kgreen

1940 76C Reconstruct

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2 hours ago, Gary Best said:

Looking great Ken

Man it's going slow but proper.  I think that Dan will have reconstructed much of the body shell and probably won't use any bondo.  Thanks for that great recommendation.

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Making new inner rockers:

 

I purchased some NOS inner rocker panels from @2carb40 and was happy to have them.  We discovered that they were 20 ga rather then what we expected to be 18 ga.  Dan made new ones of 18 ga using the NOS pieces as a model.

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We guess that the 20 ga might have been for the hardtop coupe.  The NOS parts were invaluable as they became the pattern for the new ones.  The 20 ga inner rockers are still in my possession, but will not be used.  If someone is interested but not in a hurry, I'm happy to put them back into circulation.

 

Here they are primed and ready to install.  I have no way of telling what finish was used inside the rockers during Buick assembly.  For the epoxy primer and finish that we used combined with limiting the use of the car in the rain and snow, these parts ought to outlast my ownership.

 

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Posy Script:  I only have the one inner rocker panel, can't be sure if it is left or right.

Edited by kgreen (see edit history)
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Installing Inner Rocker Panels:

 

Dan recreated the spot weld for the attachments.  The body mounts are located adjacent to and partially connected to the rocker panels.  All body attachment points were aligned.  

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Rear Fender Mating Surface:

 

Rust was promoted by the fender welt holding water between two pieces of steel.  Here's the damage:

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Repair to inner fender well:

 

The inner fender well contains the nuts for fender attachment. That was repaired first:

 

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Outer body shell repair at rear fender:

The repairs noted above were part of the inner fender well.  The area where the rear fender bolts to the car is comprised of the inner fender well sheet metal containing the nuts, lapped over by the outer part of the body.  Continuation of the repair was to reform the outer part of the body shell.  This was accomplished with a piece of steel punched to allow access to the contained nuts on the inner fender well, and welded along the outer ridge of the body.  Maybe it is best to see the photos:

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Both sides complete with new inner fender well metal and outer body shell metal.  You can see the two layers at the bolt holes.

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Never knew this book existed until I was significantly outbid on another copy a week or two ago on eBay.  @2carb40  gave me the heads up.  I found another at a reasonable price.  This ought to help during the first year or two after the car is roadworthy!

 

1940 BUICK PARTS & SERVICE BULLETINS ORIGINAL MANUAL COVERS>8/18/39 thru 9/27/40

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"The C-platform was new for 1940 and featured a wider body with no running boards.  That platform was used for the Buick Super and Roadmaster for 1940 and 41, the Cadillac Series 62, and the large series Oldsmobile." 

 

The C-Body of 1940 was also shared by the Pontiac Torpedo Eight on the 122-inch wheelbase, one of those times (through '41) when a Pontiac would wear the big body. For 1941, an A-Body was shared among all GM lines except Cadillac, that mimicked the wildly popular C-Body design.

 

I'm going to be monitoring your resto progress for tips for some friends in Cuba who are are working on a '40 Super 56C, the only real Super convertible left on the island. 

 

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Best wishes,

TG

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I knew the C-platform car was used by Cadillac and Oldsmobile in addition to Buick, but until you posted that photo I never noticed a very fundamental difference.  Look at the cowl on all three car examples.  The door on the Buick meets the front fenders but not on the other two makes.  The C-platform must have had some modification between the makes after all.

 

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The door and rear quarter panels did not line up well.  I received help with dimensions from Terry Boyce and Anderson Pearson of their restored, undamaged cars so we could re-create proper body lines along both left and right sides of the car.  This cars body was about 1 inch narrower than the model cars which caused the door to quarter panel seam to be significantly depressed.

 

Dan added adjustable bracing to align the top of the quarter panels and doors to hold their shape.

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Adjustments can be made to shove out the quarter panel, the door jamb and stabilize the door.

 

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The door jamb was replaced using pieces of a jamb from a four door car.  The jamb has been tack welded to the floor structure and will hold position when the rear quarter panel is re-attached.  The door will hold position once the skin is re-attached.  The rocker panel has not been installed yet, which creates the third of four points requiring alignment.

 

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This step involved checking door gaps as well as the overall shape of the rounded figure of the car at its beltline.

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Interior door frame bracing works in conjunction with the door skin.  Until the door skin is installed this additional bracing is required to maintain alignment.

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Both left and right sides of the car are involved in this reconstruction effort.

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Here's a mock up with the door frame in place and lined up with the rear quarter panel.  No outer rockers have been installed yet.

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Working forward, Dan verifies the fit of the door to the windshield frame, hood and front fender.  The car had not been in a roll-over accident, but we have suspicions that the car was damaged when stored or forgotten within a building that collapsed onto the car. The windshield frame was cut to push it forward.

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Then the inside of the frame was sliced to make a match to the door, hood and fender.

 

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Next up was verification that the door shape was correct.  Here is a template made from a correct door.

 

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Onward with the income redistribution through the vintage car hobby.  When I started this thread originally (lost the original, this thread is the replacement) I titled it with something more optimistic.  I might have used the word restoration.  The title has been "reconstruct" for a couple months now and is more than ever a very true description.  

 

We are wrapping up the rocker panels. Greg ( @2carb40 ) had set me up with NOS rocker panels.  Fitting them to the car proved that while they were extremely helpful because of their complex shape, the replacement panels were more of a suggestion of how to start the replacement.  It didn't help that the car was at one time crushed by a tree or rolled down a steep embankment or roughly hammered out after going through a junkyard crusher. 

 

Here's the new rocker arm but with a need to reconstruct the lower quarter panel.

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Formed and tack welded in place.

