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owning, fixing and driving a Snapper's era Buick


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These are side curtains I received with the 1915 McLaughlin project and though they are slightly faded and have a few very small holes from wear I will not replace them.  I plan to have the car judged by the AACA, maybe this May in Auburn, In and I should lose some points for condition but not all the points for not having side curtains.  For touring they will be perfect to keep Bev and I out of the weather when the inevitable cold and wet happens.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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I would like to have my McLaughlin judged this spring and I have two and a half months to get it ready before the cutoff.  I've spent a lot of effort and money on parts of the car which do not show such as fitting modern bearing and seals in the axles to make the car dependable but that does not add a farthing in judging.  On the other hand if parts were showing signs they were nickel plated I stepped up and had the parts replated, even though they could have been painted and looked fine.  Sometime I just like what I like and I really like to use cocoa mat for the rear carpet.  So far the only source for this 1/2" thick mat is in California and they get $18.00 per square foot and I would use 15', black carpet seems like something I would choose.  Cocoa mat looks so good and it is only money, I can get money but would I resent cheaping out?  Don't know.

 

I don't really know much about judging, I should lose points for my old tires, I do not have any original tools or owner's manual.  My car, since it is Canadian, has this great tool box and nickel plated headlamp parts which American Buicks do not have.  I can't prove they are original except there they are.  This judging is a one time event, I hope to make first junior but at least I will get my Century Club medallion and declare " That's done."

 

Below are photos of the tool box ready to be covered in leather, a detail of extra plating and the headlamps which add a look of flash to the front of the car.

Regards, Gary

 

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Looking good Gary!

 

Noticed the Willistead Classic car Show plate.

I miss that show.

Always thought Rod Larson, his dad and the committee did a nice job with it.

Of course they had Hiram Walkers as sponsors then which really helped with the budget for very nice trophy's, the dinners and the announcers for the awards pass through.

 

I brought Dad's Nash that year & the next which is now mine.

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I think he drove his Whippet also but this was 1991 with the wife of a fellow car owner of a 1928 Vellie sedan (Jim Onslow).

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Keep your progress posted.

 

 

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Working on old cars and learning a new skill.  Yesterday, Pat, my upholsterer brought to my workshop a diamond tufted pattern he laid out and sewed for my 1915 McLaughlin touring car.  We installed buttons and stuffed them as if it was the finished product and started to install it in the car's front seat.  When it is fitted to the car he will see what alterations need to be made, then the same system of pattern making for the rear seat back before he slices into the actual leather.  So far it's great, I even like the colour and the care Pat is taking so the job turns out beautifully.

 

Pictures are self evident except for the 5 pound box of curled, washed horsehair I purchased from Weaver's Leather Supply in Ohio.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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On 2/10/2020 at 4:59 PM, cxgvd said:

I would like to have my McLaughlin judged this spring and I have two and a half months to get it ready before the cutoff.  I've spent a lot of effort and money on parts of the car which do not show such as fitting modern bearing and seals in the axles to make the car dependable but that does not add a farthing in judging.  On the other hand if parts were showing signs they were nickel plated I stepped up and had the parts replated, even though they could have been painted and looked fine.  Sometime I just like what I like and I really like to use cocoa mat for the rear carpet.  So far the only source for this 1/2" thick mat is in California and they get $18.00 per square foot and I would use 15', black carpet seems like something I would choose.  Cocoa mat looks so good and it is only money, I can get money but would I resent cheaping out?  Don't know.

 

I don't really know much about judging, I should lose points for my old tires, I do not have any original tools or owner's manual.  My car, since it is Canadian, has this great tool box and nickel plated headlamp parts which American Buicks do not have.  I can't prove they are original except there they are.  This judging is a one time event, I hope to make first junior but at least I will get my Century Club medallion and declare " That's done."

 

Below are photos of the tool box ready to be covered in leather, a detail of extra plating and the headlamps which add a look of flash to the front of the car.

Regards, Gary

 

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See what you can get in an indoor/outdoor area rug made in the coco materiel  - that is how we did it last time 

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I've registered to have our 1915 McLaughlin judged by the AACA at Auburn May 9th, now it's full steam ahead.

