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1933 Buick Series 90 Model 91


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Well,

I've decided to take the plunge and start another restoration project on this fine (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) 1933 Buick.

As a disclaimer , several people have already tried to politely discourage me but I know what a restoration entails and I'm not totally blind so I know the amount of work before me. I'm also ready to take it on and do it fast and well.

I hope y'all enjoy following along and hopefully offering advice and help wherever you can because I can assure you, I'll need it.

 

This is a joint venture between the real owner and myself (the future owner and current caretaker). The owner, a friend of mine (he's 75ish and I just turned 22) told me he had one of these in the woods north of where I live. I googled a picture of a "1933 Buick Series 90," and the next day we were out in the woods chopping down trees in the dead of the Louisiana summer (100 F and ~90% humidity).

A few weeks later it was out and at my garage. Now, several months later I've spent one day muscling it into my garage (alone) and one day beginning the tear down. Hopefully around the end of the month/beginning of March, the frame will be at the sandblaster!

 

So, here's some pictures of its very humble beginnings in the woods, up until how it sits now:

 

 

 

 

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Edited by cevensky (see edit history)
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It's Beautiful!!  Good Luck with the restoration!  I was where you are about 13 months ago.  Stick to it and you will be amazed at the progress.  She's gonna be a beauty!

Can't wait to follow your progress.

Gary

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Fantastic car that's very worthy. '33 Buicks are some of the most attractive of the era and a club sedan is easily the most appealing closed car. Fantastic find and it will be a great car when it's done. Very, very rare.

 

Enjoy the project!

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IVE WALKED THE WOODS LOOKING AT CARS BEFORE,MAKES ME A LITTLE UNEASY,IN THE SOUTH THE SNAKES LIKE TO HIDE IN ABANDONED CARS ,AND I HATE SNAKES,GLAD TO SEE ALL IS WELL AND THE CAR IS BEING RESTORED AS IT SHOULD BE,SO MANY PEOPLE PART OUT RESTORABLE CARS I DONT KNOW IF ITS LAZINESS OR JUST THE MONEY THEY MAKE PARTING IT OUT,I THINK THIS WAS A TRUE CANDIDATE FOR A RESTO,LOVE BIG OLD 8 CYLINDER SEDANS ESPECIALLY CLUB SEDANS,     DAVE

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It's nice to see all the interest!

No snakes, some rats and mice, & a squirrel skeleton with a 1928 dime under the back seat. Of course, lots of sweat dragging it 20 feet through dirt with a come along. I'd chop down two dozen more trees to get it out though. 

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That is really a good looking club sedan.  Can someone explain the various forms of the 90 series?  Are there different wheelbases?  Some stand out to me like this car, while others I can't distinguish from the lesser models.

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Ken, I'm in Shreveport and this car was in Plain dealing, nearly up in Arkansas. The technical owner of this, my friend, has several dozen cars, some better and some worse off than this one. I just finished reconditioning a 43 jeep for him, and amongst all the projects I could've taken from him, this was the one that stood out to me.

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Last night I got the rear passenger fended off–it was a necessity because until my jeep's transmission is in fighting fit again, it has to share the garage and it's a tight fit along with this behemoth Buick.

I also got the entire dash out and I hope the wiring diagram with whatever harness I buy is decent! More teardown tonight after work.

(I'm showing off a picture of my personally and completely restored '42 Ford jeep, the one on the right. The one I got driving for him is on the left)

 

I'm taking suggestions on how to best lift the body off. I'm imagining some wood to stabilize where the doors should be and using my rafters and shop crane. 

Pictures for now will be boring and monochromatic due to my lackluster garage lighting and ubiquitous rust/dust! Sorry!

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On 14/02/2018 at 5:07 PM, cevensky said:

This is a joint venture between the real owner and myself (the future owner and current caretaker). The owner, a friend of mine (he's 75ish and I just turned 22) told me he had one of these in the woods north of where I live. I googled a picture of a "1933 Buick Series 90," and the next day we were out in the woods chopping down trees in the dead of the Louisiana summer (100 F and ~90% humidity).

 

A few weeks later it was out and at my garage. Now, several months later I've spent one day muscling it into my garage (alone) and one day beginning the tear down. Hopefully around the end of the month/beginning of March, the frame will be at the sandblaster!

