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1941 Century

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Hey Guys,


Well, I got the car in the garage and jacked up as high as I can on jack stands. I did a pretty good inspection on the underside and found I have quite a bit of metal work to do as the floor pans and trunk pan is pretty bad, I just ordered replacement floor pans for it, I don't expect they will be a perfect fit but I'm sure I can make them work. the trunk pan is another story though, may end up having to make some panels for it.


it's about time to start tearing into her but need to do it in a calm fashion. one of my first steps it to pull all the stainless trim off the car, some of it is pretty straight forward with nuts holding it in place. the parts I need a little advise on is the belt line trim and the trim around the windows. can anyone give me any insight into pulling this trim without damaging it??


oh and stand by, there will be tons of other questions as I move along.




here's a picture of what I'm starting with.




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Perry, windshield and back window the SS slips over a rubber "pinch-weld" that fits over the body lip(perimeter of window opening). The pinch-weld and the window gasket are sandwiched together with sealer. If your glass and gaskets are good you may not want to remove the SS. The belt line on hood you can get to the fasteners on the backside, belt line on the rear quarter look at backside thru the trunk to see if there is nuts, clips or sheet metal screws. My `41 Pontiac had a piece of c-channel screwed to the body with screws and the SS pushed over the c-channel, if so use a thin blade screw driver to work the SS off. Pieces on the door have clips, use thin bladed screw driver or remove door panel and inspection plates to get to back side and squeeze clips to push out. Small trim around side windows, I used small thin bladed screw driver to work them off the clips. It`s not easy and most the clips will break or possibly bend the lip of the SS, something you will have to flatten out once removed. Most of my clips were not re-usable, broke, bent, rusty. Finding new clips may be a problem also. I was lucky enough that Chevy used the same clip as my Pontiac, and "Chev of the 40s" has them, if the Buick moldings are the same width they would work. Good luck.. Tom

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I got new front springs made in Colorado for my blue '39 Buick.  They had all the numbers and knew just how to make the spings.  I'd put sidemounts on it in 1965 but never changed the front springs.  It was alright, but when I finally rebuilt the front end I put on new springs made especially for the extra weight of the two front wheels and tires.  I think they still advertise in Hemmings.  That is the next thing I'm going to do to my 41 Roadmaster.  I have all of the front end parts on the shelf, but still need to rebuild a pair of shocks and buy new springs.....both of which are expensive.  I'm taking a breath after the professional restoration work I just did before I do that job and put all new parts in the brake system (needed or not).....which works good now, but I have every part for a totally new system.  Make it as new as you can mechanically is what I always try to do short of rebuilding the engine if it doesn't need it.  I've never been that happy with rebuilt engines over the last 50 years....I guess I'm not patient enough to break them in.  The engine in my blue car took about 20 years to break in, as much as I drive them.  Now it starts good, doesn't use oil.....it did use some oil during that long break in.  I don't have time enough left for any of that stuff now......80 next month.  Oh, one thing.....I did have really bad luck with a Pertonix in the '39 Buick because, they tell me, she put too much heat on the brain (module) of the thing, and so I had to go back to points & condenser.  Runs good again now.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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Hi Perry;

Those stainless trim retaining clips need to be compressed in the inside and then they push out.  Once I had the side windows out, I was able to reach in with a needle nose plier and squeeze the "wings" together and push out.  My car is a '37, but I'm sure a lot of that stuff carried on.  

Some of the trim actually has a small nut on the forward most and rear most clip, and the push-in style all through the center of the molding.  (This was true of my running boards, hood and rear quarter trim moldings). 



This is the squeeze-style.  Get your needle nose on that and while compressed, push it through.  Do each one just enough to get it started and then remove the molding strip.




When removed, the clips look like this.




This is the other style that was on my car.  These held the small molding on the cowl and were in the center of the door moldings.

Again, a squeeze and push




Although this is me lining up all the holes and re-installing, for removal I released each one just enough to show through the outside.

