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1938 Buick Century Model 61 - Four Door Touring Sedan - Trunk Back


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17 hours ago, chistech said:

Feels like you hit the summit of mt. Rushmore doesn’t it!🕺💃🕺💃🕺💃 Makes you feel like dancing.

 

I'm not there yet but imagine everything from here on in makes progress show even more seeing what the end result will be!

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The car body is out of the paint booth and most of the buffing was completed when I stopped by today. The rest of the parts will probably be painted by the time I next get a chance to stop by. The photos will give you an idea, but the car actually looks better in person than in the photos. 

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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Matt, will the body shop handle all the glass install, weatherstrip install, etc.......or are you planning to do that?

 

I bet you are getting more and more excited!

 

How much snow did you get? We got less than an inch in Winston-Salem, but it sure is pretty on the trees. Saw on TV that the cost was to get a lot more.

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I dropped off the trunk weatherstrip and a few of the other rubber items yesterday. He plans to install that. I still have the door weatherstrip, windshield gasket, back window gasket and and all of the glass. As it progresses in the next few days, I will probably drop that off too. He actually suggested having a glass guy do the windshield and back glass installation. He has one that can stop by his shop and do that. I will do the door window installation.  

 

As for the weather. I have lots of flowers blooming here. There was obviously some snowfall during the night as their is a slight dusting on the top of cars parked outside on my street, but it is warm enough that there is no snow visible on my lawn. I don't think we are expected to get any accumulation, although a light snow is falling here now. I am sure they probably got quite a bit more a bit inland, but not here. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I stopped by this evening and took a look. Levi has been busy but still has some more painting and a lot of buffing left to do. He has the nose on the car loosely. He has test fitted the fenders and engine side panels. As soon as he has the engine side panels, painted, cured sufficiently and buffed he will be ready to do the final front end assembly.  Some of the parts are finished and waiting covered by plastic, while he completes work on other parts. 

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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Sometimes I don’t think some realize how big a job it is painting all these parts, trying to store them so they don’t get damaged, then putting on pieces very carefully so not to scratch anything, aligning things, bolting on more things, aligning more, etc., etc. let’s not forget the stress that goes along with trying to handle everything like it’s eggs. Lots of fun! 😆 

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Yes, and the front fenders on a 1938 Buick are about the size of an average motorcycle. His shop is very full of parts. You need at least 3 parking spaces to fit a disassembled 1938 Buick in. He is probably looking more forward to getting it out of his shop than I am.

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My painter said the hardest part of my car were the front fenders.  Of all the extra parts I sold, I was happiest to get the extra front fenders out of the way.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I still don't have the car back as my painter is still busy with final details and reassembly. He is used to modified cars rather than authentic restorations and while he loves this car, he said it has really been kicking his ...  He still wants to have it totally finished and to be able to do a big reveal for me but he keeps updating me on it's progress. 

He texted me a few photos today. The photos really do manage to show the mirror finish that he has achieved with the paint. He is getting close to being done. 

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Posted (edited)

I stopped by and took a few photos today. He is taking his time on the reassembly, and doing so with help, after having to repaint one of the engine side panels after he managed to scratch it while attempting to install it by himself recently. It is all looking good and I am in no hurry for him to finish as my business has been really busy lately. I hope I am caught up with my work in the next week or so which will mean I will have more time to work on completing the restoration after I get it back in my garage.

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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I really need to get the running boards ready to put on the car. The funny thing is that I have not had any time to work on the running boards, but I have been using them on a daily basis. I am engraving a job of about 2000 electrical faceplates that have to be paint filled. The running boards are a great surface to put them on for the paint to dry overnight. The ribs make the running boards a nearly perfect design for lining them up to dry overnight, but I look forward to finishing that job so I can get back to finish working on the running boards instead of storing work on the running boards.  

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I do rotary engraving, diamond drag engraving, and (a recent addition) sublimation printing.  These are rotary engraved (basically the same as a cnc router) and then paint filled. They are for a rehab hospital and specified the actual faceplates being engraved and paint filled as opposed to using the typical engraved panel tags made out of two ply engraving material. The engraving process is the same, but since they are a single color item, they have to be paint filled with contrasting color paint. 

 

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I say that will keep you busy. I figured they were for a medical facility of some type being red. I have a Taig CNC mini mill I do stuff on and love it. I also use a laser for all my engraving. Mainly for plates for the plaques and awards I make.  The car is coming along nicely too.

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Posted (edited)

I went to pick up the car today. When I arrived, Levi was rinsing the car off with a water hose. It seems that a few minutes before I arrived, some landscapers had decided to operate some leaf blowers in the area and had stirred up a major dust storm on the car just after Levi had pushed it out of the shop awaiting my arrival. After writing him a check for my final payment, I hooked up the battery cables, hopped in, and started it up. I had a friend follow me since the car did not have any taillights on it. The approximately 8 mile drive home was uneventful, but I do have some good advice for anybody who ever plans to pick up a car without a windshield and drive it... wear some goggles!. I probably only drove about 35 miles per hour for most of the trip, but my eyeglasses did not keep the wind out of my eyes anywhere near as much as I thought they would. In any case, it was fun driving it again and nice having it home so I can finish the rest of the restoration. She is now safely tucked in the garage next to my 1937 Century.

