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Neil's '41 Super Model 51


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I left my car parked in the driveway for a while yesterday, and came out to find a nice vintage-style post card stuck under one of the wipers with this image on it:

 

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There was the name of a realtor printed on the back of the card.  I sent her an email and it turns out that she had hired a photographer to take some photos of the neighborhood which she had made into post cards and then handed out at an open houses.  Apparently one of my neighbors who got the card recognized my car and left me the card on my windshield.  Very cool!  It's too bad about the contemporary vehicles in the photo -- otherwise it would look like it had been taken in the 40's.

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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Sun Visors

 

As I've commented previously, deciding how much improvement to make to a "driver" is a matter of compromises -- you don't want to let things get too shabby, but at the same time, you have to be careful what you "restore" because anything shiny and new is going to make everything around it look worse.  I wasn't sure what to do about my sun visors.  They were very faded on one side and consequentially a different color on the other side.  The original headliner was intact and looked pretty good, at least faded in a uniform way, so it was all the same shade.  I didn't want to replace the headliner, so what about the visors?  What helped me make up my mind was that the interior fiberboard panel on the driver's side was broken so the visor was no longer functional -- it was very floppy.  Since the visors serve an essential function when driving into the sun, I decided to go ahead and fix them up even though they wouldn't exactly match the old headliner.

 

visor2E.jpg.f4e3929ca823aea56ef4279ac1b21e08.jpg

 

This pic shows how different the two sides of the visors were -- this is the "top side" of the left-hand visor and the "bottom side" of the right-hand.

 

visor1E.jpg.5928384ea5b32dc39c85bf10d13be3a7.jpg

 

This shows the reconstructed "core" for the driver's side that I made from 1/8" fiberboard to replace the broken part, shown below.

 

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The recovered passenger-side visor back from LeBaron Bonney

 

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The refurbished visors reinstalled.  So now I can drive out to the beach to watch the sunset without getting blinded!

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  • 6 months later...

Not much going on with my car, but I'm happy to report that I found this very nice set of the missing rear fender trim on Ebay!  The fact that these spears were missing from my car has always bothered me because I want it to be as complete and correct as possible, but I was afraid that the pieces would be too pricey.  When these came up recently at an affordable price, I jumped on it!  Now I just have to be verrrrry careful about measuring and drilling the holes in the right places.

 

Spears.thumb.jpg.a91369ba31388efc2b111a0fdef00d41.jpg

 

 

 

 

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That's a very good question.  I looked briefly at the inside of one of the fenders a while ago, and it was so caked with old dirt and mud that I couldn't see anything.  Now that I have the trim pieces, I'm going to go back and scrape the inside clean and see what I can find.  If it's possible to see where the old holes are located, it will make things a lot easier for sure!

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I only say this because I had my stone guards removed and I intend to replace them, but $500 is not in the budget for them at this time. I have looked at my inner rear fenders and I can see where they were mounted, so placement will not be difficult. 

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Neil, either the "speedlines" were on the fenders, or they were on the fender skirts, if your car was originally equipted with skirts, and were lost over the years. So, the should be holes in the rear fenders for them, but they may have been filled in by some means.

 If you need any measurements, let me know, and I can give you some off of my '41, as its' quite accessible .

 Keith

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Thanks, Keith.  I don't know how my car was originally equipped, but the fact that it does not have the little bits of stainless trim that connect the rocker panel trim with the skirt trim suggests that it did not come from the factory with skirts.  So it seems more likely that someone took the "speedline" trim off the fenders at some point and filled the holes.  I know that someone did a very thorough repaint on my car and some point, and it's likely that the holes were filled at that time.  In any case, I can't find any evidence of the holes on the inside of the fenders.

 

Wayne (414TATA) has already sent me some great photos with a tape measure showing the correct location, so all I need is the courage to start poking holes in the fenders and I will be fine!

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Also, in case anyone is curious about it, I just spoke to Doug Seybold and got the definitive explanation on why there are two different lengths of the chrome spear trim (21" and 24").  Buick started with the 24" length, but there was a problem with the tips sticking out too far and breaking off.  So after two months of production, they switched to the 21" length.  So both sizes are "correct."  I was concerned because the set I bought are 21," and several of the people I had checked with regarding the correct location have the 24" length on their cars.  Doug also told me that the holes in the fender are in the same spot, regardless of the length of the spear.

 

Matt Harwood had alluded to the confusion over the different lengths in another thread and suggested that this was the case.  Doug confirmed what Matt has suggested, i.e., a change in production for the reasons given.

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Don Micheletti and I went to visit Grimy (George) today -- always a treat!  Here's a little video of Don and George conversing as George prepares to back his magnificent 1918 Pierce-Arrow out for a spin.

 

 

 

And another video during our lovely ride:

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, kgreen said:

What is the yellow car that you have in the garage?

