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My 1960 LeSabre 2 door Hardtop


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I have owned this car since March 8 but only received it last Monday June 21. The car had some significant transmission and torque ball leaks and the dealer I bought it from was kind enough to include the repairs in the purchase price. I was in no rush at that time because I needed to sell another car to make room. The repairs were done by early April and I booked transport with Passport on April 16. They initially told me it would take three weeks due to high volume but in fact transport took more than two months! Apparently a perfect storm of car-hauling overload nailed me. Contracted events such as the Amelia Island auction and other shows originally scheduled for March were Covid-delayed until May combined with a driver shortage set everything back. When it was finally my turn Passport did their usual excellent job and the car arrived with no dirt, damage, or drama. 

 

I had seen many professionally posed photos which made the car look nice but I was pleasantly surprised when it came off the truck looking much better than I expected. My efforts have been hampered by recovery from foot surgery but I hobbled around enough to do a pretty thorough top end inspection and I have taken the car for a few short drives and most all has checked out well. I will share the details in future posts, here are the photos I took right off the truck.

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This car came with very little history or documentation but did have the original Owner's Guide, Buick Accessories pamphlet, and Owner Protection Policy. From that I was able to see that it was delivered to Elizabeth McMullen on April 16, 1960 by Close Buick Inc. in Bowling Green, OH. According to the body and VIN tags it was built in Flint, MI with serial number 06207. Trim 471K is shown as Red/Black cloth - the interior actually has red, black, and white vinyl with cloth seat inserts in kind of a red/white tweed and white piping. Paint is two tone Arctic White and Tampico Red. It has the high compression two barrel 364 with Dynaflow and is a fairly well equipped car:

  • EZ-Eye glass all around with shaded windshield and back window
  • Power steering and brakes
  • Power windows
  • Sonomatic AM radio with rear speaker
  • Two speed wipers with washers
  • Speed warning, map light, clock
  • Wheel covers
  • Tissue dispenser, door edge guards, and dual rear view mirrors (Dealer options?)

Would all of these items have been individual options or were there any "package" groups offered back then?

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1 hour ago, The 55er said:

Those twin outside mirrors are actually period dual post Mopar items but they look good on there. 

Really?  WOW! My other car is Mopar, I should have guessed!

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Never having owned a 60 before I'm in the research phase trying to learn about it. I was digging through a bunch of old magazines stored in a cabinet I have to get rid of and found a bunch of old Buick Bugles from when I owned my 63 Riviera. In these I was lucky to find the September and November 2008 issues which were both devoted to the B60. There were articles by Bradley Craig, Eric Bernard, William Scott, Henry Smith, David Hindall, Tony Vespoli, Mark Brainerd and Bill Harris about their own 1960's and Bernie Daily's story about his "WOW Buy From Ebay". But the best part were the two very detailed articles by Greg Cockerill about the 1960 Buick which answered al lot of questions I had plus many I had not thought about yet! I had forgotten what a beautiful magazine the Bugle is and with my new BCA membership I see that has not changed thanks to the continuing efforts of Pete Phillips. Thanks to all the 2008 authors for sharing your cars and knowledge and helping the new guy out.

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When I got this car on June 21 I was recovering from foot surgery and hobbling around in an open-toed shoe. I managed to inspect and clean up the top surfaces and engine compartment and took it for a ride. The car drives well, runs smoothly and sounds great but - the brakes were TERRIBLE! They would hardly stop the car at slow speeds so I knew I could not drive it in traffic until they were fixed. I had to get under the car but with my weird garage (tandem three car with the third space in front of the usual two) I had to move my other two cars out to get the room to work. We have had almost constant rain here so that plus my foot delayed it all until yesterday. I jacked it up, pulled all the wheels and drums and inspected everything underneath. I had been afraid I would find hydraulic problems, worn linings, damaged drums, etc. but was happy to find it all looked good. Many of the brake lines, the front hoses, all the wheel cylinders and all the linings had been recently replaced and all four drums looked good. I repacked the wheel bearings and replaced the drums, the last step was to adjust - and there was my problem. Three out of four linings were so far out of adjustment I doubt they contacted the drums! I test drove it last night and the brakes are great, can't wait to get cruising.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've taken the car out for three short rides since the brakes were fixed and this car cruises GREAT. After reading about the Dynaflow not liking to go into reverse with the idle speed too high I adjusted the hot idle down but now when it is cold it does not want to stay running. Not sure if the choke is working on my Carter 2-barrel, our temps are high now in Texas so not sure if it would normally set. I will raise the hot idle back up a little and fiddle with the choke later. 

