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Carolina Roadmasters: Collect all 4


38Buick 80C
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This past Friday I boarded an American Airlines plane for DFW connecting to Calgary, final destination Kelwona, BC. As is obvious from my handle I have a 1938 Buick Roadmaster Model 80C the convertible Sedan (of Phaeton as Buick referred to it) . What you may not know is that my father has 1938 Roadmasters as well. A Model 81 (Trunk back sedan) and a Model 81F (Formal sedan with divider window and the rarest of the 4 Roadmaster models produced). So that's 3 of the 4 '38 Roadmaster Model...The 4th is a Model 87, the sport sedan AKA a slant back sedan. Buick made 466 Model 87's in 1938 exporting ZERO. In approximately 15 years of looking I have come across 6 left know to exist. Some of you may be aware that you can save a search within Google and Google will email you if it finds new web pages with your search result. I have several setup searching for various Buick related rarities. In July of this year I got a result back on my Model 87 search, A model 87 for sale on Kijiji. The link was no longer valid but through google search results I determined that the car for sale was the same one I had documented for sale in 2011 and determined the phone number in the current ad ( no longer able to be viewed except in the search results) was the same as the one i had saved in 2011. A call to the owner and the car was indeed still for sale but the owner had gone on extended holiday and would not return until mid Sept.

 

Side bar: My father at age 38 bought what is now my 80C...the original NYC sold car had made its way to North Bay, Ontario, Canada.

 

My own 38th birthday passed and though I didn't forget about the car it was on the back burner of my mind until while coaching my son's soccer game I got a call and a VM. Long story short pictures were sent and agreement in principle made and the process of importing this car back into the US begun.

 

History: The seller has owned the car for half his life and half the car's life ...39 years...he acquired the car in Guam. Apparently it was a Southern California car that was imported to Guam by an illicit drug dealer who forfeited the car during the seizure of his assets once he was caught. The seller eventually imported the car back to Oregon where it resided for many years and subsequently moving to British Columbia.  

 

The seller offered to trailer the car to the Border crossing at Sumas, WA. My plan was to then drive it from Sumas to a location in Seattle area where I could then have it transported back (less a border crossing) to NC. Where in Seattle was the question. A quick scan of the Roster and a PM to the Forum's own Brian Laurence (Centurion) and i had a destination.  150 miles in an 80 year old car I've never seen but in pictures and never driven.  As the weekend approached I began to realize I'm out of my mind to do it, but it's gonna be a great adventure none the less. I packed up my tools, a tow rope, spare fan belt and other supplies. I considered the possibility of bringing a spare generator, starter, etc. and decided that would just be too much weight to carry for a car the seller swears would make it the journey no problem. So I checked my bag, something a I rarely do despite traveling a LOT for work ( any tool of 7" must be checked per TSA) and off I went to Dallas. And then the fun begins...

 

We landed in Dallas about 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule, for which I was delighted as it was going to be a tight connection. HOWEVER, another plane was in our gate so 20 minutes after our scheduled arrival time we disembarked. For those of you familiar with DFW, it is HUGE, and i not only had to switch gates, but switch terminals (on the complete opposite side of the airport). So off to the races I went. I swear it had to be a mile run ( I just checked it on Google Earth and my path was 0.80 of a mile). About 2/3 of the way to my gate I hear the final boarding call for my flight to Calgary. I yelled at an unoccupied gate agent I was passing to call to my gate and let them know I was almost there. Boarding the plane last I got a large glass of water from the attendant and settled in to my first class upgrade seat for the 4 hr flight to Calgary. It was at that moment I realize that it was wonderful that I made it, surley my bag on a more direct path would make it too. A quick interrogation of the flight attended revealed that there were in fact waiting on ONE MORE BAG. Surely that was mine...the airlines ap has a bag tracker lets see what that says....Last update: "Loaded in Charlotte"...hmm. wait 2 minutes reload...Last update: Arrived in Dallas 5:25PM...Its 535PM ok that was 10 minutes ago, they are waiting for a bag i'm good...boarding door closes...update...hmm...update...ok supposed to have this phone off...update.... ok on the runway better turn it off...and we're off. Larger portable electronics are now free to be used...update...Last update: Arrived in Dallas 5:25PM. That update did not change until well into the following day ( more on that later).  So 4 hours and many beverages later (at one point the stewardess had me double fisting, Amaretto in one hand and Tito's in the other) I had to formulate a new plan as i knew my bag would never make it to Kelowna in time as i had arrange for the seller to pick me up at my hotel 8AM the next morning and I knew i was on the last flights to Calgary and Kelowna and no earlier flights existed either. Well I'd just have to do it with out tools and if I ran into trouble I had my BCA roster and a AAA card...The rest of the day went without indecent (except for no phone signal in Canada) and I arrived at my hotel at midnight pacific time 3AM my time. I filed a lost bag claim in there as well and asked they either send my bag on to Seattle or back to CLT.

