36Special

After 3 Years!!!

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Body work/paint and interior are over $15,000 EACH if you pay someone to do it all.  But, if you do the labor yourself and find a good parts car and painter, those numbers come way down, if needed.  It's about being resourceful if money is a problem.

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2 minutes ago, 39BuickEight said:

Body work/paint and interior are over $15,000 EACH if you pay someone to do it all.  But, if you do the labor yourself and find a good parts car and painter, those numbers come way down, if needed.  It's about being resourceful if money is a problem.

Well, it's not like I have $15,000 to $18,000 just laying around which is why I would take my time doing the restore. I'm all about resourceful. I've learned that from my beautiful wife! 

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If you decide to get that modified mess running, be sure it is safe to drive.  Some modification will make an old car like this more safe...others not so much.

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8 minutes ago, old-tank said:

If you decide to get that modified mess running, be sure it is safe to drive.  Some modification will make an old car like this more safe...others not so much.

I already had that in the back of my mind. My father-in-law said he was was driving it when he first got it and it seemed to drive real nice, even took it out on the highway and got up to 70 mph. But yeah, once I can get under it and take a good look around, that is a priority!

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22 hours ago, 36Special said:

Billy, 

 

Appreciate the kind words. I agree on the parts car and the fact that for me\us, it's about the journey and not the value. I have unfinished business because when I had my 1970 Gran Sport, I never got to finish that one. The car is not leaving the family during my lifetime as I am committed to getting it going and restored then when the time comes, passing it down to my step son. I am not interested in selling it. Many people won't agree with this, and to them I say, thank you for the advice, but it's what I want to do. Could I buy one that needs no restoration, sure. I could figure out how to make that happen but it's not as satisfying as when you recreate something yourself. 

 

JMHO

Scott,

Your comment above is a good philosophy though it is one that is MUCH easier said than done. As I read through this thread and between the lines, I see a lot of wisdom from VERY experienced individuals that are politely trying to warn you of the enormous project ahead. Restoring any Buick, let alone a 36 that's been hacked is a huge challenge compared to mainstream classic cars where you can open a catalog and order any part you need reasonably priced. I've become acquainted with many folks over the years who shared your vision and all too often the car is dismantled with great enthusiasm for the project then one financial road block or frustrating restoration challenge after another plus normal responsibilities of daily life, the enthusiasm for the project wanes and 15 or 20 years go by and its eventually sold for pennies on the dollar and the dream is lost. Not saying that will happen to you, but it happens way too often even to those with the very best intentions. I wish you the very best if you do decide to jump in. We all just want to see you start with something that gives you a fighting chance to achieve your goal and this car is NOT it. In fact just the opposite, the odds are stacked heavily against you. 

At this point the best thing to do is sit back and take a couple months to think about it before any work is started.

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, 36Special said:

Most of the time from what I've heard, you don't ever get the money back you put in...

You never do.  That's OK, because you can't put a price tag on pleasure.  Having said that, money is always a concern.  And it's not always about the amount; it's often about the opportunity cost.  What will you have to give up for the time and money you spend on this?  The wife may be able to think of better uses. ;) 

 

2 hours ago, 36Special said:

...that's the least of my worries as I don't plan on selling it.

Maybe you don't, but what about your heirs and assigns?  A good percentage of older cars change hands through estate sales.  Which is to say they didn't inherit a gift, they got stuck with a PITA.  If the kids don't want it, the best thing you can do for them is sell it before you die.

 

Not trying to rain on your parade here, but if you specifically want a 36 Buick, there are easier ways to get one.  If you're looking for a project for the sake of the challenge or emotional closure on your aborted Gran Sport, this will certainly do that.  If you're trying to create an heirloom, you might want to assess the starting point (did it really mean that much to your father in-law?) and gauge the intergenerational interest first.

 

Finally, there's a long thread on here somewhere about the complete restoration of a similar car.  It might be instructive to read through that, both for the help therein and the insight into the depth and breadth of the project.

 

Good luck.

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21 hours ago, JZRIV said:

At this point the best thing to do is sit back and take a couple months to think about it before any work is started.

 

Put me in the "clean-up, repair and drive" camp.  Once you get it recommissioned, if it performs as well as your father-in-law said, it may be worth considering a "hybrid" restoration -- restore the appearance to original but keep the modern mechanicals.  This approach would make even more sense if you intend to drive the car significant distances on Interstate highways.  The original drive train will not be as eager to operate at 65 ~ 70 mph for extended periods.  This two-step approach will let you reconsider the final plan for the car before you begin the comprehensive disassembly needed for a completely original restoration.

 

Also - consider that if your father-in law personally performed the chassis and drive train modifications, that history will be lost once the car is restored to original.  If preserving some of that history is important, then a "cosmetic restoration" makes even more sense (to me, anyway)...

Edited by EmTee
updated (see edit history)
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21 hours ago, KongaMan said:

Which is to say they didn't inherit a gift, they got stuck with a PITA.