Then carefully removed the molding so as not to bend or distort anything.  


Good Luck with your restoration!!

Even though my car is a '37, I do have a lot of photos of the entire job that may help if needed.



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thanks for all the input guys,


unfortunately, I think there have been MANY hands working on this car over the years and NOTHING was done correctly, I've found just about every kind of clip, mount, nut/bolt combo you can think of and I'm still only just starting, I've even had to pull out the metric tools to get some of the stuff off. I guess that's one of the drawbacks to getting a project with a "sorted past".


I've made some decent progress since my last update, again, I know it goes against the grain but here it is as it sits right now. if anyone needs any front suspension pieces let me know, I'm sure all the moving parts are pretty much wore out but the hard parts seem to be in good shape. I'll also have the rear end with the torque tube available, will come complete from drum to drum, I'm not sure of the gears in it but I did a ROUGH check and it seems to be about 4.00 :1 gears so it could be anything close, if needed I'll open up the cover and get the real numbers.


I'll be installing a front sub frame from a '80 T/A that's already been fully rebuilt and has the quick ratio power steering box on it. plus the engine should bolt right in. don't be deceived by the pictures, these were taken with the front clip freshly cut off, I still have a bunch of mods to make to put strength into the connection of the two. by the time I'm gone it will be straight and strong.





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Perry, a Century probably had a 3.6 to 1. May be stamped on the bottom of the housing. Is in '50.


  Well, we do sorta hate to see these old cars " modded "  but not as anal as up above in the AACA main forum.  To keep it  "legit ", perhaps have Mr Earl move it into the Modified forum.   And real happy to see the engine choice is not Ch [ choke ] evy..


  Someone will want that engine/tranny.





Edited by Ben Bruce aka First Born (see edit history)
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Thanks Ben,


I'll have to check the rear end a little closer to see what it is.


I can understand the "keeping the original" issue, there are some cars that I'd never think about modifying, but I don't think this one warrants that, it was already modified when I got it and the way I think about it is this: in the condition it's in, it would cost so much to "restore" that it doesn't make since to do it, it's not a highly desirable car so even if it were done in a concourse way, you would just be throwing money away. so, it's either have someone spend some money and "resto-mod" it or let it sit and rot away, I'd rather save it and get it to a state that is a bit more saleable down the road. let's face it, the market for a 4 door restored Buick isn't that big.


by the way, the motor and tranny have already been spoken for. I'll be getting them ready to ship this weekend and early next week.



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It is too late for that one, but you are mistaken about the market for a four door Century. While mine is a 1937, I have had many unsolicited offers to buy it. I am also restoring a 1938 Century Four Door Sedan. It was much further gone than yours, and it will be restored for less money than restomodding it, and will probably be easier to sell if I ever choose to do so, although I have no such plans. There are a lot of folks who like to participate in antique car tours. For touring, 4 door sedans are the perfect car. They allow you to bring friends along for the ride. Good luck with your car. 

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thanks for moving this Matt.


well, I've made a bit more forward progress on the car since my last updat. I got the front sub frame installed and somewhat welded in, I still have a bunch of finish welding to do but I'm gonna wait till I get the body off the frame so I can spin it around and get to the welds properly. I also still have some gusseting to take care of at the same time. I was also able to get the front sheet metal temporarily installed so I could get the core support mount fab'd and installed, plus I wanted to verify wheel alignment in the fender wells. looks great to me.


here's some pics of my latest progress, in these pics you'll notice the inner frame rails are not connected to the new frame, that has been done and now the new frame is welded in on both sides and across the top, I still need to close up the bottom and weld that in but that will be done when I flip the frame.