 

The car is missing it's horn and I did not even know where it would mount.  I asked which horn was correct on a great site called BrassBuicks.org and received a quick response with pictures from my friend Gregg Lange.  I planned to use a Delco Remy horn but it is too long to fit the space so I phoned another friend, Bert, who is restoring a 1913 McLaughlin, similar to my car, and he has an extra proper horn and he is willing to let me have it.

 

A person could have all the tea in China, but I wouldn't trade it for my life in this hobby.

 

Regards, Gary

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McLaughlin Buicks used a diamond shaped radiator emblem and this theme is carried over to the rear window curtain.  I am trying to scale the size from this original old photograph and think 9" tall by 18" wide which would make the individual diamonds 3 3/8ths' by 4 1/2".  I made a half pattern, in the second photo the white paper will be black top material and the black will be clear.  It will take some skillful sewing but to my eyes it is a highlight of McLaughlin cars.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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Take your time and do it right.  Pat, my upholsterer and I felt the backrest springs were making the seat upholstery pattern too puffy and we devised a method to compress the bottom set of springs in line with the upper set.  Tomorrow we try again.

 

Top photo is from today and the bottom picture is when I started the job.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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I telephoned my little sister this morning to wish her a happy birthday, when we hung up Bev said I was acting as if it were my birthday.  Last week I ordered hardware from California, spoke with a plater to apply new nickel to my last 4 pieces, ordered a new DC motor and controller for my Singer industrial sewing machine and ordered beautiful material to use for our rear floor mat.

I have 100 new upholstery buttons and now I see it is woefully short, I ordered 200 more and a 10" long tufting needle to make the assembly slicker.  Gregg Lange agreed to let me buy one of his horns, the last piece?  Probably not.

The curator of the Canadian Automotive Museum measured the rear window of one of the their McLaughlin cars, 11" X 23", larger than I thought.  I made a paper pattern and it seems to work and will look great.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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An update concerning the AACA Snapper's summer tour in Chatham, plans and routes are set until May.  That is when the registrations close and many details get hammered out and everything made ready for our guests.  Today, in the mail we received our 30th car registered and it is a Buick, we have 3 so far, also 4 REOs, 3 Oaklands, a few Cadillacs and 8 or 9 Fords.  Moline, McIntyre, White, Oldsmobile, EMF and Hupmobile are among the other cars coming.  Waiting for spring, I collect the mail everyday and am getting my McLaughlin finished.

 

The first 3 pictures are Buicks which are coming then some of the others.

 

Regards, Gary

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I finally did it.  Last summer, Joe, (Cardinal 95) advised me to change my Singer sewing machine to a DC motor rather than continue to fight with old clutch setup to slow the machine down for upholstery work.  I finished the change over yesterday and the machine will chug over at a pace I feel I can control.  Full steam ahead.  Gary

 

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Interesting times.  The following tale I repeat recently happened to me and I do not intend this story to be praise or criticism of companies, the post office or Canada Customs.  The saying goes " it is what it is."

I ordered some antique auto parts from a well known restoration supply company in California, (wink wink), the order was $90.00, the box was the smallest box I have ever seen and postage was $30.00.  Canada Customs charged me $25.00 taxes and handling and the box took two weeks to arrive.

I ordered an 3/4 HP electric motor, to give you an idea of the size and weight from Amazon.ca on Friday.  It was delivered to my house Monday with taxes and shipping included in the purchase price.

 

It is what it is.  Gary

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Yes Gary, we really get beat up on things ordered from the States, seems worse now more than ever. This and the fact our dollar exchange makes the 90.00 US purchase costs us 120.44 (as of today) just well... as you stated, It Is What It Is.

I thought Amazon shipped free?

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In the top photo are some old parts I wanted to reproduce in thick, not stretchable leather and I have just the man for the job.  He is the last shoe repair guy in our small city of Chatham, On and he is a character.  Once he sent me back outside to look at his sign to see if the sign said anything about auto parts.

