1951 Buick Special Deluxe - 06

Mid/late October 2013: Purpose / goal

Done some thinking about what's the point of all this?

To learn about restoring an old car. To learn techniques, tools, technologies, methods, materials, suppliers, sources, processes for restoring an old car. To have a cool old car to drive. For this car - get it running. Get it driving (safe brakes, reliable engine, stays cool, lights, fans, heat works). Style? Painted steel wheels. It has the nearly-full-coverage hubcaps. I actually may prefer the dog-dish caps w/ Buick script + chrome trim rings - shows a little more color of the wheel itself. 760-15 Bias-ply wide whitewall tires. Original ride height. Want the engine area in pretty nice condition. Eventually replace the floors & upholstery. Farther out than that - complete the body work, bring in new paint. Replace the glass (though back window 3-piece glass looks really good - do the sides & front windshield). In doing this, spring for the complete rubber kit from Kanter (~$2k) rather than cringe with how expensive each last little bit of rubber is, just buy the whole car's worth at once. Color? I was thinking of a '55 tri-color scheme - the black roof, cherokee red, and that beige/tan below the sweep spear, but with a white roof in deference to the climate around here. The '51 colors are pretty dark and not all that exciting that I can tell. I may look into more '54 or '56 color schemes as well, since it seems that by then, the color selections were really expanding.

Mid November 2013 - more thoughts on finish/color:

In a couple of episodes of Fast N Loud (car builder TV show), they do "patina" cars. They have done this with flat clear. I think that gives the rust a much different look - on TV anyway, it almost looks fake. I've seen fiberglass cars with fake patina - because it can't exist on fiberglass - where they very cleverly paint the car in "rust" looking color(s), and fade in/out a little color to do a very good job of making a fiberglass car look like rusty metal. To me, a car with flat clear on it - looks like a fiberglass car faking rust! So I'd like to leave this one as it is. Though I did see a "natural patina" car in one of the hotrod magazines where they did a custom (metal flake) paint job on the roof. The roof on this car has almost no paint at all. So getting only the roof media blasted / sanded and refinished but leave the rest "in rust" could be cool. I'm thinking some kind of metal flake / pearl white.

Late September

With the tank out, what's next? Pull the defroster plenum off the firewall and then the small heater core that is behind there.

The air guide doors for the cabin heat and windshield defroster. Being able to get to these helped out later.

Back seat

Decided to try pulling the back seat to see what's under there and what the rear floor looks like. Under the back seat, found a lizard skeleton and what might be several generations of lizard eggs. The back seat has an outer tab that can be seen in the door openings. These have to be un-bent to release the seat. It also has 2 tabs on the bottom of the seat back that have to be un-bent to release the seat. This is different from the '55, which is held in by tension and can be removed and reinstalled without bending anything.

Found the floor to be pretty solid under the back seat itself. Pulled out the broken-up crispy rubber floor mat and the "filler" material between the corrugations in the floor forward of the back seat. The sheet metal there has quite a few holes. Will need to replace this.


Got some fairly low-cost hubcaps via eBay. These are '52, not sure what model. I liked the way these looked in photos - the giant mirror effect makes the wheels seem a lot deeper/wider than they are. These are in poor condition with holes drilled near the center of each cap.