Usually after such exclamations I would soon find myself digging and sinking fence posts (NOT an easy thing to do in New England as any New Englander will tell you!) or erecting various structures in anticipation of her newest wayward unsung animal adoptee to our home- but this was different.
The picture pulled up on the internet this time revealed a bulbous looking old Buick- those peculiar yet somehow incredibly intriguing 50’s models that had caught her eye for years. This one was powder blue and, yes, undeniably......pretty.
The Buick's story was an all too familiar one but one that never fails to pull at one’s heartstrings. A cherished car from an elderly owner that reluctantly had to part with it due to declining health, declining use, and increased cost of ‘admission’ to an assisted living facility. Her son had the sad job of finding a new owner for his Mother’s car—a situation that is also all too familiar to most of us.
And so they found each other and we found ourselves driving to Massachusetts to the dealership.
After just recently having completed an engine rebuild -along with the many other “rebuilds” to my 1932 Chevy Confederate, I was in no mindset to take on any additional large- and thus largely expensive- repair projects to this car if we acquired her.
But I had laid down some rules with my wife and I was at least going to try to stick with them. If the Buick looked in any way like it would need an expensive rebuild on ANYTHING we would not be falling for her tempting looks.
At the dealership, other than some of the usual issues with a car that has been sitting idle, and some that I had already been made aware of, I saw nothing major to turn us away. Her price was definitely fair and I saw no reason why we should not purchase her.
The original mileage is documented at 27,600. I believe this to be true. Body excellent, paint has some issues, interior is also excellent and original.
Highway performance is still a big mystery until taken on an extended test drive. However, she starts and idles fine, no smoke, no overheating, shifts fine, minor leaks from the Dynaflow transmission.
Let me say here that I never owned a Buick before and thought a Dynaflow was some kind of early GE washing machine.
The brakes are soft and probably need a complete overhaul to make safe.
Before I even dared to swing a wrench an initial inspection by the club’s Gaslighters was conducted as I have NO prior experience with Buicks. A leak down and compression test was recommended and many questions were answered. The goal is to bring the car up to daily drivable condition yet retain original equipment and appearance to the extent possible.
And of course the Dynaflow transmission pan was just as foul but check out the almost unidentifiable filter screen. It took 2 days of soaking in a carburetor cleaner to actually see the brass filter element. The poor Dynaflow was not getting any flow- or very little.
Fortunately, there was very little rust with most components looking solid and tight. In keeping with original factory look, many parts were not painted so I used clear lacquer to prevent rust.