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1920 McLaughlin-Buick

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First piece of information is the proper name of your automobile. 🙂     McLaughlin-Buick

Stick around here, lots of good people and information.  As has been mentioned everyone here needs to see pictures.

Good luck

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4 cyl E-34 Roadster
E-35 Touring
E-37 Coupe
106 1900
31x4 Hub In Head 3.375 x 4.75 170 4.5 35 18mm .025-.030 .020 1243 O Mark -6
6 cyl E-44 Roadster
E-45 Touring
E-46 Coupe
E-47 Sedan
118 2750
34x4 Hub In Head 3.375 x 4.5 242 4.5 60 18mm .025-.030 .020 153624 O Mark -6
6 cyl E-49 Touring
E-50 Sedan
124 3075
34x4.5 Hub In Head 3.375 x 4.5 242 4.5 60 18mm .025-.030 .020 153624 O Mark -6
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*It always seems that the guy who knows the least has the most to say - so here we go...*

The clear lens is correct for 1918. That’s what they came out of the factory with. Aftermarket patterned or prismed lenses of the 1920’s usually later made it to these cars, but I wouldn’t necessarily call those incorrect either.

My ‘18 4 cyl has the 1920’s aftermarket Smithlite (or whatever the heck they’re called) lenses on it and I hate them. They look like hell on the car - that’s just my opinion. I think they were just a gimmick with no real improvement to the beam. Though I don’t really care because I’m never going to drive the thing at night anyway.

Carmakers for the past 20 years have spent big money to get their headlamps to look like the jewelry that these are and were meant to be with the flat glass and double bulbs....


The owner didn’t have any books with it because they didn’t really make books for them yet. The owner’s manual they called the ‘Reference Book’ (the one for my 4-cyl pictured below) and you will need the 6-cyl version for your car. They are reproduced and can be found readily on eBay, originals turn up often as well.

You will also need the factory ‘Parts Book’ for it. My memory just slipped a bit but I think they called it the ‘Dealer list of Parts’ or something close to that. Those turn up regularly on eBay as well. I think reproductions are available but the illustration quality of the ‘reproduction’ for mine is so blurry I really only use the original.

The parts book illustrates each and every part, and between that and the Reference Book that is all there really is. It wasn’t until 1922 that Buick bothered to come out with a ‘Shop Manual’ (a reproduced copy I picked up pictured below) which claimed to be ‘useful for 1918 to 1923’ — and I have some opinions on that... But don’t expect it to be a step-by-step shop 

manual like anything you’ve seen before because it is not.

The Delco starter/generator had its own Piece Parts Catalog. I don’t believe they have been reproduced and I haven’t seen an original for sale in the last 2 years but enough of us have one that should you run into trouble with it we should be able to get you copies of the pages you need.


You made a good choice. What was true of these cars 102 years ago is still true today - you’d have to spend a  L O T  more money to get a better car of the same era. In most cases that would be only marginally better car. They have a real following because of it.


That said, it may have a key and an ignition but it is no ‘turn key car’. When these cars were built there weren’t roads as we know them. They were designed to go 20 some mph down 2 track buggy trails and were built for it. The designers certainly never imagined they’d ever see as many as 20,000 miles let alone still be in existence in 100 years. So that’s to say there are weak points on these cars. They require regular systematic mechanical service and close inspection — and I’m waiting for Hugh and others to chime in here with some of the guidelines they’ve written up....

I can tell you that the weakest point on these Buicks is the wrist pins (piston pins the parts book calls them). They are secured in there by cotter pins. It’s very common that the wrist pins were retrofitted with a better design when the engine was rebuilt. You’ll want to see with your own eyes if it has cotter pins in there still or has been retrofitted. You do not want your car to tell you on it’s own which it has, because cotter pins don’t have a long lifespan and if one goes it’s $20,000. Ask me how I know....


Good luck!








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The first thing is to be involved with Dean Tryon's 1915-1918 Buick McLaughlin Buick Newsletter Group.

 One can not get more specific than this for help.

Early Buick & McLaughlin-Buick Owners Group   dgtryon2516@.gmail.com
c/o Dean G. Tryon Editor
2516 Laurelford Lane
Wake Forest, N.C. 27587

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    Welcome to the Buick Pre War Forum.  Attached is a link to the New Buick Owners list that I like to share to help you safely start your engine.  A lot to think about but worth the effort.  I added a note about the cotter pins to it.   Looking forward to your pictures.   Hugh   


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 Don't be scared of the offer. It is just that all of us Buick people know that there will be a need for something mechanical sooner or later and it is good to know that there may be a source for an elusive part. I bought my 1925 as a supposedly good running vehicle. After 4 years of fighting with the tired engine I finally had it rebuilt. I picked up a spare engine and did need some things from it.

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1 hour ago, dibarlaw said:

I picked up a spare engine and did need some things from it.


Welcome to the club.  All of us that have these old parts and the means to buy extra parts we do.  At some time in the future if you drive you car, you will need parts that either you or someone in the group can help you with.  Be prepared to trade parts, information, and help.  We all here are helpful.

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Got it home!!!! pictures maybe tonight I will wipe off big chunks first. The Bodynumbers: K5   4140,  engine 1660. The engine is enclosed no valves or push rods to see. All pictures I see are open valves and push rods. Maybe late 18 or is it all wrong?

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I donot think tags lie. I do not see a E any where other than the sellers notes. Maybe my car just gotyounger. Is there diff. in the dash between the 18 and 20 . Or anything else that stands out.  Any frame stamps that  I can find some where?  Thanks Was there a KE-45

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Correct Buick engine. NOT a Northway but some did get Northways. I’ve seen 2. 

No idea what CP means but a guess is Canadian Plant since the engine and chassis were shipped to Oshawa from Flint 



Get to know Mark Shaw out your way. 

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  • Peter Gariepy changed the title to 1918 McLaughlin-Buick

You have a very nice 1920 Canadian built McLaughlin. I like it.  B-in law has one but in much worse condition. The Chassis is all Buick but the bodies were made by McLaughlin in Canada. Does it have the wooden mahogany dash? The bodies are similar to U.S. but not identical. 

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  • rjp changed the title to 1920 McLaughlin-Buick

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