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1940 76C Reconstruct


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4 hours ago, 1940Super said:

Ken, Are the original exhaust brackets still on the chassis?

Yes, but very rusty, I've since come across the ones that go before and aft of the muffler, but not the rear most hanger.  I've kept the rust ones as a pattern.  Need photos and measurements?

 

I have totally stripped the chassis of everything but the two shipping brackets located on the frame ahead of the rear axle.  With great reluctance, I disposed of the frame.  I also created a photo log of every piece that I removed and would be glad to share that with you.  The photo log shows placement of everything that remained on the car.  The car was mostly unmolested but had the typical repairs required for wear.

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46 minutes ago, kgreen said:

Yes, but very rusty, I've since come across the ones that go before and aft of the muffler, but not the rear most hanger.  I've kept the rust ones as a pattern.  Need photos and measurements?

 

I have totally stripped the chassis of everything but the two shipping brackets located on the frame ahead of the rear axle.  With great reluctance, I disposed of the frame.  I also created a photo log of every piece that I removed and would be glad to share that with you.  The photo log shows placement of everything that remained on the car.  The car was mostly unmolested but had the typical repairs required for wear.

I have 2 original muffler brackets but I am missing 2. I want to remake what's missing but I need to know what they look like and measurements. I bought the muffler clamps with the rubber insulation from CARS. They are not an exact reproduction but probably about as close as you'll get unless a set of NOS ones come up. I also bought the 2 rear tailpipe hangers. They dont sell 1940 models for some reason so I just bought the longest bracket thinking i can cut it shorter if needed. I think the 50 and 70s series are the same when when it comes to the exhaust but have you had a look in the shop manual at the details? I believe they have labelled 40 and 60 series when it's actually showingn the details of the 50 and 70 series and vice versa for what they labelled the 50 and 70. Would you agree?

 

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On 1/11/2019 at 6:34 AM, kingrudy said:

Did you look at the hangers that Bob's Automobilia  sells? Looks like a wider variety.

They both have the same except Bob's may run out soon because I wanted the pipe clamps but they didn't have any left, he said the company who were making them sold the machinery

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  • 3 months later...

Lots of things superseded involvement with the 76C, particularly family matters.  I think I'm back on a roll again and hoping that the car can be done for the 80th anniversary of the cars model introduction.  I'm rather doubtful though.

 

Some effort has been the continued collection of necessary parts.  Through connections with the local BCA Dixie chapter I was able to obtain some really nice original front turn signal housings.  Unfortunately I had to buy three other boxes of unrelated stuff including a repro grill for a 1940 Chevrolet, sparks plugs that I thought were very common and mistakenly threw away, and a pair of CM Hall Lamp Company headlights from some car made in the 20's 50'd parts etc..

 

One good purchase was yesterday when I met John Calderone of central New Jersey.  He sold his extra exhaust manifold to me.  He is getting out of several cars including a nicely restored 1940 two door century convertible (66C).

1681493948_CalderoneCentury.thumb.jpg.b07b5ca72ff2279b8ed067c83ef42d1c.jpg 

 

Note the horizontal rows on the engine turned dash panels.

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I drove 4 hours to meet John and make the trade in a hotel parking lot.  He, along with his wife and I shared a cup of coffee and talked old cars, the Buick club and the value of friendships made with club involvement.  My original exhaust manifold was cracked as well as several others that passed through my hands until I got a good one from Dave Tacheny.  This purchase means I have a spare.

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Dan continues metal work on the body, focusing lately on the B pillar.  I'll head up next month with some additional parts for him.  We are hoping to retrieve a fully corrected and painted car in the late fall.  The June trip also allows me to visit folks along the way like Greg Johnson and Terry Boyce.  

 

Last fall I was able to purchase a basketcase 76C and 76S (2-door coupe) that the PO was going to use as a body parts donor for the convertible.  The coupe was in great shape body-wise and was in my view too rare and nice to sacrifice.  Greg Johnson will be the new owner of this car.  I've had a chance to examine the nearly rust-free body and note differences between it and the convertible.  The body mounts are improved with rubber isolation on both sides of the frame bolt whereas the convertible has rubber just on top of the frame.  I'm guessing the convertible needed greater rigidity.  The coupe is currently in my garage and protected from wa and gives me an idea of how much space my car will eventually consume.  I need a bigger garage!

