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My 1937 Roadmaster 80C Four Door Convertible Phaeton


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Matt......just saw this thread. Glad you got the car. Nothing better than a dedicated and enthusiast owner of a car; that improves and drives it. Happy for you...........Merry Christmas, Ed.

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Today, I decided to remove the "Dual" speaker. To remove it, you simply remove the nut and washer from the stud on the engine side of the firewall and pull the speaker assembly away from the firewall. After you unplug the cable from the radio you can remove the speaker from the car. To disassemble the speaker, you remove the four small screws and also remove the mounting stud form the speaker assembly. I spent a long time trying to open up the speaker assembly thinking that the stud was just attached to the back of the enclosure. After I finally removed the mounting stud, I understood why I had been unable to disassemble it with the stud attached. The stud actually threads into the speaker, not just the back of the speaker enclosure. I have never seen a speaker quite like this one. I am going to have to do a bit of research to figure out how to go from here. I have never seen a speaker with this many wires.  

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The AM transmitter kit that I bought on ebay finally arrived from Canada in today's mail. This afternoon, I took an hour or two and assembled the kit. I then tried it out. It works really well. I now need to figure out how long I can safely run the radio while parked without having a dead battery. I found out that my soldering skills are not as good as they used to be about 35 years ago when I last did any similar work. I slightly burned one finger and some of the solder joints are not too pretty but the kit worked perfectly when I was done. It is important to stretch the antenna wire out fully and placing it near the running board antennas to get it to work well, but I am very happy with the kit. I was going to take a video to demonstrate how nice 40's tunes sound out of the original radio but since I am broadcasting them to the am transmitter via a bluetooth connection from my phone, the smartphone assumes I want the radio off whenever I try recording a movie, so when I attempted to record the radio, it stopped playing. 

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For anybody who would like to do this without having to assemble the kit, I have now learned that the ebay seller also sells basically the same kit already assembled in a nice neat project box on his website. https://www.retroradioshop.com/collections/frontpage/products/am-transmitter-and-bluetooth-adapter-for-retro-vintage-or-antique-radios-1 Although the assembly was not much work, I would probably prefer to have found that option first since the project box just makes for a much nicer neater version.

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On 12/24/2020 at 7:39 PM, MCHinson said:

Today, I decided to remove the "Dual" speaker. To remove it, you simply remove the nut and washer from the stud on the engine side of the firewall and pull the speaker assembly away from the firewall. After you unplug the cable from the radio you can remove the speaker from the car. To disassemble the speaker, you remove the four small screws and also remove the mounting stud form the speaker assembly. I spent a long time trying to open up the speaker assembly thinking that the stud was just attached to the back of the enclosure. After I finally removed the mounting stud, I understood why I had been unable to disassemble it with the stud attached. The stud actually threads into the speaker, not just the back of the speaker enclosure. I have never seen a speaker quite like this one. I am going to have to do a bit of research to figure out how to go from here. I have never seen a speaker with this many wires.  

 

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What was the result of your research into the number of wires on the speaker?  It is intriguing though obviously there are several ground wires. May one presume the speaker housing was non conductive composition?  

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No, the speaker enclosure is metal. I will attempt to explain it as I don't understand it as well as I want to... the dual speaker in a 1937 Buick is an electrodynamic speaker. It requires power to power the electromagnet used in the speaker. These were common before the discovery widespread availability of small strong permanent magnets used in modern speakers. This link might help explain it a bit: https://radioremembered.org/edspeaker.htm

 

I still need to address the dual speaker, but my multimeter has been a bit unreliable lately so I am awaiting the arrival of a new meter that I ordered that should be here soon before I continue with my diagnosis of the speaker. I would prefer to repair the speaker or replace it with another original electrodynamic speaker rather than convert it to a more modern speaker.

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So how exactly is this connected to the radio? is it simply the antenna wire from this goes into the antenna port on the radio? So it's either AM radio or this unless you have an antenna splitter or something I suppose? Correct?

 

and where are you mounting this?

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The original Buick AM radio is not changed in any way. You can still listen to other AM stations. This is a small short distance AM Transmitter. It does not physically connect to the radio. It simply is placed somewhere near the antenna (laying it on the floorboard near the front seat works for my running board antennas). You turn on the transmitter, push the button on the bluetooth receiver to turn it on, set up your phone to send your selected music to the bluetooth receiver, and tune the AM radio to about 1000 on the dial and listen to your music through the original 1937 AM Radio.  The bluetooth receiver is rechargable by a usb cable. The transmitter is powered by a 9 volt battery. The 9 volt battery should last for a while, but I am not sure exactly how long. 