 

One issue that I noticed on my brake check was that there was no fuel filter anywhere in the supply lines, the factory glass bowl unit is gone. Yesterday I replaced it with a generic inline filter, zip-tying it in place to get cooling from the fan. I probably paid too much for the "chrome plated" filter.

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Knocking on wood as I say it, I am not used to a newly acquired car having so few outstanding issues. Usually I have a single spaced "To-Do" list taking up at least a page, like my 66 Dodge. The lack of air conditioning on this car is very much noticed now that we are into the "normal" Texas 100 degree temps and 107 - 109 degree "feels like" readings. Has anyone here successfully added a period styled under-dash unit like the old Mark IV with modern R-134 underhood components? I would be very interested in your experience and how well it cools with all that glass area.

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I know someone who  added a Vintage Air under dash unit to his 55 Buick Wagon and he said it kept him comfortable.  I will see if I can find pictures.


i think in a car like ours, as long as you feel cool, air on face and body, the rest of the car can be warm. How often do you take more then 1 other passenger ? We had a discussion about this when designing my A C and to keep the whole cabin cool will take front and back AC units with the amount of glass. 

Edited by Bill Stoneberg (see edit history)
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Thinking about this a bit more and a couple of comments.

On a factory AC car, they use a 45 amp GENERATOR versus a non ac car that uses a 30 or 35 amp.

Also the mounting bracket for the GENERATOR is totally different as I found out. On a non AC car, the adjusting bracket is at the top, while AC is below.

just something to think about as I am as we get close to putting my car back together.

I have put a Powergen ALTERNATOR (90 amp) on my car which worked well.  I had them build it special so it would support the Generator light and the push gas pedal to start feature.  That is how I found out about the different brackets and mounting.

 

Edited by Bill Stoneberg (see edit history)
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Thanks Ben and Bill. At this point I have done very little research and thought some practical experience from others would be a good place to start. Other than interior cooling performance my biggest concerns would be how the engine and cooling system would react, your alternator comment is a good one. I don't even have an alternator, just a generator! The other cars I have done conversions on were factory air cars so they were already designed to support A/C. Ben, how did your 50 react to adding the underhood components?

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4 hours ago, Bill Stoneberg said:

i think in a car like ours, as long as you feel cool, air on face and body, the rest of the car can be warm. How often do you take more then 1 other passenger ? We had a discussion about this when designing my A C and to keep the whole cabin cool will take front and back AC units with the amount of glass. 

My 66 Dodge Monaco Wagon has front and rear units and even with that it struggles in true Texas summer.

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1 hour ago, TexRiv_63 said:

My 66 Dodge Monaco Wagon has front and rear units and even with that it struggles in true Texas summer.

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it doesn’t surprise me, even my modern car has issues in this heat sometimes. Don’t drive during the heat of the day if I can help it.

 

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8 hours ago, TexRiv_63 said:

My 66 Dodge Monaco Wagon has front and rear units and even with that it struggles in true Texas summer.

 

 

I'm not surprised -- that's a lot of glass (and a fairly dark colored roof)...  Beautiful wagon, by the way!  ;)

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5 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Don, the Straight eight doesn't even know the difference.  I cannot hear a difference in engine speed , at idle, when the A/C is switched on.

 

  Ben

Have you had any engine cooling issues? I would love to see some photos of the installation...

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On 7/23/2021 at 1:05 PM, TexRiv_63 said:

I've taken the car out for three short rides since the brakes were fixed and this car cruises GREAT. After reading about the Dynaflow not liking to go into reverse with the idle speed too high I adjusted the hot idle down but now when it is cold it does not want to stay running. Not sure if the choke is working on my Carter 2-barrel, our temps are high now in Texas so not sure if it would normally set. I will raise the hot idle back up a little and fiddle with the choke later. 

 

One issue that I noticed on my brake check was that there was no fuel filter anywhere in the supply lines, the factory glass bowl unit is gone. Yesterday I replaced it with a generic inline filter, zip-tying it in place to get cooling from the fan. I probably paid too much for the "chrome plated" filter.

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The item taped to the valve cover.  There is a bracket that also holds the glass bulb fuel filter for this.  This item also has a vacuum hose to it off the carb.  Currently none are attached.  Would you like a picture of mine so you may see what is missing and needs to be added.     