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34 minutes ago, kgreen said:

I need a bigger garage!

 

There's no such a thing as bigger Ken. 

Once you have more room.... you just fill it up! 😅

(ask me how I know)  

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  • 1 month later...

Much tedious work since the last update post, pictures would be boring, but useful to a future buyer who would ask " how much steel wool and bondo was used during this restoration?".  A future buyer is someone that is likely to follow my ownership only after I'm deceased or by some miracle, my girls marry someone with a similar infliction as mine.  

 

The majority of the metal work is complete.  Dan rebuilt many sections of this car, not from rust as much as damage that we now surmise occured when an old building fell in on itself with the car parked inside.  The most tedious rebuild was the B pillar, making sure the body width remained correct and door plus rocker panel alignment was honored.  Dan (doing the metal forming and replacement) and I spent the better part of a day examining the car comparing photos of Terry Boyce's car (@allcars) to verify likely factory gaps and assembly details. 

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The right rear fender is an NOS fender that I acquired last fall.  It still required a little tweaking to fit properly.  The doors had to be completely rebuilt including fabrication of inner structure components and with doors skins from a series 62, 1940 Cadillac coupe. 

 

Yet another story of parts lost in shipping; UPS lost my belt line trim.  I had a perfect set of trim from the doors back that I had cleaned and polished.  Greg (@2carb40) came to the rescue with his last spare set.  Greg is another person whose invaluable help is making this reconstruction possible.  I joked that I should put a 1940 Minnesota tag on the car as so much of the cars' origin is now from his garage.

 

With trim temporarily placed, we were able to make final modifications to the door so that the trim extends end to end on the doors, again to honor the door gaps.

 

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Edited by kgreen
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Front end sheet metal alignment is a real task.  One common misalignment I've seen is too large of a gap between the hood and the top of the grill.  Another common problem is deformation of the metal at the hood hinge point, the crack at the rear end of the hood hinge connection and the interference between the hood and the forward edge of the door.  My reference to the hood hinge is the connection of the hood halves at the center of the car to the hood trim running from the windshield to the grill.

 

Grill fitment requires the outer edge of the grill to slightly overlap the opening on the fenders.  Terry Boyce's car has a near perfect fit but after a grill is rechromed that fit can be compromised.  I have a grill that was rechromed years ago, but with some defect suggesting it may need replacement.  The question Dan and I return to continuously is the one of factory fit versus best fit.  Where do we stop?

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Remember factory fit,  atleast on a Chevrolet of the same period according to the shop manual was it needed to close and should not leak.  Beyond that anything goes.  I laugh at sections that show wedging a 4x4 in the door and tweaking it so it would close,  or hammer and dollying over the top of a painted surface,  well masked to form it to fit better so it would close. 

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On 6/23/2019 at 9:24 AM, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

  " where do we stop?".  I stopped when it stopped being fun and became a frustrating chore.  Not for everyone, but I have never been sorry. 

 

  Ben

I'm with you Ben.  I'll have enough that isn't perfect to allow plenty of other criticism.  

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Ken, you mention that you have a grille and that chrome plating can change their shape. On my '41, I've had the experience of the grille changing shape significantly. I don't know why, but it went from fitting perfectly on my car to WTF? when the parts came back. The' 40s might be different since they're not as bulky, but who knows? If the grille you have is the one you're going to use go ahead and fit everything up, but if you're going to have it re-plated it might be good to do that (I know it's a TON of money) before you get too obsessive about the fit of the front end--it's all going to change again once there's paint and new chrome in place.

 

My vote is to make it fit together as good as you possibly can but not to drive yourself mad trying for perfection. As others have said, it wasn't perfect when it was new and this is supposed to be fun. Nobody will notice anyway. Given the quality of work that you've already done, the car is going to be very impressive and nobody but you will be able to spot the "flaws."

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  • 1 month later...

