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Projects 1955 Buick Project Help!!!!!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Watts31, May 10, 2012.

  1. Watts31
    Joined: Apr 18, 2012
    Posts: 2

    Watts31
    Member
    from California

    Hello everybody,
    I have recently bought a 2 door 1955 Buick Special. I have alot of work to do and now i'm in the process of planning/brainstorming. I have several questions for you guys. First off I plan on switching over to a automatic chevy 350 engine. I've been doing alot of research and haven't really found an in depth thread. So my question is, if im going to switch over, what rear end could i swap out with? I heard a chevy caprice? but im, not really sure. Also, i've heard that the 55 Chevy floor pan is interchangable with a 55 buick specials, is this true? Im also in need of a hood, which cars and years are interchangable with my special? WOuld greatly appreciate some help. Thank you
     
  2. 45_70Sharps
    Joined: May 19, 2010
    Posts: 331

    45_70Sharps
    Member

    You might want to check out v8buick.com for parts and interchangeable information.
    Just don't tell them you are going to put a chevy engine in it.
    They're more into the muscle car years over there, but there are some 55 - 56 cars.
    While you're there, you might find a lead on a 401 or 425 nailhead! That's an engine with the torque to move that car around.
     
  3. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    What is wrong with the original engine ?

    Don
     
  4. i second that....now, the dynaflow, i can understand wanting to get rid of that boat anchor. there are good adaptors out there to bolt just about any tranny to that nailhead.

    also, the rest of you metal guys out there can back me up(or shoot me down), but i'm pretty sure the chevy floor doesn't interchange with the buick. most of the time it's Buick/olds/pontiac

    if you need floors, check out these guys http://www.classicfabrication.com/ got my floors from them before i knew how to shape metal, great product
     
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  5. 45_70Sharps
    Joined: May 19, 2010
    Posts: 331

    45_70Sharps
    Member

    You can change the transmission, but I think this is a torque tube car so that would mean changing the rear end also.
    You should be able to put a later ST300 or ST400 (up to '66) behind that I think. Those both had the switch pitch convertor. You can wire the switch on the torque convertor to a switch inside the car and change the stall speed at will. They use to be popular in racing with this add on.

    The 264 or 322 that should be in that car made from 188 to 236 horse. That can be improved on also.

    My first choice for that car would be a 425 nailhead with dual quads. Second choice would be a 401 nailhead.
    The 425 had 465 ft in the single 4 barrel setup. That would move that car pretty well!

    I also think the nailhead will help improve appeal and value on the car if you were to ever go and sell it.
    The nailhead just looks cool, and seeing a small block chevy tends to make people yawn when the car isn't a chevy.
     

  6. that's definitely correct it is a torque tube car, so you would have to put in a new rear end and open drive-shaft if you swap'd the tranny.

    And i totally agree with Sharps on the Nailhead vs. Chevy appeal.

    Now if you're yanking the Nailhead because it's blown, or you want something that has parts waiting for it at any parts store across the country, then i get that, but the nailhead is every bit a reliable as the chevy and just as easy to work on. To steal a line from a friend, "no one was suing Buick cause their engines were constantly dying in the 50's"
     
  7. 45_70Sharps
    Joined: May 19, 2010
    Posts: 331

    45_70Sharps
    Member

    In re thinking it, I think you could use the same rear end.
    They make a conversion for my '54 and your buick should be the same.
    I don't think it's worth saving though.
    You have some stuff to buy and some work to do to remove the torque tube and put a standard yoke on it for your U-joints, then you are going to have to remove the spring mounts from the rear end and weld new ones on.
    The torque tube rear end doesn't mount to the spring centered on the axle housing. It's off center because the torque isn't supposed to go through the springs, but through the tube and up to the transmission.
    By the way, you will want stouter springs also. Like I said, your springs weren't supposed to take the load, it transfers forward.

    All that being said, keeping the 264 or 322 if it's good sounds pretty good! Finding a used 322 if it's bad doesn't sound too bad either.
     
  8. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,094

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Keep the nailhead! I wish I could give you more on the transmission conversion I am working on, but I have little time to work on stuff right now. (Trying a better transmission using Buick bell and tail housings). Might have to shorten the torque tube a few inches, but the response would be huge compared to the dynaslow.
     
  9. graveyardsledder
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 294

    graveyardsledder
    Member

    I'll take the nailhead off your hands and I'll trade you a nice 350 that's in my 50 Buick.
     
