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finally getting started on the buick

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by nocoastsaint, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. nocoastsaint
    Joined: Jan 5, 2006
    Posts: 413


    Hello HAMB,

    I am finally getting started on my 1954 buick special. My great-grandfather bought the car new and it was parked in 1963 bcause reverse went out. My current plan, and first task is a modern front clip and rear axle. I have an S-10 front clip and rear end that my uncle gave me. I am a decent welder and have access to a nice lincoln wire-feed. Does anyone have any experiance with such things? Does anyone have a better suggestion? Any help or advice is appriciated.

    Thank you,
  2. yorgatron
    Joined: Jan 25, 2002
    Posts: 4,228

    Member Emeritus

  3. fatassbuick
    Joined: Jul 6, 2001
    Posts: 988


    I drove my first '53 around for two years without reverse. You just have to learn how to park creatively.
  4. My vote for, ...don't mess with it.... ooohh, sorry..there is no voting !? :eek: :D :D :D
    / primerkid

    Attached Files:

  5. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,595

    from Garner, NC

    Just fix the damn transmission and drive it....
  6. No_Respect
    Joined: Jul 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,170

    from So-Cal

    Why would you have to change out the front end components? dont fix it unless you need to. the stock front and rear are very good components not to mention they were designed for that vehicle. Its alot more fun crusin in a custom or hot rod then it is workin on them ecspecially when they dont need a hole frame off rebuild Just my .02

    No Respect
    Hot Rods
  7. STOPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i have been driving a 55 buick special for the last 9 years .. for about 5 yrs it was my daily driver .. now it gets driven a few days a week .. i still have the stock frt suspension , (except its slammmed to the ground ..w/ lowered coils ) stock 322 nail head stock dyno flow tranny .. and stock rear end .. she runs great .. a little slow off the start.. but once you get goin .. its great . . and my reverse blew out 1 time .. i put it in drive to fast before i was stopped and it snapped a band.. no biggy .. was a $2 part and i found a tranny shop that could fix it .. been great ever since .. ya she drips oil .. but its a 50 yr old car ...

    i reallly would try to reccomend not clipping that car ... no reason to .. the frt brakes work great .. i put a power assit on my car .. can get you the info if wanted .. just ask me .,.. works great .. maybe re build your front end .. fix the tranny ..

    if you really want to do somthing besides what you have .. leave the clip .. and they make a disc brake kit for the buicks .. they did a feature on a yellow 55 like 5 yrs ago in custom rodder ..

    maybe put a 65 buick 401 w/ a 400 trans .. and change out the rear end .. if you reallly need to ..

    but from a guy that loves buicks...and drives pretty much the same car you have ... dont cut her up ... i reallly think youll be happier in the long run ...... clips are a way of the past .. more research before you cut it up

  8. and the picture you posted ... thats my cousins car .. another good example of a stock drive train daily driver .. kid is 18 yrs old .. drives that car all through bremerton area ... we are gonna put the power assist on his brakes also .. makes a big help ..

    whered you find that picture anyway .. hahaha cool !

    dont clip it .......!!!!
  9. skumbag
    Joined: Feb 16, 2005
    Posts: 688


    i just bought a 55 buick century for my dad, i'm planning on leaving the stock suspension under it (except the closed drive line). why would it need an s-10 front clip?

  10. [​IMG]

    this one is mine ..
  11. ProEnfo
    Joined: Sep 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,498

    from Motown

    That car has "Baditude"..:)

  12. skumbag
    Joined: Feb 16, 2005
    Posts: 688


    damn thats nice, i cant wait to get my dads done, he dosnt know about it yet, cant wait to surprise him with it! :D
  13. 40StudeDude
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 9,454


    Rebuild the stock front'll ride better than a late model sub...Kanter has rebuild parts...I'd bet Egge, too...and I'm sure there are others...if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  14. right on .. and thxx ...

    keep the buicks alive !
  15. BTownBomber
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 2


    no shit...whered you get that picture? its my car...i'll get some more up in a little while...

    dont cut up that buick! fix the trans...lower the coils and cruise...
  16. 53Nailhead
    Joined: Aug 14, 2005
    Posts: 138


    Replace the thrust pad first, before you go playin' with the tranny
  17. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    from Atl Ga

    Well, a bunch of guys have piped up and said not to clip it. You asked for better idea? Buick's original advertising slogan for '54 sums it up nicely: "When better cars are built, Buick will build them!" Notice it didn't say "For a better car, replace the front suspension with one from a worn out S-10, and yank the Nailhead."
    Seriously, drove my '54 Special with lowered springs daily for a year and a half before the manual trans died. Shit snowballed and it's been off the road since, but there's NO reason to swap out that front end. It handles like a comfy old's not sportscar agile, but it doesn't need to be either. Sometimes you need a nice comfortably drive to smooth out the hassles in life. I don't think I was EVER pissed after getting to my destination, no matter what mood I was in when I got in the car.
  18. nocoastsaint
    Joined: Jan 5, 2006
    Posts: 413