 

The seller and his wife picked me up at 8AM sharp and off we went on the roughly hour and 40 min drive back to his house and the location of the car. Here are some photos from along the way.

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Merritt, BC in the Nicola Valley

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Welcome to Merritt!

 

We arrived at the sellers house which was chock full of neat stuff and beside the '38 he had a 65 T-bird Convertible, a 51 Chrysler, a 40 Packard 110 and a few 70s era trucks. I looked the car over, test drove it and got ready to load it up for the border...Hey where is the spare tire, it's not in the trunk?? oh there isn't one... so no tools, no spare and we are behind schedule so I'll be running out of daylight at the end of the journey... ok I can do this, no worries. So we loaded upIMG_20171028_094013.thumb.jpg.4dd9f162edfaa475eb1ce90386c831e0.jpg

Seller had LOT of unique stuff

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Shortly after we depart the seller asks his wife if she has their passports. I thought this odd and inquired why they needed their passports and if they were going into the US after they drop me at the border. "We're taking you all the way to Puyallup". You're what? I thought you were only taking me to the border and I was on my own from there? "Well you can do that if you want, but we planned to take you all the way." I quickly considered my predicament and as much as I wanted to enjoy my planned country drive through northwestern Washington state, the thought of having to brave traffic looming in Seattle, and the lack of the various items I would need in case of a break down made it an easy choice. Here are some photos from along the journey from Merritt, BC to Sumas, WA and eventually at the border.

 

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US Border at Sumas, WA

 

 

We, as I assumed, hit traffic on the 405 around Seattle, creeping past the site of the 2007 BCA National Meet and eventually Mt. Rainier off in the distance.

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More traffic in Renton, but at 6:15 with darkness setting in we arrived, unloaded and tucked the new treasure in Brian/Centurion's garage.  Brian had some friends over for game night and it was fun to meet all of them, some who seemed quite shocked that I would travel all the way from NC for a car...

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Brian lent me his 96 Riv to get to my hotel and back, great car...and that blue is one of my favorites of that era Buick

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The next morning after breakfast Brian took me on a tour of Tacoma's amazing architecture and Historic Auto Row, after that we left for the airport and I was home to CLT around 9PM, my whirlwind weekend finally over. My bag however eventually made it to Calgary...from Calgary it somehow got to LAX and arrived in Charlotte today I hoping I get frequent flier miles for my bag as well as my own journey...

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Griot's Garage in a former Coca-Cola bottling plant

 

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The original auto row in Tacoma

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Mueller- Harkins original Buick dealership above and floor of it below.

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Mueller-Harkins eventually replaced their original store with this circa late 40's early 50's dealership a few blocks away

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Love the Terrazzo!!

 

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Brian said this neighboring building was the DeSoto dealership.

 

Certainly a trip to remember and while not quite as eventful as my father's journey to Canada to get my 80C no less epic. Many many thanks to Brian/Centurion and family for their amazing hospitality. The BCA and the forum are lucky to have such a amazing man in our midst.

 

That's it for tonight tomorrow I will post some photos of the car itself. It's certainly not a 400 pt piece, but it will be enjoyed!

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Excellent story, Brian! Get those pictures up so we all can see that '38.  Your adventure needs to be in the Bugle.

 

As a side note: don't you just love driving one of those last generation Riviera's?  My family had 2 of them as daily drivers a long while back.

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Great story, great race through the terminal  (I'd probably still be looking for the right gate)  great car, great hospitality shown by the seller, great hospitality shown by the Laurance's, great pictures of the adventure! Congratulations on all that greatness!!! 

Look forward to hearing more and seeing the car when it arrives! 

Now... Where did your bags end up? 

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Love it, except for the removal of that great car from Canada. Sounds like quite the adventure. We used to get to Kelowna every November for a meeting. Beautiful country. I hope you didn't have to pay extra for a bag you never saw on your trip. That's part of why I prefer just carry-on if I can. 

