philipj

Opinions re. Condition II

Recommended Posts

Dave, You might want to do some research. The Century was designed to be capable of 100 mph, and it is quite happy and comfortable doing interstate speeds all day long. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Benefits of AACA Membership.

I understand Mr. Hinson is correct... The vehicle was named so because it was able to perform well (hit the mark)  upto that speed, though not sure how long it was sustained for the test. It was quite an achievement for a vehicle of that era to reach such high speeds, regardless...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, philipj said:

I understand Mr. Hinson is correct... The vehicle was named so because it was able to perform well (hit the mark)  upto that speed, though not sure how long it was sustained for the test. It was quite an achievement for a vehicle of that era to reach such high speeds, regardless...

 

Yes indeed.

 

The attached table consists of comparisons taken from reputable testing sources in the day.

The Buick used for test purposes was a 1936 Century sedan with the earliest 320 motor and it achieved a top speed of 95.6 mph. Improvements to this engine as early as 1937 and 1938 had it achieving a true 100mph.

 

In Australia we have an upper legal speed limit of 60mph. A Century has no need for overdrive.  

 

 

img-180209065515-001.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And a table from the Buick 1936 SHOP MANUAL which indicates a 1936 Century will sustain 75mph at a comfortable 3426rpm.

 

If you wished to cruise at a higher speed than that I would suggest other factors come into play rather than excessive engine revolutions!

 

 

 

img-180209075144-001.jpg

Edited by 50jetback (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I am very happy to have the information right off the book! Thank you for submitting it, it definitively answers a question I had before... It also answers the same question for the Special requiring 3,953 rpm @ 75mph... Quite a difference!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very surprised to see the 1930/31 V16 Cadillac's only doing 87/88 mph. Better buy Buick!..;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always used 2600 rpms to be the HIGHEST rpms for these motors for extended periods and will continue to do so. That is the rpm that the engine likes. Buick like every manufacturer back then and today gives figures under ideal conditions. The cars could possibly hit 100 mph but were not meant to stay there. Also the car might cruise all day at 3500 rpms but for how many days. These cars (SPECIALS) like to cruise at 50 or 55 tops for hundred mile trips with stock gearing. The Centurys with more power could pull slightly higher gear ratios and so could cruise 60 to 65 mph all day. In 1938 there were very few roads where that kind of speed could be used. In 1960 the speeds on freeways were usually less than 65 mph but today most cars drive 70 to 80 mph on freeways and in many places out west where I live they drive even faster. I realize most of you disagree with my opinion, its just my opinion nothing more. My opinion is no more valid than anyone else as its only an opinion gained from my personal experiences. I am enclosing my speed and rpm charts for your general interest. These charts were made calculating 7.50 X 16 tires with a 31 inch diameter if I remember correctly. The rpms will be slightly higher with stock tires.5a7d1a8d00e2a_STOCK3.90SPEEDANDRPM.png.dbea4a0d3858719a7d128590536aaf0d.png5a7d1ad517f91_OVERDRIVEGEARRATIOS.thumb.png.0c87d45d9caf707c494581bc089ee8fe.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Limited has 4.20 gears (actually 4.18323) with 7.50R16 tires and I try to keep it around 60 MPH where it seems pretty happy. However, it easily creeps beyond that and if I'm not paying attention, I'm running at 70 or 72 without much effort. With the big tires, its overall gear ratio is about the same as a Century with 3.90 gears and a 7.00-15 tire. The big guy likes the highway, no two ways about it. The only real telltale sign that it might be working a little bit is an ever-so-slight vibration that's almost imperceptible and which I believe is the U-joint in the torque tube spinning just a touch faster than it likes. It's more like a distant hum. Nobody but me notices it, however. It might be in my head; I'm a hypochondriac when I'm driving my cars.

