Buicknutty

Our new 1955 Special

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Yesterday I picked up a 1955 Special 4 door sedan, that is actually for my son. I had bought a car for his sister, who is about 9 years older, at about his age (she still has it, an '05 Sebring convert), so I had promised to buy him one, when he was old enough. Instead of a modern car, he wanted a vintage car. His desires, lke so many of us here are varied, for the "Doc" Hudson Hornets, '65 Rivs, 46-48 Sendanettes and the second gen Skylarks, from 61-63, plus Corvettes, and other performance cars. We considered many, lots that were way too expensive, as I had a specific price range to stick to. Importing a car to Canada from the US these days is so expensive, by the time the exchange, taxes, duties, and transport are paid for, it nearly doubles the purchase price of the car. Then whatever needs to be done to it is more.

 This car was quite local to us, about an hour's drive, and is a running driving car, and was licensed and driven last year. Canadian built, and I think that the only option it has is a Dynaflow, no radio, no PS or Brakes either. The Dynaflow leaks like any good Buick should. We'll see if it can get to an acceptable level or if it has come out sooner rather than later.

 This is resonably solid car, and shows 57,000+ miles and might be correct, by the obvious wear and tear signs, pedals, floor mats, etc. The floor mats are interesting, rubber up front, and a very short loop pile in the back seat, and it appears original. The has damage, like something fell on it, but it was painted over, not straightened very well at all. So this is for sure a 20 to 30 footer.

 Plan is to chack things out, fix it and get it certified, hopefully this Spring. We shall see.

 The picture shows the seller on the left, and my son Graham on the right with the on the car trailer, just after we loaded it up. More to come later.

 Keith

 

 

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Edited by Buicknutty
missing info (see edit history)
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Way to go Graham! And way to go Dad, too!  It looks like a neat daily driver! 

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  Here are a few more pictures of the '55. I took a shot of the floor beside the front seat and you can see the rubber mat and the rear carpet coming together. This sure looks it is original.

  The chrome is fair, and the pot metal has pitting in it, but it is still bright. Left front bumper arm is the worst chromed part of car. The front driver's seat has a tear in it, but haven't had a chance to look at the back seat. Otherwise the interior is quite presentable, and still serviceable. The covers are a bit ugly, but they do work. we'll see what the origianl stuff is like later in the week.

 Sometime in its' past it had a quick paint job, and hasn't much gloss to it. It looks like one of those cheapies where not even the chips were fixed. Including where it looks like something heavy fell on the hood, and only quickly straightened, but really fixed, and then painted.

 Of course 70's{?} wheels, but decent radials.

 You can see the patch on the gas pedal, but the other pedals work, and the emerg brake too. Pedal feel is very good, but I'll pull the drums to check everything out. Steering had a little play in it, and I did a steering box adjustment today, now its' down to about 1/2in., which is pretty good. Haven't checked kingpins, etc., yet.

 Keith

 

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I have a rubber mat as well.  It is Buick and I found it on Ebay.  In fact, I was bidding against Lamar(Mr. Earl).   For as old and unused it did not fall apart.     

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Nice Dagmars!  ;)

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 Well, we have been doing some small things to the '55. The signal lights were one thing it needed sorting out, and it turned out that a previous person had mixed up the wire connections. Once we got the wiring all going to where it was supposed to be, low and behold, everything worked!

 Another item we have been looking into, are the back up lights. This feature was, I believe optional, though when we took the lenses off, the wires where just hanging, with bare connectors near the housings. No sockets, or other apparatus are evident. So, is this the way it would of left the factory, if it had not had back up lights factory, or perhaps dealer installed? This is a low optioned car, so I'm not sure that it would of had this or not.

 It is equipped with windshield washers, which do not work. However we did determine that the issue is with the pump, as I put a known good on it, and it worked, though this is the wrong pump.

 I've posted some pictures of the pump, and is this typical of a '55 washer pump? This is a Canadian built car, so I'm just wondering if there is any difference. I believe that this pump is original to the car, though of course I cannot be sure.

