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1952 Special 45R coupe


Rusty Heaps
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I guess I need to start a new thread for my project. Some of you may have taken a look at my start over in the intro section. So here we go. I purchased this car as a basket case approximately 9 years ago. I’ve been playing with other projects ahead of it. Well, time starts to tell on untouched projects, so I decided that I better pay attention before it’s too late. Recently I pulled the mouse nest interior and stripped the seats, pulled the windshield gasket and trim, no windshield in the car, and have sanded and painted the inside of the shell of the car, the floors, under side of roof, and quarters. Also repainted the dashboard and sanded,repaired, and repainted the trunk compartment. I’m using old election signs for door, quarter, kick panels, and parcel tray panels , they work great for cardboards, just buy the metal tack strips. This isn’t going to be a show car, just a driver. Also purchased some light gray vinyl and medium gray fabric for the panels and hopefully the seats I recently purchased the windshield and gasket, and am busy buying parts. I’m looking for a new gas tank and have to get measurements for the filler neck offset. Here are some pics. I hope you’ve had your tetanus shot!

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Edited by Rusty Heaps (see edit history)
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The body only has a rattle can paint job that I applied a few years ago to save the car. But if it had an engine and brakes, I’d drive it as is. Add windshield of course. If I had known back in he ‘80s, my first car probably would not have been a ‘55 Chevy, it would have been a ‘51 or ‘52 Buick!

Edited by Rusty Heaps (see edit history)
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Rusty, I am sure you know your car came with a 263,  which debuted in 1950.  You MAY NOT realize a 248 can be used in place of a 263.   From 1948_1950.   Same size, same bolt patterns. May be easier to find. I am betting there is a good 263 within 500 miles of you, though. Just keep looking.  There is one in Sioux City, Iowa area for free. I think. 

 

  Ben

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Thanks Ben for the bit of engine swap info. It’s good to know that I have more options. I hope that I can find one on a budget. Unfortunately a few years ago I didn’t have sufficient funds to purchase a rough and cheap ‘53 Special 2dr sedan that ran and drove but otherwise wasn’t much better than mine. ‘I would not have felt guilty for pulling the drivetrain from that car and letting a hot rodder have it being that it is a much more common vehicle. Never the money when I need it!

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Hey

If you want a little wider source for a used seat I have a 1955 Cent and the front seat was shredded toast! A local guy put new seats in his 1951 Spec and had pulled a really nice reupolstered original seat. I  measured the width, gave him the 50.00 he was asking and bolted it in my 55 Cent. Point is if you research abit alot of gm stuff is more modular than is documented. After you buy and read the book Ill be happy to answer more what fits what as I have studyed that info, wait, what were we talkn bout? HeeheeIMG_20150501_193749.thumb.jpg.692457a451c73a66a704724590d23905.jpg

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The weather cooperated with us today so we had a great time picking through a local junkyard. I found some small odds and ends that we’re on my list. How is it that no matter how many tools you bring, you never have that one tool to get a part you have on your wishlist? Let me see if I can post some pics. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

An update on my Baby Buick. I just finished sanding and painting the undercarriage and installed a new fuel tank. Just got new vent and quarter window replacement glass, the doors will have to wait, hopefully I can get the glass installed by the weekend. Bob’s sent new master cylinder and wheel cylinders, along with the hood release cables and glove box. Now I guess I need to start bending some brake lines, fuel line, purchase some shoes and see which drums are salvageable. Oh and I have possibly found an engine. How difficult is it to mate an automatic transmission engine to a manual transmission? I hope to give you a pleasant update soon. I would have accomplished more, but I just got my ‘50 Chevrolet Fleetline 4 door on the road, she hadn’t been on the road since 1965. Also my ‘46 Chevrolet Fleetmaster coupe is another ongoing project I’m hoping to put on the road this summer. Many irons in the fire. Now for a couple of pics . 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I made another trip to the junkyard and managed to scavenge a rear brake drum and some small parts from the light green car in the earlier photo. I installed the quarter windows and one vent window. Darn the luck, one quarter window developed a crack , possibly from being in a bind in the frame. Hopefully it won’t run completely across the glass any time soon. Thankfully it is just going to be a driver, not a show car. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Unfortunately I had to make another trip to the junkyard for the other three drums. Apparently whoever owned my project car drove it into the ground. The three drums on it were gouged beyond belief. Also when I pulled the front drums, there was absolutely no brake hardware behind them. As luck would have it, the green four door yielded up the needed parts. It appears that the owner had done the 2 1/4” drum and shoe upgrade for the front hubs!!!!  Oh, happy day. Also the shoes have not much wear, I believe I will use them.Not much else to report on the baby Buick as I spent much of my time with my ‘46 Chevrolet Fleetmaster coupe. It’s close to being back on the road after decades of down time. I’m having to make shift lever modifications to pass around the rear header on the 235. I did manage to drive it 20’ forwards before my lead foot bent the shift lever that was interferenced  with the brake lever. Back to the drawing board.  Now for some pics of yesterday.

