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My 57 Buick special project


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Hello guys. 

I grew up working on classic cars with my dad and I am now a ASE certified master tech. I've been busy racing motorcycles for a while but wanted to start a classic restoration. I found this 57 and thought it was a perfect project. I drove from the Seattle area down to Boise area to pick it up over the weekend. 

The body is in pretty good shape no rust other than some surface rust. Everything is there about the only thing missing is one piece of fender trim. Needs complete restoration but its a solid starting point. 

Going to be pretty much all stock I really like the look of stock 50's cars so no big modifications planned at this time. 

Here's some pics check it out. I'll probably move it into my shop and get started on it next month or September. I'll keep this post updated as I go. Even though I am a master tech this is my first restoration so I'll probably ask a lot of dumb questions lol 

 

 

 

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Looks like a good body!

You might want to check with Beeman here on the Forums as he has a block or two that might be something you could work with and is close to you?

 

Keep us posted.

 

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I bought up every 56 322 block I could find from Idaho to Oregon. 57 was the first year for the 364, though. I know where there's quite a few in the Auburn area, if you're close (I know you're from Seattle, where are you located at?). If you're interested, I can give you the gentleman's information. He's strictly local, though, as in no shipping, and pretty interesting guy to get to know. Here's a pic of some of his wares:

17202791_10155854054750830_6545720566226

 

Good thing you don't need any sheet metal! If you're missing your fender spear, however, there might be a good one out there. The one in the pic is in pretty decent shape, but it's bent at the end...

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8 minutes ago, Beemon said:

I bought up every 56 322 block I could find from Idaho to Oregon. 57 was the first year for the 364, though. I know where there's quite a few in the Auburn area, if you're close (I know you're from Seattle, where are you located at?). If you're interested, I can give you the gentleman's information. He's strictly local, though, as in no shipping, and pretty interesting guy to get to know. Here's a pic of some of his wares:

17202791_10155854054750830_6545720566226

 

Good thing you don't need any sheet metal! If you're missing your fender spear, however, there might be a good one out there. The one in the pic is in pretty decent shape, but it's bent at the end...

I have the 364 its in pieces that's the block setting in front of the car in the pic. I'm actually in auburn I just say Seattle area cause its easier for people not around here. 

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Whatever you do, don't take the block to Auburn Auto Machine. The last nailhead to come out of there (not mine) dropped a valve seat and flooded the crank case with coolant. The auto shop across the street from the Cennex station in Black Diamond deals specifically in vintage cars. They turned me on to this ex Boeing engineer who is on point. Unfortunately he's moving 40 minutes outside of Pullman, but it's worth the drive. There was another machinist but I wasn't interested. That was also through the vintage shop. The shop owner's name is Keith. I'd have to look for the phone number, but you're close, and they're good people - you'll know the shop when you see it. 

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2 minutes ago, Beemon said:

Whatever you do, don't take the block to Auburn Auto Machine. The last nailhead to come out of there (not mine) dropped a valve seat and flooded the crank case with coolant. The auto shop across the street from the Cennex station in Black Diamond deals specifically in vintage cars. They turned me on to this ex Boeing engineer who is on point. Unfortunately he's moving 40 minutes outside of Pullman, but it's worth the drive. There was another machinist but I wasn't interested. That was also through the vintage shop. The shop owner's name is Keith. I'd have to look for the phone number, but you're close, and they're good people - you'll know the shop when you see it. 

Thanks for the info! 

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I'm early in the planning process and deciding if I want to convert to power steering. I have never driven a older car like this without power steering. For those that have what's it like ? It looks like I can get a power steering conversion kit for $995 . 

 

Kit description - complete power steering conversion kit for a 57-58 Buick. The kit includes a factory remanufactured bolt-in power steering gear, pitman arm with ball, universal joint, remote pump, billet pulley, nailhead pump bracket, remote reservoir, hoses, hardware and instructions

 

Is that all the parts needed ? If the manual steering isn't that bad I don't mind keeping it but I do plan on driving this car a good amount and don't want it to be a complete pain. 