 

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Oh how I wish I'd have know you'd be in the vicinity!  I was right at the Sumas border crossing yesterday and would have certainly met you for a meal or brought some tools your way for the drive to Puyallup (had you actually had to drive the car!) and I could have picked them up from Centurion at a later date.   Mr. Laurence is the epitome of a "Buick Guy" to me and one of the most friendly and knowledgeable  people I've met.  A true credit to the hobby.

 

For those that don't know, the drive from Kelowna to Merritt is over a pretty significant mountain pass and it's another 3 hours or so from Merritt to the Sumas border crossing, across yet another high mountain pass,  so that was quite a trip seeing some pretty nice parts of the Province.  You were lucky to as those mountain passes usually are getting snow pretty regularly this time of year, but the last week or so it has been nice and warm.  I'm very impressed that the seller would take you all the way to Puyallup.  Congratulations on a beautiful car!

 

 

Edited by dmfconsult (see edit history)
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Ok show and tell time

 

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I don't like the fog lights those have to go

 

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Love the slant back...

 

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headlight pods are missing the trim, it's in the trunk, but interestingly it is missing the thing to press fit over. Gonna have to figure that out

 

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No side mounts...and definitely that way from the factory. I kinda like the idea of going to black walls and making this a real option delete car

 

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Meh, lots to do here

 

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Missing all arm rests, but i have some.

 

 

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missing trim at the rear quarter window is in the trunk. I have lighters as well so all covered back here

 

 

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Never been touched per the seller

 

 

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No mechincal fuel pump...and the overflow on the radiator is a sure AACA dedcution

 

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Never seen a 3 post regulator on a 38...

 

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very rare and not reproduced pedal cover thing

 

 

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louvers should be silver

 

 

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Edited by 38Buick 80C
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47 minutes ago, dmfconsult said:

Oh how I wish I'd have know you'd be in the vicinity!  I was right at the Sumas border crossing yesterday and would have certainly met you for a meal or brought some tools your way for the drive to Puyallup (had you actually had to drive the car!) and I could have picked them up from Centurion at a later date.   Mr. Laurence is the epitome of a "Buick Guy" to me and one of the most friendly and knowledgeable  people I've met.  A true credit to the hobby.

 

For those that don't know, Merritt is quite a bit more than 40min from Kelowna and over a pretty significant mountain pass to get there, not to mention another 3 hours or so from Merritt to the Sumas border crossing, across yet another high mountain pass,  so that was quite a trip seeing some pretty nice parts of the Province.  You were lucky to as those mountain passes usually are getting snow pretty regularly this time of year, but the last week or so it has been nice and warm.  I'm very impressed that the seller would take you all the way to Puyallup.  Congratulations on a beautiful car!

 

 

It was an HOUR and 40 minutes to Merrit as noted. seller was super awesome guy!!

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9 hours ago, DShip said:

Excellent story, Brian! Get those pictures up so we all can see that '38.  Your adventure needs to be in the Bugle.

 

As a side note: don't you just love driving one of those last generation Riviera's?  My family had 2 of them as daily drivers a long while back.

 

We'll see on the Bugle, Definitely the Torque Tube 2.

 

Yes the Riv was great I enjoyed it, typical Buick of the era, smooth, big, powerful and well appointed.

 

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1 hour ago, 38Buick 80C said:

 

We'll see on the Bugle, Definitely the Torque Tube 2.

 

 

 

I guess I don't need to send the email I was going to send asking you to send me a write up on the trip for the Torque Tube II.

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5 minutes ago, aestorrs said:

Brian-

The 38 is a nice car.

Is the 38 in North Carolina yet?

And are you going to show it or is it your tour car?

Congrats.

Al Storrs

 

Hi Al,

Not in NC yet. Transporter to pick up later this week  (hopefully) and then a week to 1.5 weeks to get back to NC.

 

Current plans are for it to be a tour/enjoy car, if that means it ends up at a show to two so be it. Eventually I would like to do a 400 pt level restoration but I have 2 cars I want to restore first and I may have so much fun driving it (I'm hoping it is far more reliable than my 80C) and enjoying not having to worry about it getting scratched or road chipped or whatever that by the time I get those other two done I may change my mind. That said I'm too much of a perfectionist not to start tinkering and improving things here and there.

 

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Brian, congrats on your new purchase.

I agree with you that you should fix up the drive train, a little polish and enjoy it the way it is.

Like you stated you can enjoy it and not worry about where you park etc.