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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I drove my Crosley convertible at the Crosley Club National meet without a windshield and my eyes would tear up if I drove too fast.  I told my wife goggles would help!

PS.  The Buick looks great, have fun putting it together.  You should have it done in no time with the stay at home orders...

Edited by dalef62 (see edit history)
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The guy that painted my car of course does other auto body work too.  He uses a frame rack  at a larger shop about a mile down the road from him, when he needs one.  You’ll catch him driving down the road in cars in all different stages of repair.  It’s actually a very busy road too, so he plans around traffic 😆

 

Your car is looking great!

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3 hours ago, dalef62 said:

I drove my Crosley convertible at the Crosley Club National meet without a windshield and my eyes would tear up if I drove too fast.

They go that fast? :lol:

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Posted (edited)

Obviously, I have a lot of different jobs to do on the project. It is a bit difficult to figure out what order to tackle all of the various small jobs needed to finish the restoration. Some of them will need to wait for a few additonal parts. I spent a bit of time today cleaning up the garage to help me get to a few of the parts that were a bit difficult to reach. I did want to do something on the car today so I installed the door handle ferrules and grommets. After that, I buffed the some door handles and painted the black recesses on the handles. The first two handles look good. The other one non-locking and one locking handle are temporarily installed until I either have them rechromed, or replace them. I am going to have to take the driver's door lock assembly out at sometime and do a bit of work on it as the driver's door handle droops slightly. I have an old Torque Tube article that discusses how to fix that, but I need to review it to remember how to do that job.  

 

One minor problem that I have to fix is that a few small areas of paint were lifted off of the instrument panel cluster face by masking tape from where Levi was protecting the instrument panel and gauges from paint overspray. I made the mistake of trying a shortcut by attempting to mask it off and paint it in place without removal. The result was not good enough for me to be happy, so I then made the mistake of trying a second attempt to cut corners on this repair. I attempted to remove just the front panel of the instrument cluster to repaint it. That did not go well. After I got it off, it shifted, touched the speedometer needle, and snapped the fragile,speedometer needle shaft. I will be removing the speedometer and doing some major surgery on it in the near future. Luckily, I have done that job on a 1937 Century in the past, so I know how to do it.

 

I have a nice locking door handle but it has the wrong length shaft. I know that the shafts are made to be removable, but I have never done that job. I have removed the lock cylinder, sprayed the shaft with solvent and will attempt to remove the shaft in the near future. If I can do that, I should be able to do the same job on the existing locking handle on the car, swap the shafts, and install the nice chromed locking handle that I have. Time will tell if that works for me.      

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

This afternoon, I decided to try buffing the trunk handle assembly. I was convinced that this would be a waste of time since I did not expect it to buff up good enough to use. I did not even bother taking a before photo. This piece was on the Century as it sat outside for over 2 decades in Massachusetts. I started on the worst end of it and as soon as I saw how it was buffing out, I decided to take a photo of the other end to get some sort of "before" photo. The hardest part of cleaning it up was removing the rusted remains of the license plate light socket from its assembly. It was packed in the glass but I was able to use a small pick to break it up an pull enough of the impacted rust out to remove the bulb and remains of the socket. A new socket and bulb will certainly be needed. The handle itself might end up getting replaced as the chrome on it was pitted much worse than the rest of the assembly. I did replace the handle ferrule since I had one available and the rubber grommet on the old ferrule was deteriorated. I also painted the recessed areas on the assembly. 

 

Earlier in the day, I had stripped the old paint off of the instrument cluster face with paint thinner and steel wool. After I finished buffing the trunk handle assembly,  I primed and repainted the instrument cluster face. 

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

This morning, I decided to do some buffing. I pulled out the stainless steel body side moldings. I decided to start on the ones that were the worst, those that were on the original Century body that had sat outside for over two decades. I figured if I damaged any, I would prefer to damage those and then I could switch to the moldings from the body donor Special. I was amazed how well it all turned out. I did not damage any and they all cleaned up basically as good as new. The only problem is I have to figure out where I put the approximately 4 1/2 inch long pieces that go on the cowl. I should have two sets but at the moment, I can't remember where I put any of them. I am sure it is a nice safe place, but I have not figured out where I hid them from myself. I also placed one piece beside the one that Levi had buffed and discovered that my buffing compound does a better job than Levi's so I pulled that one off of the car and buffed it as well. I think that I am going to buy all new clips as I would prefer not to have any potential rust developing from the old molding clips. This will delay the molding installation. Hopefully I can find the other small pieces before the clips come in.   

 

I also buffed up my best  two original bumper guards since I did not find a set of 4 when I was attempting to buy some that had been rechromed. The chrome is not quite as bright as the chrome on the two rechromed ones that I bought, but I think they will work OK. 

