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My 1958 Roadmaster 75


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Posted (edited)

Okay guys, I bought this car that was posted on the Buy/Sell forum.  I wound up paying considerably more than the asking price due to the "bidding war" that kicked off, but I like the car!

 

Upon looking at it, it has a lot more warts than the pictures show.  However, underneath those warts there is a low-mileage very original car.  There is nothing huge that it needs, but LOTS of little to moderate things.  I think it will be fun to give it the TLC it deserves.

 

I needed another car almost as much as a hole in the head, but I liked the car and still bought it for a fair price because a) I need a change of pace and it's time to hand over my 57 coupe for the next phase of completion and b) my 57 model 75 needs a trans and u-joints but my trans is already 5-6 months late from rebuilder and I don't know when I'll get it, and will be driving it sparingly in the meantime, and c) it was fairly local so no shipping costs were required.

 

So, this car will keep my hands from being idle this summer and will be fun to cruise in.  I thought it would be just a fun seasonal project amd cruiser, but man I like this car.

 

I drove it home today 70+ miles with no mechanical issues, but had a friend follow as the brake lights and turn signals don't work properly.

 

I spent a few hours I had left polishing the chrome on the outside and took care of a few glaring and easy fixes like reset rear quarter panel lower trim, replace hubcap with missing emblem, and installed missing parking lens (I still have a few 58 parts in stock).

 

Here it is after round 1.  I haven't touched the paint yet.

 

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Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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Nice buy! It has a lot of appeal in that colour scheme, almost “softens” the amount of chrome that it has. Interior looks nice too, compliments the exterior. Look forward to watching this “improve” over the next few episodes.

Well done!

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀

 

PS. Yes, not many buyers would think to offer significantly more than what was advertised, but if you really want to buy a bargain, that’s the way to do it! More often than not, people think the opposite and try to get it for much less!

 

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7 hours ago, lancemb said:

I wound up paying considerably more than the asking price

 

Don't worry about it -- it's still a good deal when you calculate the price per pound.  That's certainly a lot of Buick for the bucks!  ;)  That rear bumper (and all of the rest of the chrome/stainless) looks great.  Now let's see the inside...

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Nice Roadmaster Lance!

(but then I'm somewhat bias 😁)

 

My Special came from Flint in that colour and while yours looks great as a survivor, think I'll keep her red coat. I think yours makes the car look lighter than one in black paint. 

 

Was it a norther car all it's life? It must have been kept in a good garage to be as nice as it looks.

 

The really big question: Just how many large Buick's can one get into one's garage?

 

Happy Motoring Lance.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all the well-wishes!

 

@EmTee - I like your "Price per Pound" theory!  I will get to the interior in the near future...

 

@dei - I don't know complete history but I know it's been in north Midwest at least a couple decades and was always garaged in that time.  Judging by condition it probably hasn't seen any bad weather since it was pretty young.

 

Also, I now have 4 big Buicks in my garage, only made possible by having 2 lifts.  However, I don't like relying on both lifts for storage.  I really need to move into a place with more car storage.

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, lancemb said:

only made possible by having 2 lifts

 

Hmmmmm, that's a bad sign.  I have one 4-post lift and the thought of getting another has recently crossed my mind...  :unsure:

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Posted (edited)

I spent a little time here and there over the past week picking away at a couple small things.  First, the tears in the front seat were really annoying me.

 

20210512_071741.jpg.4dd65fbd1b2b781d2fa90ba18a237893.jpg

 

I'm not going to be reupholstering it any time soon, and didn't want any more tiny foam bits on me, so I decided to sew it up.  Doing it without taking seat covers off does not make for a very professional look, but what really impacted it is the fact that the cloth is so brittle.  As a result I had to sew it somewhat loosely, and leave large spaces between thread holes to minimize tearing.  This won't last, but at least temporarily it will do.  It kind of looks like the work of Dr. Frankenstein, but will do for awhile.

 

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I took the junk out of the trunk.  It's kinda dirty, but in pretty good shape.

 

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The rest of the interior is pretty nice.  The dash pad is a bit saggy and there are a few cracks, but it's not the worst I've seen.  I've not done any polishing of the dash or other cleaning inside yet, other than vacuuming up foam bits after sewing the seat cushion mostly shut.

 

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The air cleaner is not on because the car has a Holley carburetor on it so it won't fit, until I rectify that.  I'll put it in the trunk instead of leaving it on the back floor.  The door handle is from the door it is laying near; I'll leave it off for now in case I remove the door panel for something.

 

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Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

I took the day to do a bit more.  First, I gave the car a quick nickel buff to take a little oxidation off, and waxed it; this made a huge difference.

 

Next, I started looking into the electrical issues which include a parasitic draw and a bunch of non-functioning components. 