  10. I see a lot of guys here have opinions on the drivetrain, but very little has been said on the sheet metal . I have done some looking into this and have found that in reality, that while the floor pans for the 1955 Chevy are not 'EXACT" replacements, they are very close , and for the most part will replace the Buick floors with little more than the effort required to replace any full sized car of the day's . If you want a concourse , so close to original no-one can tell the difference restoration, you'll have to source an unmolested original , but for patches or replacement that most people wouldn't tell the difference, the Chevy units are a viable option. In my research, I have had more than one source tell me that, in fact the inner structure of the basic 'tub' on all 4 GM cars in 55 (B.O.P.and Chev) were nearly identical and the differences are mainly styling of the outer skin, thus giving the different brands a unique look. As a last resort , or in keeping true to hot rodding's unwritten laws, you could literally piece in ANY floor you had laying around to replace the Buford's pan. I know for a fact that the 91-96 Caprice is a nice fit, as is the G-body 78-87 cars that GM made millions of . Both of these , as well as others , most people could retro-fit into service in your car.
     
  11. willie57
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 378

    willie57
    Member
    from wisconsin

    here are some pics form my wife's car a 54 buick special. I used a 9" ford and 700r4.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,418

    Gman0046
    Member

    Back in the day, we put a Buick 364 c.i. nailhead out ot a 58 Roadmaster in a 55 Buick Special. I believe it had 315 HP. The engine is a bolt in. Utilized a 37 Buick floor shift out of a big 37 Buick which bolts up to a late 50's or early 60's Buick standard shift bell housing. All you have to do is replace the transmissions tail shaft and main shaft to match up the length to utilize the original torque tube. The tail shaft and main shaft from a 48 or 49 Buick big car transmission is what we used. You can't use a Special transmission they are too small. At that time they were readily available for $5 in the local junk yard. We never changed the rear springs, its not necessary. That was a pretty neat "sleeper" in its day. Lots of torque and plenty of power. These parts were not too hard to find back in the day. I'm not too sure about now. We blew transmissions racing all the time. I believe I could remove a Buick transmission blindfolded.
     
  13. caseyrod
    Joined: Feb 9, 2008
    Posts: 138

    caseyrod
    Member

    the 55 buick its not torque tube.i agree with the idea of keeping the nail head ,they run good and are anice looking motor my 2cnts
     
  14. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,418

    Gman0046
    Member

    Sorry casey, a 55 Buick HAS a torque tube. I've owned a 55 Special like in my post. Its obvious you never owned one or looked at a 55 Buick drive train.
    Do you think I'm making this stuff up? To clarify the subject all you have to do is Google Buick Torque Tube.

    Your Bio says you own a 56 Buick. Go out and look at that. It has a Torque Tube as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  15. caseyrod
    Joined: Feb 9, 2008
    Posts: 138

    caseyrod
    Member

    sorry your are right sir buick its close rear.
     
  16. birdman42
    Joined: Jan 18, 2012
    Posts: 400

    birdman42
    Member

    Willy57 turned me on to a thread,search 348 in a 50 buick and scroll all the way through and it will show you a good rearend swap.Lots of good pics.
     
  17. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,094

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Looks as if you used trailing arms like Chevy 60s pickups.
     
  18. DualQuad55
    Joined: Mar 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,379

    DualQuad55
    Member
    from Epsom, NH

    Wow, this thread took a few months to get rolling.
    There is plenty on the HAMB and V8Buick.com about doing open drive conversions.
    As much as the dynaflos can be weak and not 'fun' to drive, they are an ok trans.
    If anything (assuming the 264 is good running condition) I would recommend spending the money on a GM trans adapter such as Bendstedts sells. Using a th350 will perk the car up like you wouldnt believe with no other mods.
    However, converting to open drive rear with correct rear suspension requires a little fabrication and welding skills. If you or someone you know can do this, you are in good shape.
    As far as body/chassis interchange-nothing from Chevy is a close fit. The smaller Olds (ie 88) shares the same platform and similar but different sheet metal.
    And with Buick (as well as Olds) the tri years are 54-55-56.
    I think the 56 hood will fit ok, but may need some help at the upper grill bar area-not 100% sure.
     
  19. 73super
    Joined: Dec 14, 2007
    Posts: 778

    73super
    Member

    If you want to keep existing frame and just weld on a new front suspension/etc.. I hear the say '75 - '88 Chevy Caprices work pretty well. Same for the rear end. Keep the mid section of the frame for body mounts, etc and graph.. err. graft... ADAPT.. front and rear sections of Caprice. Get a parts car and you have new brakes, steering, could use the motor, rear end.. don't know about the wheel base.. if the drive-line would work or not. Anyway.. it's an option I'm going to be looking into when I get to working on the '55 again.. Just another thought. Right now I've got an Elcamino rear end from a late 70's model I may use.... maybe.. I dunno.. still doing research. Good luck with your project.. and please post pics as you go! thx!
     
  20. windword
    Joined: Jan 29, 2014
    Posts: 4

    windword
    Member
    from alabama

    Hey Joe,
    I know this is an old thread, but I am contemplating converting away from my dynaflow on my 55 century. I am curious about your comment regarding the th350 trany using the bendstadts conversion adapter. Does this conversion not require changing the tube drive to an open drive? or does the th350 tie in fore and aft to the bell housing and tube through use of the converion adapter? thanks, bob
     

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