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1951 Buick 4x4


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Yes, you read the title correctly.

I did some research into my car and found out that it has the rare 4x4 package, so naturally, I have to restore it back to original.

 

To preface this thread, I'm going to steal a quote from old-tank's thread on his Buick powered Ford:

 

old-tank wrote: "It is easier to restore than to modify."

Ben Bruce wrote: "But ain't it fun?"

 

It would definitely be easier to get a new straight 8, and quite likely cheaper. But waiting around for a straight 8 to pop up sure isn't fun. Anyways you can't convince me now it's too late. With that introduction, here is my ridiculous project.

1951 Buick on a 1974 International Harvester 3/4 ton 4x4 truck chassis. We shortened the chassis to match the Buick wheelbase, and are currently in the process of mounting the body. I'm hoping to keep the IH 304 v8 and rebuild it, along with the t98 4 speed and NP205 divorced transfer case, but we will see how finding parts goes for the IH engine. Otherwise, there are like 3 Buick 455's on my local craigslist that I might want to put in. Putting this together is going to be a lot of work, but it will also be really fun and I'm pretty confident there aren't any other 4x4 51 Buick's out there. With all that being said, here are some pictures of the project so far.

 

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CD2F5E95-9B6A-47FA-B7B7-6CBC39494712.thumb.jpeg.2ef47e62558dff31992241a91cd3e1f5.jpegEBF2FFE7-3C77-4319-B7A0-1A9B817D230F.thumb.jpeg.2122588fca24ca672fc8832f5b53ac3c.jpeg
 

Body is mounted and doors are back on, need to figure out my cooling system and front grille. Not a lot of room up front for a rad so might put it in the trunk with some electric fans. Probably will make a grille out of pipe or something silly like that. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Progress on the Buick has been slow, work and my truck has been higher on the list lately. However, soon I will need to be able to easily move the Buick around, and I need to figure out my steering. I'm heading up to a upullit soon and I'm planning to get a steering column to adapt. I would like to keep the original steering wheel. How hard is it to adapt the original wheel to a newer column?

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  • 1 month later...

It's been a while but I've made some progress... I pulled out the 304 that came with the chassis and pulled the pan to find a lot of water and sludge. The bearings were also pretty bad. So I scoured the online classifieds and found a supposedly running 304 within an hours drive. So I fired up my truck and went and bought it. This week I got it running! School has started up again so progress will be even slower than it was before, but I hope to have the engine in the car in a few weeks, and then I can work out steering and pedals and cooling and all that fun stuff.

 

 

Edited by Edwin The Kid
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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got around to borrowing a friend's engine hoist and got the engine installed, and fired it up a few times once it was in. Went fairly smoothly, but it sticks pretty high up out of the engine bay, so I'm not sure if the hood will fit. Might need a scoop! Fortunately the shifter works out real nice on the interior, just needs to get bent a little to clear the dash.

 

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Next steps will be working out steering and pedals, and engineering my rear radiator plans. I got exposed to Covid at school this week, so without all the in person stuff I'll probably have plenty of time to work on it for the next 14 days!

 

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  • 2 months later...

I've been busy working on some other projects, but finally stopped staring at my steering box and started working on it. I cut down the original column and put the end of a 67-72 chevy truck column on the end. I need to make a bracket or two for it yet but it's working pretty good. Just need to figure out what crazy u-joint setup i'll need to make it work with the box.

 

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  • 2 months later...

It finally thawed over here in Iowa and today I had the time and motivation to get some work done on the Buick. Today I decided to do some "bodywork." My tool of choice? the BFH.

It took some pretty hard hitting but I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out and it's certainly way better than before.

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Spent the afternoon trimming the driver's side inner fender and mounted it properly. I gave it a shot of matte black spray paint and made a plate to mount it to the frame. I put the hood on to see if it's gonna fit, and everything clears, but the gaps are pretty large and I'm not sure that it's going to work very well. I also reapplied the "Look Out!" that was left by the previous owner of the frame and made some go fast noises inside.

