bad as it appears at first glance.  Make no mistake, it will need some patching.  Fenders are junk.  Hood is marginal...could go either way.  Trunk lid and doors solid.  Trunk pan has a few holes and needs spare tire well.  Rockers have a couple small holes.  Floors appear solid, or nearly so.  Rear quarters are rusted through on outer skin - pretty big on right, small hole on left.  Frame looks good.

 

Here are the goods on the car:

Model 75R - 2nd rarest 1957 Buick right behind the 56C.

Rare original 2-tone top.  Beautiful original colors of Sylvan Gray (spring color) under Arctic White top will be returned to the sheetmetal.

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Original engine, and original everything including Trailmaster spotlight (took it off already), electric antenna, Wonderbar radio, rear speaker with fade switch and original grille on back package tray.

100% complete, although many parts on body are not salvageable.

I already have many of the hardest to find parts, and have begun to collect the rest already.

I love a nice survivor, but this car was just too cool to let rot or be rat-rodded with clearcoated rust.  It will be a worthy recipient of many valuable parts I've collected.

Check out some more pics and tell me if you can see the potential that I see?  As of tonight, it's finally home...

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Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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Wow Lance, congrats on tracking it down. It and your 4door will be quite a pair and a site to see some day. Quite a project and undertaking but oh what a prize when complete. Look forward to following. 

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8 hours ago, lancemb said:

Check out some more pics and tell me if you can see the potential that I see?  As of tonight, it's finally home...

 

Oh yes Lance, I'm able to see the potential!

I understand from your previous posts you are familiar with the 57's and as you state, having collected some major parts moves you in the right direction on this one.

Having said that, being the top of the line series that year and a 2dr hardtop makes it the next best thing to having a convert to me! 

Will be following along.:)

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 Good find. Certainly it will be quite a project to make a nice car out of it again, but worth doing, esp for a Buick guy!

 It doesn't look nearly as bad as my '41 Roadmaster was when I got it.

 You are quite right that if sat there for more years, it would either go for scrap, worst case, or perhaps a parts car. So it is very very good that you will be saving a rare and interesting car. 

 Keith

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1 hour ago, old-tank said:

You gotta have a passion for a car like that and knowledge of same --- seems you got it covered!

For sure...I was thinking if I didn't save that car I don't know who would.  When complete it will be a thrill!

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Service sticker from 1962 shows just under 50k.  The title I have is from 1963.  The odometer reads 66k.

 

I bought it from a guy who owns an engine shop.  Something was wrong with engine when he got it, and upon tear down he found that the vacuum pump had failed, and one of the vanes had become wedged and stuck.  He fixed this and went through the rest of the engine, and said everything else looked good but did a basic rebuild since he had it apart.

 

He surmised (probably accurately) that some time in the 1960's, the vacuum pump failed, and the car never moved again and sat out a lot, hence it's current state.  They probably assumed it "needs an engine" and just didn't mess with it.

 

However, the previous owner determined it was a much simpler fix.  He still had the engine out, so I already have the long block and all the pieces on a stand in my garage.  This will actually help me out quite a bit in time savings!  Plus, the engine and most of the parts have been washed in an industrial washer so it's basically ready to paint with no grime removal.20170512_145151.thumb.jpg.e56aaa9aadc220f1d2a205c462e317a9.jpg

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1 hour ago, JanZverina said:

That's a true find and a stunning design - looking forward to your progress. Not too long ago someone told me that the upward swept rear quarter glass at the C-pillar is known today as the 'Hofmeister Kink' for all you trivia fans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hofmeister_kink 

 

 

Thanks!  Well Buick did it best!

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I love this car and the original color combination, Lance.  I'm thrilled to know that this one will be saved and restored to its former beauty.  I will follow with great interest.

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Thanks for the encouragement!  I hope this weekend to get Big Blue over in the other bay and then just soak this car down with PB blaster.  I want to get the engine together before I take too much else apart, but may take some stuff off before then...

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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Did the first soakdown on some of the bolts underneath.  Went parts swapping and got a good core left tail light, solid fenders, a good 6-way power seat frame, and a buncha nice interior chrome to replace my rusted junk...

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On 6/21/2017 at 0:17 PM, lancemb said:

Service sticker from 1962 shows just under 50k.  The title I have is from 1963.  The odometer reads 66k.

 

I bought it from a guy who owns an engine shop.  Something was wrong with engine when he got it, and upon tear down he found that the vacuum pump had failed, and one of the vanes had become wedged and stuck.  He fixed this and went through the rest of the engine, and said everything else looked good but did a basic rebuild since he had it apart.

