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owning, fixing and driving a Snapper's era Buick


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Progress, and yet another example of " over restored."   The main part of the top is 4' 2'' wide, side to side, I had to cut a strip off the length of the top material.  That left me with a piece which was perfect for another strap running front to back.  I see that style on big, expensive cars, I got the thread of an idea to incorporate the extra support on the McLaughlin.  Then I stretched the top deck over the bows to mark with chaulk the outline where the sides are going to join the deck.  Pretty straight forward, the tricky part will be fabricating the diamonds of the rear window.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks John, good catch.  The size and six diamond pattern I copied from a 1912 McLaughlin located in a Museum.  The original photograph, from Calgary, Alberta BTW, shows five diamonds, so I will make the correction.  Thanks again.  The collector, which just rescued a 1913, sent me a close up of his rear curtain and the size is smaller ( 9X20") with five diamonds.

 

There is another photo on these forums of a 1917 McLaughlin with five diamonds in two rows with an oval shaped window.  My car is a 1915 and I haven't any proof which window shape is correct.  I've pointed out before when dealing with 100 year old cars it's a judgement call.  McLaughlin made less than a 1,000 cars in 1915 in all series.

 

Today, I begin to install the top and it starts with the rear curtain, just in time, my friend.  Gary

 

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My sewing machine has been working poorly and it was not entirely the fault of the operator.  The machine would sew well for a couple of feet , then the thread would begin to fray at the needle.  Turns out the needle plate where the needle carrying the thread would pass through the plate to the bobbin was rough and I managed to replaced it today.  Hopefully problem solved.   I finished sewing the rear curtain and tacked it up, I think I will get 2 additional yards of Stayfast topping material and try again.  Practice, man, practice.

 

In the photos today are the rear curtain with the McLaughlin diamond shapes, my notes in the works binder and the next task, a windshield baffle.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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Coming along well.  I've installed the rear curtain and windshield baffle and have the three parts of the main deck roughed in.  I've marked where to trim before joining the parts.  The top material is 100" long, Bev is going to help me support the top as eight feet of Stayfast goes through the sewing machine twice.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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I'm stoked.  This afternoon my wife and I attached the side panels to the main top and top stitched both sides.  There that's done.  The center section of the top is a straight edge and the side panels are curves and it is the reason the whole job lays nicely without wrinkles.  Trimacar is helping us with advice every step of the way.  Thanks,  Gary

 

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That looks very nice. I have been looking at the top on my McLaughlin and wondering about replacing it. Or rather, putting one on it! The big portion is completely MIA.

 Not trying hijack your thread, Gary!

 Keith

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Hello Keith; No worries.  Your McLaughlin top is the one man style and relies on steel to keep everything in place and is more open, maybe prettier.  Mine is the two man top which has top sockets in the front seat area to hold the roof up.

 

Stan, at Classic Coachworks in Blenheim, is sewing a new top for a 1923 Gray Dort this month.  It is the same style as your McLaughlin, give him a call, maybe stop in and see the job and have a talk.  I love the look of a well fitting top,  they seem to get old so quickly in the sun.  I have a friend who has a 1916 McLaughlin D45 nearby we could visit if you like.

 

Leave the top down, very sporty open air motoring.

 

Regards, Gary

 

 

 

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Tada.  Finished installing a new top.  I will not post a picture now because it looks very much like the previous ones and I have not driven the tacks home yet.  A fellow, who was helping me with the leather seats, had developed some rather serious health issues which required surgery.   There are just a few places where the seats are top stitched and with the successful top job I am going to take this upholstery task on next.

On the home front my dishwasher packed it in after 8 years.  I took it out and apart yesterday, no problems are obvious so today I am shopping.

Keith, yes to the 1916 McLaughlin.  I talked with the owner last weekend and he is bummed, all of his summer events are cancelled.

I have not mentioned it to Bev yet, I have a germ of an idea for a few days during the summer with my local pals, exercising social distancing, run what you brung.

 

Stay well, Gary

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First of all, the Buick top looks like it's turning out great!  Well done, putting a top on is really not magic or difficult, but it's a process that has steps that need to be taken in a specific order.  And patience....looks like you've learned a trade!

 

On the blue car top, and don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, there's a mistake that is made so often and it's one of my pet peeves.  The side irons/bows should NEVER be hanging down, you can see the irons and bows along and below the side of the top.  This means that the trimmer didn't know how to put the correct tension on the second to last bow, to pull those pieces up into a straight line.

 

I've even recently seen a picture of a top where the trimmer made a "V" shaped side line, to cover the drooping irons.  It's so simple to do it correctly, it just amazes me that an upholstery shop would do this.