 

Specials are 50-55 MPH cars but they still sound very busy at those speeds. You probably won't hurt it, but it still feels like you are. My '41 Super convertible seems quite busy at 50 MPH, too, but I remember my father driving his '41 Super 56S to work every day for many years in the 1970s and 1980s and I don't think he was timid about running with traffic on the highway. We drove it to Flint in 1978 at highway speeds and made it in a reasonable amount of time so we must have been going at least 60 most of the time. That car never broke down, although it was eventually killed by a drunk driver. Engine was still healthy enough to transplant into a '41 44C convertible he found, although we never finished that project.

 

I don't know what my point is. Maybe that big series cars are more comfortable at higher speeds than small series cars, but going fast in a small series car isn't necessarily hurting it. I'm already a fan of overdrives and made my point about that elsewhere and I think they make a huge difference not just in speed, but comfort and peace of mind for today's hobbyist. The Special, if you're going to run it in today's world and not feel like you're abusing it, will benefit greatly from an overdrive. The big series cars probably have a sense of diminishing returns when it comes to overdrives, although I'm seriously considering adding them to both my Century and my Limited at some point.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Educate me here...  How does the cost of a Special plus the purchase and installation of an overdrive compare to a similar Century without an added overdrive?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the cost of a Special with OD as opposed to a Century, it depends on the sales price of each, but based on the price guides I have, the Special with OD would likely be more expensive. As has been mentioned, buy what you want, don't lower your sights with plans to upgrade later; it always costs more.

'38's didn't have any sound insulation to speak of. You hear every sound the engine makes, and at striking volume compared to more modern cars. It sounds busy at 40 mph, 45, 50, 60, etc. I had a 38-41 that the previous owner drove long distance (e.g., trips of thousands of miles), at 60-65 mph, without issue. If the engine noise is a distraction, try doing some insulating and  get an overdrive if you want to carefully drive at 65-70.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, suchan said:

Regarding the cost of a Special with OD as opposed to a Century, it depends on the sales price of each, but based on the price guides I have, the Special with OD would likely be more expensive. As has been mentioned, buy what you want, don't lower your sights with plans to upgrade later; it always costs more.

 

That's always been my perception as well.  Paying more for something that's worth less is a peculiar investment strategy.

 

There's nothing wrong with a Special, but it's not a Century.  If you want a car that drives like a Century, buy a Century.  You'll be happier, richer, and have more time to enjoy the car.

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just had the opportunity after a 5 hr road trip (well worth it) to finally drive my first 38 Buick Century! It was exciting and despite some carburetor problems (which I will address separately) I was able to drive it down the road  up to about 45-50 mph... My initial impression, while trying to corner the car, perhaps a bit to fast-I thought it rolled easily and seemed a little bouncy... Since the speedo was not working, I was probably unknowingly pushing the car on tight turns faster than I should have! Steering was smooth, but always required two hands and the wheel quickly returned to the center afterwards.. If anything, for me if the steering wheel was a bit smaller I feel I could handle the car better... Still, by the third and fourth time around the neighborhood the car felt like second nature to me...

 

My other impressions on the car besides sporadic and very small chattering from the clutch, was smooth shifting with decent braking ability and plenty of power out of the 320 Cu motor that run quietly @ 180 F. and with 35-45 lbs of oil pressure. Again, the only major problems was a malfunctioning choke and the L/R brake shoe that was lazy returning  into position which I adjusted and improved, though I told the owner it would still require disassembly and a little never seize on all pivot points to be right...

 

Additional thoughts regarding the condition were: 1947 fireball engine, dented center grill trim, missing body tag, a non working speedometer, incorrect/ improperly adjusted clutch return spring and some engine oil leaking from various points along the pan but not enough (In my mind) to leave a 4x5" stain  on the pavement where we had the car running for probably 20 minutes at idle while revving the engine up-messing with the carburetor... One thing I found very odd though; the fact that the restorer welded the drain hole shut on the bottom flywheel cover!.. Why? Some oil always sweats from the rope seal and needs to come out, unless they tried to hide a problem that goes back quite a few years...

