caballero dirk

57 Buick Special Convertible crash - need some advise

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It appears from the photos that the frame damage is forward of the firewall. If so why not find a frame from a sedan or hardtop and just cut and well the front clip on. The convertible reinforcements are usually an X cross brace under the center of the body. The front clip should be the same.

 

That is an easy and far less expensive repair that can be done by any competent body shop with a frame rack.

 

just sayin'

 

brasscarguy 

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  All of us on this site hope your insurance company takes good car of you as they should. You are both ok which is most important. I see you are in New Jersey as I am. If you do plan on selling the car as it is, please contact me. I would like to see it. I have been looking for a mid 50s Buick, Oldsmobile or Cadillac convertible project. Best of luck.

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Dirk,

 I also worked in one of the biggest repair shops in this country and have seen far worse being repaired.

 My advice to you is to talk to a good repair shop, to see if they will work with you on fixing the car.

 I would suggest that you take off the front clip, the motor and box, the front suspension and steering and remove everything necessary  that attaches the body to the frame, except for a couple of bolts. Then get a tow truck to take the car  with the rear axle still in place to a repair shop. Most repair shops have 2 post lifts, that they will use to lift the body up off the frame so they can then repair your frame and put the body back in place for you. A lot easier than trying to lift it yourself.

 You can then take it home for reassembly of front suspension, motor etc and once that is done you can get another front clip sorted out  and painted for final assembly.

 It will still entail a lot of work on your side, but if you love the car and can do a lot of work yourself, then it is worth the effort.

Viv.

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What make and type of tires do you have ? How old ? Is there any reason for the failure ? Was there any warning , e.g. vibration immediately before the blowout ? Very happy no one got hurt. The rest is only money. Put it back on the road with the best new tires you can get.  - Carl 

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Now that we know you were not hurt, sure sorry to see that this happened to you and hope you are able to affect a repair.  

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I AGREE IF THE ENGINE AND TRANS ARE OUT IT WILL MAKE THE JOB ALOT EASIER,WHEN  REMOVING THE ENGINE AND TRANS LOOK FOR A BROKEN TRANS MOUNT,THAT WILL BE A SIGN OG THE ENGINE BEING PUSHED BACK,BUT FROM THE LOOKS OF IT ITS NOT ALL THAT BAD,I BELIEVE WITH TODAYS MEASURING SYSTEMS  SHARK GENESIS ALL LASER TYPE SYSTEMS THE FRAME WILL BE AS CLOSE IF NOT CLOSER TO ORIGINAL SPECS THAN  BEFORE THE ACCIDENT,ALSO TRY AND GET THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT FRAME RAILS ETC POWER WASHED BEFORE STRAIGHTENING THE TECH WILL LOVE YOU AND YOULL STAY ALOT CLEANER ON REASSEMBLY    , NOT ARGUING WITH ANYONE ON THE FORUM BUT IT WOULD BE A BAD IDEA TO PULL THE BODY OFF THE FRAME BEFORE REPAIRS,IF THE FRAME HAS PRESSURE SO DOES THE BODY,GET THE PRESSURE OFF FIRST THEN  PROCEED     DAVE

Edited by JustDave (see edit history)

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A local junkyard has a few 57s,when I had mid 50s Oldsmobiles I think I read in a shop manual that the convertibles had thicker frames in the X area so I presume the Buicks would be similar.

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Dirk, in your initial post you said that the body shop told you that the frame would have to be replaced. I think that they were overstating the situation a great deal. I'm sorry to be cynical, but maybe it's possible that they saw the dollar signs because of this being some sort a beloved vintage vehicle. There are experienced frame guys that most likely would see your car damage as being routine because of the reasons justdave so clearly stated. I endorse everything that justdave said in his post. I don't know how many shops do their own straightening these days, but I suspect most do because of the availability of modern, lower cost laser racks. In times past, a body shop used to send out a car to a frame shop to have this important work done by those who specialize in it. I used to know a frame guy who said that it took ten years to completely train a new man in the art. I'm not sure where to tell you to start, but you need other opinions from professionals that are in your area. I don't know if your state has many shops that rebuild wrecks (salvage vehicles), but if there are any, those guys know who is good and who isn't. A percentage of street rodders, not rat rodders, are quality body men. You might try to ask around in those circles. I'm thinking that it would be helpful if you could talk to, or work with, someone who has an interest in vintage cars, also. Are there any shops in  your area that specialize in restoration? Keep us posted on your situation.