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22 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

 

 

The item taped to the valve cover.  There is a bracket that also holds the glass bulb fuel filter for this.  This item also has a vacuum hose to it off the carb.  Currently none are attached.  Would you like a picture of mine so you may see what is missing and needs to be added.     

Yes please!

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I did have two pictures already from when I found the correct fuel bowl filter set up. 

 

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Installed on the engine.  See the bracket on top of the fuel bowl housing?  This is were the piece that is taped to your valve cover is mounted.  Now, the question is where does yours get a vacuum source.  I have a 4 barrel. The vacuum source is gotten off the T at the manifold just behind the thermostat housing.  I will post a picture later as I don't have one currently in my 60 Electra file 

 

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Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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14 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

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Where did you get the fuel filter housing?  58s take the same style with 90 degree bend and bracket bolt on top, but yours has a little different casting style.  Is it original or reproduction?  I didn't think this style was reproduced.  If original do you know the number?  I think 58 is GF-49.

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1 hour ago, lancemb said:

Where did you get the fuel filter housing?  58s take the same style with 90 degree bend and bracket bolt on top, but yours has a little different casting style.  Is it original or reproduction?  I didn't think this style was reproduced.  If original do you know the number?  I think 58 is GF-49.

I was fortunate to find an original on eBay.

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19 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

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I have the bracket that supports the filter but not the one on top. I did not know that round switch unit needed a vacuum source but I never really looked at it. The vacuum tap on my intake manifold does not look like yours, mine just feeds the brake booster. Does your car have factory air?

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The bracket can be made from steel stock found at the hardware store.  If you can't find an original that is. I do not have factory air.  I suspect you have a 2 barrel carb?  If so, perhaps another member can take a pic of their set up. I have a 4 barrel.

 

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4 hours ago, lancemb said:

33034 is the filter element, but do you know what number the actual bowl and housing assembly is that the filter element goes into?

I do not know the housing number. I took a look and did not find a number. 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

It looks like I need to enter the fray asking about the best wide whitewall radial tires. This car has a beautiful set of 225-75-R15 B.F. Goodrich Silvertowns with excellent tread but unfortunately a date code of 1309, which I take to mean they are 12 years old! They look great but after searching and reading many threads and articles about horror stories caused by tire age I am doubtful about putting freeway miles on until I replace them. I have checked all the supplier's websites which now appear to be under Coker ownership except for Diamondback. Duplicating my Silvertowns is the most expensive option at $328 per tire while the Diamond Back 1 is the cheapest at $239 per tire. I would welcome all comments and appreciate any recommendations based on your personal experiences.  

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Well that's just, I'll go ahead and say it, Crazy Money!

 

Has labour and materials gone up that much when they already have the molds???

 

And I thought 1,000.00 was nuts for five 30x3 1/2 tires and tubes for my Overland... 😒

Edited by dei (see edit history)
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Are the current tires bias ply or radials. If bias ply I would keep em going a few more years. If radials then I'd be inclined to replace em.. But in either case, radials seem to offer a much better ride and road handling experience on my 56. I have a set of Diamondbacks built on Toyo tires. Very happy with them.

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So do I but the Diamondbacks are no longer built on Toyo tires.

it’s really hard to find Whitewalls any more. I bought Hankooks for my Cadillac but they have skinny whitewalls. They were the only non Coker tire I found.

Don, you might look at Tire Rack and see if they have anything. 

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10 hours ago, Bill Stoneberg said:

Diamondbacks are no longer built on Toyo tires.

Right.  They are now building on Nexen tires, a low end $80 tire at Walmart and Discount tire.  For more money they offer a 'bias look Auburn radial tire'. The Auburn tire has a squared off sidewall edge and a friend reports that they catch the grooves in the road like a bias tire :o.  For even more money they will build on any tire you specify.

My 6 year old Diamondbacks built on Toyo developed a pull to the right that was corrected by rotating to the back.  I can drive locally, but will have to replace before the next road trip if not sooner.

With the prices and selection now, I may just go with skinny white walls or black walls like I grew up with.

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19 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

Are the current tires bias ply or radials. If bias ply I would keep em going a few more years. If radials then I'd be inclined to replace em.. But in either case, radials seem to offer a much better ride and road handling experience on my 56. I have a set of Diamondbacks built on Toyo tires. Very happy with them.

They are radials which is why I am concerned. The car rides and handles very nicely and I want to keep that.

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