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My 1957 75R - Big Gray


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1 minute ago, wndsofchng06 said:

Damn you wasted no time at all!

Yeah well lucky for me the car came with a rebuilt long block already!  But I do have just about everything ready for it.  After I get rust patched underneath, I'll work on tidying up front frame area a bit before engine will be painted and dropped back on frame, so it will probably be waiting awhile.

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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, dei said:

Hey Lance,

Those look great!

Where did you get those ?

 Thanks!  I got the boards off Ebay which were made by REM.  I then had patterned adhesive vinyl paper printed from sample of original board and applied over it.  It's not perfect, but looks way closer to authentic than plain black or gray!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Accomplished an array of things this weekend.  First, patched the driver side floor by the seat.  It still needs a couple small patches but the biggest part is done.

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Next, I completed the laborious task of excavating the front end from decades of dirt and grease cake!

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I also managed to get the front drums off, which was not pleasant since the adjusters were frozen tight.  Unfortunately when the car last driven, the shoes had worn down to the rivets, making some grooves in the drums.

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Finally, I reassembled the original trailmaster spotlight, fully restored!

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Next, I'll touch up the firewall, start to make the front frame and  suspension pretty and rebuild it!

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

Something old, and something new!  Nice mix Lance!

Thanks!  These shiny bits keep me motivated to keep moving forward with the rest of it!  Plus, these small tasks are something I can do when I only have an hour or two.  If I don't have at least a half day to work in the garage, it's not really worth the time consumed getting dirty and taking the extra shower, getting out and putting tools away, and sweeping up.

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Man, some of these front end pieces were the hardest bolts yet to get out!  

I don't know how I'll get the new spring in.  The fork from the spring compressor wouldn't even fit between the coils on the old one, so I had a heck of a time getting it out.  

Neat to see the big area of nice original paint color!20171105_214216.thumb.jpg.8721b3f058b0b3848e36b694a54bdbd9.jpg

 

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, lancemb said:

Neat to see the big area of nice original paint color!20171105_214216.thumb.jpg.8721b3f058b0b3848e36b694a54bdbd9.jpg

 

And as I noted on my all too short a visit, the car is really solid given it's 66,000 miles and will be beautiful when she is done! B)

 

Sadly for me, I think you will have yours done the way you are going before I get my Limited done...  

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When I did the springs on the limited with no front end weight, I made a spring compressor and used a combo of that and some orange ratchet straps from home depot.  It was scary.  I hate front springs 

Edited by Smartin (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, old-tank said:

Threaded rod in the shock location?

Well that's basically how the spring compressor works.  The issue is, unless the new coils have fewer twists than the original, the fork at the bottom, which has ridges to keep itself in place, will be too thick to remove from the spring once the spring is in place.  If I can find one that's lower profile it would work fine.  Wish I still had the ones from my dad's shop but I can't find any like them anymore!

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6 hours ago, Smartin said:

When I did the springs on the limited with no front end weight, I made a spring compressor and used a combo of that and some orange ratchet straps from home depot.  It was scary.  I hate front springs 

Scary indeed...I nearly left the old ones since they weren't broken and am now regretting I didn't, but I'm past the point of no return!  I used ratchet straps to keep it from flinging apart when I disassembled it but have no desire to attempt the reverse.

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  • 5 months later...

Ok, it's been awhile.  Between family time and minor house projects managed to make some progress.

 

Since last posting, I acquired a 2dr sed Special parts car and cut out some sheet metal, and resold it.  The main things I needed were the floor braces in front where it meets the inner rockers, and trunk pan.  This was a setback in time, but it was necessary for the sake of this car.  I also got the last of the major parts I needed (not from parts car) - a perfect gas tank and correct wheels!

 

My trunk pan wasn't beyond hope but the soft places were in highly contoured areas.  After a little measuring, I confirmed that although nearly no sheetmetal is shared between the cars, the trunk pans are the same.  The areas around the trunk and rear wheel wells are totally different though.

 

I have managed to complete the rebuild of the front suspension.  Next, front brakes will go back together and some wheels back on.  Then, it's on to the firewall and some further details on front chassis.  Gotta say, it's great to put a few new parts on finally!

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Also, got the trunk pan pretty much fitted in.  It's not welded yet, but from a few feet away it's hard to tell it's not original to the car!  I cut the whole rock-solid pan out of the parts car includimg the spare tire well.  The original perimeter where the old pan used to be has been flanged a bit where the replacement drops in; this will ensure strength and take stress off the weld.

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The patching in the floors is complete too, but I didn't have time to clear the debris for a good picture before drop-dead quitting (dinner) time came!

 

More to come...slowly getting there!

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33 minutes ago, dei said:

Was the tire well part of the replacement bed Lance?

If so, what have you done with the original?

Yes, trunk pan and spare well were removed in one piece.  I had grafted a new lower section into the old well and itcame out pretty nice, but I didn't need it any longer so I sold it.

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30 minutes ago, JohnD1956 said:

What a torturous route for that front passengers side brake line!  Looks impossible to install once an engine is in there. 

I have done it 3 time, but it never becomes more fun.  It will be pleasant to do this one beforehand!

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  • 1 month later...

We've got trunk!  All welded in and turned out as well as I'd hoped.

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But wait, there's more!  We've got floor!

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 I have more pictures but can't post them with this silly new limit that's been imposed.

 

I also have had the under hood sheetmetal parts sandblasted and have been painting them.

