auburnseeker

So I have a Chance to buy a New Old Toy what are the pros and Cons of this Buick?

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I have had a few ads out to buy a new toy after selling my 40 Ford Coupe and having money burning a hole in my pocket.  Though It's about on fire,  I have been very good about not jumping as nothing has really spoken to me,  like I wanted it to,  well until now.  This one isn't screaming at me,  but I do hear some whispering and a gentle nudge or two.  

Loving prewar cars and having had a few,  but mostly Mopars,  what are the pros and cons of these Buicks?  A Buick would be a totally new experience from this era.  I have asked about the wood which I was assured is in very good shape,  it ruins well but has a leak in the waterpump,  a low beam headlight out and a horn that was working but now isn't.  I was told it cruises easily at 60 and stops well.  It has been repainted once a long time ago and the chrome was all redone.  Wheels were restored more recently and it has newer tires, though not sure how old they are. 
Honestly I was quite surprised it was a pretty nice looking car in a pretty handsome body style when I opened the reply to my ad.  Usually  I get a bunch of junky project cars or aborted hot rod projects offered, so much they don't even get a second thought.

It's a 31 according to the paperwork but might be a 30  8-96.  

I'll attach a photo of it as well. 

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Beautiful car and body style! I was going to mention wood, but you already did.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)

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1930 and 31 look very similar, but the big difference is under the hood: 1931 was the first  year for the straight-8s. If it's a 1931 8-96, then it's a Full Classic 90-Series victoria coupe with the 344 cubic inch straight-8 rated at, I think, 104 horsepower. I have a '31 8-87 in the shop now (same engine, slightly shorter wheelbase) and it's a great driver with strong performance and comfort. I think 60 MPH is optimistic unless it has high-speed gears. Brakes are mechanical and mediocre, but if you get them adjusted right they're competent for the car's performance. Sychromesh was standard for the first time in 1931, too. They are high-quality, well-built, well-engineered cars that I find handsome. 

 

Parts are tougher to find than later '30s Buicks, but if it's complete you can service everything and I don't know of any one-year-only gotcha items other than trim and interior bits. Manifolds can be problematic and you should check to be sure the exhaust isn't cracked. Some guys have problems tuning the Marvel updraft carbs and getting the exhaust heat riser to not cook the carb, but I think those are manageable problems--both of the 344-inch Buicks I've owned had the intakes flipped and a later downdraft carb installed. They drove very well even if they didn't look quite stock. The guys on this board and in the Buick club know these cars well and can give you a lot of help if you get in a jam.

 

Nothing in there should frighten an experienced guy like you. It's a good place to start if you want to try an earlier car and as a Full Classic, it's welcome just about anywhere. 

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If you buy and need some parts a long time friend has a large pile of parts and body's for 31. He may even have a nice Vicky like your if not sold yet.

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I know the car......but can’t remember where, when, and why I came across it. I think it may have been in Ohio. A mostly original car when I looked at it if it’s the same car......maybe has been upgraded and improved since then. A 1931 8-96 is a fantastic car, and with a factory high speed rear they fly.........a better driver and runner than a 1931 Cadillac........and I have owned a bunch. Parts are tough and getting tougher, as the chassis is currently on the “hot” list for building modern vintage race cars in South America. If you want to talk about it on the phone, PM me your number and a time to call. It’s a platform and a car I would own..............not a comment I make very often.

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Auburnseeker,

 

Run, do not walk, with the seller, to your local DMV, and get this gem transferred iinto your name.

You'll never regret owning and driving a Straight Eight Buick.

This 1931 Full Classic is the first year for the Buick, and a Victoria is an especially nice body style.

Assuming the wood is good, you'll love just how solid it is, based on my experience with my 1934 sedan and 1937 Phaeton.

 

What Matt has noted above rings true, 

 

... and you won't even need a trailer to drive it to next year's GliddenTour, based in Saratoga Springs, NY

Edited by Marty Roth
typo (see edit history)
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I'm waiting on some more detail and a video.   The car is only a couple of hours away so it's even near enough to touch and really get a feel for it's condition.  The owner said it is the huge straight 8 in it. Any problems anyone can recall with the coolant system?  Just making sure it's not a block or other coolant passage issue instead of really a leaky pump if there is something to look for common on these.  

I will check out the manifold to make sure it's not cracked.  Is there an acceptable repair if it's been repaired and not leaking?  The interior is Ok.  Looks like the headliner is intact but maybe coming loose,  Front seats look very good.  (almost too good to be original, compared to the rest of the interior) It's got some other more minor issues like a driver's door handle that doesn't work from the outside,  and more notably a missing gas gauge.  That might be an expensive thing to replace if they are even obtainable.   From what I can see everything else looks like it's there. I know most of the stuff seems like tinkering issues to fix,  which is right up my alley.  I'll try to post some more photos.  The owner really wants to see that it doesn't get hot rodded.  That's why he replied to my ad looking for an original stock unmodified car. 

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I will take you up on the offer Ed if I decide to take the plunge.   

You know the only reservation I have is I'm always a little gun shy for fear of jumping on something I like to only have something I love pop up a week later.  Of course I think many of us have that same problem.  So many great cars and so little time / money.   It's not often you are cashed up and in a position to do some car shopping especially since i have such a large bucket list and of course we have Hershey right around the corner. 

I really do like it.  Just weighing my options.  You know I must be somewhat serious as it's actually rated posting here for advice.  