 

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I'm trying to get the hood back on and I'm having some problems. The driver's side fits pretty well, about how it did before the frame swap, but there's a rather large gap on the passenger side, and I can't get the fender in any further. I'm not sure if it's a problem with my "bodywork" on the fender or if my hood is messed up. Any advice would be appreciated!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm finally getting less busy with school and have a lot more time to put to getting my Buick going. Haven't figured out my hood/fender fitment yet, I think I need to hit more things with a hammer, but I'm not sure. Anyways I want to drive the thing so I went to the junkyard and got some steering parts and a driveshaft which I took to a local welder who is shortening it to fit for me.

 

I've got the steering in and mostly finished. Got really lucky and the steering wheel lines up with the tires!

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My next big hurdle is sourcing pedals and figuring out my cooling system.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Looks like I'm a bit of a bad influence... Definitely show us if you do anything @s_hilmoe!

 

Progress was briefly slowed by my new daily driver... 1993 Volvo 240 wagon! Sold the truck a while back and had a brief stint with an 89 chevy G20 van, but it got rear ended and I made some good money off insurance from it. It's a lot of fun so far.

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On the Buick I've started to build a new front bumper and I'm pretty happy with how it's looking so far!

I'm definitely improving my stick welding skills, although they are still pretty ugly. It's all pipe left over from my dad's human foosball project. It should at least resemble a 50's Buick grille when it's done and that's good enough for me!

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Now that I've got the front end mostly in place and a grille mostly figured out I'm thinking I can fit a front radiator in, so I'll be going to a junkyard to see what I can find that might fit. With the front end panel gaps I'm pretty sure the hood needs to be hit with a hammer and stretched out to fit, along with some more work to the fender. I also still need pedals and a gas tank, which I can also hopefully find. The steering still needs some work but I'm hoping to be able to drive it sometime this summer!

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  • 3 weeks later...

This project would be a lot easier with a tubing bender and a notcher, but hey, I'm getting a lot of grinding practice!

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In other news, I bought a 1985 Oldsmobile Toronado for $400 and drove it home! Needs some work but it's a pretty sweet car. Power washing it was super awesome. PXL_20210419_002205227.jpg.38827aba607b8c33916e593adf3288a4.jpgPXL_20210419_225144822.jpg.4216d5c2e08bc7d0382ab73abb978499.jpg

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My Volvo is broken at the moment so I might end up driving the Olds instead...

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm pretty much done with the grille on the Buick and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out! I'm putting the bumper that I got with the frame on, and I hope to put some lights in the grille to fill it out better. Shed has to be empty for a bit so I can have my highschool grad party in it so I've got all my cars out and in one spot!

 

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7 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

2x Bens congratulations!   What are your future plans?

I'm welding in a factory this summer and planning to go to McPherson College for automotive restoration in the fall

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/1/2021 at 5:06 PM, Edwin The Kid said:

I'm welding in a factory this summer and planning to go to McPherson College for automotive restoration in the fall

 

That is awesome. Something tells me you will excel in McPherson. Thanks for posting the progress on the Buick, you're to be commended.

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Thanks for all the kind words everyone! I'm really looking forward to college.

I'm working a night shift and I've been crazy busy so I haven't gotten much done on the Buick but I did buy some parts that should get me closer to driving!

I got the clutch setup from a 60s IH truck and the front axle hubs. I got a radiator from a friend so all I really need yet is a gas tank and some time to work on it

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, summer is halfway over and I've hardly gotten anything done on the Buick...

Working 4 pm to 4:30 AM makes it a lot harder to get work done on your cars...

 

I pulled off one side of the rear brakes to get measurements on the wheel cylinder for a new master, and I pulled the bumper to prep for some rattle can chrome!

The radiator I got from my friend doesn't fit in the front, so I either need to spend the money on a custom radiator or figure out how to plumb a trunk radiator.

 

Planning to redo the steering setup next but once again I've been sidetracked...

I sold my oldsmobile and fixed my volvo, and started another project.

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74 Volkswagen Super Beetle!

Whoops, this thread is going to get full of Cars That Are Not My Buick...

I'm friends with the owner and I've been seeing it around and wanting it for a while so... Here we are! It's going to be a really good opportunity to learn and practice building engines and doing rust repair, on a car that isn't super valuable but also has tons of aftermarket support and online resources.

 

 

 

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