 

 

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Is this the last step?  On a piece of vynal I drew a pattern to place the buttons on a back rest.  It also gives me a chance to practice sewing, sort out thread tensions, how to place the material under the needle and stretch the pattern on the car to be sure it looks straight and correct.  I do not keep track of hours, I work on the final project until it is as nice as I can do with the leather.  BTW a picture of a red Cardinal in my Juniper bush.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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Thanks for thinking of me, John.  When I say the top is finished I should say finished for now.  Next step is to sew and install the seat upholstery, then, I can fasten the rear curtain to the beltline.  After the upholstery is completed everything is trimmed and covered with a gimp and hundreds of 7/16th" black head nails.  Hopefully the McLaughlin will be finished in June.  Funny story, my younger sister asked me to park her long camping trailer in my driveway for the winter until the trailer parks open.  The camper is blocking my garage door and the camp grounds remain closed.  What can you do, it's family.

 

Regards, Gary

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Making patterns for diamond tufted upholstery job.  So far I have sewn the main section for both front and rear seat backs in vinyl and next I work on the side panels, then join them together.  Add the stuffing/padding, buttons, fit it to the car then cut them apart and trace the patterns to the final finish, black leather.

 

The third photo is a my friends dashboard from his 1916 McLaughlin D 45S.

Stay well, Gary

 

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Talked on the telephone yesterday with my friend who he sewing and installing the new upholstery in the McLaughlin after a successful heart operation.  It will be quite a long time before he is recovered but since I am not going anywhere anyway we will work on the car again when he is ready and able to resume.  He must exercise, lose some weight and heal, God speed my friend.

 

In the meantime, I have many small jobs and improvements.  Here are some photos of the project 5 years ago when I acquired the McLaughlin from Fenelon Falls, Ontario, last run in 1991.  Seems I should exercise and diet, too.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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I've been working on the front floor trim, linoleum and fitting the four pieces to the body.  Originally the McLaughlin used 5/8th'  solid wood floorboards, but my car had plywood installed.  Good for patterns, I used 7/8th" ash for the floorboards, cut down to 5/8ths" where they sit in the body.  I glued the new Battleship Linoleum to the wood with a mastic cement which was the recommended system, but it did not hold smooth and tight so I stripped it and replaced the joint with Gorilla Glue, the water activated type.  I replaced all the floorboard trim with 1/4" aluminium which I polished, I made the trim plate which surrounds my exhaust cutout and one piece of sheet metal around the petals.  I had the neat piece which surrounds the gear lever and parking brake lever, and the floor thimble, the circle is a repop.  The chestnut Lino matches a piece of original flooring and is also used for the running board mats.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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Drove our 1913 Buick model 31 and parked in front of our house under a mature crab apple tree.  I wanted to take the picture during the short few days the tree is in bloom, missed it and had to settle for this.  This is my new old look, top and windshield folded down, and notice my hundred year old accessory trunk mounted inside the spare rim and tire.  All is well.  Gary

 

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I've determined my annoying coolant drips are caused by the brick red rad hoses I am using.  They seem to have a too large diameter to fit the hardware and I must over tighten the clamps.  I am going to change to black hoses my local auto parts store carries and hopefully they will fit tighter before the clamps.  The square tube radiator is not the original rad when the car was new, it was fitted during the 1960's, though it looks great and very antique.  You can see in the third photo I cracked the water inlet tube of the rad and I will have to expand the tube and solder the crack closed.  Onward ever onward.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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Gary,

I got the new radiator in my '13. Between my machinist friend, and I we got the new core made and the radiator shop doing the soldering, I got a new core for about 1/3 the quoted estimate and about 2 years quicker.

 

It is running well. 

 

I did put a gano filter in the radiator inlet.  I have cleaned it once looking like I need to clean it again soon. 

 

We have probably put between 100-200 miles on the car so far this month after I got the radiator in.  It keeps running better every day.

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I need to update with the good news my upholsterer is on the mend after open heart surgery and would start on the McLaughlin project next week!  We talked on the phone and he is concerned with Covid and his present health, also he looks upon the McLaughlin as therapy though I will have to do the "heavy lifting".  Good guy and I know everyone wishes him the best.

 

I am getting the car ready for a safety inspection before I can license it for the road.

 

My hometown of Blenheim. On is hosting an antique car cruise night Friday which involves gathering at a church parking lot and driving in the county to Erie Beach, Erieau, about 20 miles.  This is the first event in our part of the world.

