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Me and my beautiful 1956 Buick


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Alright guys, I've finally settled back in at school. I am now a married man and have forfeited 50% of everything I own in what I hope was a good idea. Nah just kidding, I've got nothing to worry about (yet?)

 

Anyways, long story short the insurance company screwed me half way through the repairs and I had to pull out of pocket to finish. 

 

It started at the beginning on my summer. Mind you I had already gotten the initial settlement from State Farm and had purchased replacement parts before now. I found a local restoration body shop through the Hagerty network that came highly praised. My main concern moving forward was that I was to be married on the 3rd of August and the car needed to be done by then (this was the beginning of June) in which they assured me they could have it done. State Farm agreed to fix the damages as long as the repair did not exceed 75% of the projected cost (about $12000 so around $9000). I was told this was not going to be an issue, and the shop got the OK from State Farm after they said they would not total the car. Things were going great.

 

Except now they've brought in a second appraiser to negotiate with the shop. They got their rates re-negotiated and the insurance company gave the green light. 

 

About when the shop had all the body work done and everything was in primer, and the insurance company had failed to deliver their payout check to the shop, they brought up the notion of re-chroming the replacement stuff I had found. The stuff I got was more or less hot garbage but I couldn't be a choosy beggar, especially when I couldn't find any yards or quality parts within 3 states of me. By the shop's logic, since my chrome pieces were in pretty good condition, I was entitled to fresh pieces in equal or better value. The shop reaches out to the insurance company and pitches the chroming process to the insurance company. After 3 weeks of solid work, this is the first time anyone has heard from State Farm and they pull a full stop and send a third appraiser out to look at the car.

 

The third appraiser basically said the first two were morons and totaled the car on the spot. Over a suggestion pitched to the insurance company. At this time, it took 2 weeks for the insurance company to reach out to me to tell me the car was totaled. In fact, I had to call them to verify the car was totaled. So, after battling on the phone, I finally negotiated that State Farm hire a third party appraiser of their choosing to re-evaluate the car. To which, they hire someone OUT OF STATE to look at pictures the first appraiser took of the car. Fortunately, they appraised the car at $16500. The part that sucks is that even though the car was re-evaluated, it was still totaled on the books. 

 

So, after this, they tried to take my deductible out twice, and charge me for repairs and storage done. After negotiating with a representative, we told them that if they tried pulling this back door shady garbage, we were going to go to the insurance commissioner. We got a settlement payout for the value of the car + tax + licensing - salvage, which came out to a net $16500.

 

Well, the shop now saw that we were no longer under the umbrella of the insurance company, and knowing what the payout was, decided that the $4000 left of work to be done was now $9000 left to be done due to "unforeseen circumstances" that were never really disclosed.

 

After everything was all said and done, I got the car back the Friday before I had to leave for school, completely missing the wedding, out majority of the settlement claim, with work done that only fixed the damage (originally was going to be damage + paint chipping from Maaco which had voided their 5 year warranty due to the collision) on a now totaled title which I cannot have re-licensed until I have time to drive home and make an appointment with the Washington State Patrol for another vehicle safety inspection. Thus reinforcing my distaste for any and all auto establishments (I have only had two good experiences thus far) where I have to use a customer service voice lying through my teeth in the sweetest manner just to get my property back.

 

Throughout the entire process, my 02 Jeep was diagnosed with rod knock, I had to micromanage my then fiance so she didn't have a mental breakdown and kill me, and sit helpless from the sidelines while my prized possession is picked over by both the insurance company and the restoration shop like vultures. I ended up buying a clapped out 81 Blazer to get me to and from school, especially during the winter.

 

Everyone keeps telling me "I hope this was a lesson learned to only drive your car on a sunny weekend" as if deer are going to drop dead during Saturday or Sunday, or that other drivers are somehow impervious to car accidents on the weekend. The truth of the matter is, once it's licensed, I will go back to driving it whenever the hell I want. Just with different insurance.

 

Before (its wet):

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After:

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There's a few things I'll be doing with my riches, including:

  • Finding an AC dash, HVAC routing and dash controls
  • Modern under the hood AC
  • White Wall tires?
  • New J-bars (if they're still available)
  • New grill center emblem

The worst part about this entire ordeal is that at some point I will actually need to most likely have the car repainted again in the near future since warranties are void and I still do not have enough to finish the interior and probably won't any time soon.

 

 

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8 hours ago, NC-car-guy said:

Progressive was equally sh*tty when their client totaled my 54.   I feel your pain! Congrats on the marriage!

 

Did they total it up front or did they lead you on for a month before saying "Sorry, not sorry" ? Really kind of opened my eyes, but I didn't have much choice at the time since I was daily driving the car as my only source of transportation for some time.