 

In the last picture is a metal shop I used to make a bracket for the McLaughlin's newly acquired horn.  Every day brings me closer to completing the task, full steam ahead.

 

Today, I received a registration for a Buick big 6, seven passenger touring car, for the AACA Snapper's tour in Chatham the second week of July and I sent an application to an owner of a second Buick big 6, we may have two!

 

Regards, Gary

 

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The best part of fixing 105 year old car is also the worst part.  No one knows everything or even anything.  I mounted my electric horn today in a bracket I designed, had fabricated and altered for the job.  A fellow sent me photos of a car the same make and model as mine, however I chose to mount the bracket and horn slightly differently.  It is a guess, using experience, judgement and "I think it will work and look best here."  If I am proven wrong I can change it.  Maybe this solution will become the "correct way it was done."

 

Regards, Gary

 

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Charge on, this afternoon I finished the rear floor woodwork, fit the tool box, made a pattern and then installed a 5/8th" thick cocoa mat.  I think the under seat toolbox, that is what I call it, is a McLaughlin only feature.  I saw cocoa mat in a friends car last summer and felt it is perfect for my car, also used for model T Ford rear mats.  Leather covers the tool box and back of the front seat.  The photos are start to finish and self explanatory.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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First the elephant in the room, then a Snapper Tour update.  Presently there are no reports Covid-19 cases reported in Chatham Kent.  Registrations continue to be sent in for our Chatham 5 day tour and plans are being tweaked.  Yesterday I sent a message to the Snapper's club offering to postpone or cancel the event, Bev and I would be disappointed but understanding, I heard back, carry on.

 

For the Buick side of things, we have 3 1913 Model 31 attending.  We were together at the Old Car Festival last fall, I have toured with Larry and Joyce, and with Lisa and Jim, but Larry has not run with Jim.  This summer we three are at the same hotel and driving together.  Jim told me he rebuilt his engine over the winter.

 

We received a registration for a 1915 c55, 7 passenger touring car from Michigan and a second big 6 from Ontario hasn't registered but may be there.  I haven't gotten anything for a 2 cylinder Model F/G though they are around, however, one of our stops has an original, museum quality car to look at.  We have a c37 roadster from Michigan and a buddy from Ontario contacted me and said he sold his Ford and bought a 1913 McLaughlin 25 series touring car.  With my c25 that will be 2 McLaughlins and 7 Buicks to date.

 

The picture was taken at last years Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village.  Good times.  Gary

 

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I've been interested in floor coverings for the rear tonneau for my early Buicks lately.  Coco mat is lovely for the 1915 McLaughlin, looks antique and the car has chestnut linoleum running board mats and front floor to match.  My 1913, however, is decorated in black and white colours with a thread bare, modern material, black carpet.    Once a person loads the car with luggage and lawn chairs, rear floor is covered anyway.

 

My friend Gregg Lange, from Michigan, told me an original old Buick he knows of has a thin material floor covering and that comment got me thinking instead of carpet, something else.  Yesterday Bev and I visited a huge fabric store and I bought a piece of poly cotton blend fabric in dark gray and I plan to change the rear floor.  It is bonded so I can cut it to shape and have the edges serged.  Also in the photo is a sea grass mat I was going to use for carpet but Bev has been liking to keep it in the house.

 

The top photo is a detail of my model 31 carpet and the second photo is the material I want to use laying on a sea grass mat.

 

Go cat, go.  Gary

 

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Covid-19 and me.  I do not have it, however, it has certainly affected me though everyone is feeling some pain.  I've lost enough money from my retirement stock holdings to buy a Packard, but not as much as a VW microbus.  I remain especially inspired by the positive reactions from my fellow Canadians, auto plants building medical devices, musician hosting internet shows or even from the porch, and daily briefings from the Prime Minister for instance.

 

The cancellation of the Auburn AACA meet has hit me hard, I planned to have my newly finished 1915 McLaughlin judged there.  I am working on the car and hopefully it will be finished by May but now I have nowhere to go.  A new party dress and my date stood me up.

 

For the Snapper's tour in July, the US/Canada border is closed to tourism, many restaurants I chose are not presently available and we have 33 registrations to date from people who are counting on Bev and I for a pleasant week of driving around Kent County.  It will be May before we know what to do.