 

The fuse for the radio was missing, and the fuse for the courtesy lights was blown.  I replaced those, and they did not blow again and now I have courtesy lights.

 

Next, I swapped out the headlight switch, and now have working dash lights.  I'll test the one I removed and solder on a bypass wire around the rheostat if the rest checks out fine, which it probably will.  Unfortunately, the headlights still don't work, so I've got another problem there.

 

Next I looked into the turn signals, since the left side didn't work.  All that was needed was a repositioning of the switch, and now I have turn signals on all 4 corners.

 

I looked into the non-functioning horn, which had been disconnected at the steering column.  What I found is that it works fine, except it also blows sporadically when the steering wheel is turned.  I assume the wire is frayed and binding inside the column causing a short; I'll have to save that fun for later.

 

Finally, I rechecked for draw, and it's still high.  At this point, I think I've narrowed it down to likely be in the headlight circuit, but I ran out time for the day.

 

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Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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Hi Lance

Its looking good. The lights and turn signals are a difficult on these. The 58 Century Convertible that I restored fought me a lot on the lights and that was with a new wiring harness for the entire car. It turned out great in the end. 

Steve

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5 hours ago, FireballV8 said:

Hi Lance

Its looking good. The lights and turn signals are a difficult on these. The 58 Century Convertible that I restored fought me a lot on the lights and that was with a new wiring harness for the entire car. It turned out great in the end. 

Steve

Thanks Steve!  For now I'm just happy that I think I've narrowed the problem area down.

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Lance

I had a confounding left turn signal problem on my 58 RoadMaster, too.

Assuming I had a ground problem I tried grounding the bulb housing elsewhere in the housing…..to no avail.

Turns out that they relied on the two long attachment bolts of the tail lamp assembly for grounding.

So, over the years the threaded ends of those bolts from the die cast housing ceased to provide grounding through the die cast.

I cleaned up the threads and ran a separate wire to the lamp and problem solved.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I finally got a few more hours to look into wiring issues on the car.  When I left off last time, it was time to tackle the headlight issue.

 

After confirming I had power going to the firewall from the headlight switch, I pulled the connector at the engine side, cleaned the terminals, and did the same at the hi/lo switch and up at the harness at the radiator support.  I had continuity between each segment, so was very surprised as I wouldn't expect that a wiring issue more frontward would cause all lights not to work. 

 

So, I put everything back together, and tried again and to my shock the headlights lit up!  I guess there was just enough corrosion to prevent them from working altogether.  I am guessing it was at the firewall as that area looked most corroded and the electrical tape at the base of the connector was torn and frayed, exposing the terminals to direct moisture.  I tested the hi/lo switch a few times and it worked fine, but one of the high beams was out so I replaced that.  Finally, all the lights work!

 

I went to replace the lower dash panel to the left of the steering column and noticed that the vent cable had been routed right next to the power antenna switch, which has open terminals and is always hot.  Thinking this was not good, I moved the cable to the other side of a nearby wiring harness.

 

After putting it back together, I tested and voila!  No more big current draw!

 

Since I could finally drive the car at night with all the lights working I decided to take it on an evening errand to celebrate.

 

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I love this car, Lance, and your photos are superb.  The images transport me back to childhood, when my best friend's parents had a '58 Special sedan in this color scheme.  And my parents utilized a loaner '58 Super 4-dor hardtop in the same colors from the local dealership.

 

Hoping to see this one along with some of your other beauties at the 2022 Buick Nationals in Lisle.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Centurion said:

I love this car, Lance, and your photos are superb.  The images transport me back to childhood, when my best friend's parents had a '58 Special sedan in this color scheme.  And my parents utilized a loaner '58 Super 4-dor hardtop in the same colors from the local dealership.

 

Hoping to see this one along with some of your other beauties at the 2022 Buick Nationals in Lisle.

 

Note: Had to edit post as I accidentally posted thoughts from 2 different cars.  Too many Buicks!

 

Thank you very much!  I am trying to get the 57 done for the 2022 national meet, and should be able to.  I may need to set up a Go Fund Me page though!

 

I will hopefully bring at least one other since I'm so close, but it may be too much of a logistical challenge to bring 3.

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm gonna chime in and steal the thread from Lance.  On the way to Auburn on Thursday, I stopped at his house while he was gone and stole it out of his driveway.  It came home with us today.  We are super happy to have another 58 to drive!  And the bumpers are gorgeous...both are rechromed.  I picked up some rechromed taillight housings for it, too.

 

I think "Miss Piggy" will be its name.

 

First order(s) of business:

 

Massive exhaust leak at manifold-to-header pipe connection on passenger side

Holley carb swap back to stock with gas pedal start

Maybe a power wash of the engine compartment

Tires (feels like I've spent $10k on tires in the last 3 years...maybe I should stop buying cars?  Nahh)

 

Long term goals:

 

New front seat fabric replacement (material is on order)

New headliner

Power window switch issues or something....rear windows don't work at all.  Pass side front only works with master switch.

