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My 47 Roadmaster


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The 47 Roadmaster is promoted in the Salesman's Facts Book as having a manufacturer's warranty of 90 days or 4000 miles, which ever occurred first. It also reminds salesmen that 'you never go broke taking orders'. The Buick was promoted as having 'step ahead styling', 'pace setting power', 'nimble performance', 'standout stability', and 'lounge easy comfort'. It has permi-firm steering, no draft ventilation and fireball power. The Roadmaster has 129" wheelbase, coil springs all around and an in line 8 with 320 cu in, And 144 hp @3600 rpm. Another set of data I don't recall seeing often is the piston travel, shown as 2114.1 feet per mile at 50 mph.

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In 1947 Buick produced a total of 37,743 convertibles, including all Supers and Roadmasters, representing 22.9% of the total of all convertibles sold in the US that year. Accessories for 1947 included radiator antifreeze ($0.25/ qt), horn package ($8.90), No-Rol device ($10.35), rear fender door lock ($1 .15), automatic windshield washer ($6.35), heater and defroster ($29.90), radio ($69.93), radio antenna ($7.50), electric clock ($17.25),and something called Power Pac, a combination fire extinguisher and tire inflator ($6.25). The Power Pac contained 'enough CO2 to inflate 3,600-16 tires from 0 to 30 Ibs'.

Late in '94 I heard a friend was thinking of selling the 1947 Roadmaster he had acquired several years earlier with the thought of restoring the car to it's former glory. We got together and struck a deal, and I brought the car home in 1995. I've always liked the style and lines of the 1946/47/48 Buicks. These were the best of the streamlined styling,in my opinion. The car spent a long time under a tarp outside and the interior took quite a beating.

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I knew the guy who had it stored in his yard for about 30 years, but in the early 90's I guess he decided to let it go. That's when I heard my other car buddy had it and it was now safe in side his barn. ( a happy story for any old Buick)

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So I towed it home and got started, that was 10 years ago.

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You know that feeling of euphoria, as your new car is on the hook and heading home?

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So the work began, I took it right down, but left the body on the frame. This is the stage where I was just getting started. See my 38 in the background? That is my first car. Lot of good stories to tell with that car, and some I can't tell.

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By the way, that Ford you see beside the 47 is now long gone, I have purged all Ford products out of the family fleet and we are now all GM.

I cleaned up the engine, new manifolds, and I painted on the valve cover lettering [ it's only time...]

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I completely disassembled the dash, rechromed all the pieces, and painted the dash. I am often asked about the colour, ... it is original. In fact the car is redone to the same interio colours and materials as it originally came out of the factory.

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After many years, lots of hours replacing and fixing meatl, it was off to the local paint shop to add the colour.

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Lots of body panels to paint, them put back on the car. It all takes time.

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The trunk came out nice. The guys who had it before me, ( and in a way saved it for me!), acquired a lot of nice NOS pieces over the years that came with the deal. The rear emblem just sparkles. I don't have to imagine now just how beautiful they were sitting on the showroom floor.

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Its all done now. Ten years later, [ still married!] and loved every minute of it. With the advise of a veteran car restorer in town here, I installed the convertible top myself too. It turned out really nice, tight and straight. Great satisfaction in that.

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I decided to do it right and got the interior done by Jenkins Interiors in NC. It cam as a kit ready to fit up. I can't say enough good things about the quality of the interior, carpets and top boot for them. I did all the installation, and all it takes is patience and a bit of thinking as you do it , and I'd say the average car guy can do it.

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Here it is , interior done, as original. Beautiful combination of blue exterior and tan with maroon leather interior.

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So now we drive it to events around town and just throughly enjoy the big old Buick.

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Thanks, and you just can't believe what a smooth and quiet ride! We get the thumbs up when ever we go out.

Considering the weight of this 47, it really has lots of jam. Of course , that's with the 3 on the tree, before they brought in the dyna'slow' in 48. Now , to be fair, I've not driven a 48 automatic, but I hear they rob a bit of the power from the big old 8.

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Guest imported_MrEarl

John,

What a great story of your restoration of this beautiful car. These are such rare cars. I've watched a couple of Supers on eBay lately and there is one for sale here in Georgia. But Roadmasters they are not. I really love the 42,47 and 48 Roadmasters. The side body lines are to die for. Buick styling at it's greatest.