 

Here are pictures from the recent past.  Hoping for a successful outcome from the Coronavirus.  Gary

 

 

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Yes Larry, our friends Charles and Darlene invited Bev and I to a high wheeler get together at the Gilmore Museum maybe about 2015.  Earlier in this thread I said "these are the good old days!"  I seems I was correct since we are facing, self isolation, postponements and cancellations today.

 

The best part of the early car hobby to me is the willingness of owners to share their cars by letting us sit in them, give rides or teach others to how to master driving them.  Here are a few more photos from the recent past I picked out from my files to demonstrate.

 

Stay well, Gary

 

 

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Hard to post a like or sad on this Gary but thanks for the pictures.

Hopefully brighter days are ahead.

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Thanks Doug;  These are difficult times, Bev and I have no activities which we can attend for the next few months, everything on hold.  My mom and I used to be considered homebodies, now I am self isolating and supporting the health effort.  Not so bad for me, Bev, also stays home and makes me lunch.  Life is good with friends and photography.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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I sorted out an electrical problem with a simple fix, I hope.  When I acquired our 1915 McLaughlin touring car it had been fitted with accessory, or after market, push pull switches to turn on the ignition and begin the starter/ generator spinning.  I've taken out the incorrect switches but that left me with the original switch which would work but only occasionally.  It seems the paddle? was worn and making inconsistent contact to the starter/ generator wire.  I cut a strip of brass shim stock, 001", glued and wrapped it around the paddle.  I've added 0.003" to each edge of the paddle and it seems to be enough, I've run through 6 start/ stops and it worked every time.

 

The car also had an electric fuel pump which was removed and is sitting on a shelf.  Gravity fuel flow for me.

 

In the picture is the offending switch before restoration.  The 2 push/pull switches on the left, turn on the ignition and start the generator motoring.  The other 3 push/ pull switches are for the headlamps, dim lights and tail lamp/ dash light.  I've circled the area of the switch that was built up without disassembly.  Also, I have bypassed the circuit breaker, on the left with a pair of long springs, with an inline fuse.  The round resister pictured on the right offers too much resistance so I am still in the woods with grandma's house in sight.

 

Hope you understand, I find electricity difficult.  Stay well, Gary

 

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Today I worked on getting my horn ready for paint.  After removing it from the car I washed the horn 3 times with lacquer thinner to remove all oils which would weaken the adhesion of the new paint.  The original finish was a thin layer of japan black paint which a spinning wire wheel stripped quickly.  Next I sanded the parts with 220 grit sandpaper again to aid in adhesion.  Washed the parts again with thinners and taped off the motor.  I could have sandblasted the metal parts but I wanted to keep grit out of the motor.

 

I have a collection of other parts to coat with epoxy primer, then a heavy coat of black Poly Urethane, the very definition of "over restored."

 

Stay well, Gary

 

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Beginning the job of fitting a new top by installing the sockets and bows to the 1915 McLaughlin C25 touring.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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The executive of the Snappers Brass and Gas have decided to reschedule their meets from this summer and push the events to 2021, which I am thankful for and agree with.  The spring and summer 5 day tours will now occur in 2021 and the 2021 events will be 2022 and so forth.  The Snappers have three events in the fall and are on for now but we will see.

 

Bev and are working on returning registration fees and will not make plans for 2021 until after the Old Car Festival in September.

 

On the garage front, I continue to work on the McLaughlin's top sockets and bows.  In the photo I've stretched a car cover over the bows to get an idea of the way the finished product will look.

 

The definition of irony, we have time, pleasant weather, low priced gasoline, antique cars, but no where to go.

 

Stay well, Gary

 

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I've painted the top irons, which is the last of the refinishing, except for any missed items.  1915 McLaughlin is painted.

 

A fellow brass car enthusiast in Ontario recently acquired and arrived home with this lovely 1913 McLaughlin model 25 touring car.  He sent me a snap.  Best of luck, hope the car gives you miles of smiles.