    I plan on using a nailhead engine. the original or a 401 one should I come across it. The transmission will be a 700R-4 with a Bendtsen adapter. Re-wiring the entire car and upgrading to twelve volt. Flat black body, olive on the roof laid over with lace, and pinstripe for the interior. I got started on this S-10 business due to the closed drive line and is just escalated from there.
    Then I decided that disk brakes and power steering are nice to have, and what do you know, uncle has an S-10 lying about. Seemed to be a good way to go, but then again, maybe not.
    The Buick is in a terrible state. The engine will only turn over quarter of the way, no interior, the glass would have been all there were it not for a kid shooting out the rear door windows. The body is straight and mostly rust free, with the exception of the drivers side fender. It look like somebody ripped the rear-most porthole out of the car, either that or a grenade went off in the fender.
    My goal is a car that is simple, a nice driver, and adds my sense of taste to the old family car. I have several of the 'hand me down' cars and trucks and this is the one Iwould like to start with.

    And yes, Pocket, any info on the power assist brakes would be nice.

    Thank you all,
  19. Stone
    Joined: Nov 24, 2003
    Posts: 2,279


    I love this car.
  20. \

    PHEEW ... now i will sleep a little better ..

    the 401 will be a nice touch .. and look for a 400 trans .. maybe a combo out of a 65 rivi .. thats what im putting in a model a right now .. the 400 and 700 are pretty close .. 400 is old school .. and no adapter will be needed ..

    ill get some pics and info on what i did to my brakes .. i belive the booster i am using is off a 55 t bird .. but lemme dbl ck it ..
  21. get some pics up .. even if shes badddd...
  22. 58sled
    Joined: Jan 13, 2006
    Posts: 148


    I have a 58 buick special and I debated the idea of clipping it but the front of mine is a very simple set up. I also have the body off the frame and changing out the trans and rear end, but putting a 425 Nailhead with a 700r4 and and 8.8 ford rear end. Its been a lot of work and expensive but all of my original equipment was shot and was not worth rebuilding. Good luck

    Also doing airbags all the way around
  23. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    I heartedly agree with the anti clip crowd-why put the front end of a 3300 # car under a 3800# car? Rebuilding is pretty simple and while you have the spindles out to replace the kingpins you can replace the brakes with '58 or later finned aluminum. They stop as good as discs. I'm sure that some Buick (or other GM) of that era would supply a bolt in power steering.
  24. dixiedog
    Joined: Mar 20, 2002
    Posts: 1,204


    Pocket - I love the looks of that car, what size are the wheels and tires, look like 16's
  25. Alex Yohnk
    Joined: Sep 7, 2005
    Posts: 828

    Alex Yohnk

  26. Tcoupe
    Joined: Nov 14, 2003
    Posts: 314


    Every S-10 I have owned rode like a brick
  27. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,126


    Lowered a couple of inches with the stock front & rear axles, open drive shaft, 4-speed & a 401" with 2x4 500cfm AFB's. Rides great and I wouldn't change a thing. Save yourself a lot of hassle and keep the stock front end.
    My 2¢

  28. I'm for putting it up on the grease rack, shake, pull, look, and get the tranny fixed, leave the front suspension as good as it'll ever be.
  29. Have some respect for your great-grandfather. If he had a clue that somebody was going to do a bone-head conversion, sounds like it's just for the sake of converting, not any reasonable thinking behind it, he'd probably had it crushet.
  30. Just for what it's worth, if an S10 2wd rear is too narrow to use on my '50 Chevy, it's probably way too narrow to use on a '54 Buick. The front may be awfully narrow treaded, too. Enough places make kits for a Mustang-II style suspension if you're hell bent for a modern IFS with disc brakes.

    I mean, did this car sit outside and rot and has frame issues now? Most of these guys just say don't cut it up - I say don't cut it if there's no reason to, especially if you've never done one before. You should be able to look up the brake parts through the Napa website,, get some part numbers and see if any of the other chains can get them cheaper. Better to rebuild what's there and enjoy it faster than spend months fixing a mistake or mess it up so bad you can't finish it.

    Motor set up? Thats a long time to sit. Someone might want the core though.

    Question for all: What year Buick rearends can be converted to open drive with a '61-'64 center section - just the '59-'60, or older? Might save this guy or some other folks, some trouble.

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