I'd like to commend you on a job well done. I appreciate you attention to detail. Hopefully I'll get to meet you someday and see it in person. And maybe even go for a "spin". I'll never forget the "spin" my dad gave me, my mom and my brother one night around a big oak tree in our front yard in either a 47 or 48 Buick Special. Perhaps that's why I love them so.

I love to see such articles and commentary like this in Me and My Buick. Yours was VERY WELL DONE.

BTW, I noticed the tag collection on the garage wall. Consecutive numbers it appears. Care to tell us about that?....

And I'd like to hear some of those un-tellable 38 Special stories too.

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Thanks for the kind words.

As a kid, on family summer vacations, Dad and I used to stop at all the interesting car junk yards along the way ( my Mom was / is a very understanding person. This would be back in the mid 60's. Our first plate collecting as a father and son team was a BC white on blue plate from the 60's. Dad recalls as a kid, he spotted and picked up a licence pate from the roadside. It was a California plate. That was back in the 30's, here in Winnipeg, finding a plate from California was a real find! as one can only imagine.

Dad has always been a collector of stuff, and we got started into plates as a father & son thing. He carried on as the serious collector and I tagged along, so to speak. I can recall writing every state in the 60's asking for sample plates, and most states sent one to me. I remember rushing home from school every day , for quite some time, to see what new plate may have arrived that day.

I still really enjoy the old plates and have a few neat ones.

Dad is slowing down now and has sold off most of his plate collection. He had close to every plate, from every year/ state and province, all the Mexican states, Australian provinces ( I think they are provinces), and many 'foreign' plates. A fabulous collection, through close to 40 years of collecting.

I did ask him for his run of plates from #1 thru 100, as he sold off his sets.

So, to get back to your observation of the plates on the wall, you are absolutely right. They are 1 to 100, with plates from mostly Canada and US to make the run.

I have also managed to snag the first run of all State plates we put together, all from the 60's. Kind of nostalgia for me, ands in a way , I think I like these plates better than the flashy decaled plates of today, that in some ways all start to look alike, despite each one trying to be different.

I got into old cars honestly as well. When I was about 12 or so, and we started collecting plates, Dad found a 1930 Model A Cabriolet needing total restoration. He took me along to look at it, stuffed sideways into a guy's garage. It was then I learned how to appreciate and see the value in this old car stuff.

We worked together on it, and I learned not only about how to fix and repair car stuff, but the value in friends and the willingness and honest desire of people to 'help out' and participate in the restoration, and the friendships that are built all around the common interest of seeing an old car run again in all its original glory.

The neighbour across the street was a tailor, and I would never have gotten to know him as I did, if it wsn't for the sewing and hand work he did , in making the new canvas top for that car. The guys at the local body shop let him use their shop and let me do the preliminary work and let me hang around and watch the pros work. Every one willing to pass on their trade secrets.

I have to thank my Dad for opening this world of cars to me.

When I was 15 he came home from work and said, 'I spotted an old car, looks like a Pontiac, and I think its one you might be able to afford'. He and I went over to check it out, it was the 1938 Buick I still have to this day.

I'm putting some pictures together and will post some stories of the 38 shortly. The parts I can tell you about. smile.gif

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Lamar,

I'm trying to convince John to re-join the BCA and since Rochester is so close, he may not be able to resist coming down. Of course, additional prompting can't hurt...oh yeah John, you may want to book a hotel room sooner than later smirk.gifgrin.gif

I know it isn't a Buick, but John's father has a nice '58 Pontiac...one photo in here probably couldn't hurt...especially with the post about how he got you started John.

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Why not? After all a Pontiac is a wanna be Buick, right? I've uploaded a few of the 58 and once they are approved, I'll sneak a post in here, ( the one with my 38 Special in the background to make it a legit picture for a Buick board). It is a cool car.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great car! I am restoring a 1947 Roadmaster convertible now. I like the color and was wondering if your Buick is the Calvert blue mine is origionally. Mine is so faded it is hard to tell what it was like. I plan to do it in either Calvert blue or canterbury blue and also with the red interior. It is nice to see the color results on a completed car. So far I have the frame and engine and drivetrain all rebuilt and assembled (see attachment). Soon to bring in the body and start that massive job

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Looks like you are doing a great job.