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I installed a Redi-Rad in the '41 which works well although it requires a hardwire connection to the device being used (phone/iPod/whatever) rather than a Bluetooth connection. The real problem is that the original radio itself doesn't have the power to play music very loudly at speed, so it's only useful around town. On the highway, ambient noise is much too loud to hear anything. The other nice thing is that since it plugs into my phone, I essentially have a speaker phone and it broadcasts GPS directions through the radio as well. I've been pretty pleased with it. This seems like the same sort of device. It plugs into the antenna port and then the antenna plugs into the box--it senses when there's a signal from the phone and when it's absent, reverts to using the standard antenna, so I can still use the AM radio as usual. I believe they may also have a Bluetooth version, I'm not sure. Technology usually vexes me, but this was easy and worked properly from the start. My radio has a buzz that I'd like to eliminate but overall I can't complain.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Matt,

The only problem I see with the Redi-rad is that to use it on a 1937 Buick, you would have to change the antenna cable ends. The photos on that site show a standard Motorola antenna plug, which is not compatible with a 1937 Buick. Does the 1941 radio use that standard Motorola plug? I know that Motorola plugs were used for many decades but I am not sure how early they became the industry standard for car radio antennas. 

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Yes, it's a standard plug. The Redi-Rad was 100% plug-and-play, which was a good thing for me. I don't mind doing some wiring, but on something like a radio I'd be skittish about anything that wasn't stupidly easy just out of fear of screwing it up. I'm so thrilled that my radio works, but I'm always of the feeling that it could give up at any moment so I treat it very gently.

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I know the 1937 and 1938 Buicks both use the same antenna connectors. It is a bit different from the motorola connector, so obviously they switched to the motorola connectors sometime between 1939 and 1941. The attached photo shows the type of antenna connector used on 1937 and 1938 Buick radios.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Over the last few days, I received a right side rear view mirror that I had ordered. It is a reproduction King Bee mirror. I would still like to find an original with a little bit of patina, but for safety, I needed a right side mirror. I installed it, although I did not think to take any photos of the mirror.

 

Also, my headlight reflectors came back from being resilvered. They arrived back from the plater a couple of weeks earlier than I expected. I started to switch from the sealed beam conversion back to an original headlight system. I quickly discovered that my headlight sockets that I had purchased really need to be totally rewired before I install them, so I abandoned that job for the moment. 

 

I decided to check the battery and learned that it needed a bit of water added and the battery terminal of the positive cable had a really corroded replacement terminal. I cleaned up the existing cable terminal so the car starts even better than before. I have ordered a new set of battery cables.

 

After additional inspection, I am thinking that I will probably order a replacement wiring harness for the car. This will also enable me to add turn signals, which I really miss since I am used to the added turn signals on my other Pre-War Buicks. I called Rhode Island Wiring and they have the patterns for a 1937 Roadmaster 81, but not an 80C. I feel confident I can make the Model 81 harness work, but am curious if anybody knows if the rear portion of the wiring harness on a 1937 Model 81 runs over the headliner like the 40 and 60 series cars or if it runs along the frame to the rear of the car as the Model 80C does? I could remove the existing rear harness and send it to Rhode Island Wiring for them to create a pattern, but I really don't want to take the car out of commission long enough to do that. 

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In 38-80 series all models it runs along the frame.

 

PS have you talked to Paul at Harness unlimited to see if he has a 37-80c harness? I've used him on 2 cars (actually 3 cause I'm pretty sure it's his harness in the 30-61 that my father must have bought WAY back). 

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4 minutes ago, 38Buick 80C said:

In 38-80 series all models it runs along the frame.

 

PS have you talked to Paul at Harness unlimited to see if he has a 37-80c harness? I've used him on 2 cars (actually 3 cause I'm pretty sure it's his harness in the 30-61 that my father must have bought WAY back). 

I suspect that all 1937 80 series use the exact same harness, but would like to confirm it if possible. My prior experience is with Rhode Island Wiring, so they were the only place I called. I will check with him. Thanks.  

