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Musketeers collaborating on restoring three 39 Buick convertible coupes


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One of the reasons why I enjoy this forum is spirit of cooperation and the desire to help one another. Each day we lose people with a lifetime of experience and unfortunately they take all their expertise to the grave with them. The only way we can keep old iron running is through forums like this and sharing ideas.

 

 A musketeer and my good friend Bob Henderson, who also contributed to this forum, passed away several months ago. It was his intention to submit a series of articles to the Buick Bugle about the restoration of the 3 convertibles we were working on together. Unfortunately he died before the articles were finished, so in his memory I'd like to post a few items in this forum. 

 

The first 39 convertible in our group belongs to Ken Smith of East Lynn Oregon. He bought his car from a museum in California about 20 years ago. It was nearly rust free and about 95% complete. Unfortunately his car was badly damaged by a dump truck in the mid 50s and judging by the body work it must have been repaired by Pa Clampet and Jethro Bodene.

 

The second convertible coupe was  owned by Bob Henderson. He found his car in the Arizona desert about 10 years ago, about 70% complete, and nearly rust free. While out in the desert his car collected about 37 bullet holes of different calibers.

 

The last convert belongs to me; Leif Barem. I found my car in a  Puyallup Washington tractor shed in 1986. My car..... well let's just say it came with really great paper work. The enclosed photo is of my car taken 2 months after Pearl Harbor.

 

Sometimes with more enthusiasm than brains we have toiled on our projects. Ken's car is finished and Bob's is close to completion. In July Ken and I are going to Bob's house and finish the car for Bob's widow and his son. At that time I'm sure tales will be told and the beer will flow.

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  • 9 months later...

John, or somebody please help this poor computer illiterate guy get all the pictures right side up

 

                                                                    Thanks

                                                                   Leif    

 

Edited by buick looks fine for 39
once again sloppy proof reading (see edit history)
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My good friend Bob Henderson passed away February 2021.  He was one of the three musketeers and unfortunately, I don't have a photo of him with his car. My favorite picture shown above is of his family enjoying Bob's completed car last July.

The second picture shows his car after being pulled out of an Arizona desert before restoration. It looked like it had been used in the movie Tora Tora Tora. It was pretty much rust free but contained over 100 bullet holes.

 

                                                                                                Thanks

                                                                                                 Leif

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  • 2 months later...

The last 39 Special in our group belongs to Ken Smith of Portland Oregon. He bought the car about 20 years ago from a California museum. It was an excellent solid original car with original interior, replacement top and a poor paint job. It needed a complete restoration and in the 1950s it had been in a wreck with a San Francisco dump truck. Apparently, the body men were Jethro Bodene and Pa Clampet judging by the repairs. Ken changed the worn-out junkyard replacement parts they used and all the extra (necessary) parts they threw away. Interestingly Ken found a credit card inside the door panel during restoration, and he located one of the prior owners. To everyone surprise she ended up being a 96-year-old retired schoolteacher and still lived in a gorgeous arts and crafts house in San Francisco. Ken and his wife traveled to her home and during the visit she pulled out all the 39 Buick receipts she still had from 1950 to 1959. Also, there was a large assortment of old photos. I've enclosed photos of Ken's car before and after restoration.

 

Bob Henderson's 39 convert is currently being driven by Bob's son and wife to Sacramento and then to Yosemite Park. The only problem so far has been a valve cover oil leak.

 

                                                                                        Thanks

                                                                                         Leif

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