 

Next steps include:

-Dismounting the body and rustproofing the frame and underside, and replacing the body mounts

-Stripping and detailing the firewall

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, TG57Roadmaster said:

What a great project, and she's going to be a beauty. The car's Escanaba. MI origins explain the rust, which could have been worse, right? They use a lot of salt during the long winters in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 

 

TG

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Yes, there was a little salt damage certainly.  I think on this car though, most of the rust was from sitting outside so long.  It was probably in very good condition when it was parked.  Thankfully most of it didn't penetrate the surface.

 

The dealer (Poff Buick) wasn't around very long and dissolved sometime in the early 1960's.  I'd love to find one of the dealer emblems in better condition as I'd like to keep the emblem on as part of the car's history.  Mine will probably cost a fortune to restore.

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2 hours ago, TG57Roadmaster said:

Escanaba had a Cadillac dealer, too, but I can't help but think your 75R would have caused quite the mild sensation there.

Makes one wonder who the original owner was.

 

TG

57 Buick Poff Escanaba 2 Springtime-1A.jpg

Very cool ads, thanks for sharing! I'll have to make a nice print of these. 

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I can't believe how well these cleaned up.  Not show worthy, and fortunately I have new ones, but definitely good driver quality with tons of shine and an interesting case study on chromed pot metal survival! 

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  • 5 months later...

Ok after what will wind  up being a 6-7 month hiatus I am almost ready to get going on this again.  I finally got it back on the lift.  I don't plan to roll it off again until the transmission is in place, and I'm ready to drop the engine in place.  The little winch I put on the front of my lift a few months back was an excellent investment I think.

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Next I want to lift the body off and finish some inner rocker repairs, clean up the weld on the bottom of the floors, paint underneath, and replace body mounts.  

I ordered body mounts as buick man suggested, and was going to use the same method to lift body almost, except all at once using jacks resting on my lift ramps.  

The main thing that has me nervous is putting too much weight on the rockers, since there are a couple portions that are not so great.  I don't want anything to buckle!  I have a few weeks to further ponder this before I get started.

 

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  • 8 months later...

A month or two ago, I returned Lance's black Roadmaster to him and exchanged it for the coupe.  Unfortunately, I had to stick this one in the queue while I took care of another 57 Special that needed a respray after a bad experience with another body shop.  That project has to sit and cure for a while before I cut and buff it.  So, I got Gray into position for some advanced rust repair.

 

First thing I tackled was the body mount bolts and cage nuts.  Four of them were broken off, and a fifth one just spun inside the cage.  To fix this, the floor has to be cut open and the nuts have to be replaced.  Once they are welded in, the floor must be re-repaired.  I took care of all that this week. 

 

Next was the rear-most trunk floor brace where the rear body mount bolts go through.  When the trunk floor was replaced, there was an attempt to put a patch in one spot, but the rust was much more widespread than originally thought.  I had to lift the entire body up about 6" to access this brace and repair it.  About half of the brace was replaced with one from a good parts car.

 

Now, I'm onto the front rocker repairs.  I worked on the passenger side today and got it completed.  Tomorrow is the driver side.  Both of them are completely trashed.  Pretty much the entire nose of the rocker has to be fabricated.  I wish they made repair panels for these.  Most of the 57-58's I've worked on have issues like this here.

 

There are lots of spots on the inner and outer rockers to repair...just tackling one thing at a time, since my time with this car is limited.  I'm going to do as much rust repair as I can before the next monster project comes in.  I have a year to basically do a frame-off restoration on a 70 GS Stage1 convertible, and get it ready for MCACN 2020 in Chicago.

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Edited by Smartin (see edit history)
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I realize there is sort of a gap prior to Adam's update.  Basically, I realized that I was going to have a hard time doing the proper repairs in my garage, even with help of course (since metal work is not my thing) any time soon.

 

I decided to try out a local restoration shop, and although they did a great job on what they did, I pulled it out before going further as they were very costly.  Not just from the hourly rate, but apparant lack of efficiency (which I would be paying for).  Projecting out the remaining cost would have set the whole project back another couple years at least due to cost as well as the time required to actually do the work.

 

Luckily, Adam was able to take the car to finish up at least enough for me to take over again while he embarks on his next major project!

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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Driver side front rocker corner is done...almost.  I have to buy a 3/4" hole saw for the two fender mounting holes. 

 

Next I'll take care of a couple little soft spots on the inner rocker, and then the outer rocker repairs.  One spot at the lead joint (you can barely see it in the photo) and the rear corner is rotted.

 

After that, I'll move to the passenger side and complete the rocker repairs there.

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I'm doing my best to knock out a small piece of this every day.  Probably a pipe dream to keep this up, but it keeps my momentum up...and helps me keep on schedule with projects moving.

 

As I moved to the hole in the driver side rocker, I had to burn out the lead so I could weld to steel after cutting the hole out.  When I melted the lead out, a second hole appeared, almost as big as the original one next to it.  So for this evening, I took care of the first hole.  I'll save the other one for tomorrow.

 

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Edited by Smartin (see edit history)
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Both holes at the lead joint are fixed.  I moved on to the wheel well corner.  The hole kept getting bigger as I cut...finding more really thin metal.  Finally, I was able to get to some solid metal to weld to.  I ended up cutting a piece of the wheel opening out of the parts car we have here.  It helped with the compound bend around the edge of the wheel opening.

 

Of course, as I was laying down grinding, I found another spot about 8" long where the pinch weld is at the rocker bottom.  That is next.

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11 hours ago, Smartin said:

 

Of course, as I was laying down grinding, I found another spot about 8" long where the pinch weld is at the rocker bottom. 

Might want to the rest of that area along the rockers while down there if you can...looked suspect to me!

 

It's really looking awesome, though!  Keeping me inspired to finish the car!

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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