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Hey Ben,


my first step was to get the frame up on jack stands and make sure it was level front to back and side to side, then I started pulling measurements and doing a sketch on a white board I have in the garage, I also made some center line marks on the floor for the center line of the wheels, I also measured the spindle height off the floor with the suspension in "full droop", normally I would have measured original ride height and then subtracted the amount of drop I wanted but in this case the car had already been WAY OVER CHOPPED so I couldn't do that. I figured that with the suspension in full droop on both frames would eliminate any drop issues. actually it worked out really well that the new frame rails slid all the way into the old frame, all I had to do was clearance the cross braces that run between the inner and outer frame rails, once it was slid in place the spindle height ended up exactly the same as the originals. I put some wheels on it and dropped it on the ground this morning and it sits pretty high but I have not installed the BIG BLOCK or trans yet so I expect it will settle down to just about perfect, I hope to install air bags anyway so I should be able to get the ride height perfect without too much effort.

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Hey Gang,


I'm not sure if anyone is following this build but I'm gonna keep on posting as it helps me document the process for myself (or future buyers). I got the back up on the jack stands and pulled the original rear end out of the car, then I set up a pair of wheels and tires a friend loaned me just to see if I like the look. I actually love the way they fill the wheel wells up and they just barely fit between the inner and outer body panels, I think if I roll the fender lip they will fit without a problem. they have maybe 1/2" on each side of the tire so keeping the new rear end centered will be critical, can anyone say triangulated 4 link? the tires are 10.5" wide but look great from the back. I'm still considering going back with the Coaker wide white radials as an alternative but honestly, right now I'm leaning towards the black walls.


I also had time to get the motor hanging in the approximate location that it will live, I did have to cut a bit of trans tunnel out for the TH-400 to fit but not as much as I expected. I'm currently waiting for the new "U" style motor mount that bolts to the front of the block and the rubber biscuits to come in tomorrow so I can get the motor installed in it's exact position, then I'll make the trans mount and cross member.


I was able to slide the motor back 8 of the 10 inches it needed to make it look right in relation to the firewall. it also looks like a set of center dump block huger headers will just squeak past the frame and suspension.






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Hey guys,


Time for another update,


got the engine mount parts in the other day so I was able to get the mounts installed and the motor positioned in it's permanent home. I think it fits really well and should have plenty of room for accessories and maintenance. I still need to fabricate the trans mount but that should be relatively easy compared to some of the other fab work that is needed.


I'm going tomorrow to pick up another rear end for the car as I can no longer use the "torque tube" set up. it's quite a bit newer and should be a cake walk to convert to disk brakes. I need to get it in place and start mocking up the triangulated 4 link set up for it, I'm still undecided if I'm going to run air bags or just some good coil over shocks. either way, I'll make it work.













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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey gang,


I know it's been a while since I updated my project but rest assured I HAVE been busy in it. I'v spent some time waiting for parts to arrive which worked as a domino affect, I couldn't order one part until l got the previous one bought and installed and so on and so on.


I found a rear end for the car that was close enough in width to make the use of wheel adapters possible (needed to change the lug pattern anyway, once I got the correct adapters installed I was able the put the rear under the car and measure for the triangulated 4 link kit, then I had to wait for that to show up and get it installed so I could order my coil over shocks (still waiting for them), I made some temporary supports to take their place to check ride height.


while I was waiting for those parts to show up I went ahead and ordered a set of stainless headers for the big block.


I also spent a bunch of time stripping out the rest of the car including all the door hardware, seats, dash and wiring harness which made it MUCH easier to remove and clean up all the old sound deadener under the dash.


I still need to clean the roof of that junk but it's just a bit of work to get it off.


next I'll be cutting out and replacing all the rotted metal on the body (which will take a while).













Edited by Perry Garner (see edit history)
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Hey gang,


well, I started cutting out the bad parts of the floor pans so I can patch them and as things usually go, there was way more rot than I expected so this is what I ended up with. by the time I got done cutting things out I figured it would be easier and better to just  replace everything. and, since I can not find anyone who sells floor pans for the car I'm going to have to make my own. this is a blessing in disguise as it will give me the chance to build the floor like I want them and get some practice with the new bead roller. let the fun begin.







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  • 2 years later...

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