Ken, 

Your reconstruct is coming along nicely, any more pics from Michigan? Also, it is never too soon to search for those gravel deflectors. After 79 years of taking a beating I'm not sure how many are still around. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Trunk floor rehabilitation:

The trunk floor had pinholes and was "oil canned".  It seemed most appropriate to make a new floor.  This also allowed us to remove the gas tank braces that are spot welded to the underside of the trunk, clean and epoxy the interior of the concealed metal.  The first picture is where the existing floor was cut out.  The trunk braces had been sandblasted and painted and reinstalled.

 

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Gas tank supports:

 

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New floor panel:

 

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Floor panel installed and welds ground:

 

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Trunk rehab continued:

 

The right rear body mount was cracked and with too many pinholes from rust:

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The new mount:

 

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The trunk finished with welds ground and spot welding completed:

 

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Floor repair at heater:

 

Seems that the bolts froze requiring a previous owner to manhandle the heater removal.  The floor has captured nuts so the heater is placed over the hole on installation and screws installed from the top of the heater.  The retained nuts were ripped out and the old metal where the captured nuts were supposed to be located were cut out.  You can see the butchered metal on the left near the vice grips.

 

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I removed the captured nuts from a parts car for replacement here.  Below, the captured nuts are installed and welds ground smooth.  

 

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Small but essential detail.

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I've viewed several '40 Buicks and hood to fender and grill alignment seems difficult.  A number of cars have too wide of a gap between the hood and the top of the grill.  Others have gaps between the grill and the grill opening in the fender.  Part of this can be attributed to warped grills and when broken grill sections are not clearly aligned when repairs are made.  The shiney grill halves below were removed from a car that was nominally restored 25 to 30 years ago then barn kept.  The right side grill half was warped and when replaced with an unrestored and unbroken grill, the fit into the fender was vastly improved.  The other detail noted on the restored grill was the loss of detail.  The horizontal lines were rounded where there was once a sharp edge between the black painted portion of the bar and the chromed portion of the bar.  I also noted a grill on a restored car this past weekend at the Vermont auto show that did not have repairs to pits in the black painted portion of the grill.

 

Here's a rework of the opening to make sure the grill fits over the fender opening.

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Here's the gap between the top of the grill and the forward edge of the hood before work:

 

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The above photo also shows the completed repair around the grill opening.  The photo below shows the corrected gap between the top of the grill and the forward edge of the hood.

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We notice that the gap between the top of the fender and the bottom edge of the hood are not parallel.  We are going to settle for that feature as correcting it seemed to be an over-correction, also known as over restoration.  The photo below shows the "before" gap between the forward edge of the hood and the top of the grill.  I'm not sure if you can see clearly enough in the photo to notice the rounded details in the horizontal bars on the grill.

DSCN9997.JPG

Edited by kgreen (see edit history)
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Overall progress seems slow.  The body is scheduled to be fully epoxy primed next week, followed by detail bodywork to clean up small dents and welds that have been ground.  The car will not be free of filler, but the 40+ gallons that were removed will be replaced by considerably less.  The car will then get a coat of high build primer and be ready for blocking.  My estimate of 40 gallons may seem like an exaggeration.  That could be but I'd hate to see an X-ray of the lungs from the guy that put all that bondo on the car, then sanded it to be the perfect disguise that it was.

 

I've been able to collect a good number of NOS chrome and now endeavour to have the remainder of the chromed parts replated.  The remainder of the chrome has been rounded up and includes interior windshield garnish, convertible top bows, radio speaker grill, exterior door handles, exterior rear window frame, and so on.  Since I have the equivalent of three cars disassembled, labeled and boxed in my suburban garage, I need to review photos to be sure I have all the pieces that need to be replated.  I'm told to expect three months.  I've searched for an experienced plater that also comes by recommendation.  I've tried a few pieces with a couple folks and have ruled them out.  I found the plater that Lewis Jenkins used and will be driving my parts up to him in the next week or so. 

 

The car has been in Dan's hands for a little over two years now.  I expect to get it back late this fall where I can finish the engine, install brakes an rebuilt rear end and torque tube, steering, wiring, and whatever else I forgot to mention.  I've tentatively identified an interior shop that has done several Buicks and appears to understand the required authenticity.

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Nice work, Ken.  I particularly like what you are doing to make sure the grill fits right, that's dedication!  When I feel overwhelmed by the relatively minor cosmetic things I'm doing to my car, I look at threads like this to marvel at the challenges others are willing to take on! 