 

Stay well, Gary

 

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David Coco (Trimacar) is a valuable resource for the AACA.  I have been watching a fellow renewing his top on the Dodge Brothers thread and David once said he can take 40 hours just to align the bows before he begins the job of sewing and installing the new top.  When I read that I thought to myself how can that be but since I am doing the measuring, lining up and rounding out the bows to produce a sharp looking top, I think how does he do the job so fast?

 

In the photos under the pile of laundry is my project covered in wood chips after using a power plane to round out the bows.  The second photo are locks I had a retired machinist make for me to secure the top prop nuts and the final photo is the area and prop nuts for reference.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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On 4/10/2020 at 3:14 PM, cxgvd said:

said he can take 40 hours just to align the bows before he begins the job of sewing and installing the new top. 

 

 

I have seen my upholster do such over a week and also seen him do it in about 2 hours -  just depends on how car comes to hi via what prep work is done and what is needed (sometimes you are lucky and sometimes not).

 

Generally, I do all the prep work on bows and such and already have the bow angles all set - Watched him enough that I figured out how to do and he appreciates as there were a whole line of people in front of me and a whole line of people after.

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Today I cut the duck cotton, which is a rough, thin material used to cover the wooden bows and top pads.  In reading David Coco's advice I cut the bow material " on the bias" or 45 degrees and I installed the "duck" with tacks instead of staples.  With nails it is easier to reposition the material to remove wrinkles and I do not know why I cut the material " on the bias" , I think it has to do with wrinkles too.

 

In the photos, the first attempt to wrap the bow left a messy look, did much better the second time.  The final photo are reproduction pins which secure the sockets to the holders, they cost $9.00 each and I need 4 of them but they are beautiful and there is a car in there somewhere.

 

Regards, Gary

 

 

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I never said 40 hours to align top, a day, 8-10 hours at most.  Duck is too heavy a material to cover bows with, you need to use a fabric called bow drill, or at least a light fabric, and yes, it has to be cut on the bias, and installing it correctly one will understand why...

 

What I may have said that, for me, it takes a good 60 to 70 hours to do a detailed, custom fitted top.   Good luck with your project...dc

Edited by trimacar (see edit history)
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I apologize David for putting words in your mouth and appreciate your willingness to share with me and others.  I do follow your advice, using tacks instead of staples would have never occurred to me.  Please drop in on this thread occasionally, thanks.  Gary Van Dyken 

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I completed my first of six top straps, they are used to tie the top bows together and support the top material with x or cross bracing.  The straps are three thicknesses of topping material and because I had some light nylon strapping I included it, too.  My Singer sewing machine worked like a champ, a hot knife through butter.

 

I needed bonded polyester # 69 thread but with the stores closed I could not order any, I turned to Amazon and even though they showed the thread delivery time was four weeks.  Luckily for me, a local restoration shop gave me a spool to use as much as I need and return the rest.  Thanks, Stan.

 

In the post today, I received my application to have the McLaughlin judged in Auburn returned, sorry to miss it.  Thanks AACA staff.

 

Stay well, Gary.

 

 

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Glad to see you are keeping busy Gary!

Luckily you have a project close to your heart to stay motivated.

It might just be me but believe social engaging this year will be very limited till a vaccine puts our health in a better light so looking forward to that happening and getting to see your finished work in person as with others.

 

Stay Well and keep posting your fine work.

Doug.

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Took a long walk after lunch, talked with my older sister this morning, still had a few hours to work on our 1915 McLaughlin convertible roof.  In the top photo is my Mrs. Bev using a steam generator to remove some bagginess from the thin cotton wrapping one of the wooden bows.  In the next photo is my attempt to place one of top pads and fit a side panel of the roof deck from a piece I received with the car.  The masking tape line is the projected height of the new top.  I like upholstery work, it's light, clean and showy.

 

Isolating with a fixed income and an interesting project.  Gary

 

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Another milestone along the McLaughlin path, all the parts which hold the top to the car are in place, clamps, supports and covers removed, ready for the new top.  I also made a pattern for the unique McLaughlin rear window curtain.  Looks like a car now, full steam ahead.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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