Will be a magnificent car when done.

 

I hope you have in writing that you will be the future owner, even if the "real owner" is family and the basis/cost of the work being done.

Some other family members of the real owner may think it worth a gazillion dollars (now and later)

 

 

Edited by 1939_Buick (see edit history)
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cevensky : Mind what 1939_Buick has advised you. Hear ? Of all the tens of thousands of helpful postings I have been pleased to read here , that is right up there in the very top of the heap. Good discipline to lay down the wrenches until you are papered up. Seriously. I hope to turn 74 real soon , and wish I had learned that lesson when I was your age. GREAT , BEAUTIFUL '33 Bu'. I came home from the hospital back in 1944 in a '33 ! But it wasn't a 90. Obviously I can't remember that day , but I do remember the car from a couple or three years later. Dad's next car was a '39 Pont'. Take your time and do that big 90 right. Thanks for saving it !     - Cadillac Carl 

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Carl and 1939_Buick, I really appreciate the advice and of course this is a worry of mine but for now the car literally can't be moved. For better or for worse, his family is wholly disinterested in all of his cars.

when the frame goes to the sandblasted, I plan on asking for the title to be legally transferred to my name, likely in addition to a sort of will addendum/separate legal agreement for some of his other cars too.

Luckily, my sister is a newly minted lawyer!  We've already discussed details and surprisingly, he is the one who brought the subject to me first. 

 

Today I met with a carpenter who is enthusiastic about bringing the main body to his shop where he can do the complicated wood work and teach me to do the easy stuff (floors) along with letting me use body working tools with instruction! It took up a lot of garage time though so I only got a running board off today.

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Don't be too eager to pull the body off. The amount of bracing needed to avoid damage and misalignment is substantial. The other aspect is with the body on the frame , you are properly jigged up to re-wood that big body. That is a tough enough task to do under the best of circumstances. Just a little deviation , or flex may make it somewhere between overwhelmingly difficult and impossible to get the car right again. Even a steel framed car has to be properly braced in order to pull the body. Your situation is vastly more critical. There are plenty of other things you can do with all of the running gear , etc. to keep you busy while doing the wood. Let this be an invitation to the very experienced guys here to explain the correct sequence to deal with a large 4 door sedan in this condition. I have never done it , nor at this point ever will. Take your time , ask a lot of questions , and don't assume anything regarding new tricks.  - CC

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Start very seriously asking around if anyone has a set of original wood sills for a pattern for any body style 90 series Buick. If you get the foundation right it will make your life so much easier via wood rebuilding.  Also, would start woodworking with body pretty much just like it is on the frame verses  taking it all apart -  at least until you get a core structure. 

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If you have not already done so you should join the BCA and check out the Buick specific forums on this site, especially the Buick Prewar forum. There are past threads covering restoration of these cars for research plus many experts that could guide you and answer questions.

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That will be a really nice car when you are done. I like the front end on the 33’s.

Very cool.

Keep a lookout for the parts you are going to need for that car. Buy them when you find them, because you won’t be able to find them when you need them.

 

Chuck

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On ‎2‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 1:40 PM, cevensky said:

Last night I got the rear passenger fended off–it was a necessity because until my jeep's transmission is in fighting fit again, it has to share the garage and it's a tight fit along with this behemoth Buick.

I also got the entire dash out and I hope the wiring diagram with whatever harness I buy is decent! More teardown tonight after work.

(I'm showing off a picture of my personally and completely restored '42 Ford jeep, the one on the right. The one I got driving for him is on the left)

 

I'm taking suggestions on how to best lift the body off. I'm imagining some wood to stabilize where the doors should be and using my rafters and shop crane. 

Pictures for now will be boring and monochromatic due to my lackluster garage lighting and ubiquitous rust/dust! Sorry!

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cevensky:

  All our best wishes for your project. The 1933 is simply a glorious looking car! A friend of mine has the 1932 version of this model. A former 1932 Auto Show car, perfect wood, sheet metal and nearly perfect original interior.DSCF1361.thumb.JPG.c8b6a0aa19cc7c944ace46d1866402ba.JPGDSCF1369.thumb.JPG.7ba3187532befbb83d6d0c4773e97d1d.JPG

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 Looking at the photos again I can see the differences. I know there may be some similar construction but dimensions will be different. On this car all the doors close and latch with the push of a finger. Impressive.