 

We have a culture of hero worship. The big task of taking on a major project and completing it is award winning. The uneventful maintenance of an artifact is laborious and unrecognized in most instances. Once in a while a rare exception, but not so much. In a previous post I used the term "chivalrous". It was the best word for the thought.

 

 

21 hours ago, JZRIV said:

and the dream is lost.

 

But there are times when the dream is more important than the action. I have sold a lot of dreams and listened to very little advice.. Of course I rarely ask for advice. I found out quite early that it screws up my dreams.

Bernie

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On 1/18/2020 at 9:48 AM, EmTee said:

 

Put me in the "clean-up, repair and drive" camp.  Once you get it recommissioned, if it performs as well as your father-in-law said, it may be worth considering a "hybrid" restoration -- restore the appearance to original but keep the modern mechanicals.  This approach would make even more sense if you intend to drive the car significant distances on Interstate highways.  The original drive train will not be as eager to operate at 65 ~ 70 mph for extended periods.  This two-step approach will let you reconsider the final plan for the car before you begin the comprehensive disassembly needed for a completely original restoration.

 

Also - consider that if your father-in law personally performed the chassis and drive train modifications, that history will be lost once the car is restored to original.  If preserving some of that history is important, then a "cosmetic restoration" makes even more sense (to me, anyway)...

My father-in-law was not the person who made the modifications of the drive train/chassis.

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On ‎1‎/‎15‎/‎2020 at 11:00 AM, Walt G said:

My advice is to find a reasonably complete 1936 Special parts car with the correct chassis, engine, suspension, steering  etc that perhaps is to far gone body wise with rust. Remove the rusty body and restore the complete chassis, engine etc. THEN use the car you now have to start to transfer/donate  its body, fenders etc onto a restored running chassis . Yes, a lot of work , but it will save you a lot of effort trying to find parts ( since you do not have a stock car to look at to see what parts you need /fit etc)

Walt

Also keep eyes & ears open for someone who's hot-rodded one.  I bet you'll find they'll want to dispose of the original running gear-----------CHEAP!!

 

Craig

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Craig is right on that point, they also may want to part with the wheels ,gas tank, and possibly the steering column etc

Great thinking Craig, thanks for adding that.

Walt

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8 minutes ago, Walt G said:

Craig is right on that point, they also may want to part with the wheels ,gas tank, and possibly the steering column etc

Great thinking Craig, thanks for adding that.

Walt

I am planning to slide under it this weekend coming up so I can get a better look at what might have been replaced. Of course the warmer weather brought all the rain and now that the rain is gone, it's been in the low 20's...lol

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Scott,

 

Out of curiosity, I called the CTC Auto Ranch and asked the counter guy about the three 1938 Buick Special Parts cars.  He told me that he'd sell a complete rolling chassis w/ engine for $2,000.  You'd still have to rebuild everything but it might be cheaper than trying to find individual parts especially if you don't know what the parts are and what parts are missing.  For him, a rolling chassis would include the body but no fenders, hood, bumpers, or trunk lid.  I'm only posting this as an FYI.

 

Ed

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14 hours ago, RivNut said:

Scott,

 

Out of curiosity, I called the CTC Auto Ranch and asked the counter guy about the three 1938 Buick Special Parts cars.  He told me that he'd sell a complete rolling chassis w/ engine for $2,000.  You'd still have to rebuild everything but it might be cheaper than trying to find individual parts especially if you don't know what the parts are and what parts are missing.  For him, a rolling chassis would include the body but no fenders, hood, bumpers, or trunk lid.  I'm only posting this as an FYI.

 

Ed

Thank you for that information Ed, I really appreciate it. My wife and I are in the discussion stages of what we're going to do with it regarding restoration.

 

Scott

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On ‎1‎/‎17‎/‎2020 at 8:45 AM, 39BuickEight said:

Body work/paint and interior are over $15,000 EACH if you pay someone to do it all.  But, if you do the labor yourself and find a good parts car and painter, those numbers come way down, if needed.  It's about being resourceful if money is a problem.

One would miss all the fun of restoring it YOURSELF in your OWN garage with photos to prove it by farming it out to a restoration shop.  Of course, one does save a considerable amount of money on labor, but not necessarily on parts and materials; especially if you want nothing less than 'the best' for your vintage car.  I did fork over a considerable amount to have a new padded dash made for one of my Studebakers, and have paid a figure for some almost unobtainable NOS trim that would cause a few wives to freak out at them if they ever found out.

 

Craig

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3 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

One would miss all the fun of restoring it YOURSELF in your OWN garage with photos to prove it by farming it out to a restoration shop.  Of course, one does save a considerable amount of money on labor, but not necessarily on parts and materials; especially if you want nothing less than 'the best' for your vintage car.  I did fork over a considerable amount to have a new padded dash made for one of my Studebakers, and have paid a figure for some almost unobtainable NOS trim that would cause a few wives to freak out at them if they ever found out.