 A few places sell rebuild kits for early 50's washer pumps, has anyone rebuilt these things with success?

 Thanks, folks.

 Keith

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Edited by Buicknutty (see edit history)

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 Well folks, we have got back to seriously working on the '55 in the last few weeks. The Dynaflow leaks are pretty bad, so decided that it might as come out now. A few interesting things are being discovered along the way. The transmission oil cooler, which is at the back seems to be completely MIA. Which explains why the previous owner ran lines to an external cooler in front of the rad. We want to return it to stock, so will now need one of those babies. The other very odd thing is, I suppose his lines were too long, so he simply wrapped them around the back of the trans, near the torque ball to use up the extra.

 We removed the oil pan, which by the look of the dirt and greasy residue around it and all of the bolts perhaps hasn't been off since they put it on in the factory, and the good news is that the inside of the pan is quite clean, without much accumulation. Bodes well that the internals are good. This appears to be a fairly low mileage car, and this supports that.

 Taking a break for supper now, and hopefully will have it out either tonight, or tomorrow.

 Keith

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 Just an update on the car, I'll try to post a few pictures later.

We have re and re'd the trans, though haven't put the rear axle back in yet. On one of the few nice, dry days we rolled it outside to clean it up a bit. Though we really aren't doing an actual restoration on the car, we will clean things up and give it some paint to help preserve it.

 

 The biggest problem is so far, I haven't found anything on the car that was done right. Wiring was mixed up, so that's why stuff didn't seem to work right, but that's the most of the minor things done wrong.

 The trans lines were all done with compression fittings, instead of flares, and this next is scary, so were the brake lines. Plus a section of copper line had been spliced in, with the same aforementioned fittings. They work, but really aren't suitable for the high pressures in those lines, and can suddenly fail. The master cylinder had been rebuilt, but it was seeping, and my suspicion was correct, it was pitted. Now it has been rebuilt with a stainless sleeve.

 The transmission was interesting as well. Seems someone had been there before me. The access cover at the bottom of the bell housing, as well as everything else there had been sealed up with silicone, including the block to bell housing. I suppose to stop it leaking, but???  When I got the torque converter off there was a new SKF seal, but though the seal was new, and the right size, it wasn't a transmission seal, and not designed for the pressure, so that explains the bad leak. Shaft was quite good actually, as were the other parts, not much wear, which supports the low mileage.

 On one side on the front wheels, the wheel bearing was way over tightened, and has ruined it (I have spares), and I bet the other side is the same.

 So, I must go through every bit of this thing and make things correct and safe.

 I never consider myself the best mechanic out there, but I do try to do the work correctly, with the importance on reliability and safety in particular.

 

 The bodywork so far has been equally bad. I've found bits of cardboard, paper, sprayfoam, and even part of a #80 grit sandpaper sheet behind body filler. The thing is, the body isn't that bad, but the work was so poorly done, I feel that it should be done over. I'm sure there will be more surprises, but not the kind we like.

 This seems to have been done at various points in its' life, not just by the person we bought it off of. He described himself as mechanic, and told me he worked a dealership which sold high end cars, but the work he claimed to have done was the brakes, and I don't know what to think. Except, like I said, I've checking every inch of it.

 

 For the time being, I'm kind of out of the car business, as I recently had an operation on my hand and have to take thing easy on it for a couple of months.

 Keith

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1 hour ago, Buicknutty said:

For the time being, I'm kind of out of the car business, as I recently had an operation on my hand and have to take thing easy on it for a couple of months.

 Keith

 

I didn't know if it would be right to "like" your last post Keith.  Sounds like a whole lot of trouble for you!  And I just wanted to say I hope your hand heals up quickly!  

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 Thanks, John. I know what you mean. I see the doctor (surgeon) tomorrow about my hand, and hopefully it will be good news, it is feeling better than I thought it would after only a few days.

Keith

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