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23 hours ago, kgreen said:

Floor repair at heater:

 

Seems that the bolts froze requiring a previous owner to manhandle the heater removal.  The floor has captured nuts so the heater is placed over the hole on installation and screws installed from the top of the heater.  The retained nuts were ripped out and the old metal where the captured nuts were supposed to be located were cut out.  You can see the butchered metal on the left near the vice grips.

 I had almost exactly the same situation on my '41 Roadmaster. Not quite as bad though.

 Keith

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On 8/15/2019 at 1:41 PM, kgreen said:

Floor repair at heater:

 

Seems that the bolts froze requiring a previous owner to manhandle the heater removal.  The floor has captured nuts so the heater is placed over the hole on installation and screws installed from the top of the heater.  The retained nuts were ripped out and the old metal where the captured nuts were supposed to be located were cut out.  You can see the butchered metal on the left near the vice grips.

 

747781170_DSCN9987(1).thumb.JPG.5324ebf63414c353802dc6899d968f5c.JPG

 

I removed the captured nuts from a parts car for replacement here.  Below, the captured nuts are installed and welds ground smooth.  

 

DSCN0031.thumb.JPG.cc32fb01a97aaa5ec28b3c508a16c04c.JPG

 

Small but essential detail.

I had the same problem. Couldn't find any cage nuts locally so I used rivnuts instead. I figured it's under the car so wont be seen

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11 hours ago, neil morse said:

Nice work, Ken.  I particularly like what you are doing to make sure the grill fits right, that's dedication!  When I feel overwhelmed by the relatively minor cosmetic things I'm doing to my car, I look at threads like this to marvel at the challenges others are willing to take on! 

 

Neil, thanks for using the word "marvel" in your interpretation of my effort.  You are very kind. 

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  • 1 month later...

Body work is 99% complete.  Tweaking the wheel shields (fender skirts) and rear bumper stone guard which are originals purchased from @2carb40 (Thanks yet again Greg!).  The car is in primer stage and blocking.  The car is fully assembled including underside panels like stone shields so that anything that can affect body panel alignment is in place for verification of final assembly.  Since the doors were totally reconstructed, the window frames and crank mechanisms and ventipanes will be installed also to be certain that everything will line up after paint.  Paint isn't scheduled until winter sets in with low dust and humidity and Dan's ability to control heat and airborne moisture content.  The car will be totally disassembled with the body put on a rotisserie for ease of painting, sanding and finishing.  Everything will be painted separately.  Originally Buick painted the body with the doors and I believe the deck lid installed.

 

At this point, everything except the window frames and ventipanes is in for replating.  For replating, I found Rick at R&D Finishing.  He used to do all of Lewis Jenkins plating.  

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1 hour ago, Den41Buick said:

Nice car. Have you decided on colors yet?

Yes, I have after months of looking at other cars.  Of the other 76C's out there I've seen blue, green and cream colored.  I don't have a full accounting though, but I've chosen maroon with a tan top and interior.  Also thinking seriously of keeping it as authentic as possible and simple with no accessories like fogs, grill guards, spots or other such possible options.  

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Ken,

Excellent choice in the color and top (I am biased). The color looks the best, in my opinion, in bright sunlight. It can appear to be more towards brown in dark lighting. Fantastic looking work so far, can't wait to see the final product. 

Mike

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  • 1 month later...

First of all, this past month was rewarding in that fellow Buick owners stepped in to help me, and for that I wish to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation.  

Anderson Pearson (1941 76C) responded to my request by photographing parts of his car and even going the extra mile with minor disassembly to show details.  Anderson has also provided documentation for me on parts with dimensioned drawings.  Thanks Anderson!

Neil Morse (1941 76S) enlightened me to important details on the differences between 1940 and '41 instrument font.  Neil also offered then sent me extra instrument parts that I can use.  Thanks Neil!

Matt Harwood (multiple cars) provided photographs and details of parts associated with the convertible top mechanisms.  Matt is very willing to offer help unsolicited with his thread on his '41 limo and solicited such as with my PM's.  Thanks Matt! 