That's a 1941 Packard 110 convertible coupe whose brakes are being done for the owner by my friend Jeff who owns that garage.  The Pierce is too tall for my garages so Jeff, a Packard guy, parks one of his cars in one of my garages, walking distance from his home, in trade.  Don't have any photos of the Packard but will try to take some next time I'm over there.

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  • 4 months later...

Color Discovery

 

Earlier in this thread and elsewhere on other threads there has been some discussion about the Buick color "Royal Maroon."  The data plate is unfortunately missing from my car, but as far as I've been able to determine from searching around and comparing the color to other cars, my car is painted "Royal Maroon."  However, one thing that has bothered me is that all the historical mentions of the color I could find listed it as "Royal Metallic Maroon," and a number of the photos of other cars I have found online definitely show the color with a metallic tint that my car does not have.

 

Well ... the other day I uncovered something that answers the question, namely, I removed the cowl vent (which has been jammed shut since I've owned the car).  Here's what I found:

 

cowlvent2.thumb.jpg.9c357d8c2f6ddf1ade0c56960884b2ff.jpg

 

cowlvent1.thumb.jpg.8eb1868e27209bf80a8356d194191ddb.jpg

 

It's a little hard to see in the photos, but what I found was three different paints on the vent.  The top, outer surface, of course, is the same body color as the rest of my car, i.e., the same tint as Royal Maroon, but without any metallic sheen.  Just below that is a band of yellow-ish primer.  And the rest of the vent -- the part that was obviously not painted during the repaint -- has a definite metallic sheen.

 

So ... here's what I think happened.  Whoever repainted my car either wanted a non-metallic finish (or couldn't get the paint with a metallic element), so he chose the correct tint to match "Royal Maroon," but without the metallic element.  When they sprayed primer on my car, the cowl vent was slightly open, so you see a band of yellowish primer on the top of the "screen" part of the cowl vent.  But when it came time to spray the finish coat, they closed the cowl vent and forgot about ever finishing it correctly.  So my cowl vent has (1) the finish coat of non-metallic maroon on the top (exterior) part, (2) a band of yellow primer right below that, and (3) the original metallic maroon below that.  Maybe the cowl vent was jammed closed at that point and was never opened again.  This seems a possibility since the rubber seal under it is completely calcified and appears to be the original even though a lot of the rubber on the car has obviously been replaced.  Or, I guess it's possible that someone opened the cowl vent after the final painting, and thought "Oh crap, well too late to do anything about that."  Either way, I think I have solved the mystery of the original color of my car when it came from the factory.

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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@neil morseIt may be that the person choosing the repaint color just did not think metallic was available then, and or, chose a single stage paint which is easier to wet sand and polish without the metallic.  There could be numerous reasons for it, but even without metallic your car is beautiful in that color! 

Edited by JohnD1956 (see edit history)
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Thank you, John!  Yes, I'm very happy with the color of my car and the quality of the paint job, which I think must have been done in the 90's.  I was just troubled because I wasn't able to pin down the actual original color.  Now I can.

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And you'll be thrilled to have a cowl vent this summer. What a difference it makes!

 

Personally, I like non-metallic colors on pre-war cars. Even though you could "technically" get metallics, they were far different than our metallics today and are more similar to a non-metallic paint than a modern metallic. When in doubt, skip the metallics and I think that's the smart choice on your car, too. Non-metallics will never look wrong but modern metallics always do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Heater and Defroster

 

After dipping in my toes a few times, I have finally taken the plunge and started disassembling the dash area of my car in preparation for rebuilding several gauges and installing a new wiring harness (from the dash forward only).  I don't want to render the car inoperable quite yet (since I want to be able to drive it during the summer), but I am removing all non-essential items and thoroughly educating myself about how the dash is put together (and how it will come apart).

 

This past weekend, I removed the defroster and the under-seat heater.

 

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The radiator "cores" for both units seemed to be fine -- no leaks, just a few bent "blades" that can be easily straightened.  Neither of the blower motors were working before I took everything apart, but I think the problem in both cases was due to worn and/or faulty wiring.  After removing both units, I was able to bench test both motors successfully (at the same time testing one of the three-speed blower switches that I had rebuilt).   A good day!