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Ben,

Congratulations to you and yours regarding your Marriage!

May you have many healthy & happy years together!! 👍

 

I won't cloud your thread with my insurance experiences (house) which are on going but they are all ".....'s" in my opinion. When a rep, while on the phone, states that they are a business and have to make money like any other business, you know they are not your friend!

 

Wishing you continued success at school! Your hard work and long hours will be worth it in the end.

Keep us posted.

Doug

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  • 1 month later...

I'm adding to the wishlist here. Holley/MSD just recently came out with a coil-on-plug driver system that uses their distributors with a blank cap. I think having two LS coils on each side of the valve cover breather with some type of throttle body injection would really wake this old 322 up. I guess if you take the MSD nailhead distributor and gut it with replacement hall effect stuff on the inside, all the billet bases are the same so you just throw the blank cap on there. Then you can have either one of their Sniper units or a stand alone coil driver fire the plugs with a programmable map.

 

I think I've just about given up on doing dual quads at some point. The air cleaner really completes the engine and I just think it would look silly without it. I thought about the Chevy/Cadillac/HEMI dual quad air cleaner but there's no guarantee it will fit and its pretty massive. I think the only thing that would cause me to give up the original air cleaner would be a McCulloch supercharger setup, but good luck finding one of those.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I went home for the weekend to see my wife and make an appearance at a Halloween party. Of course my real motive was to see the Buick...

 

If you recall, my antenna is was inoperable after the car came out of the restoration shop. I didn't really have much time to look the car over since I picked it up and left for school on the same day. After taking a second look, all I can really say is that I'm disappointed. To start, I examined the antenna. The leads were ripped out of the switch when removed, and the aluminum coil for the nylon cable to go into has been broken off. I think the motor is still operable, but I am beyond disappointed, especially with how rare a working original power antenna is. I'm hoping, because I did not have time to remove it, that the damage is repairable. I can resolder, crimp, whatever wires back together, but the nylon cable is ripped out of the bottom of the antenna mast (after I had already JB welded it back together). 

 

Then I started looking. They installed the starter relay with self tapping screws into the inner fender and not where it was originally bolted down. They also did not put the bottom bolt through the inner fender to the outer fender behind the wheel. The bolts they used to fasten the outer fender to the body at the bottom were also loose. Then all the bolts that went to the inner fender that was replaced were also loose. It is a rushed mess altogether.

 

I feel I am partially responsible given the short time frame, but they did assure me it would be done to the best of their ability. 

 

I honestly cannot wait to be in industry after this final semester to start building my own garage. I am like a broken record at this point, but I literally cannot find any honest professionals around. Its like a curse. Even when I do research and look at prior work. Maybe my expectations are too high? I am grateful the car is done, but the "premiums" that came after the insurance company paid out didn't sit right with me either.

 

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I don't know if you can see this, but the skinny part if you follow the loop is the actual nylon cable exposed. The thicker part is the aluminum coil that is supposed to be attached to the motor top. 

 

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Also unrelated but here's the light show coming from my Generator. Looks like I'll be moving towards an alternator full time since I can't keep buying these things. I don't understand why I burn through these so quickly, I follow the shop manual to a T when adjusting the voltage regulator and its outputting the correct amount. All I can think of is foreign contaminant since they didn't really cover the engine bay when they did their work - its covered in dust and other crap.

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Ouch man I'm sorry... If you want I've got two pretty fresh rebuilt gens  that I did actually use and they both worked fine before switching to the power Gen.. You can have for the cost of shipping.. Although they are heavy...

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I might take you up on that. I only had a day with it, but I'll be heading back for the weekend of the 11th so start digging into things hopefully, if not then Thanksgiving week.

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Hell I think I still have the output test on the Wilson one.. That one I ran for a year before converting.. The other one is a beck arnley that was on the car when I got it.. Drove it for a few years with that one.. Swapped it out for the Wilson one cause I thought it was making noise.. It wasn't lol.. They're just sitting around

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does this picture look right to you? Guess I will be sifting through the junkyard to find original hood bolts that have mysteriously disappeared. 

 

I went and talked to the shop today to get my stuff, since we had an agreement to hold my things until the week of Thanksgiving (break) and they have all mysteriously disappeared. 

 

This is why I hate this hobby.

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The rest of the antenna is fine, I just need to re-glue the nylon end back into the antenna and re-feed the nylon cable. 

 

I just can't believe a shop suggested by Hagerty conducts itself this way.

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1 hour ago, Beemon said:

Does this picture look right to you? Guess I will be sifting through the junkyard to find original hood bolts that have mysteriously disappeared. 