Mucho paint touchup and some panel alignment

Rocker panels are beat up a bit...and the moldings are hanging on by a thread.  Not rotten, just not attached well.

Horn needs repair inside the column

 

 

As a result of this, the 57 Roadmaster coupe (white one) will need to go.  Surprised, no?  I just don't have time for a big project like that. I am going to cobble it together somewhat and list it on fleabay when I get the title situation worked out.

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It was good to see you and Atena in Auburn.

 

Also glad we were able to grab a beer in the lobby with Lance and catch up, I enjoyed the convo (well technically y'all had beer). 🤔

 

Car looked great, enjoy it!!!

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Likewise Brian...always a pleasure!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I should know the answer to this question, but I don't.  Are red wheels INCORRECT for a 58?  I think this car would look good with them.  But before I go crazy powdercoating, I wanted to get the right answer.   Trying to order a set of Coker Classics.  It's unfortunate that this is the only tire with correct dimensions.  And the price has cone up significantly in the last several months.  $257 each!

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With having four '58's all having the red rims (painted on the hub cap side) isn't necessarily definitive proof so did a quick google search for 1958 Buick magazine ads which show both red & black rims in official advertising. 

I also scanned what I could of the large Chatelaine March 1958 ad I have and as you can see, the Limited wears the red rims so I would think you are good to go.

 

159979002_1958BuickLimitedMagazineAd.jpg.a2f4b6a8b8a586e69618e091b854f44b.jpg

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I do believe red was a standard option on '58 for all series all colors and per the BCA Judging manual... not always a perfect source mind you

 

"1938-1958. Optional red wheels. Dante red was used form 1938-1951. From 1952-1958 different hues offered, each typical of the year, were used."

 

to make my point on not always being a perfect source

Red wheel were NOT an optional color for every 1938 Buick body color and in fact there were a couple different reds for wheels in '38 too depending on body color.

 

but I'm guessing a pretty safe bet on red wheels for '58.

Edited by 38Buick 80C (see edit history)
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Kool!  Red it is, then.

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The 1958 full-line sales brochure titled "The Air-Borne B-58 Buick" shows multiple images of every Model, Style and Trim level.

Every vehicle is shown with Red wheels; even the green cars!

 

The Master Body Parts Book indicates Optional wheel color for all 1958 Seminole Red, color number G94-58785.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I may end up just getting wide white radials, since the Coker Classic bias plies are on back order until October.  Still working on ordering a set of SOMETHING just to get this car more reliable.  The date code (at least what I think it is) on the tires is 2003.

 

In other news, we have new exhaust!

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Still no news on tires.  I may just order from Summit and wait it out.

 

I installed the factory carb today and got it all dialed in.  Lots of weird stuff that I had to tweak, but finally settled in.  Until I moved the car to test drive it.  I backed it out of the shop and went back in to shut the garage door. There was a massive puddle of trans fluid on the floor.  Seems to only want to leak when it's running, and it's coming from the front of the trans.

 

I told myself I would never buy another 58 with a questionable flight pitch....Jim Hughes may be getting a phone call for a spot during the winter.

 

I had grand plans to do a bunch of stuff to the car today, but after several on-and-offs with the carburetor and the Exxon Valdez, I called it quits.  The carb had been rebuilt, but stupid me for just installing it without taking it apart to inspect.  The floats were set wrong and fuel gushed all over the place on the first shot.  Second time I pulled it off, the rear float was set a touch too high and it was perking into the engine.  I have a video in the works of that lovely time.  I'll try to get it posted tonight...but likely tomorrow.  It takes hours to convert and upload.

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Hey Adam

 

As one who has experienced “Flight Pitch Anxiety” on his 58 RoadMaster75……….

I get it!

But, after finishing my drive shaft repair for an extended period of time on the

lift…….. I let the car down, fired it up while rear tires were still in the air, put it in drive

to check the repair……..all fixed, but, noticed the dreaded ATF puddle!

Trans and drive shaft worked fine but was pushing fluid from around the dipstick tube seal on top of trans case;

lots of it!  I think the tube may have gotten jostled with all the yanking on the drive train for the repair.

 

check it out…..it could be something easy like that.  Do not fear the Flight Pitch! (But, maybe keep a standard 

58 Dynaflow on the shelf!) 🤣

M

 

 

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I wish I could say fluid is coming from some external source, but it's definitely coming from under the inspection cover....and the color is not pretty either.  I may have to call Jim Hughes to reserve a spot for this Winter.  That was NOT on my list of things to do LOL

 

I won't be swapping a standard dynaflow into this car.  If the Flight pitch can be rebuilt, it will happen.  The are a much better driving/feeling transmission.

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