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Projects RainierHooker's '38 Buick Special Business Coupe

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by RainierHooker, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. RainierHooker
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Posts:
    981
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA

    RainierHooker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hey all, I posted a little bit about my project in my intro thread. Here, I'll give some more info, and as things progress, or if I come across any hurdles, I'll post any updates or project specific questions in here...

    This is my 1938 Buick Special Business Coupe:
    [​IMG]

    I bought her from a VW/Former-Buick Dealer in Oregon and wound up driving off the lot. She made it the 35 or so miles to my buddy's place in Hillsboro, popping, missing, and backfiring the whole way. She made it though. The car is going to reside in Hillsboro for a little while, but the drive gave me some direction on what to tackle first. I hope to be back down there with a pile of parts, and if needs be, a trailer to bring it back to my garage in Tacoma, WA, soon.

    Plans for now include:

    New tires (!!!) in the form of BFG Blackwalls.
    Rebuild/Refresh of the stock brakes
    Whatever it takes to get the 248 Strait-8 running like it should
    Fix the Instrument cluster (the speedo cable makes a horrific noise)
    Get the lights all working and add fogs (one headlight is out and no brakelights)

    Cosmetically the car is pretty good, although the previous owner's Earl Schieb paint job doesn't do the car justice, nor does the amatuer re-upholstering job. I any case, the paint and interior will hold me over until I get the wild hair to do something about them. The single best part about the car is the steel, you could eat off the floor pans, and the only mildly distressing cancer we could find (we looked and tapped around the car for hours) is a questionable 3x4" chunk of bondo in one of the doors that shouldn't be too hard to fix (at least I say that now).

    The end goal for this car is a mostly stock car with a bit of late-50's traditional hot-rod flair. Stay tuned.

    Until then I'll leave some more pics...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  2. That is a classy car, you have there!:D
  3. Dangerous Dan
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Posts:
    88
    Location:
    Graham Wa.

    Dangerous Dan Member

    Great find, best part is it's different. Look forward to seeing it at the GM. picnic in Graham one of these days.
  4. RainierHooker
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
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    981
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA

    RainierHooker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks guys.

    As to it being different, that was one of my rules I set for myself when I started looking for a project, it couldn't be a Chevy, Ford, or Plymouth. I was originally looking for an extinct or orphan marque, especially Studebaker or Hudson, since I grew up with more than a fair share of those in the family, but the fact that it is GM is somewhat of a relief on the parts-finding front. Oh and that OHV Strait-8 was love at first sight.

    The plan is to have it reliably on the road by the end of March, hope to have this at more than a few meets after then...
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  5. bobwop
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
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    Location:
    jefferson, wisconsin

    bobwop
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I love those Buicks!

    regarding the popping/banging...look for a fuel supply problem. If that isn't it, check the adjustment of the automatic choke.

    been there, done that!

    good luck with your beautiful car.
  6. charlief1
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Posts:
    16
    Location:
    Texas

    charlief1 Member

    Very nice coupe. I started to buy one when I lived in TN years ago but just couldn't pull the trigger on it. Same color as well. Are you planning on doing any performance upgrades to the engine at all?
  7. Orn
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
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    896
    Location:
    Southern Sweden

    Orn Member

    Beautiful coupe.
  8. farmer12
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
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    Location:
    Haarlem, the Netherlands

    farmer12
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That's one great looking car, well done!
  9. larry woods
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Posts:
    565
    Location:
    venice fl

    larry woods Member

    The car really is terrific. But I must confess as I looked at the pictures my mind started the "upgrades". All subtle but running gear, wheels, "Larry stop it! at 70 you should have out grown that!"
  10. TexasSpeed
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
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    Location:
    Arlington, TX

    TexasSpeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That's a pretty nice Buick there! The best part is you've got an attention-grabbing car to begin with. Keep us updated with what you do to it!
  11. sololobo
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
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    6,827
    Location:
    South Omaha, NE

    sololobo Member

    Knockout coupe bro, what beautiful brite work, really dig the cool bumpers and the awesome front overrider. Super cruzer, congrats and good luck. ~sololobo~
  12. RainierHooker
    Joined:
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    RainierHooker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks guys. Plans are a very subtle 50's themed rod.

    Appearance wise, its just going to be a lowered and raked stance with steelies and 41 Buick Caps. Maybe a Visor or Skirts, maybe both, maybe neither. Probably next winter, after I have a chance to enjoy the car is it is now, I'm hoping to strip her down and fix the few bits of cancer and repaint in Buick "Raphael Green", a kind of deep Jade color. I've got a friend who was a painter in a past life who's going to trade his time and spray-gun for my hand at restoring his '43 Ford GPW Jeep.

    As to the performance front, for now I'm just going to try to get the car running right while I collect parts and ideas for a nice cruiser mill. Keeping it simple with the three c's: compression, cam and carburetion. There dosen't seem to be a whole lot of bolt-ons or reference material for these strait-8's, but it'll be fun to see what I can come up with. Dad is the shop manager at a place with a machine shop, I might try my hand at some fab-work...
  13. LB+1
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    71292

    LB+1 Member

  14. charlief1
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
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    Location:
    Texas

    charlief1 Member

    LOL You beat me to it.:D I deal with the old Buick draw through turbo systems and was thinking a draw through system would make it unique and the power could be adjusted quite easily. Here's a rough idea of what I was thinking.:) This is just the compressor housing with the carb adapter but I think you get the idea.:D

    Attached Files:

  15. Flatred53
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
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    516
    Location:
    Sweden

    Flatred53 Member

    Sweet looking car! Looks cool just as it is, congrats!
  16. Orn
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
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    896
    Location:
    Southern Sweden

    Orn Member

    I was so curious to see the car in a Taildragger stance so I couldn’t resist…
    Add a set of wide whitewalls and consider it done. That’s my 0.2 centavos… :cool:

    [​IMG]
  17. Uncle Bob
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
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    Location:
    Washington

    Uncle Bob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    These are such nice cruisers when dialed in, and with an altitude adjustment look great.