 

I went and talked to the shop today to get my stuff, since we had an agreement to hold my things until the week of Thanksgiving (break) and they have all mysteriously disappeared. 

 

This is why I hate this hobby.

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I hear ya Ben! @MrEarl might have a 56 with the bolts ya need.

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Is stealing bolts a common thing for restoration shops? Most of the nuts and bolts that were used to hold the front end together, specifically the flange head bolts, have all been swapped out with standard bolts. 

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"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."  -Hanlons Razor.

 

I doubt they stole them. They probably threw them away out of ignorance. It is pretty common. I wish that weren't true, but it is.

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1 hour ago, Beemon said:

Is stealing bolts a common thing for restoration shops? Most of the nuts and bolts that were used to hold the front end together, specifically the flange head bolts, have all been swapped out with standard bolts. 

Stealing bolts is not common. loosing them is.

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2 hours ago, old-tank said:

Not unique to the hobby, just life in general....

 

There is bad everywhere, but this hobby is something else. The only crooks i've come across have been in the classic car hobby. I feel like this hobby attracts a lot of people with skills looking to take advantage of others. I mean just cars in general. Those stereotypes of mechanics taking advantage of people are just multiplied in the classic car hobby. 

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11 minutes ago, Beemon said:

 

There is bad everywhere, but this hobby is something else. The only crooks I've come across have been in the classic car hobby. I feel like this hobby attracts a lot of people with skills looking to take advantage of others. I mean just cars in general. Those stereotypes of mechanics taking advantage of people are just multiplied in the classic car hobby. 

 

You have definitely had your share of "not conscientious" service people for sure Ben.

Let me tell you, they are out there....

 

A friend of mine has a 1966 Mustang convertible with the pony option interior but it has a 6 cylinder automatic. Dan felt he had to have the motor rebuilt (for what ever reason...) and took it to a Restoration Shop locally. I have seen some of their work (at shows) and thought, What did that cost for how it looked?

The rebuild started out at a quote of 6,000 (CDN) taken out by the shop, rebuilt and setup back in the car in running order. 

While out doesn't the shop owner say that the front unibody torque boxes are bad and need to be rebuilt. Not a surprise on a Mustang really but this car without being on a hoist looked beautiful and showed good door gaps which usually is a give away sign.

Now with the motor apart things are adding up over the 6 grand and... after the front boxes are fixed it was decided to check the sub frame at the back. 

Yes, supposedly they needed to be replaced also and by now the owner felt he had no choice but to trust their word (even after looking at it).

Finally the motor goes back in and setup with the body work completed and Dan goes home to a not very happy wife when she saw the bill...

He took his time breaking it in as instructed and later took in on a car run which he had done several times before all this work was done. On the way out the gauge was reading high on the temperature but made it without boiling over. 

After the all day event he and the wife headed home only to have the rad boil over!

CAA (your AAA) was called and dropped at his home for the night.

The '"Restoration Shop" was called on the Monday and they came to drive it to their place.

 

Two days later Dan was told the problem was the radiator which they said would be 900 bucks for one adequate enough to cool the car. (for a 6 cylinder car???)

Turns out, another mechanic (not the "restoration Shop") set the points & re-timed it which solved the issue after the rad by itself made little difference.

 

All said and done, the "Shop" soaked him for over 25,000 (CDN!!!!)

 

Nice car but....

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I know this doesn't help you Ben but want you to know yes we have one too.

Not all are like this so don't want to cast all in the same light. 

 

Just how much does one have to research before not experiencing this kind of thing? 

I do know however NOT one of my cars will ever see their door!

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On 11/25/2019 at 6:18 PM, NC-car-guy said:

I hear ya Ben! @MrEarl might have a 56 with the bolts ya need.


sorry for the crappy picture, took it with flash at dusk. Looks like some sort of push nut. They’re definitely different than 54,5. Can send you these if you want. And just to prove nice reputable guys are still out there ,  $100 for set four 🤣🤣😉 

 

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17 hours ago, NC-car-guy said:

True! Hence why I have so many projects. Can't trust anyone else.....


and then there are the guys who did your hood and fender fitment 

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4 minutes ago, MrEarl said:


sorry for the crappy picture, took it with flash at dusk. Looks like some sort of push nut. They’re definitely different than 54,5. Can send you these if you want. And just to prove nice reputable guys are still out there ,  $100 for set four 🤣🤣😉 

 

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Dear God... golden bolts!  Lol.  Yes 56 hinges are unique, I've already sold mine.

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17 hours ago, Beemon said:

 

There is bad everywhere, but this hobby is something else. The only crooks i've come across have been in the classic car hobby. I feel like this hobby attracts a lot of people with skills looking to take advantage of others. I mean just cars in general. Those stereotypes of mechanics taking advantage of people are just multiplied in the classic car hobby. 