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Its going to be a while before I start on the motor but I want to at least get the block cleaned up and check it out make sure there's nothing big wrong with it. Mixed up 7 gallons of molasses in a big tub to soak it in. Should come out pretty much like new in 3-4 weeks. 

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You can find a complete stock power steering kit at that junkyard I shared for much cheaper and it will be correct. 

 

As for the block... I don't know what it is, but that's not a Nailhead...

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1 minute ago, Beemon said:

You can find a complete stock power steering kit at that junkyard I shared for much cheaper and it will be correct. 

 

As for the block... I don't know what it is, but that's not a Nailhead...

2nd person that said its not a nailhead. Well that sucks. I'm not familiar with them and was told that's what came out of the car. 

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The part that gives it away is that it doesn't have the gasket surface for the valley cover. Luckily there are engines out there, too. Trust Salvage, owned by Matt Cooper. He's open 10-3 I believe only on Saturdays. 253 735 6690, located at 14909 SE 326th St, Auburn, Wa. You'd be surprised what you find out there. 

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Not ours ,service stickers are  on the door to prove it.,also records from the  2nd owner. It was not stored in a way we wished it should have been .but brought the paint back .Amazing car guys. Got our first HPOF 2 years ago .Being somewhat computer dumb, I can send pics to someone who can.

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On 7/26/2017 at 4:20 PM, old car fan said:

Not ours ,service stickers are  on the door to prove it.,also records from the  2nd owner. It was not stored in a way we wished it should have been .but brought the paint back .Amazing car guys. Got our first HPOF 2 years ago .Being somewhat computer dumb, I can send pics to someone who can.

Sorry misunderstood...thought you were saying you had an engine available with 5800 miles and I was wondering who'd pull an engine out of a 5800 mile car!?

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On 7/21/2017 at 5:08 PM, Beemon said:

You can find a complete stock power steering kit at that junkyard I shared for much cheaper and it will be correct. 

 

As for the block... I don't know what it is, but that's not a Nailhead...

www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/buick-nailhead-401-block-with-crankshaft.925385

 

 

take a look at this block.  Note the surface for bolting on the valley cover, note the hole for the distributor, note the extended bellhousing, and note that you see through the lifter Valley and see the camshaft.

 

The 57, came with a 364 cubic inch engine and the 364 has the same size bellhousing as the 401 and 425 blocks.  264/322  locks have a different diameter  ell housing.  If you go with a later 401/425 block, you'll have to finagle some motor mounts. But you could gain up to 60 hp.?

 

Good luck.

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On 7/21/2017 at 6:43 PM, Mack0331 said:

So what kinda price am I looking at for a 364 block? Theres very little info online since apparently no one sells them. I'm a ways away from needing one just curious what I'll be looking at. 

A

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm about to get it into my shop and striped down and the body off within the next week or so. For the frame and suspension stuff anyone have opinions / experience with the Eastwood rust converter , rust encapsulator , chassis black ? I'm not going for show winning perfect but a NICE driver. See mixed reviews seems decent though. 

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Got the front apart. I forgot how simple old cars are to work on. A ratchet and 1/2 socket and a few hours and the front clip is off. Broke a few bolts but overall it came apart easy. Hoping to get the body off the frame this weekend. 

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Well I got the body off. That was fun without a lift. About half the body bolts broke no prob I planned on getting new ones anyway. The one just before the right rear wheel well just spun so I had to cut a small hole in the floor to get to the other side of it. No big deal there's almost no back floor left anyway . my first attempt to pull the body off was almost a disaster. I got it up on jackstands. I had one big ratchet strap so I figured I I would use that to hold up one side by hanging it from the big center beam in the shop so I could pull the chassis out sideways. When I let the weight down on the strap it moved the body and yanked it off the jack stands on the other side . not good. That's the first pic. After that I went and got another big ratchet strap and just hung the whole body so I could pull the chassis out. Kinda redneck buy hey it worked. 

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