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Both sides are getting the same treatment, here's the right side with the replacement patch welded and with welds ground smooth.

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Now the rocker is welded in place and welds ground.

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Log out, sign back in: I've got a story to share.

 

The bottom of the rocker required modification to align front fender to rear quarter panel, plus the door shape. 

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Four temporary tabs were used to hold the shape and position while test fitted to the car, then a new strip of metal added to complete the panel.  The outer flat edge of the rocker needs to be perpendicular, not sloped since the stainless rocker trim is mounted at this location and extends forward onto the front fender.

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The rocker attachment at the door sill was made to match factory spot welding.  The floors had to be extended outward with patches since they had been cut short during what I assume to be an insurance repair (poor repair) years ago.  

 

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Now all cleaned up.

 

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The lower rear corner of the front fender is bolted onto a forward face of the rocker panel.  The rocker panel was designed as a structural shape or box beam and acts as a stiffener for the open convertible body between the cowl and the rear trunk portion of the body shell.  The box structure was not constructed to be water tight when new so road debris, water and salt accumulated inside the beam.  This was the first place on these C bodies to rust.  The second place to rust was the tool tray.  I've recently had a chance to examine a "rust-free" 40 Roadmaster coupe.  Nice car by the way! The tool tray is solid and the rockers show beginning signs signs of decay.

 

The tab on the front fender was cut off and a reinforced tab welded on.

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The matching, mating tab on the rocker was fitted and tack welded with bolts installed to create the final desired position of both fender and forward section of the rocker.

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Both fender and rocker tabs were finished with a continuous weld then ground smooth.  This will be the new gap.

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Next up is fitting the door skins which are replacement, removed from the doors from a similar 2-door GM body, reportedly from lower level marque.  I think I was told the doors might have been removed from a '40 Cadillac but even so, I am not expecting much, if any devaluation in this Buick.  Just kidding Cad guys/gals!

 

Shape templates were constructed to assist fitting the door skin.  This included a guide at the top of the door at the door glass opening to ensure the correct shape and symmetry between the left and right side of the car.

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We had to verify the correct and symmetrical shape of the entire side of the car so forms were made to guide both the door skin alignment and the new door post installation.  I had received necessary dimensions from two other 76C owners, Terry Boyce and Anderson Pearson; thanks guys.  We applied the dimensions to the centerline of the car to be certain that the body stayed symmetrical, not just assuring the width was correct.

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The old door skin was removed just below the belt line crease.

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The replacement door skin was then fitted back on the door checking for gaps on three sides.  Some adjustment was still required after these photos were taken, and corrected by the weld thickness along the edge of the door.

 

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The crimped lap on the back side of the door frame was retained with the new weld following the edge of the door.  When welding is complete and ground smooth, the door will appear as original with the rounded edge and the overlapped crimp on the backside of the door.  As may be seen in some of these photos, the car body was heavily braced to retain its original shape.  The original shape was verified by dimension and with the convertible top fully closed and latched into position.  The body had previously been returned to the frame with new body mounts, tightened and re-verified as noted in the previous September 18th post.  Next up is replacement of the rear door jambs.

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@kgreen Meticulous work!  You have a lot more patience than I.  This is gonna be Buickful when finished.  Hope I get a chance to see it in person!

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Guest

Hey Ken

   Its my pleasure to help where I can. That car is a classic in my book owned by a class act! Luck to ya buddy! Cant wait 4 a ride. Greg J.

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Great to follow and very impressive workmanship , reminds me of the top coach builders of pre ww2 

looking forward to seeing her complete

cheers 

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On 12/5/2018 at 7:16 PM, JohnD1956 said:

@kgreen Meticulous work!  You have a lot more patience than I.  This is gonna be Buickful when finished.  Hope I get a chance to see it in person!

Thanks John, patience indeed. I have a hard time reading your 2500 in 2018 challenge thread without a great feeling of envy. I’d thoroughly enjoy the drive up to visit and show you the car. I’m hoping to visit some very special friends and show at the old Stowe meet that the VAE holds every year in the VT mountains. That would absolutely require a stop over in your neighborhood. Along with my dad, the  good folks up their nurtured me in this hobby when I was in high school. 

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On 12/5/2018 at 11:20 PM, 2carb40 said:

Hey Ken

   Its my pleasure to help where I can. That car is a classic in my book owned by a class act! Luck to ya buddy! Cant wait 4 a ride. Greg J.

How about I bring a couple fedoras and a camera for trip around your beautiful state!  I ride you drive in style!

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6 hours ago, lancemb said:

Incredible workmanship.  This will be a very special Roadmaster!

I’m certain to know every inch of it too!  Thanks Lance. 

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4 hours ago, Pilgrim65 said:

Great to follow and very impressive workmanship , reminds me of the top coach builders of pre ww2 

looking forward to seeing her complete

cheers 

Thanks Pilgrim. I’ve got to give credit to Dan and especially his son Josh who has taken a special interest in this project. Their metal working skills impress the heck out of me. Since replacing this thread as I lost the original, my replacement write up might not have included the trip up and around the American Midwest to drop the car with Dan. That trip was a blast and included visits to people helping me with this car plus the Brookfield Nationals. A project this extensive could not have come this far without the Buick community helping. 

 

Enjoy your winter in Cypress. I hope you are able to carry your hobby with there. 

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I should offer a corrective thought to the rocker adjustment. The replacement panel looks as though the car required about a half inch adjustment in width. Not so. The adjustment required was a wedge of about 1/8 inches to zero inches. Sort of like a little pie cut. The repair was made by cutting material out of the bottom of the rocker to make a ½- inch gap. This allowed two but welds for better heat control while welding. It was also quicker than attempting to fill a gap that ranged up to 1/8 inches wide. 

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