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1939 Buick Roadmaster 81 SED


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Dear Alexander:

It took me a minute to figure out what an instrument panel "trimmed with a tree" is. In American English, we refer to the instrument panel color as "wood graining". Actually, it is a paint process that looks like wood. The color on a 1939 Roadmaster is called "French Burl Walnut", and is a deep redish brown with black grain lines in it. The window surrounds (the metal pieces around the window glass) are done the same way. When I restored my car 25 years ago, I experimented on pieces of scrap metal until I got it right.

The process begins by cleaning the metal so that paint can be sprayed on it. The first coat of paint was a red/burgundy lacquer so that there is a fine and shiny red/burgundy finish as a base coat. You then need to prepare a piece of what we call "cheesecloth" (used for straining cow or goat's milk to make cheese). Fold it so you have a 4 layer thick piece about 25 cm wide and 70 cm long. Pull that folded piece to make the holes very elongated, lay it on the panel and spray a fine black ENAMEL thru it. Move the mask about 1/2 of it's length and spray some more black. Repeat this step all the way across the instrument panel. Spray only a very small amount and make about 3 passes across the whole panel. Polish with a very fine sandpaper and polishing compound. The 3rd coat is a clear enamel. Done right, the instrument panel will look like fine cherry or walnut furniture that you would see in the Czar's palace museum.

Actually, it is a "fake" (not real) wood. It took me several weeks of experimenting on sheet metal pieces to get the right appearance.

There are also paint kits available here in the US for doing woodgraining which you can buy. My method will work with materials you can get there.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Hiya Dave, I'd have bet money that 5 was a 3 until I enlarged it too and i'm 39. LOL

I did see your reference to making up a chart and checking off the codes but I thought if we were using different reference sources yours may have missed that code. I have found Auto Color Library to be quite complete when looking for codes myself but that's not to say I believe them to be THE end all source.

I don't know much about Buick's export practices, but i'm learning, so, for now, i'll leave that up to you guys who obviously know more about the subject. LOL

Cheers, Carl </div></div>

Tell please how there are searches? There are results?

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Hello, thanks for the address of a site. I know this site and actively it use. Unfortunately, there there is not enough information on my theme.

I would like to find User Manual on this machine. Promotional materials do not give full representation.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Hello, thanks for the address of a site. I know this site and actively it use. Unfortunately, there there is not enough information on my theme.

I would like to find User Manual on this machine. Promotional materials do not give full representation. </div></div>

Your best chance is eBay eBay

Or, perhaps a board member here.

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Hello. I have question. In Russia very few antiquarian automobiles. But we try to find and restore them. It is a lot of problems with details for them. It is necessary to do much anew. At you in America it is a lot of dumps with old machines. It is a lot of companies trading in parts for them. Your incomes allow to be engaged in it. Why so few machines are restored? Why your dumps are filled with old machines? Unless it is necessary to nobody? I probably would open the company on restoration of automobiles if had such dump a beside. Tell, why so occurs? These machines are interesting to nobody?

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Alexander, in my opinion, although there appears to be a lot of us interested in restoring and maintaining antique automobiles, we are very few per capita. As a guess i'd have to say only about 1 in 1,000 people are antique car buffs. Cheers, Carl

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Dear Alexander:

I'm on vacation at my mother-in-law's house about 1500KM from my home. A friend let me use his computer for a few minutes to check with you. Here in the United States, many Buicks were used as scrap during the Great Patriotic War, so they are extremely rare. Since then, the price of metal scrap and our laws have put many junkyards out of business. However, the world's largest car show and swap meet still has 300,000 people who attend, along with 5,000 cars and 14,000 parts dealer spaces, so all is not lost.

