Jump to content

1923 Buick hot rod or restore?


Recommended Posts

I recently acquired what I'm told is a '23 Buick 36 Coupe, with the intention of making a street rod out of it. The body is pretty much complete, except for a the trunk lid and top, and the panels are relatively straight. The bottom of the radiator and the pieces that cover the frame rails and tie into the running boards are pretty rusty, but the rest is pretty solid. All of the wood is rotted out, so there's really not much holding the panels together. The drive train appears to be complete with the exception of a carb.

My thought was that this would be a good subject for a street rod build, rather than a restoration, given its condition and the fact that it's different than what most street rodders are building. I've had a few people tell me that it's a fairly rare car, and that I should restore it. A good restoration is probably beyond my skill set and frankly not something I'm really interested in doing. My personal interest is in building custom cars. Since I have no great attachment to this particular car, I'm wondering if it has more value to someone interested in a restoration or if the comments I've received are just from guys who hate to see an old car "destroyed".

I'd be interested to hear any comments/opinions and what the car might be worth to someone interested in a restoration.

I'm going to try to post a picture of the car. In addition to what's pictured I also have the doors, wind shield, and dash.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you poke around the site here, there was a similar question asked a while back...aside from the entire original vs. modified argument, I recall someone stated that wood cars don't stand up well to rodding...at least high power drivetrains. Remember that these cars produced under 100 hp at the time, not 400. It's not a conclusive answer, but I hope it helps you reach a decision.

With all the wood rotted out, it would be a pretty ambitious restoration...perhaps it is a good parts car for someone who needs it. My opinion leans toward original, but it's not my car.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I might as well chime in with my two cents - it would seem that you will have to replace the wood framing for restoration or replace it with a custom metal frame for strength. You might find metal would be less expensive then someone fabricating all the wood, especially if you do not have enough wood to use as a pattern.

John

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of us on this forum are preservationists but we are open minded to hot rodding. That being said, I don't think this car is a good choice for rodding. Sure, it's different but I would not want to attach modern suspension components to that old frame. The body would essentially require the same restoration issues that a factory restoration would. Otherwise, you are paying for a lot of fabrication.

I think the reason rodders gravitate toward the late 30's and forties is because of the steel bodies and fairly adaptable frames, which seem to allow subframing of the front suspensions, then you can have your modern drivetrains.

There are not a lot ofpeople restoring the 20's Buick in the condition you describe because of cost and lack of a skill set/frustration with parts availability, so even thoughit is rare, which virtually all 20's cars are - you won't find a lot of interest. A very rare 1920 7 seat touring that was complete recently sold on ebay for $1,000. And may end up not having anything done to it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I vote for Hot rod... no modern street rod (irs, small block chevy, injection, AC) but fifties style hotrod with all the good old stuff. I mean Ford flattie or even original engine and original suspension.

I would make it look like it was last raced in the fifties.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

To give an idea of possibilities, look up Russ Martin on the internet. He has a websight for his repair shop, some neat nailhead info, and a feature on his "23 Buick roadster rod. I got to look it over carefully, and he did an outstanding job. He was also featured with his cars in the current issue of The Rodders Journal.

If you rod it, PLEASE use a Buick motor!!! A Chevy 350/350 in a Buick would be such a waste of an opportunity to do something different. I vote for a nailhead, personally.

Either way you go, framing the body will be a lot of work - wood or steel, but I think steel square tubing would be the easier. There should also be some cast iron brackets at critical points in the old woodwork. Missing those would be a major pain. Another issue that would push your decision would be the interior: Is there enough to recreate the stock look?

Either way, have fun with it and keep it on the road, or at least part it out to guys who can use the stuff.

Happy wrenching,

Doug Cook

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...