 

Regards, stay well, Gary

 

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Happy Independence Day tomorrow, we had Canada Day Wednesday, Bev and I had a quiet picnic lunch by the side of Lake Erie and another couple arrived in a Ford rag top.

 

When I joined the early car hobby there was a fellow named Harold Sharon with tips and advice which I still follow.  With the current heat wave in Southern Ontario raging I am going to use the time to inspect my crankshaft and connecting rod bearings while the 1913 Buick's engine is resting in an air conditioned garage.  Mr. Sharon preached inspect and repair the car at home and do not wait for it to leave you stranded on tour.  My dad used to implore my brother to not take thing apart, leave them alone, " if it ain't broke, don't fix it ", he was mistaken.  I recommend you purchase a copy of Harold Sharon's fine book " Understanding your Brass Car."  It's a peach.

 

I am also taking this lockdown as time to replace my homes soffit, fascia and eavestroughs.  Luckily the house is a single story and I can work off a stepladder, I start in the morning and quit when it gets too hot.  No hurry.

 

Stay strong, Gary

 

 

 

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Gary,

Trust me when I say I know all about home maintenance. With two homes/properties there is always something to do...

Knowing the area where you live and able to get to the lake in short order I like to see you enjoying the time (on a calm day).

Great shot!

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Good advice on working in the A/C'd garage.  Meanwhile, that would be a Ford I would like to have, if I was to have one.

 

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The tropical heat wave has a few more days before a short cooling off and I thought you might enjoy a view of the bottom end of the mighty 4X4", 201 cu. in. 30 HP Buick engine.  A few interesting technical oddities make this unlike most Buick engines, aluminum crankcase is common but the crankshaft enters from the rear, it is called a barrel crankcase.  The front main bearing is 4" long and poured babbit in one piece, a tube, then machined in place, the rear main bearing is installed from the rear too.  The engine is a dry sump and a total loss engine oiling system, in one of the photos of the front main bearing the gear to the right powers the oil pump.  It is a plunger pump which lifts one drop of oil at a time and drips in a sight gauge on the dashboard before returning to the center main bearing and is then splashed throughout the crankcase.  The oil pump is adjustable, the owner decides how many drips per mile the engine receives.  Too much oil in the crankcase results in smoke and carbon build up, though there are four taps. one for each connecting rod, to set the correct level. The valve parts are oiled manually before starting the engine and the timing gears are in a separate gear case at the front of the engine and are lubed with gear oil, not connected with the crankcase.

 

So far all the components check out sound.  Gary

 

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6 minutes ago, cxgvd said:

The tropical heat wave has a few more days before a short cooling off and I thought you might enjoy a view of the bottom end of the mighty 4X4", 201 cu. in. 30 HP Buick engine.  A few interesting technical oddities make this unlike most Buick engines, aluminum crankcase is common but the crankshaft enters from the rear, it is called a barrel crankcase.  The front main bearing is 4" long and poured babbit in one piece, a tube, then machined in place, the rear main bearing is installed from the rear too.  The engine is a dry sump and a total loss engine oiling system, in one of the photos of the front main bearing the gear to the right powers the oil pump.  It is a plunger pump which lifts one drop of oil at a time and drips in a sight gauge on the dashboard before returning to the center main bearing and is then splashed throughout the crankcase.  The oil pump is adjustable, the owner decides how many drips per mile the engine receives.  Too much oil in the crankcase results in smoke and carbon build up, though there are four taps. one for each connecting rod, to set the correct level. The valve parts are oiled manually before starting the engine and the timing gears are in a separate gear case at the front of the engine and are lubed with gear oil, not connected with the crankcase.

 

So far all the components check out sound.  Gary

 

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Looks good.

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Have not mentioned it lately, corona virus is changing everything.  Today would have been the first day we would have had more than 50 brass era cars running around Chatham, On for five days of touring.  The weather is nearly perfect this week, upper 80's F. and dry, calm breezes.  Our area has been mostly spared from the virus except for big agrabusiness greenhouses, however we are in stage 2, which means no more than 10 people together and restaurants are open to outdoor patio only.  My neighbour gave me a haircut in her backyard, my first since March.

 

The Snapper's have postponed our meet until next summer, the AACA Vintage Tour have announced plans for the second week of July in the Lock Haven, Pa and I am thinking Chatham first or second week in August.  Our last event in 2020 has been cancelled, the Old Car Festival in Dearborn, Mi has been a highlight for antique cars for 70 years.  Hope it comes back, we need a vaccine before we can put this behind us.