Greg Johnson (1940 56C, plus others)  Greg continues to be a significant help with his knowledge of this era of Buick and with parts that he has found or hidden in his stash.  Greg spent his time finding a great condition, useable glove box door for me.  I've already got well underway with four other glove box doors only to find irregularities that became glaring once polished.  Thanks Greg!

Unknown (1940 56C) Dammit! I have lost all contact, recollection and correspondence trails with a gentleman out of Michigan who sold me convertible top cylinders out of his car.  He had years ago modified his car to use hydraulic cylinders and kept the original pneumatic cylinders in his garage.  He sent me a photo of his car (beautiful) along with the cylinders.  I did thank him at the time of the sale, but regret having lost his name.

 

This past month's work involved a lot of behind the scenes details that won't be seen when the car is complete, but extremely important for operation of the convertible top mechanism.

 

The cylinder mounts were frozen, not allowing the cylinders to pivot.  The cylinders that came with the car were missing their top cap and the interiors were rusted beyond recovery.  I had gone to a great extent finding materials and methods to remanufacture cylinders with little success.  Later, I found a parts car convertible that had cylinders but the ones I purchased from the gentleman in Michigan were in great shape and looked like they were less than five years old.

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We also remanufactured the top cover plate over the cylinder assemblies.  The originals were bent, torn and generally manhandled in attempts by previous owners to make some sort of repair.

 

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I was fortunate to have acquired a convertible parts car that was largely complete, at least sufficiently complete enough to recover restoration details.  The rear seat back support and convertible top well shelf were reconstructed this past month.  Metal supports along the wheel well and floor of the car were added then new plywood parts cut and fit in place.  I wasn't aware that plywood was in use before the war as I had done enough work on post war built homes to see 1x6 deck sheathing used for the roof and floors to falsely lead me to believe that plywood was not created until the 60's.  The parts car that I have was located in south florida and had been infested with drywood termites.  Drywood termites fly and do not need to return to soil for needed moisture.  They are becoming a common problem in Gulf coast states and California as they can fly into an attic and devour the interior of a wood structure but leave the wood appearing undamaged.  All that is visible will be piles of sawdust.  The plywood in my parts car looked great, but crumbled like paper mache when touched.   

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/1/2019 at 3:27 PM, Matt Harwood said:

Did you get the photos of the windshield header gasket, Ken?

 

Yes I did Matt, thanks.  I was OK, too until I saw your post of the museum-stored 41 Super that you recently got your hands on. I definitely understand your reluctance to pop that top.  While Lewis Jenkins work is usually spot on authentic, his example in the 40 that you also have just doesn't feel correct.  What are your thoughts?  Boy, I wish Lewis was still with us.  

 

I'm going to think over the photos that you've sent, they are a huge help as I had no idea how the seal was installed prior to receiving your help. 

 

For others reading this post, I asked Matt for photographs of the convertible top seal on the header bow on the cars that he has in his possession.  As you can see, he is an able and very willing participant n this hobby.

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1 minute ago, kgreen said:

 

Yes I did Matt, thanks.  I was OK, too until I saw your post of the museum-stored 41 Super that you recently got your hands on. I definitely understand your reluctance to pop that top.  While Lewis Jenkins work is usually spot on authentic, his example in the 40 that you also have just doesn't feel correct.  What are your thoughts?  Boy, I wish Lewis was still with us.  

 

I'm going to think over the photos that you've sent, they are a huge help as I had no idea how the seal was installed prior to receiving your help. 

 

For others reading this post, I asked Matt for photographs of the convertible top seal on the header bow on the cars that he has in his possession.  As you can see, he is an able and very willing participant n this hobby.

 

When Doug Seybold came to drop off that '41 56C, he looked this '40 over pretty carefully. He recognized Jenkins' work right away. He didn't see anything unusual, although the boot was in place so he didn't see the header. Doug knows the '40s better than just about anyone. 

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25 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

When Doug Seybold came to drop off that '41 56C, he looked this '40 over pretty carefully. He recognized Jenkins' work right away. He didn't see anything unusual, although the boot was in place so he didn't see the header. Doug knows the '40s better than just about anyone. 

Funny how you can see someone else's work, particularly if they have done a good number of examples out in circulation.  I can recognize Doug Seybold's work as well.  He's not accessible electronically and is difficult to reach otherwise, though I've spoken to him a couple times.

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