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1932 58 forever project

Robert Engle

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In 1996 I purchased my 1932 model 58 Buick.  It had not run in 15 years.  I manged to get it running poorly.  #6 cylinder always oil fouled the plug and was down in compression.  I pulled the head and found a wrist pin had broken and damaged the cylinder.  I pulled the engine and had it bored .030" and installed new rings and pistons.


The company I  worked for  asked me to transfer to Wisconsin.  The 32 Buick went into a closed trailer along with all part I had been collecting.  My new job had me busy and little work was done on the car.  Wisconsin winters are no fun working in an unheated garage.  The CEO of the company asked me to go to Connecticut either turnaround the plant or close it down.  We managed to get the plant back to profitability and they asked me to stay till my retirement in 2 years.  Little work was done on the Buick during this time.


Finally in 2006, I retired to Virginia and built a 40 by 60 shop.  I began working on the car at this time.  Unfortunately, I found the driver side A pillar wood rotted out at the driver side frame rail.  I decided to do a DIY restoration.  But I got the bug for other cars.  I bought a 53 chevy, an 85 Mustang, a 1970 GS Buick, an 87 GN,  a 1960 Buick Invicta Custom  (not a modified car, but a midyear model with leather interior and bucket seats),  I bought a 29 Model A coupe, and I came across a 1957 barn find Continental.  With all these toys, the progress slowed on the 32 Buick.  This past year, I got the chassis assembled, repaired the wood in the body and farmed out the paint work on the body.

Last week I got to experience the nervousness about testing the engine that had not been run in 20 years.  I rigged up a lawn mower gas tank, an oil pressure gauge and vacuum gauge.  What an experience!  The engine fired in seconds and ran smooth with 30 psi and 15" of vacuum.  It revved smoothly and idled well.  Only a minor oil leak, and water leak were found.  I had taken the distributor to a friends shop and set it up on the Sun machine.  I recommend this if at all possible as the dual point setup can be challenging.  With the Marvel carb, I measured the heighth  of the idle jest and scribed a line in the fuel bowl 1/16" below the idle jets.  I set the fuel level to this line.


With the chassis in running order, this week I set the body on the chassis,  and am now shimming and connecting many components.  I dread installing the doors.  they are heavy and probably will require body shimming to get a good fit.  

Thanks for bearing with me on this "forever project"  There are so many highs as well as lots of lows on a home project like this.  See the attached photos of the body install.


Bob Engle





chassis 1_800x600.jpg

chassis 2_800x600.jpg

chassis 3_800x600.jpg

chassis 4_800x600.jpg

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I'll stick with it.  

When I bought the car, I set 3 goals for it:


1.  get it running

2.  learn all I could about 32 Buicks

3  Drive it when it's 100 years old.  I'm coming up on 77 in June, so I've got to be around in 2032.


While I admire show quality restorations, I try for correct restorations in driving condition.  


Bob Engle

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Hi Bob,   Your company just did not realize the importance of restoring a really great 1932 Buick.     At least you were able to finally stop and get a proper restoration shop.      Its interesting to see the changes from your '32-58'  to  my '35-58' Vicky.     Your '32' really looks very nice.     I was lucky in that my only 'soft wood, was in the upper corner of my trunk lid.   My doors are still hanging true.    I have replaced my dash to engine wiring as it was getting ragged.    My head lights were coated with aluminum ( ? ) over the brass  shell.      I just send mine to "Vacuum Orna-Metal"  in Romulus MI.      They will coat it with a great reflecting coating to get my head lights useable.    I also converted my head light assembly's to  Halogen,  but they are energy hog's.    I got a very nice converter that converts 6v to 12v -Amazon- for about $28.00 .     I considered using LED bulbs that can be inserted into the same sockets.   (Using a 6 v to 12 v converter) because the LED lights only use about 750 mw each.    That is 3/4 amp per bulb.    Great light while using  20 %  of original amperage.   You cannot see the LED bulbs inside the original reflectors.    Treats your old wiring and switch's with tender care.    Plus,  your tail lights may be the dual  filament bulbs variety and you can replace  the original bulbs with LED bulbs.     I did that on my '38-46s'.     This will give you much better / brighter tail lights.   Again,   uses less than half the power  of original bulbs.      Yes,  I drive my cars.   Been there / done that.

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I don't take long trips and I don't like to drive at night.  So my model A and my 1917 D45 make short trips out on the back country roads.  This is such a great hobby.  There is now "correct" way to keep, maintain, drive and show our cars.

Lots of great people in the Hobby.


Bob Engle

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