I think I have figured out what that "3" in the cowl plate is. You remember that we talked about CKD cars and I described for you how Buick did that. When Buick sent your car out, it was one of 12 cars that would be packed together. While they would all be Roadmasters, there are several different Roadmaster models. Your car and mine are both model 81. There are also model 81C (a 4 door convertible type, a model 81F with a center inside window, and a model 87, which has a different rear section on the body. A moment's thought will show you that Buick had to tell Antwerp which car was what. That Identity is the number stamped into the body plate, in your case car #3 of the 12.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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  • 4 weeks later...

It is found in Russia.

You will be surprised, but Russia the surprising country. After fund Buick 81SED we have continued searches of automobiles of this mark. The result has surprised us. Recently we have found Buick Series 40, 1939 of release. One of these days I have found out Buick Series 90, 1937 of release. 40 and 90 models of the automobile are trophies WW2 and are brought by owners in 1945-1946. Unfortunately the machine of 40 series in very bad condition. The machine of 90 series on the move also is practically complete. I hope, that I can soon show a photo of these finds. Now we negotiate with owners of automobiles.

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  • 1 month later...

Dear Alexander:

We took pictures of my car this morning and I will post them within the next 24 hours. I concentrated on many of the interior and exterior details. In many of the pictures, you will see one or two red rectangular objects. These are not parts of the car, but special reference wood blocks that I made. They are EXACTLY one inch square and EXACTLY ten inches long, and are in the pictures so that you can print out a picture, and compute exactly how big the Roadmaster part in the photo is by computing the ratio of the size of the part to the scale blocks.

I'm sorry to have been so slow to get these pictures for you, but our weather here has been a steady 30 C at night and around 38 C in the daytime. Even with air conditioning, my work has been very slow to get completed.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 months later...

All greetings. I again here. After long silence I can show you new photos.

The machine is disassembled. It is not enough native parts. But we do not lose of hope and we search for not sufficing parts.

The problem will consist in a difference between machines for the USA and for Europe.

On these photos you can see some details. If you have comments to a photo, I with pleasure of them shall listen.

My Buick Photos

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Dear Alexander;

I have been wondering how things are going with you this winter. It appears that you are making progress with the car. As a general observation, all of the small handles for the doors and windows appear to be the same as the US built cars, and therefore the plastic inserts are available here as authentic reproduction pieces. The lids for the rear seat ashtrays are also available and seat upholstery material.

I note in photo 81 that your dome light is broken. They are impossible to find, except I have 3 brand new ones, one of which I will give you. I also note in photo 49 that you have both the European front marker lights, which you should re-install when the restoration work is nearly complete.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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Dear Alexander:

I made another sweep thru the photos and have some more comments/questions. In photo # 1, your heater is the same as a USA Buick, but has Harrison on it instead of Buick which should be correct for a European car. In photo 8, I don't see the clock or the radio. Do you have them? I note something that could be the clock in photo #16, but wasn't sure. I note in photo #13 that the horn ring is missing. Those have been reproduced here in the USA. I note in photos #53,55, and 56 what appears to be leather upholstery in the photos. Is this what it is? Leather was available here in the USA but is optional on sedan cars. However, leather is standard on export cars and I have personally seen one in Great Britian about 20 years ago.

I'm still intrigued by the "toolboxes" shown in photo #64. In order for me to determine if they are authentic, could you take some close-up photos of them? Also, does your trunk space have a shelf in it for the spare tire to go under the shelf? A photo of that would help with this question.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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Dear Alexander:

I note with interest photo #4, which shows all the correct front bumper guards, including the big center one. Can you take a photo just like #4 of the rear of the car with the trunk lid either up or off? Add an extra strong light so I can see the interior details of the trunk space.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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I have added photos. Unfortunately now not all is at me on a computer.

Boxes in fenders of the machine are made by previous owner. If to look at a photo, it is visible, that it is simply closed up apertures for spare wheels. The radio and clock at us is not present. There is a back part from clock. There is a grill from the radio. A leather on doors is not natural. It is made by the previous owner. On other doors the fabric is visible.(foto 58 and 59). Look at a photo 53 and 54. I have a little cleared a paint. Under a paint there is a brilliant surface.

