1955 Buick Special Custom - 07

6/7/13 - parts

The headlight knob + ash trays arrived. The headlight knob was on the shaft. The shaft is slotted near the end, so I figured it was intended to come out that way. I resisted the urge to put the shaft in a vise and crank the knob off to crank it onto the switch in the car. For all I know, the knob might crack, and that would defeat the purpose. So I found an old toothbrush and cleaned off the styling groove on the knob as well as the little style notches on the underside. I checked the AACA Buick forums for headlight knob removal and there's the trick - pull the existing knob out so the headlights are on, and push a little button on the side of the switch under the dash to release the shaft. That worked pretty easy - and new knob/shaft slipped right in. The ash trays were overall more rusted than the ones that came with my car, but the handles look pretty good. So I sprayed some PB Blaster on both the head and tail end of the screws and let that sit for maybe an hour. Was able to break the screws free. Tried the soak-it-in-vinegar method to remove rust from the screws. Started with a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar. After an hour, scrubbed the screws with the toothbrush and put them back for a second hour. Scrub again, rinse, and dried. Look pretty good for 2 hours. I was afraid that overnight might take the threads right off. Also put the end plates from these ash trays into the vinegar. I've scrubbed them once, at first with the toothbrush, but decided Scotchbrite was in order for the reverse side, and I'll let those go overnight. Polished the ash tray handles with Simichrome - they cleaned up pretty well. I'll let the screws continue to dry overnight then put the handles on the ash trays that came with the car, and I'll have the new-arrival ash tray end plates to play with as far as refinishing goes.

The no-knob situation.

Knob in and lights off.

Knob in and lights on. Yes, brake release doesn't have a knob either, but that wasn't available from the guy I got these parts from.

Ashtrays in place as received.

Looks maybe worse than what I started with (see next photo), but it gets better. Note these ashtrays are covered over with some sort of stick-on chrome-look film.

6/8/13 - assembly

Put the refreshed screws and handles together with the ash trays and tray face plates that came with my car. Took a little doing to get the screws through the holes, through the holes in the face plate, and then engaged into the handles. But I think this project turned out really well.

Here's the before - small chrome knobs where the ash tray handles were. The driver's side knob is just sitting on a bolt - not secure, so you can't open the ash tray without pushing it out from behind the dash. (Older photo - that's also the shift knob that was there when I got it.)

The After - Ashtray handles cycled over to the trays original to the car (also pulled off the chrome tape covering the ash trays).

Driver's side. Ok, so I still want to do something about that skull tire valve cap that's topping the fan switch, but the switches weren't available from the guy I got the ashtrays from...

Passenger's side.

6/8/13 - Cars and Coffee

One of the guys at work reminded me it was C&C this weekend. It's 1x/month, 2nd Saturday, so it doesn't stick in my mind yet. This month, semi-official start time has moved to 7am due to the weather being hotter. Carol was doing the Bountiful Basket super-early farmers market thing, but she got back early from that, so I was on the road by quarter-til 7. It was really nice driving at that time. Still an extremely eclectic gathering. Here's some photos:

Ferrari, Lotus, Viper, Jaguar, Corvette, Cobra, 57 Chevy work wagon, Mustang, my car, Shelby, Shelby

Guy with the white Shelby recognized my car from Freddy's this week...

Trying a daylight shot of the interior (other shots were in the garage)... Though in this case, the early morning sun is a challenge.

'58? Corvette

Crazy variety... Chopper, million-dollar Ferrari (yes, that's not the Datsun-based replica)...

This month's most valuable player (literally) - 1967 Ferrari GTB-4. I believe this is from the same guy who brought the silver Ferrari Daytona last month. Story was he's owned this car for over 40 years, bought back when they were really expensive, not unbelievable (about 3x-4x what a more usual car cost back then).

Interior - again, fighting the early morning sun.

6/11/13 - suspension

Spent another 2 hours or so cleaning off the left front suspension. Only got about 1/4 as much gunk and dirt off as the first time, but it's impressive how much was still on there. Used a little alcohol in a spray bottle with the same sort of plastic scraper (fiberglass epoxy stirrer from a marine shop) as well as a small wire brush from Harbor Freight (would need bunches of these, as the one I used today went right into the trash). Anyway, now it's down to where I can see that there are part numbers on some of the items. I also cleaned off a pound or so of tar and rock gunk from the inside of the bumper. Maybe this car spent some time on oiled dirt roads - not sure, but that was some sticky gunk. Also looks like this car missed (the bulk of) the dreaded dealer-installed undercoating. May be some along the lower sides of the body, but not inside the fenders.

Left front suspension, forward looking aft.

Left front suspension, aft looking forwards.

Left front suspension, top looking down.