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I managed to get all the brakes done for the 4 wheels, now I definitely need to run new hard lines. I’ve looked, but couldn’t find the forward parking brake cables, who has them? I’ll probably head back to the junkyard soon to retrieve the front bumper from the 4 door. Anyone need any Buick parts while I’m there? 

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21 hours ago, Rusty Heaps said:

I managed to get all the brakes done for the 4 wheels, now I definitely need to run new hard lines. I’ve looked, but couldn’t find the forward parking brake cables, who has them? I’ll probably head back to the junkyard soon to retrieve the front bumper from the 4 door. Anyone need any Buick parts while I’m there? 

Do they have any 57s?

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  • 2 months later...

Unfortunately I don’t have much in the way of an update, except to say that I haven’t had any luck in finding an engine reasonably close to Knoxville. I’m in contact with an individual who has a ‘53 Special basket case, but haven’t been able to get a commitment from him. I’m told the car runs, but no brakes, I’m waiting for video showing the car running so I will know if it’s worth the drive to retrieve it. Wish me luck! Or point me to someone else who is more committed to selling an running engine.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 9/24/2020 at 9:59 AM, Rusty Heaps said:

Unfortunately I don’t have much in the way of an update, except to say that I haven’t had any luck in finding an engine reasonably close to Knoxville. I’m in contact with an individual who has a ‘53 Special basket case, but haven’t been able to get a commitment from him. I’m told the car runs, but no brakes, I’m waiting for video showing the car running so I will know if it’s worth the drive to retrieve it. Wish me luck! Or point me to someone else who is more committed to selling an running engine.

Here's a motor for you, only a couple hours away.  In a FB group.

 

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Update. I now only need to find a driver, either with a full size truck and car hauling trailer or a rollback, to transport me to North Carolina to retrieve the car. I’m an underworked painter, so I have to go inexpensive route and can’t afford professional hauling service. I’m talking to a local guy now. If anyone has suggestions, I will greatly appreciate the help.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Good news! Brought a ‘53 Special 2dr sedan home from North Carolina. It’s a basket case, but has the engine, transmission, and front seat I need for the ‘52. Quite an experience retrieving the car with no brakes, wouldn’t start, and sitting on the side of a ridge. Let’s just say that if the front seat didn’t already need reupholstering, it would now ! Hopefully things will go smoother with the heart transplant for the ‘52. Then to sell the ‘53. Perhaps a hotrod or gasser!

 

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...

I hate to say that I haven’t made much progress on the ‘52. On the other hand, I have made some progress on my ‘53 “parts car “. I may have to go on the hunt for another engine! Anyone else ever had the problem of being unwilling to part out a parts car?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I got back to working on my ‘52. I have too many irons in the fire. I pulled the fenders to get ready to pull the engine. While I was at it I went ahead and pulled the front clip off of the ‘55 Chevrolet. Now I can get two cars ready for heart transplants. I’d like to clean up the firewall and repaint it before installing an engine. What is good for dissolving undercoating? Now for some pics 

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  • 2 months later...
Posted (edited)

It’s been a while since I posted any progress reports. I have been busy working on my house, new roof, deck, 200A service panel, HVAC, and exterior paint job. Now time to get busy on the interior. But I have taken some time off of the house and put the effort into the ‘ 52 Special and the ‘55 BelAir. We just pulled both engines today! Major progress. Now I can turn my attention to detail work on the front  end of the chassis. Had to beat the crank out of the old waterlogged block to get the clutch assembly and bell house. Now for some pics.

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Edited by Rusty Heaps (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

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