 

He surmised (probably accurately) that some time in the 1960's, the vacuum pump failed, and the car never moved again and sat out a lot, hence it's current state.  They probably assumed it "needs an engine" and just didn't mess with it.

 

However, the previous owner determined it was a much simpler fix.  He still had the engine out, so I already have the long block and all the pieces on a stand in my garage.  This will actually help me out quite a bit in time savings!  Plus, the engine and most of the parts have been washed in an industrial washer so it's basically ready to paint with no grime removal.20170512_145151.thumb.jpg.e56aaa9aadc220f1d2a205c462e317a9.jpg

Have you considered doing away with the combo oil/vacuum pump and swapping in the next gen pump without vacuum? '59-61 Shhh! I won't tell the restorers if you don't.

Edited by Guest (see edit history)
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9 hours ago, 2carb40 said:

Have you considered doing away with the combo oil/vacuum pump and swapping in the next gen pump without vacuum? '59-61 Shhh! I won't tell the restorers if you don't.

If I'd received the engine with the problem intact, I might.  But since it's been repaired, I think I'll see how it goes.  Plus, I have a couple of NOS vacuum pumps so if I run into an issue I may as well utilize one! 

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  • 3 weeks later...

As I figure out the remaining pieces I need, I figure there are some that will require new chrome and I am going to gather those and set them aside before I take everything else apart so I can just stuff all the parts I won't be reusing into boxes for now.

I was setting aside a few pieces for rechrome but decided to clean them up first.  I figured tge better they look maybe the more positively it will influence my chrome estimates.  Well to my surprise these handle escutcheons cleaned up pretty well!  I think I'll keep. them as is.

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It's crazy how these ash tray/window switch bezels look so crusty up top but like new underneath!  It makes me hopeful that the switches themselves are okay.  Unfortunately they didn't clean up well enough up top not to rechrome.

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Here is a pair of rear bumper ends I just got back.  They each had a couple small holes and some rust on lip of opening.  I was afraid how they'd turn out and was not going to use them on this car but after seeing them they will be going on the coupe!  I am impressed at the results.  Since they weren't totally rotted out they were able to just patch the small holes and maintain the proper contour.

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14 hours ago, lancemb said:

Here is a pair of rear bumper ends I just got back.  They each had a couple small holes and some rust on lip of opening.  I was afraid how they'd turn out and was not going to use them on this car but after seeing them they will be going on the coupe!  I am impressed at the results.  Since they weren't totally rotted out they were able to just patch the small holes and maintain the proper contour.

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Here is before pic if interestedResized_20170122_140745.thumb.jpeg.2cf1cf09ae375008a0290a39e3f30e30.jpeg

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Here was my fun for the weekend!

 

A journey of 1,000 bolts starts with a single bumper!

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Forget the tan line, how about a rust line

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Think this can be saved?

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Another pair of 57 rear bumper ends bite the dust!

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Tail light treasures!

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And we're done for the day.  Looks better already!  20170729_183410.thumb.jpg.2204bc9864ce0466dc9fe258297343b9.jpg

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19 hours ago, Beemon said:

How much did it run you for the chrome work?

About a grand... But that's a bargain compared to what other places would have charged for that work at that quality.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Finally made some real progress!  Got whole front end off, bagged and tagged.  Got exhaust off and gas tank.

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Got front portion off left inner fender that was rotted.  Used a chisel with flat side toward the good part and broke spot welds right out without contorting the good part.  Did same to get good piece off my parts fender.

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Hood bar doesn't look too bad after cleaning it up!  I have a core that's a little better I'll use though.

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Next week I hope to get the trans out!

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Ok trans is going to keep hanging there for now.  I have help coming next week to start patching holes so I took carpet and seats out to assess damage.

 

A couple spots got bigger when I removed carpet and started tapping; not a big surprise.  Back looks good.  There was some scaling, but my 200 pound self was standing all over it and I didnt poke through so I think some POR-15 will do just fine.

 

Fronts have rot by front seat bracket on each side and some in front foot well, more on passenger side.  I don't think replacing the entire pans will be necessary.  No rot near sill areas.

 

Can anybody tell me it's not too bad without lying to me?  I know much worse has been fixed (had one).

 

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Only real negative surprise I found was soft spots on rear frame rails where a shop vac of debris had collected and blocked drain hole.  Took out the whole area on each side.  Here is left side after beating on it.

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Left side done.  It actually looks a bit better in person.  May smooth it out a bit more but want to keep steel nice and thick.

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Got trans out

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Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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Got the other frame rail welded today.  Also removed the old spare well, cleaned out the trunk, and did some heavy poking with a large screwdriver to find how much patching will be needed.  A few areas around bottom edges and rear of wheel wells appear to be it.

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