The paint on a shade differs from the basic. What for it is made?(foto 57 and 59)

On a photo 26 it is visible, that there is no part of devices. The index of fuel and still there was what that the measuring device. On auction E-Bay I saw only a part from the right side of the instrument panel. With left I did not meet.

The mechanism of a speedmeter by our machine not native. It from the governmental machine of mark ZiS (Zavod imenyi Stalina). Very interesting design for 40 years. Up to 60 km/h the arrow(pointer) of a speedmeter shined by green light. At increase in speed color varied on yellow and then on red.

ZiS 110 inside

"The representation automobile was developed on the basis of such known models 1941, as PACKARD 180 and BUICK LIMITED 90. Manufacture of the limousine which has received name ZiS-110, proceeded with 1945 for 1958."

Still we negotiate for purchase of two automobiles Buick. 1939 and 1938 of release.

Here a photo of one of them. It is disassembled, but parts were kept.

Buick 1938

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Dea Alxander:

The color you see is the base color of the "wood graining". See my post of 2/16/06 on this thread. Note that I said it was a red color overlayed with black lines that look like the grain in wood. The pieces around the windows are called "window surrounds" and they are the same wood grain pattern as the dashboard.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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Dear Alexander:

If you remove one of the "window surrounds", you shoud find a color that the main part of the door was ORIGINALLY painted at Antwerp, and it will be almost a perfect color, since the paint there is covered up and not faded from the sunlight.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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Dear Alexander:

You are correct that the small center section of the window surround is different. It appears up close to look like a wood inlay, much like you might find on a fine table in the Czar's palace museum. Actually, it is a decal put on the window surround. It is strictly for appearance and serves no other function, other than to give a rich and luxurious appearance to the car.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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Dear Alexander:

When you are working with the ideas that are used in the design of the 1939 Roadmaster Buick (like our two cars), it is important to remember that these cars are among the technically very best cars in the world in 1939. As a result, there are small details that clearly were meant to show everyone who saw the car that the Roadmasters were for people who had money and social status. It may be a difficlt cultural concept for you. The easiest way might be to look in Russian history and say to yourself: What would a senior advisor to the Czar have driven, if the Czar was still in power in Russia in 1939? That will explain that small slot in the left rear armrest, just behind the small ashtray. It's a place for a part called a "Ladies Book and Mirror Assembly", which is for a rich woman to write a note for her driver !! Regards, Dave Corbin

Regards, Dave Corbin

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  • 2 months later...

hi Again Dave

when i read about the 81 sed i notice that you talked about a "CKD" car.

i have the chassie number on my frame on the top of the right rear kickup (where the spring is mounted).

do you know something about that ?

is my frame also a Ckd frame ?

where can i read about it ?

as i told you before , i have no plates at all.

the only numbers i´ve got is the engine # and this frame #

Janne

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  • 1 year later...

Dear Alexander:

The back window surround is the same color as the other parts, but it was almost impossible to get the light right for the photo.

I managed to buy the metal wheel well covers for your car at the BCA National Meet last week in Flint. Please see my PM in your box.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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  • 2 years later...

Dear David,

Thank you for BTT, and for sure I went through this topic, but re-read it once again with more useful info founded.

I am just wondering if Alexander completed his project/ Have you seen the result?

My part of the vehicle history is a bit different as I got McLaughlin, and the bad thing that significant portion of the information from the TAGs were missed.

As we agreed by email the most interesting thing is how the left hand Canada's Buick come to Europe and got the German language Tag? Canadian embassy/corporate version looks very natural.

I think the Russian part of the history of my Buick is quite obvious and common as for the rest of 55k indemnity vehicles from Europe with only difference that such fancy 2 doors coupe car most obvious had celebrity Russian owner.

Difference form Alexander's Buick is that I got very solid body (even 2 original rear rims) and interior maintained with love. But missed engine and front-end welding will give my project serious headache.

David, I am very much value your advisory and your warmth toward any request appeared here in AACA. Thank You!

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