James Sheehan

MN

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I have a genius idea, how about we actually respond with helpful solutions to the problem instead of telling him what he should have done?  Am I crazy?  Would you want someone telling you what you should have done after you wrecked your pride and joy? 

 

Who restored the car originally?  You might get their opinion on it since they know it so well.

 

I actually bought a 1939 donor car that was a total loss and used it to help with my restoration.  I wouldn't even begin to guess what you would get for your car as it sits now, but that's certainly a viable option vs. paying extra yourself to fix it.  I would be keeping my eyes open for a good replacement.  You may just find something that makes more sense to purchase than to fix what you have.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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Thank you all for all your posts and I'm still trying to make up my mind. I'm leaning to selling, yes the job is very doable but I just don't have the space & time right now. Have a bunch of parts for the front end already.

Also about the 57 Buick frames: I checked and measured and on the 57 Convertible the rear part of the X-brace is 1/4" thick plate metal and the front part of the X-brace is 3/16". On hardtops the brace is 1/8". So convertibles that

year had a heavier X brace. Thank you Gary from Indiana for checking it out on the hardtop frame, my shop guy checked the same and compared it with my Caballero. The frame rails thickness is the same on the convertible & hard tops 1/8"

Also I experienced vibration just before the blowout, I braked at that point and the tire blew, the rest is history. I'm just glad that me and my girl are ok now. The tires were diamondbacks and had not many miles on them, profile was really good, and they did get enough use to not dry out. I checked them regularly for pressure, damage and wear.  Will not buy those again........ever.

Greetings from New Jersey. Dirk

 

PS: Rowan782 that's a great picture!. I have a similar picture of my youngest boy watching fireworks a few years ago on July 4th.

 

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if the frame has you worried chk the frame at the a pillar location you should see that the frame is welded frome the factory at that point,i may be mistaken but I don't believe buick made  one piece rails,if you look closely you should see where the frt frame section is welded to the side rails,take a hot wrench ( torch) cut the welds and slide the new front stub in place,i could be mistaken about the frame but im sure buicik didn't use one piece rails    dave

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57 Buick convert frame side rails from front to rear including rear kick up are one piece. There is no front stub..............Bob

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1 hour ago, caballero dirk said:

 

 I experienced vibration just before the blowout, I braked at that point and the tire blew, ......... The tires were diamondbacks and had not many miles on them, profile was really good, and they did get enough use to not dry out. I checked them regularly for pressure, damage and wear.  Will not buy those again........ever.

Greetings from New Jersey. Dirk

 

Dirk - you are mistaken.  Someone may have PURCHASED tires from DIAMONDBACK,  but they could not possibly be "diamondbacks".      That company does not make tires.    It buys off-the-shelf tires and puts white-wall tires on them.      It would be interesting to note what make tire they were - look on the inside of the tire ( DIAMONDBACK's process grinds off the labeling on the "front" of the tire)   and get us the codes. 

 

Once you know who made the tire that failed and WHEN it was made,   you may want to take it up with the mfg.   Nothing that DIAMONDBACK does to a tire could contribute to a catastrophic tire failure.

 

As a side-note, I have been buying tires from DIAMONDBACK for many years.   Used them on all sizes and weights of my cars,  including a very heavy ( 5,700 lb) Packard V-12 that has been well over 80 mph on very hot days.  Never had an issue.

 

That being said,  no question that on those rare occasions when a modern radial fails,  it can be pretty dramatic in terms of fender damage.   I have had several blow-outs at high speed,  but only with "bias" tires ( from a well-known collector tire supplier who also dosnt actually have a tire-making factory,  but has them made to replicate an old-line famous American brand).    In all cases (again, these blow-outs were at high speed ) I never had control issues.

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Tires are expired after 10 years regardless of how they are maintained or driven (or not).

I have always had motor homes and have had bad experience with older tires that looked like new and didn't have any significant miles on them.

Having to step up and outfit a full set of six semi type tires every ten years is difficult to swallow but I have learned my lesson.

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hi, hullco restorations, Layton nj. ive fixed and restored lots of your type car and straightened the frames in the  past. your welcome to stop and see me, maybe I can help in some way. doug at 201 230 3300 cell.

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