You already have a very nice restored car and working on more so this could be more of a daily driver.

Looks like you had an enjoyable trip thru the mountains of BC.

This morning there is a foot of snow up there and the highway was closed last night.

There is a show up here on Discovery or the History channel called Highway Thru Hell showing the tow trucks that keep that highway open in the winter.

Again congrats.

Noticed that you have a Charger, what kind of shape is it in ?

 

Cal.

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1 hour ago, 91vert said:

There is a show up here on Discovery or the History channel called Highway Thru Hell showing the tow trucks that keep that highway open in the winter.

Again congrats.

Noticed that you have a Charger, what kind of shape is it in ?

 

Cal.

 

 

Seller mentioned the show as we were driving through those mountains.

 

I am currently under restoration on my Charger here is the build thread on another site

http://www.forbbodiesonly.com/moparforum/threads/depoulis-1969-charger-318.131558/

 

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As Brian mentioned, the 38C he now owns came from North Bay, Canada (north of Toronto).
Well, it's taken about 40 years to collect all four models of the 1938 Roadmaster. The first car acquired was the Model 81, which was restored and is now going a re-restoration after 30 something years of driving to Nationals.
At one point we took the car from our home just west of NYC as far as the Kansas City National. It's also been to Nationals, in Columbus, Allentown, Atlanta, Orlando, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Flint, Charlotte. Richmond. Can't remember them all.

We're now on the lookout for another 38-Roadmaster. I've seen pictures of some custom bodied Roadmasters that need to be added to the collection. I'm tempted to buy another 81 and try my hand at a first class quality custom body. i.e. a 1938 Roadmaster up front and drive train, but significant coach work in the rear. The modification would be period correct. No electronics or the like. Years ago I was offered a 1938 (Roadmaster, I think) Brewster/Buick out of the UK. This car had a Brewster front end with a 1938 Buick body from the cowl back. Can't seem to stop collecting variations of the 1938 Roadmaster.

I figure the next acquisition is going to cost is going to cost Brian in excess of $1,000,000. Not so much for the car and restoration, but at least $400,000 for a building to store all the cars in, and at least $600,000 for the divorce settlement if he brings home another car. That amount doesn't include the cost of new lodging, but knowing Brian, he'll build the storage building similar to Bulgari's in Allentown with sleeping quarters included.

Congratulations, son, on keeping the tradition going. Love you.

Dad

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38 minutes ago, edward depouli said:

 Years ago I was offered a 1938 (Roadmaster, I think) Brewster/Buick out of the UK. This car had a Brewster front end with a 1938 Buick body from the cowl back.

 

Sure you don't mean 38 front end and Brewster body on the back like this?

https://hymanltd.com/vehicles/5813-1938-buick-brewster-town-car/

 

your turn to buy...

Edited by 38Buick 80C (see edit history)
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Couldn't get great photos at the dark hour of night it arrived, but the Left front tire took a hit from something and was very punctured flat. It's quite a nasty gash, but a daylight inspection reveals no other damage.

 

Borrowed a tire from Dad and off loaded. She needs a good cleaning.

 

 

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and of course wouldn't start....

 

First would crank but couldn't get here to fire off....then just wouldn't crank... popped the cover off the starter solenoid and engaged the points myself and fired right off (I think I impressed the transporter driver as he seemed quite amazed that armed with just a screw driver had it working again in about 2 minutes...)...this morning works fine...

Edited by 38Buick 80C (see edit history)
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So did the driver offer an explanation for the tire. Did he compensate you for it.  I had a whitewall badly scratched by a hauler once and deducted the cost of a new tire from the payment. Problem was, never found an exact replacement. 

Uhhh, don't forget to put the cover back on the starter solenoid.? ? (Inside joke eh Mr McHinson? ) ?

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17 minutes ago, MrEarl said:

So did the driver offer an explanation for the tire. Did he compensate you for it.  I had a whitewall badly scratched by a hauler once and deducted the cost of a new tire from the payment. Problem was, never found an exact replacement. 

Uhhh, don't forget to put the cover back on the starter solenoid.? ? (Inside joke eh Mr McHinson? ) ?

 

Yeah I'll be working with the transporter company, not all that worried about it, but i did notice the tires are Denmans which they went out of business in 2010...so yeah not gonna match

 

And it was the VOLTAGE regulator cover the OTHER time...<_<

Edited by 38Buick 80C (see edit history)
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