 

Craig

I would do a majority of it myself. Some things I would not be able to do and would be handed off to the professionals. Most likely the upholstery parts and body work. 

 

Scott

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8 minutes ago, 36Special said:

I would do a majority of it myself. Some things I would not be able to do and would be handed off to the professionals. Most likely the upholstery parts and body work. 

 

Scott

The body work and preparation, I do myself, and I actually enjoy the fun and challenge of working on it.  A mainstream bodyshop into high turnover would NEVER put the time and effort into a thorough restoration.  The final paint, however, I do leave for a body shop as they are equipped with the new HVLP paint guns coupled with the proper downdraft spray booth one needs to achieve a top quality finish one always wishes for their vehicle.

 

Craig

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1 minute ago, 8E45E said:

The body work and preparation, I do myself, and I actually enjoy the fun and challenge of working on it.  A mainstream bodyshop into high turnover would NEVER put the time and effort into a thorough restoration.  The final paint, however, I do leave for a body shop as they are equipped with the new HVLP paint guns coupled with the proper downdraft spray booth one needs to achieve a top quality finish one always wishes for their vehicle.

 

Craig

Paint would be left to the body shop. As well as any major repairs. I don't weld, but I can replace body parts of course. I worked for GM for 13 years.

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1 hour ago, 8E45E said:

One would miss all the fun of restoring it YOURSELF in your OWN garage with photos to prove it by farming it out to a restoration shop.  Of course, one does save a considerable amount of money on labor, but not necessarily on parts and materials; especially if you want nothing less than 'the best' for your vintage car.  I did fork over a considerable amount to have a new padded dash made for one of my Studebakers, and have paid a figure for some almost unobtainable NOS trim that would cause a few wives to freak out at them if they ever found out.

 

Craig

Of course, just providing information.  I did my car myself.  All of my labor was "free."

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57 minutes ago, 36Special said:

Paint would be left to the body shop. As well as any major repairs. I don't weld, but I can replace body parts of course. I worked for GM for 13 years.

 

Do what I did, find a good used Mig welder on craigslist and learn.  Sheet metal and welding wire is cheap. 

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Have you asked yourself yet "Why did my father-in-law buy an older car with a more modern driveline?"   Maybe that's what he wanted in the first place and you would be honoring him by continuing to work on what he first started.  If he were looking for an older original car wouldn't he have bought one in the first place?  Finishing whatvhe started will be a lot less costly and you'll have a car that can be driven anywhere at any time (once you get an air conditioning unit installed.  Unless you grew up driving and riding in cars without a/c, you're in for some miserable drives in the summer without it.

 

Ed

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Although I would get it running first and said as much, I can't believe we are discouraging the idea of restoring this when the original poster has been warned about the time and cost of such an undertaking, and still has his mind set on doing it. Is this not a restoration site?

 

A 1936 Buick is a WOODEN body, with a metal skin. The wood, if bad, is really a bigger problem than anything else I see here. I don't mean to be discouraging, it is certainly possible to fix. I am learning how as we speak.

 

Where are the 1936 Buick owners? IIRC there are a few who frequent these forums.

 

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20 hours ago, RivNut said:

Have you asked yourself yet "Why did my father-in-law buy an older car with a more modern driveline?"   Maybe that's what he wanted in the first place and you would be honoring him by continuing to work on what he first started.  If he were looking for an older original car wouldn't he have bought one in the first place?  Finishing whatvhe started will be a lot less costly and you'll have a car that can be driven anywhere at any time (once you get an air conditioning unit installed.  Unless you grew up driving and riding in cars without a/c, you're in for some miserable drives in the summer without it.

 

Ed

He bought it on a whim. There is nothing the the reason of this rhyme. In the end, it's what I want to do with the car. He has not invested anything into it nor has he offered any advice on what he would like seen done to it.

As for riding in a car with no AC, been there done that. I know what that's like. If I continue to just restore it to close to original as possible, there will be no AC, if I continue on the path that the car is in. I'll think about adding an AC unit.

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19 hours ago, Bloo said:

Although I would get it running first and said as much, I can't believe we are discouraging the idea of restoring this when the original poster has been warned about the time and cost of such an undertaking, and still has his mind set on doing it. Is this not a restoration site?

 

A 1936 Buick is a WOODEN body, with a metal skin. The wood, if bad, is really a bigger problem than anything else I see here. I don't mean to be discouraging, it is certainly possible to fix. I am learning how as we speak.

 

Where are the 1936 Buick owners? IIRC there are a few who frequent these forums.

 

I'm not discouraged over it. In the end, I know the undertaking I am entering into. I did ask for any information regarding the places I could get parts and such. Lots of people have offered up what they "think" I should do with it. Everyone has been heard and replied to. No big deal. 

 

Yes he did inform me that is had a wooden body when we talked about it. I am not rushing into anything at the moment. It's going to be a long project.

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If you reached out to the 36 38 Buick Club, have you received any responses yet?

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