 

 

I'm not sure it is multiplied by the classic car hobby and shops but it appears to be more common for a shop to take a car, cash for restoration and then close up the following week.  Do not hear that of major dealerships repairing daily drivers. However, quite a few times I have dropped my daily driver for warranty repair only to find missing nuts and bolts.  Different nuts and bolts.  Disconnected fresh air tubes to the air cleaner, etc.  I'm never a fan of others working on my rides.    

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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Image may contain: sky and outdoor

 

Spent yesterday with my Dad for his Thanksgiving dinner. We went sand shrimp foraging on the beaches of Ocean Shores. Didn't find anything, but driving on the beach was pretty fun. 

 

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Today we went to give thanks to the grandparents. Its the first time I've gotten the car out after getting re-registered and new insurance. I noticed today the grill medallion reads 1956 Buick Special. Among the things that were thrown away includes the original 1956 Buick Century medallion, so I'll need to track another one of those down to make the car correct. This Saturday I will be going to the junkyard to see if I can track some of this stuff down, but given how rare Centuries are, I doubt I will find a medallion locally. I'll be making a post in Buy/Sell, hopefully someone has some Century parts out there.

 

I'm trying to remain positive but everytime I find something, it just ruins the mood.

 

Happy Thanksgiving all.

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On 11/26/2019 at 5:23 PM, Beemon said:

The only crooks i've come across have been in the classic car hobby.

 

Wait until you buy a house and need something done... 

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57 minutes ago, Fr. Buick said:

Don't glue your antenna cable.  If it is long enough, use the good long end and press it into the antenna light a lighter to melt it into place....

Can you expand on this post Fr Buick?  What are you melting here?  

 

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The nylon mast cord, which is pinch-held into a socket at the end of the inner mast. Don't try repairing the cord with glue, it won't hold.  If the cord is long enough (these things go up about five feet, which you never use!) remove the broken shorter end with a lighter under the socket at the end of the mast, melting it enough to pull it out.  The longer end can be reinstalled in the same way.  Worked for me!  If you need a new cord, look up Tucson Packard.  If you can get somebody, they make new nylon cords and can re-chrome your mast.

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I measured the diameter of the nylon cord on my GP and found a match with weed eater string on Amazon for under 10 bucks - worked perfectly.  I was able to crimp mine in p;ace at the base of the antenna.  Now I have about 100' of extra...  ;)

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Good to know!

I had glued it before and it worked flawlessly until it encounter the Incredible Hulk at this restoration shop. It is holding now, so I am not too concerned with it. I also fine tuned my antenna to grab when going up and down but also slip when bottomed out. I don't know if your model antennas have a tensioning screw on the side of the motor, but mine does and its a very quick procedure on the bench. 

 

I had a very eventful break.  I got to go to my junkyard of choice and made off with some clean hood bolts, some misc sheet metal screws and a rusty, correct starter relay for about $40. The starter relay was my favorite find because I had to go from car to car looking for one that would let all four screws unscrew. The inside was sealed perfectly from the PNW weathering and all I had to do was clean the arms to bare metal. Some day I'll paint the cover and make it look nice, but I eliminated that chonky high beam relay and now everything is wired comfortably. All I need now is an original horn relay. I ran out of time because I brought my wife and we had to leave due to family issues on her side. I also re-attached the hood ground strap, since my original clip on ground thing broke a long time ago. it seems to do a better job at shielding RFI with the strap than without, as expected. 

 

My hood adjustment bumpers cannot be adjusted properly because one of the clips was installed upside down, so I cannot screw it out any further. To fix, I will need to disassemble the entire front end because its stuck behind the grill. Which is of course, fine, because if you see in the second to last picture, they forgot some things. HMMM. Better to be safe than sorry, I guess my next task will be to replace every single incorrect fastener (like the standard head bolts on the exterior lock washers instead of the flange head bolts) and washer with correct, or suitable replacements. Part of me grabbing those old rusty sheet metal screws is to find a replacement the right size at the hardware store. Unfortunately they will all be flange head sheet metal screws since you can't buy standard sheet metal screws for cheap, at least not at my hardware store.

 

Lastly, one other thing I made off with at the junkyard... stainless Anco wipers! I found a nice set of Trico wiper blades in stainless, too, but as far as I know you can only buy the reproduction Anco wipers over the counter. Maybe you can get Trico inserts off the web? If so, I will go back for them but man what a difference! Over the counter they are plain. I think the Stainless wipers really complete the windshield area of the car.

 

And thus.. back to school for two more weeks. I passed my Fundamentals license exam, so now all I need to do is graduate and I'm on my way to becoming someone who thinks they know more about machining than a machinist. 

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Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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