 I would contact the Nicola Bulgari Complex in Allentown PA. The contact person is Kieth Flickenger, who heads Mr.Bulgari's restoration staff. They have the most complete information/experience on these 1933 through 1935 90 series cars.

 I love the photos of your 1942 GPW. I had a 1943 GPW work car/project back in 1974.

 Best of luck:

 Larry

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One concern I've had since the woods was that the front wheels did not turn at all. Thankfully today I was able to pull the passenger side brake drum, clean it up (until my angle grinder started smoking) along with the bearings, pack those, and spray it with some paint to protect from humidity. Luckily, the bearings and races all looked amazing. I'm keeping the brake shoes and their linkage out to work on in the meantime but they won't be needed for a couple months at least. One down, four to go!

 

i also did a little wire wheeling on the frame and other grease-covered stuff just to check it out. Everything looks really great–very encouraging. 

 

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The other day before work I got to use a tire machine to dismount what was left of the rubber then I drove out and dropped all 6 rims at the blaster. The two spares are very rough, the rest will require a touch of welding and grinding for aesthetic purposes, but I believe them to be structurally safe. We'll see what blasts away. 

The carpenter texted last night, he wants to start Monday. After burning out one grinder, I have a good bit of the inside of the body cleaned and epoxy primed (you'll notice a "2" was painted on the rear driver's side panel at one point. Any ideas?), I'm going to get the deposit for him tomorrow and have him start around lunch doing his thing. Felt good to get something so big so clean. I also had spent some time getting the huge dent in the rear pass. panel out best I could. The little dents I made will have to be handled at a later date 

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The 1933 90-series Buicks are my all-time favorite cars. Period. Send me your mailing address and I will send you a magazine with the article I did on the 1933 Buicks some years ago, along with an application form to join the Buick Club of America. Join the club, save these photos, and we'll do a series of articles someday on the restoration of this car. I am about 200 miles west of you in Leonard, Texas (NE of Dallas) and would gladly take a day to come over there and photograph this car when it is done, or even when it is halfway done (yeah, any excuse...). I have a lot of 1932 parts, and there are a few parts that are common between the two years, such as headlights and tail lights, lenses, parking lights, etc.

Pete Phillips

Leonard, Texas

1932, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1963, and 1970 Buicks

Edited by Pete Phillips
typo (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been working on the rims since getting them back from the blaster. Luckily these artillery wheels are very very heavy duty and no worries about the integrity. But. Each one has mild to moderate pitting on the face and at least 5-6" of the outer lip that was eaten away. I really impressed myself with my welding/grinding/filing skills; I was able to get all the lips looking good as new! However, that pitting... I tried bondo to fill the pits along with a high build spray primer. This is my first rodeo, but the curves are just so hard to sand and there's still putting after a couple primer coats. Any suggestions on this? 

For now I'm pulling off, cleaning, painting, and bagging small parts. Main sills and other major stabilizing wood pieces are going in next week(ish). 

I might just leave these in primer and put some nearly-trash rollers on these just to move things ahead. 

Thoughts and input? 

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I would be looking for the best rims you can find as yours and other peoples lives are riding on them,  Not only do they hold the weight of the car and the cornering forces generated but there is also 40 lb air pressure on the inside trying to get out.  Welding on the edge where the tire goes is only weakening it.

 

In my opinion, the first rim you have pictured is a definate No No.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

After a little wait due to my real job having no schedule or regular hours, I've made it back to the Buick. And John, thanks for the question because here's the next update: the awesome carpenter brought by the first two pieces of wood today and they're beautiful and fit perfectly. The main sills are next and then we go up from there.

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Edited by cevensky (see edit history)
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Today I ground paint and surface rust off  some of the rear passenger side panels, sanded, wiped with acetone, and primed. I also decided on a gloss black "epoxy" appliance paint to do the inside because I've used it before and it's really durable (and cheap).

I also refined (smoothed) some of the body filler put on there probably 50+ years ago and while welding some splits in the body I discovered it's something like solder. And there's a lot of it in two places, one picture attached. What is this??

 

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