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2 minutes ago, MCHinson said:

I suspect that all 1937 80 series use the exact same harness, but would like to confirm it if possible. My prior experience is with Rhode Island Wiring, so they were the only place I called. I will check with him. Thanks.  

I checked his catalog, he lists both an open and closed rear harness for 37-80/90 series (which we know there is no open 90s series in 37), same price for each. The catalog I have his probably 15 years old so price has probably increased since then.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have not posted any update recently. I have a new wiring harness on order from Harnesses Unlimited. It will be a while before I receive that. I will probably wait until the new harness arrives to convert the headlights back from sealed beams to the original system. I found that the battery cables were not in as good a shape as I wanted them to be so I have replaced the battery cables. For good measure, I also installed a new Optima 6 volt battery along with the new cables. The car starts even quicker now. I was unhappy that the clock was not working, so I removed it, disassembled it and cleaned it. I took it to my friend who owns a local clock shop and had him apply clock oil to the approprate locations. I then did a diode upgrade to the winding mechanism to prevent pitting on the winding mechanism points, reassembled it and reinstalled it. After a few hours, I found that it was gaining time, so I used the adjustment on the back of the clock to slow it down a bit. After running for about 8 hours, it appears to be keeping perfect time.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think the top has been down on this car for many decades. Last night, I applied a bit of solvent to the pivot points on the top mechanism. This morning, I was able to pu the top down. We took it to lunch and then took a photo after I got back home. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last Sunday, I drove the 80C out to a local park for a photo shoot for a cover photo for my local AACA Chapter newsletter. The editor and I both took some photos. I stepped up onto a short wall to get a better angle for a photo. While I still don't understand exactly what happened, my right ankle twisted when I stepped down from thr wall onto the cobble stone pavers on the ground. After we finished the photo shoot, I drove home, took my shoe off, elevated my foot and applied ice in hopes that it was not the broken bone that I suspected. In about 30 minutes the swelling and pain dictated a trip to Medac. Long story short... I have a broken bone in my right foot. I will be in a boot for a while. The orthopedic doctor thinks it will heal with just the boot and does not anticipate surgery being needed. They will repeat the xrays after 4 weeks to confirm that it is healing OK and does not need surgery. I can carefully drive a modern car, but the 80C will have to stay in the garage for about 6 to 8 weeks since I can't operate a brake pedal, clutch pedal, and accelerator safely with just my left foot. 

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Yikes, sorry to hear it, Matt. Rest up and don't take chances--Melanie broke a bone in her foot and just thought it was sprained and it ended up being major surgery to put it back together. Take good care of yourself first!

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I still have my chauffeurs hat from the Bob Coker "54 Landau days and will be glad to come drive Matthew around if the occasion occurs.  Sorry to hear, Get well soon my friend. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/14/2021 at 1:09 PM, MCHinson said:

 my right ankle twisted when I stepped down from thr wall onto the cobble stone pavers on the ground. 

 

I have a broken bone in my right foot. I will be in a boot for a while. The orthopedic doctor thinks it will heal with just the boot and does not anticipate surgery being needed. They will repeat the xrays after 4 weeks to confirm that it is healing OK and does not need surgery. I can carefully drive a modern car, but the 80C will have to stay in the garage for about 6 to 8 weeks since I can't operate a brake pedal, clutch pedal, and accelerator safely with just my left foot. 

 

 

Matt,

 

So sorry to learn of your injury.

Our prayers for the skill of your doctors, and that you heal quickly and fully.

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2 minutes ago, Marty Roth said:

 

Matt,

 

So sorry to learn of your injury.

Our prayers for the skill of your doctors, and that you heal quickly and fully.

 

Thanks. I am doing fine now. I have the final follow up with the Orthopedic Doctor next week, but I have been out of the boot and driving my 80C again for about 2 weeks. 

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Just now, MCHinson said:

 

Thanks. I am doing fine now. I have the final follow up with the Orthopedic Doctor next week, but I have been out of the boot and driving my 80C again for about 2 weeks. 

 

 

Good to learn ,

stay well, my friend-

we've been on the road most of the past 2 - 3 weeks, what with Dale's doctors, chemo, and then thankfully, the VMCCA Chrome Glidden Tour.

Back home now and prepping for the Founders, and Maryland Eastern Shore Tours.

So nice to be able to share in person again with car folks.

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