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Here is the additional shots I have at the moment.  I'll try to get some under the hood as well and underneath. I see a missing window crank on the Passenger side door , of course the non original spot light is missing the handle.  Also something missing above the header panel.  Mascot appears intact as does crank hole cover. Does anyone else see anything missing? Running board trim looks to be put on with screws which is probably not correct.  Matts on the boards look original and weathered as expected. 

Driver's door doesn't appear to hit the sill so maybe the wood is OK.  That should be the most likely piece to be sagging or loose I would assume. 

The repaint looks mighty thin to me which adds a nice aged look (not neglected) to the car. 

I blacked out the plates.  It's a legit car for sale. 

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15 minutes ago, Laughing Coyote said:

What about a nice concrete floor for that big shop instead?  ;)

Well I would love the floor,  but that's at best a year out,  so I might as well play a bit and hopefully my business will continue to grow so It can pay for it instead of my savings.  Besides I could always sell that junky cord in the corner.  Just kidding.  I would probably do it in two halves anyways for logistics reasons and I might even need to do the electric first for inspection reasons.  I've come to the reality that even busting my Butt,  that shop is going to take some time and alot more $$$ to get finished.  Hopefully I live long enough. ;) 

My other shop comfortable holds 4 cars (5 if you stick a small one in the middle almost under the stairs) with room to work on them if I throw some junk out.   Though this 132 inch Wheelbase car will hog up some of that real estate.  Must be almost as big as my superduty extended cab Ford with the 8 foot box. 

Edited by auburnseeker (see edit history)

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Here are a few more photos i have. 

The gauge cluster looks very nice , excluding the gas gauge of course.  Plating on that looks to be too good to be original, maybe they replated the nickel?  Door panels don't look original to me. Are the horns incorrect as well?  Shouldn't it have chrome horns out front? 

 

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Never owned one but have heard of this peculiarity, they had a hot spot in the intake to vaporise the fuel. Intake mixture passes thru a thin steel tube that was in contact with the exhaust. With age the tube could rust through allowing exhaust to mix with the intake mixture and the car would run lousy. I don't think the tube is very hard to replace. Maybe some savvy Buick owners or mechanics can chime in. I don't even know if this model had that style of manifold, but the earlier sixes did.

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I worked on a 1933 Buick eight and remember the manifolds being on the other side, there was a problem with the water plate rotting and a water pump problem as well. This Victoria looks very nice, were wire wheels an option? Hope it works out for you. They used that engine in a few INDY 500 cars, the Schafer 8 finished in 12 place.  The restored  car set and may still hold some VSCCA Records. Bob 

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Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)

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all good advice Randy. I owned a 1930 model 58 with  the 6 cylinder engine. finest car I ever owned. The 6's do have a problem with the block leaking back by the firewall and hopefully that isnt true with the 8's.

 

6 is good for a solid 50 mph and the 8 should easily carry you to 60mph.

 

even though it has been mentioned- check the WOOD thoroughly! the reason I sold mine, the wood started getting dry rot in the trunk area. didnt want to deal with wood. so I WOOD go through the car thoroughly concerning that.

 

these cars are amazing and I would buy another in a heart beat! YOU WONT BE DISAPPOINTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

YES DOOR PANELS ARE INCORRECT. SEATS LOOK FINE. NO HORNS OUT FRONT...............

Edited by mercer09 (see edit history)

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They’re normally much better value than the cadillacs of the era and not a million miles away in terms of quality 

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1 hour ago, hidden_hunter said:

They’re normally much better value than the cadillacs of the era and not a million miles away in terms of quality 

 

 

No where near the quality of a Caddy, but a better driver. It is very similar to the Auburns of the era as far as body and chassis.

 

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13 hours ago, edinmass said:

the chassis is currently on the “hot” list for building modern vintage race cars in South America

sorry for silly question- but are they racing these sorts of cars down there? Or are folks just taking advantage of the highly skilled labor pool in that region and having work performed down there? If so that's pretty interesting and didn't realize that was really a popular thing aside from that one guy that specializes in all the Cord work.

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Just now, md murray said:

sorry for silly question- but are they racing these sorts of cars down there? Or are folks just taking advantage of the highly skilled labor pool in that region and having work performed down there? If so that's pretty interesting and didn't realize that was really a popular thing aside from that one guy that specializes in all the Cord work.

The REAL Shafer 8 INDY car has several clones, the COKER TIRE car being one of the nicer ones. The Great Race as caused a lot of recreations, a few are nicely done. Bob 

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They are running them down there, seems many of the locals with the big dollars keep all sorts of cars all over the globe. For some reason, they like the very big Buick series. They are building stuff that’s a 1930’s Buick block and head with fuel injection, turbocharged, ect.........all very high end.

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6 hours ago, mercer09 said:

here is a weak comp............. 16500. all new wood.

 

 

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WOW! That looks like a great deal, considering it took 18 pages of Forum chat to see a Model A Ford that was less than half the car sell for half that asking price. 

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auburnseeker, they don't come around that often, and if it is as nice in person as it is in the photos, buy it. I understand about cars calling to you. Hershey is only a few weeks away. Get your parts list ready. Good luck with the purchase. Thanks, John

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Do you know what the writing on the spark plug cover says, I see a 33 and the oil temperature regulator is different than my 60 series 31 but that may be proper . The pipe from the exhaust to the heat riser is missing but that is not a big deal. The King-Seely fuel gauges were filled with a corrosive liquid that often rusted the face. I have a rusty one that may be able to be saved if you are in a real pinch. Looks like a very nice car.

 

Dave

Edited by Dave39MD (see edit history)

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