 

I stopped by to see Levi as I had a couple of additional small pieces to pick up. He presented me with a custom sign for the garage wall. When I hired him, I was unaware that his estimate also includes a custom sign to commemorate the job. We had discussed it a little so he could figure out exactly what type of design he wanted to do that would fit my style. The last photo shows the sign that he gave me today.  

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

This morning, I decided to do some more buffing. Even though I won't need them soon, I decided to go ahead and buff the running board trim. The first photo gives you an idea of how they looked before and after the first stage of buffing. They turned out really nice. Next, I buffed the trunk emblem. After that I decided to assemble and install one of the taillights. That is a tougher job than it sounds like. The original studs and nuts on the taillights were more difficult to get apart than about any other hardware on this project. I think the studs and the nuts are made out of dissimilar metals and time has been kind to them. I installed the left taillight and have some more of the studs and nuts soaking overnight in a 50/50 mix of acetone and ATF. Hopefully, they will come apart tomorrow. If so, I will install the right taillight tomorrow. I went ahead and assembled the right taillight so it will be ready for installation as soon as I get two more studs free from the nuts, or create two new studs out of a long 5/16 x 18 bolt. The wiring of the taillights was also a bit of a challenge. The wiring kit came with the materials to build sockets using the metal parts of the original sockets, but getting the cloth covered wire through the small fiber parts for the sockets was difficult. On one of them I gave up and cut a short section of the cloth covering away. On the other, I was able to get the cloth cover through the fiber piece. Eventually I got them both together correctly and they both work. The wiring harness instructions don't really explain how to be sure to have the tail light and brake light wires on the proper side of the socket  when you assemble it and I wish I could say I got them both right the first time, but I can't. Having to take them apart and switch the orientation of the inner part of the socket is not much fun, but I wanted the wiring colors to match on the harness and was not going to do any cutting and splicing on any of the wiring harness. If I was going to do it again in the future, I would take a few minutes to test the bulb to see which pin is for the brake light and which is for the the tail light.   

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

The overnight soak did not free up the nuts/studs for the other taillight. I took a long bolt and cut two appropriate length studs out of the threaded portion of the bolt. After cleaning up the ends of the threads slightly, I installed the studs in the right taillight. I then installed the taillight and tested it.

 

After that job, I decided to install the trunk emblem. Neither of the two that I have showed any sign of any previous paint on the recessed areas. Does anybody know if they were painted or unpainted when new? It might look better with the recessed areas painted, but I am not going to paint it unless I can confirm that they were painted when new. 

 

Next, I painted the rear bumper mounting brackets in preparation of installing the bumpers in the near future. 

 

I decided to install a socket in the license tag light. I found that I had a socket that would work in the license tag light from the body donor car. The socket had clearly been replaced in that car at sometime in the past, as it was of later manufacture than 1938. It was a bit tricky to remove from the other assembly and get it installed in the one I am using, but it turned out wonderfully and works properly. I also installed the license plate bracket onto the trunk handle assembly.  

 

 

 

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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Nice job on the buffing. I like that job, even though it's dirty. Very rewarding with instant results. What's your setup and what compounds are you using? That could be useful to the rest of us hoping to get equally good results.

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I am using a buffing setup that is basically a typical 2 wheel grinder. I use a hard cloth wheel with a black cutting compound on one side followed by a soft cloth wheel on the other with a white polishing compound. To be honest, a friend gave me the compounds so I don't really know exactly what they are or where he bought them. The buffer is actually his too.  At the moment, I don't recall the brand of the buffer, but I think it may have come from Harbor Freight Tools. I can get a photo of the buffer and the compound bars tomorrow.  

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18 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

What's your setup and what compounds are you using?

Same buffer I'm using. Works great.  Here is the brand of buffing compound I'm using.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Last night, I painted the front bumper brackets so I could install the both bumpers today. This morning, I started with the rear bumper installation. This would be a much easier job with two people, but I am working alone. First, I loosely mounted the bumper brackets to the car. I then installed the bumper. It was fairly easy to get the outside bolts in place to hold the bumper. After that, the job got difficult. I was able to get one bumper guard on without too much trouble. Lining up the last bumper guard and installing it was a pain. I guess one of the brackets was slightly sprung out of shape at some time in the past because it took all I could do to press the last piece of the bracket against the back of the bumper, install the bumper guard, and then start the nut on the bumper guard mounting stud. With only two hands, I dropped the nut several times just as I was ready to install it. I finally found the best way to do this job was to straddle the bumper and the bracket and using my leg muscles, I could press the two pieces together and then use both hands to install the nut on the bumper guard mounting stud. After finally getting to that point, it was easy to simply tighten up all of the bracket bolts and the bumper bolts. After finally having everything correctly in place, I carefully removed the nuts one at a time to allow me to install the gravel guard on the rear bumper. 

 

After finally getting the rear bumper installed, I tackled the front. The front bumper brackets and holes in the bumper all easily lined up and everything bolted together with minimal effort. It was a welcome change from the rear bumper installation. 

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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