My 47 is a match to the lighter blue , Calvert blue.

The red, which looks redder in photos, is a deep red, or almost maroon. It was originally finished in what is described as ' antiqued' finish, which is the deep red with dark grains laid into the finish ( I have no idea how they do this dye job). Jenkins in NC has the exact match for the original leather. In my opinion it finishes it off perfectly.

see attached sample of leather

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That is a good pattern for the interior. I like it. Soon I am going to start working on having an interior kit made. Jenkins seems like the place to go then. My only other choice is Hampton in Massachusetts. They are conviently located about 75 miles from me but if Jenkins does better work I will go with them. I appreciate your comeback with the info.

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I have nothing against Hampton, but when I compared materials available, Jenkins had the exact materials match. Hamptons was close, but Jenkins has the antiqued red in a leather and vinyl matching beautifully to the original materials and patterns. For some that may be splitting hairs, so you have to decide what you want.

I can say that the patterns and fit from Jenkins was superb. I have no recent experience with Hamptons, [ except a rumble seat cover for a Model A from many years ago, and no problem with that as I recall].

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I am going to get the sales material from both places and compare them. I do like the material you got and if the price is comparable I will go with Jenkins. This family had a good discussion about the color for the body and have decided to go with canterbury blue. Your car looks so good we had a difficult decision. Do we want 2 cars with the same color combination anyway? Some day we may be parked next to each other? A different shade of blue with the same interior will compliment both cars :-)

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  • 3 weeks later...

John,

my 48 has the Dynaflow and it does rob some power from a dead stop - it takes a while to get up to speed. But once you are going, the car runs well. I can pull hills without slowing down. I can drive the highway at 55 MPH and then get up to 70 MPH in just a second or 2. They are fun to drive with the dynaflow. If we are ever at a show together, I'll let you drive mine if you let me drive yours!

Nice job on your 47 -looks great.

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ewing,

Just want to chime in here and compliment you on a wonderful job on a really great car! I especially like the body color, that's one of my favorite shades of blue, from an era when blue cars were pretty popular. The before-and-after series of shots, starting with the tow home, really give this thread a storyline in pictures. Hope you have many happy miles of motoring!

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Guy,

You are right about the colour. It is a real stunning colour and on a sunny day it makes heads spin. With the maroon/ red interior ( a classic combination of the late 40's and 50's), I had to go strictly as original.

Glad you liked the story and pictures.

John

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Since Derek mentioned dad's 58 Pontiac, I figured what harm can it do to sneak in a picture of it? And to make the picture legit, you'll see a picture of my 38 McLaughlin Buick behind it. That's the car that got me started. Bought it for $125 off a used car lot. Gives you an idea how long ago that was!

Other cars on the lot were late 50's fords and chevy's, but they had nothing on that Buick. ( except maybe a higher price, slightly out of my reach).

That green Pontiac is a Canadian built car. Its on basically a chev chassis ( same as the 58 Impala), with the chev 348 ci engine, power windows, PS PB, sportable radio and originally with the ill fated air suspension. Cool car for sure. I remember when we went to pick it up and I followed him home. No way I could keep up to him firing up the hills, and me in my pathetic modern ford ( company car long gone now).

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The colour is a more recent paint code, with the fine poly ( metal flake), and colour as a 'perfect' match to the Buick cantebury blue ( as I recall).

I will dig into the file and post the paint code shortly.

John

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  • 3 years later...

Hi- I am looking for info on 48 buick roadmaster convertible antenna -i have to make one out of two and have no car to match them to-i have joined this group but cant figure out how to post a message- do you have any info on these antennas -I have no manuals old enough to show a picture of it- any ideas- thanks in advance Chuck

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The shop manual for this car will have a good detail for you, butr the dimensions may be incomplete.

If you have 2 to build one from then you probably just need the exploded view detail ( at the least) to make one assembly up.

Sadly I am curently off to work! at the moment, but I'm sure someone on this board will post the picture/ detail for you.

I'll check back later and if no response, I'll dig out what info I have to help you out.

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  • 10 years later...

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