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Hi Kids,


On July 6th 1985 I bought this 1955 Special model 48. On July 6th 2005 I was driving to Batavia NY for the Nationals when this occured.


I drove 3456 miles round trip and averaged right around 15 mpg. (My A/C clutch stuck on so I doubt that helped) crazy.gif

Before I left:



View of the trunk unit for the A/C which I added:


Engine view for you nailhead geeks: (No, I didn't get extra points for the fan belts lining up cool.gif )


I received a Gold Senior award on my first time ever showing and without trailering it!

I am currently writing an article for the Bugle going into more depth so stay tuned.


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Guest imported_MrEarl

Nice Mike, very very nice!!! and very inspiring!! Congratulations. wink.gif Looking forward to the Bugle article. Please don't hesitate to post more of the restoration effort here though.

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Guest imported_MrEarl

OK if I'm gonna be gawkin at this thing I'm gonna make it easy on myself and move the pictures over here.


So looks like you pretty much had an "easy restore" to start with. What's the history of the car. What condition was it when you bought it back in the 80's. I like the "post" models. perhaps because a 54 Special post was my first Buick. I'd love to turn one into a period race car.



What all was involved with the restoration of the AC. Was it in pretty good shape as far as all the hoses and the insulation surrounding the motors etc.


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Please make it easy on yourself and post away, but you have asked me alot of questions implying you want to see even more pictures. I will do my best.

Let me answer your questions first and then I will post pictures later. It takes me way too long to put them up and I will forget what I actually want to write.

After all of the guys on ebay talking about "easy restoration" on some real dung-heaps, yeah mine was comparitively easy.

First off, the body didn't come off the frame. I had rebuilt an old engine that Old-Tank (Willie Pittman) had laying around his place in Seguin, Texas, (almost exactly 60 miles door to door from my house). That was about nine months before the Flint show. How do I remember that? I was originally going to try to drive up to that National, but my first (and only) son was born the day it started. So the project was postponed for about a year while my wife and I got used to the new critter and the way our lives had changed. She suggested that I re-start the project right after his first birthday, at which time I got in line for the paint shop in Seguin where Willie had his 4dr. Century hardtop painted. The goal was to drive the car to Batavia in less than one year.

I started disassembling all of the chrome, stainless, interior and every other thing that didn't need to be in or on the car when it went to paint. Since I had owned the car for a long time already I had already had the headliner and seats re-done. The door panels were original so I had to have them reupholstered. Now alot of the times I will say "have them done", that just means by somebody, often times me.

I had already had the clock rebuilt, radio converted to fm (which I blew up shortly thereafter, while trying to get the car off the highway after running out of gas) and a rebuilt redline speedo (set to my odometer reading) several years ago when I painted the middle section of my dashboard.

I had also rebuilt the front end about ten years ago and the (manual) steering box several times in the last few years, so I figured that stuff was ok....Actually the car drove great so I figured what the heck.

In late December I was told I would be next on the list for paint with them knowing that I had to have the car back by June first at the very latest. The fenders, hood and doors came off for paint. The body was stripped to bare metal which revealed rust in the usual spots (i.e. under the back windshield moulding, in front of the rear wheels and the eyebrows in the front of the fenders.) When I bought the car twenty years ago, I had everything painted except the roof. When stripped this time, they discovered that the drivers side rear quarter had been smacked pretty hard and repaired somewhat poorly ( a bunch of bondo). Everything they saw, they repaired with new metal and very little filler, I think they said less than a gallon, most of which was sanded off.

Now, most of you guys reading this have also read my other threads about stainless buffing/ where to send chrome etc. I was doing all of that while the car was getting painted so that when I received the car back from them "ALL" I would have to do is reassemble.

During that same time I rebuilt the A/C compressor with the help of my trusty mentor. I had bought a complete system about ten years ago knowing that I would want to install it one day. The condensor, I had boiled out and pressure tested. The trunk unit, I blew out and cleaned up. I had heard from different sources that there wasn't too much that could go wrong with them. Mice had built a nest in the trunk unit itself so the filter was pretty much gone except for the frame. I used one of those blue washable cut to fit filters you can get at your local hardware store. The black insulation between the evaporator and the case, however was in decent shape for a unit that had obviously been sitting in the back of a Roadmaster in a field in the Texas sun for probably twenty years. Yeah that's right, a Roadmaster. So the clear tubes were the wrong size for my Special. Who knew? Also the underdash controls were from a 54 so they didn't operate the blowers on my car. Again, who knew? Let's see.... The copper lines were from another one of Willie's parts cars. I had to fabricate some new pieces that had been crushed at some time. I got some refrigerant lines and fittings from the old HVAC dude I know from work. I didn't use silver solder on them because I couldn't get the pipes hot enough, even with Mapp gas. For the wiring, I used an old harness that had been cut in numerous places and spliced them together to use as a template for my new harness. I had it assembled in my driveway and in the car in an afternoon. "Baby even the losers, get lucky sometime". If you notice in the pictures (my pictures can be blown up) there are no lines going to the thermostat on top of the trunk unit. I installed a toggle switch (actually a push-pull switch) in the back of the dash unit between the two controls that I will turn on the compressor when I want air and turn it off when I don't. I also didn't install the outside fresh air vents because all that does is let that hot-a$$ Texas air come in your car and let rain get in your trunk. The hoses I had pressure checked at a rebuilder locally. I don't know if there is rubber inside of them but they held vacuum for over an hour on their machine so I didn't mess with them.

The only part we had trouble with was under the car after the lines were run. I couldn't get one of the flare fittings tight enough and I could hear hissing when we pumped the system full of air. It took about five attempts and some of the biggest wrenches I have ever used to finally torque that puppy tight enough to stop hissing. The moment of truth came when we pulled a vacuum and it held for twenty minutes. I used enviro-safe which you aren't supposed to evacuate the lines before installing. I believe that is the reason my a/c kept freezing up. The moisture in the lines that we didn't vacuum out probably is freezing in the drier. We will try again later, when it isn't so stinkin' hot. Besides, I need a break.

I got the car back on June 1st and started the reassembly immediately with the taillights and headlights so I could legally drive back to Austin. Now understand, I had been driving this extra 120 miles a week for almost six months. I had helped in every aspect of the dissassembly and reassembly. From glass removal to glass installation. Now I had forty days to get it ready to go. The title of my Bugle article is tentatively titled "Forty Nights and a Day Job". This picture sums up the mad rush.


OK No Effin' picture, I have tried for twenty minutes and I will not lose all of this typing. I will try later. I also don't want you guys to have to scroll back and forth.

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I didn't get this close to Niagara Falls not to get a picture in front of it. I had seen it before but she hadn't.


As you can see there aren't a whole lot of car/falls photo opportunity spots. I pretty much blocked traffic. blush.gif

Security check into Canada was harder than coming back: "Where were you born?" "DC" "OK, nice car". I guess my pop and I didn't look threatening.


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Out of the 3 old cars who left Texas for BAtavia, Mike was the only one who didn't have problems on the way. He also made it 1700 miles in 2 days. Now that is cruising.

Nice car Mike, hope to see it again at the regionals.

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