 

On a plus side, for being a 20 year old restoration the car is pretty much pristine underneath, with very good paint (with only a couple of deep scratches on the r/h fender and a few other small ones around the nose) has a very nice interior with good rubber and glass, good tires (No cracks, but are they safe if they are 15 years old? ) It would also would come with a car cover, service manual, a radio (Not installed that needs repair) two headlamps without lenses, a parking brake cable and a few other small parts that I did not inspect that were boxed...

 

So, I really welcome your thoughts here... Please see the few photos taken by my wife, with a phone unfortunately...

 

 

 

 

IMG_7397.JPG

IMG_7388.JPG

IMG_7396.JPG

IMG_7388.JPG

IMG_7398.JPG

IMG_7399.JPG

IMG_7401.JPG

IMG_7395.JPG

IMG_7391.JPG

IMG_7404.JPG

IMG_7412.JPG

IMG_7410.JPG

IMG_7418 (1).JPG

IMG_7419.JPG

IMG_7421.JPG

IMG_7405.JPG

IMG_7425.JPG

IMG_7427.JPG

Edited by philipj (see edit history)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a bit hard to have thoughts about whether you should buy it without knowing the asking price, but it sure looks like a nice car to me.  The interior and underside, in particular, look outstanding.  There is nothing on your list of problems that seems very serious to me, but again, not knowing what the asking price is, it's a little hard to judge.   (Also, nothing unfortunate about cell phone photos these days -- your wife did great!)

 

Could it be that your search is over?

 

Neil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks like a nice car that will take very little work to make it perfect. What leads you to believe it has a 1947 engine? I can't see enough to be sure, but it looks like the correct engine to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am thinking that my search should be over for 18,400- Well, being that I am a newbie with little experience with these cars, I'd like to know that I am doing Ok :unsure: despite the very annoying carburetor issue and the other  things... And yes, almost forgot that there is no foot start but a button on the dash... Sure like to bring that back, wonder how much of a pain it is to do it... Thank you for your input again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you buy it or is this another "not quite perfect or cheap enough for me" situation? That's as close as you're going to get to a running, driving car that's what you want and I presume at a price you're willing to pay. Nothing will be free of problems and at least one of them will be more serious than you expect. Welcome to the world of old cars.

 

The wheel is big to make the steering light. A smaller wheel would make the steering unpleasantly heavy at low speeds. This isn't a sports car. I would replace the tires if I were you. 15 years old is pretty old, regardless of their appearance.

 

If you didn't buy it, why not? That's a long drive to go home empty-handed. I suspect you're falling into the same trap that computer shoppers fall into: don't buy today, there might be something better tomorrow.

 

Don't be that guy.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At that price, in that condition, it is a really good deal. I hope you bought it. That is as good as they get at that price. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The owner stated the engine is a 47... I have shaken hands on the deal and will be talking to him tomorrow... It is as good as done. Being that this is new to me is just need a little encouragement!  My pride does not get in the way of saying that...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I would prefer my cars to have the correct year engine. Some people would prefer a later engine. At that price, no matter which it has it is a good deal. I wonder if he said (or meant to say) that the engine was a 1937 engine.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, philipj said:

I am thinking that my search should be over for 18,400- Well, being that I am a newbie with little experience with these cars, I'd like to know that I am doing Ok :unsure: despite the very annoying carburetor issue and the other  things... And yes, almost forgot that there is no foot start but a button on the dash... Sure like to bring that back, wonder how much of a pain it is to do it... Thank you for your input again!

 

After doing a little poking around in this thread, it appears that this is the Century that you mentioned earlier that was going for $22K.  To get it for $18.4 seems a heck of deal to me.  The "annoying" carburetor issue is nothing, and you should be thankful for the conversion to a starter button on the dash.  Don't even think about changing it back.  The "accelerator starter" was not a good idea, and has caused many problems.  Don't hesitate -- go for it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now