    For the interim you might consider a good cut and buff to make the current paint look better. You'd be surprised (or maybe not) how many Scheib dips can be made 5 footers from 20 footers with some quality sanding and wheeling.

    You might also know that some '41s came with a split exhaust from the factory (along with the dual intake that can be tough to tune).............something else to think about swapping on.
  18. richie rebel
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
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    1,154
    Location:
    allison park pa

    richie rebel Member

    really nice looking buick,i love it good luck with it...............
  19. oldcarfart
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
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    Location:
    Clinton, SC

    oldcarfart Member

    I'm thinking skirts and slipping a T-5 tranny in there and driving your butt off!!!!
  20. RainierHooker
    Joined:
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    Tacoma, WA

    RainierHooker
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    After all this crazy weather and distractions from things like work, I finally got the Buick home today.

    She's a runner and a driver, but has some issues that have to be dealt with before I can really put her on the road. I'm pretty sure that most of the issues are just due to tuning issues and the fact that this car has sat so long. A distributor rebuild is number 1 on the list since, as I illuded to before, pretty much every time you increase throttle, the car starts coughing and sometimes backfiring up through the carb. Seems the advance isn't advancing. The carb was recently rebuilt by a reputable shop, so I'm pretty sure that's not a huge factor, but some jetting and choke adjustments may be in order. After that is tires, brakes, and just a good thorough tune.

    Here she is after a wet journey to her new home with her new stable-mate...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (some of you may care to note the other car is my other pride-n-joy, a 1990 BMW E30 M3)
  21. Hot Rod Elvis
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
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    Location:
    Dawsonville, Georgia

    Hot Rod Elvis Member

    Very Nice, paint and all! I just love that looooooooooonnnnggg hood!
  22. rubberrodder
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    Posts:
    1,277
    Location:
    pacific n.w. tacoma wa.

    rubberrodder Member

    Where are you at in T-town? I work for Baxter Auto Parts out in bee-yoo-tee-ful down town Parkland. I have old catalogs to help find parts for you. Parkland auto machine is in the same building too. Me and Dave(the head machinist) love this old stuff.
  23. RainierHooker
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
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    Location:
    Tacoma, WA

    RainierHooker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks guys. As for where I am; I'm just off 6th Ave in T-town proper, if you know where O'Malley's Pub is, I'm within staggering distance of there.
    Just moved back to the area after the military sent me all over the place. Hoping to settle down here for a while...
  24. gatz
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
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    Location:
    lincoln, nebraska

    gatz Member

    Good find; Love that old style !

    RainierHooker and military's sending you all over the place....
    are you a former "Hooker", Chinook-wise?

    Gatz
  25. RainierHooker
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Tacoma, WA

    RainierHooker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yup, CH-47 Flight Engineer...
  26. RainierHooker
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
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    Location:
    Tacoma, WA

    RainierHooker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    So, since I have the car in my garage now, I'm looking to pull the trigger on tires. After a lot of research and back and forth, I'm probably going to spring for Coker Classic Radials (I know, call the Bias police). I just have one question to put forth to the masses: what size?

    The stock size for the '38 Specials was a 650-16 but the Roadmaster and Limited models came with 700-16's on the same size wheel. Part of me is inclined to just go with the stock size but the other side is telling me to go with the 700 for the slight gearing advantage I may, or may not, get with the taller tire.

    But then again, the Roadmasters and Limiteds came with the larger powerplant.

    But then again, with a nominal 200+ Ft/Lbs of torque in my 248, it shouldn't be that much of an issue.

    Keep in mind this car is destined to be a road-trip-cruiser...

    What's the HAMB say?
  27. Spud
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Posts:
    106
    Location:
    Ohio

    Spud Member

    I just saw your post. I lowered my Buick two inches, added 15 inch wheels 215-70 front, 235-70 rear radials, rides and handles good. When I lowered it the rear axle did not sit centered in the frame side to side, so I got a adjustable panard bar, for a 1964 impala bolt's right on.
    [​IMG]
  28. RainierHooker
    Joined:
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    Tacoma, WA

    RainierHooker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks for the suggestions. After a lot of back-n-forth, I've decided to go back to Bias-Plies, and will be going with BF Goodrich Blackwalls in the stock size of 650-16, just as I had originally planned. I guess you really can't escape your initial gut instincts, even if you overthink the issue.

    Good to know on the '64 Imp Panhard Bar. Is yours a stock one, in other works are the stock ones adjustable, or did you buy an aftermarket bar? I'm definatetly going to be going with a 2" drop all around.

    In the mean-time, I've gotten the Strait-8 running damn near perfecly, and have been just plain enjoying the car pretty much as-is. Last week I used it in to-work-and-back mode and ran about a million errands today in the ol' girl. Really the only thing I've done to it outside of the essentials is to add a pair of original Guide Foglamps. Unfortunatley my '62 Wagon has taken a lot of the focus away from this car, things are definately coming back this way. I'm hoping to make some big progress over the next month. Money and time permitting...
  29. Spud
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Posts:
    106
    Location:
    Ohio

    Spud Member

    Stock one's are not adjustable, that is why I got the adjustable one for the Impala.
  30. RainierHooker
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
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    Location:
    Tacoma, WA

    RainierHooker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks, looks like one more thing to add to the shopping list...

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