 

Stay positive, Gary

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Could be a throwback to the good old days when a few close friends get together before organized events.  This afternoon I answered the phone and it was an invitation to join a tour of relaxed driving involving a few cars for a weekend.  Happy to be invited anywhere, I said yes. 

 

Here are photos of the cars coming. a 1909 EMF, 1913 White, 1912 Ford, our Buick and a 1907 Darracq.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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It is good when a plan comes together.  I finished inspecting and adjusting the main and rod bearings of my model 31this afternoon and the engine started on the second pull of the hand crank.  The engine seems quieter, I thought I could hear some bottom end noise before.  The crank is stiffer, more resistance to spinning and I now have 0.002" clearance in each bearing as measured with Plastigage.  I also found the plug on the bottom of the oil pump leaking oil, I acquired a new copper crush ring, installed and tightened it, less oil on the ground is good.  I installed new locking nuts for the rods, often the rods are secured with castellated nuts with cotter pins, this may be an upgrade.  Don't know.

 

I have two Buick Special sparkplugs and I compared the reach to the Champion 44's I am using, the electrode is about in the same location.

 

In the photos, I took a picture of the engine running, see the fan is blurry and a view from the back tonneau and what the driver would see.

 

Next weekend our local car club is visiting a nursing home parking lot and soon the Fleetwood Country Cruise is back and will be an actual cruise instead of a car show.

 

Stay well,  Gary

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33 minutes ago, cxgvd said:

Next weekend our local car club is visiting a nursing home parking lot and soon the Fleetwood Country Cruise is back and will be an actual cruise instead of a car show.

 

That is good to hear about the Fleetwood Country Cruise Gary.

Not that I will be able to attend but just when is this event to happen? 

 

 

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I can picture you and Harold talking since you are both engineers, when he and I conversed he would be patiently explaining a concept and I would try to follow along.

 

Hope all is well, Gary

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7 hours ago, cxgvd said:

I can picture you and Harold talking since you are both engineers, when he and I conversed he would be patiently explaining a concept and I would try to follow along.

 

Hope all is well, Gary

It was special but don't sell yourself short.  I’ve seen your work.  

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House painting task completed, next step is to install new soffits.

 

In my model 31 after I finished adjusting the clearance in the bearings and a short road test the engine would bog down on acceleration, idle, starting and cruising were good though.  I have two Bosch magnetos so I swapped one for the other.  The point gap was 0.016 and one side was nearly flush with the locking nut and the other was gapped at 0.020 and the platinum points appear stouter.  Since the mags are the same make and model and I have changed them often I am able to make the swap in ten minutes.  Last fall during the Lansing to Dearborn Endurance Run the Buick developed a high speed miss and I pulled into someone's laneway to take one off and put the other on.

 

It is not as hot as the weatherman said it would be today and the car needed another road test so I collected my Mrs., she really enjoys riding in the '13 Buick.  Engine performance is smooth in all conditions and I declare the car ready for it's next adventure.

 

Stay well. Gary

 

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Joyce and I were out driving our Model 31 today also with a friend. We had lunch downtown Rochester and put on about 20+ miles. Finally went home as the temp got to over 90deg.

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I have not driven or even moved our 1939 Buick since Easter and since the record heat wave had moderated into a hot and dry summer we took a 10 mile uneventful test.  When we got back and parked outside the sun seemed to strike the car right to record some detail close ups.  The paint is dirty and it shows the brightwork is pitted but too nice to spend dollars to replate, IMHO.

 

Good though, the Buick sat unloved and forlorn, five gallons of fresh gas and all is right with the world again.  Gary

 

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I have a problem with my runningboard covers on my 1939 Buick.  The car needs new runningboard mats though no one is reproducing them for the Century, Roadmaster or Limited, just the Special.  My solution is to remove the complete boards and send them 2500 miles to a shop which will make a custom set.  Cost is over $2000.00 plus tax and shipping, too expensive for my situation.

 

Watching television, a pitch man is promoting a rubber rejuvenator product.  So I bought some.  Very easy to acquire and use.  Wash the boards with soap and water and spread the thick material with a stiff bristle brush, recoat time is one hour so it is very fast as well.  Not as fulfilling as new rubber but much nicer than old, cracked, pieces missing boards, and less than $50.00.

 

In the first photo is the start, original mats, then the product and the first light coat and finally after two more medium coats.  Total cure time is one day and I think I can keep adding layers if I think it is wise,

 

Gary

 

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 Gary, it would seem I am late catching up on your thread. I recognized the gent in the May 20 picture, which whom you bought the car from? He is Bruce Forester, I've know him since the 70's I think. Still with us, the last I heard, but quite old now.

Keith

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