 

 

 

 

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I'm thinking that replacing the wire harness dash forward would be the toughest part of the harness replacement.  @2carb40 just did a 39 and would have stories to tell.  Does the harness get fully connected to the instrument cluster while out of the car?  Then pull the largest part of the harness through the firewall while snuggling the instrument cluster up into the dash?  I wonder if that is the best technique given the limited space behind the instrument cluster once it is installed.  Please share your story but delete possible profanity. : )

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4 hours ago, kgreen said:

Please share your story but delete possible profanity. : )

 

Haha -- I have been assured by a number of people on this forum that it is quite possible to replace the forward harness without completely removing the dash (which I don't want to do).  It's pretty cramped under there, but I have been pleasantly surprised by how much more room and visibility there is once you have removed the cowl vent, glove box, radio, and the two "support" panels that hold the radio.  Several of the studs holding in the instrument panel are hard to reach, but once that panel is pulled out, you have easy access to the back of all the instruments.  At least that's how I envision it now.  I'm sure the reality will involve some profanity, but I will keep you all posted and publish a full report with pictures (adjusted for language). 😉

 

Here's a shot showing one of the radio support panels, and a second shot showing the same panel after a clean up.

 

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Heater Rebuild

 

I finished my rebuild of the under-seat heater today.  Keep in mind my standard here: presentable, reliable, driver.  So this is just a rattle can job, but very satisfying nonetheless.  The brown paint color is much too red -- I figured I would experiment on the heater which will be out of sight under the seat before I get to the defroster.  The factory color is very dark, almost an olive drab.  I will search for a better match before I paint the defroster, which will be somewhat visible under the dash.

 

heater2.thumb.jpg.768a915e63c13dc4e363ae8aef8e9e3f.jpg

 

 

 

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Hard to judge colors on computers with digital cameras, but that doesn't look too far off to my eye. I powdercoated my heater and defroster for my Century a few years ago in a medium brown that wasn't too different from that. The color is fairly warm, not really olive as you say. I think it looks great!

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Thanks, Matt.  My heater was so badly rusted that you really couldn't tell much about what color it was, but I'm just assuming it was the same color as the defroster.  Again, colors on computers are very tricky, but you can see that this color is definitely darker and less red.

 

Defroster.thumb.jpg.6a563674ff67ca2467674d14173fb552.jpg

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Neil, over 40 years ago I painted the firewall-mounted factory heater on my 1939 Cad--which now lives two blocks away--with a rattle can whose color was named "Brown Cow"--a perfect match to the oirginal  Since I never throw anything away (as you can attest, having seen my shop), I probably still have the end of the can and can give you the brand.

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Maybe you're right. Here's my Century's heater before I restored it with some original paint still on it (note that it's textured like a crinkle finish).

 

P1010107.JPG.9d1d42f461d36646cd30f502b11871fd.JPG

 

Here's how I finished the parts with powdercoating:

 

Heater_Parts2.jpg

 

I think you're not too far off and it will look good under the dash. Nice crisp, detailed look.

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  • 1 month later...

Let the Games Begin

 

I've got my new forward harness and no more reasons to delay, so I'm starting in on my rewiring project.  First step: removing the front seat and associated hardware to provide a comfortable space to work.  I can now lie on my back with my feet on the back seat -- hmm, might be a good time for a nap! 😜

 

frontseat3.thumb.jpg.be9021c3e2750d8780a195ab82507d0f.jpg

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Just now, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 Did you mean destructive?;)

 

  Ben

 

Haha -- I thought of that very thing.   But first we have to pull things apart, and then put them back together.  So I guess "destruction" is "productive" at this stage.  😉

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Another "productive/destructive" day.  I got the entire old harness out of the car.

 

oldharness.thumb.jpg.c3366986679d03ece1f7473aee162ae0.jpg

 

Now I have to figure out what to do about several modifications to the standard wiring in my car.  Previous owners have used "modern" wiring (some of it quite substandard) to install fog lights, an electric fuel pump, a starter button, and Pertronix ignition.  I want to upgrade the wiring for these features, but I have to decide the best way to do it.  I saw today that Bob's sells fabric loom in various sizes by the foot, so my thinking now is that I will fabricate my own "oldtimey" wiring looms for these features.

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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Rewiring Old Sockets

 

The new front harness I got from Rhode Island Wiring Service requires that I re-use two sockets from the old harness -- a six pin socket that connects the front harness to the rear harness, and a three pin socket that connects the turn signal wires from the front harness to the wires coming out of the steering column.  Here's what the six pin connector looks like:

 

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To open up the connector, I had to very carefully pry up the little ears -- first with an Xacto and then a small screw driver.

 

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The connector then comes apart like this:

 

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Since I was a little intimidated by the soldering job (because I'm assuming finding replacements for these things would be very difficult), I decided to start with the three-pin one first.

 

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First I carefully desoldered the old wires and used some solder wick to soak up the old solder and clear the holes in the contacts.

 

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RI Wire provides very detailed and excellent instructions on how to hook everything up.

 

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Strip off a bit of insulation ...

 

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And resolder the wires according to the diagram.

 

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Slip everything back together and crimp back down the ears, and job's all done.

 

plug9.jpg.36dfe8c8e306d850799cd232f59399fb.jpg

 

Not as bad as I thought, and I'm ready for the six-pin job next.

 

 

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