Buicks generally offer the cheapest cost of entry into GM musclecar ownership, and this is a prime example. Well maybe not prime, given the ridiculous paint scheme, but bear with me. For $3500 or less, you’ve got a GM intermediate, of which nearly every replacement part is available with just a phone call and a credit card. It has an oddball-but-not-unusual Buick V8, which makes hopping it up slightly pricier than a Chevy but not impossibly expensive, and at least the base paint color is black, making it easier to spot bad body work and rust. The missing rear window trim leads me to believe there is rust there (a common malady of these cars), but that’s not necessarily a dealbreaker at this price point. Interior work can be pricey, but you could at least make it drivable for a reasonable amount. The biggest issue are those terrible stripes, but the optimist in me says they’re just an excuse to experiment with vinyl wrapping.
Monthly Archives: December 2012
I mentioned in a previous post that I planned on completely rebuilding the leaky, out-of-tune remanufactured carburetor on the Tempest. I found a few spare hours this past weekend and tore into it. Here’s the Rochester Quadrajet (originally intended for a late-70’s Buick, procured from eBay a few years ago) that I started with:
After a disconnecting a half dozen vacuum lines and the throttle linkage, a few turns of the wrench later I was faced with this:
Those brown stains are the result of a leaking carburetor and oil seeping up through the threads on the intake bolts, something I’m going to remedy later. I placed the carb on the newly-cleaned workbench and took stock:
Doesn’t look that bad, actually. Of course, it’s recently been remanufactured and I’ve had it partially apart two or three times since then too, so it shouldn’t look too beat. I’ve found golf tees make great vacuum hose plugs. One of the things I need to fix is the fuel line going into the carb:
Somebody replaced the metal line with a rubber hose connecting the fuel pump to a stub of hard line going into the carb inlet, and it kinks a little along the way. I need to route a new steel line from the pump to the carb. I started removing the screws that hold the air horn (the top 1/3 of the carb) to the throttle body (the middle third of the carb), including the two that hide down under the choke blades (which can be scary to loosen when the carburetor is still on the engine):
I removed the air horn, pulled out the float, needle and seat, power valve, accelerator pump, and various other springs, check balls, and clips, separated the throttle body from the base plate, and soon my work space looked a lot more cluttered:
There’s a lot of small, strange looking parts, as well a million little passages and holes in the carb body itself. Thankfully, I’m equipped with the good book:
This (and this one, which I’ve ordered) is generally considered the go-to book for this sort of thing.
With everything torn apart (except the choke linkage, which is insanely complicated and not worth the hassle of disassembling), I broke out the big guns:
I’ve had that bucket of Chem-Dip (“The Good Stuff, Smart Choice!” it says so on the can) for a few years now, which has allowed it to age into an ominous color and even more ominous scent. It just gets better the longer it sits and the more it gets used, so by now it just about burns the hair out of your nose. I made sure to put on some gloves before cracking it open, because I’m sure there isn’t enough soap in my house to get the smell off. I dropped the small metal parts into the little basket in the can and left them to soak for a few days. The larger parts will get a good scrubbing and a liberal dousing of spray cleaner to get through all the little holes and passages. Up next, I need to order the correct rebuild kit and get a little education on the right jets and rods to get this thing running right. Assuming I don’t get addicted to the fumes from the cleaner, that is.
At first glance, I assumed this was an overpriced restoration that never left the seller’s garage. It might still be overpriced, but I about jumped out of my chair when I read “502 crate motor. M20 4-speed. 12 bolt 3:73 posi,” and saw the picture of the shifter winding it’s way out of the floor in front of a bench seat. $26k is way too rich for my blood, but I just love plain jane full-size cars with bench seats, stick shifts, and big engines. The cop-car spec steel wheels and blackwall tires are just icing on the cake.
I apologize in advance.
The garage has been in complete disarray, following a summer of playing outside with the kids, a few family picnics, and, of course, my almost-never-ending transmission installation. With that all over, it was time to get everything put away. I moved all the toys and bikes to the basement, shipped off all the borrowed folding chairs and tables, and trucked the old transmission and crossmember to the scrapyard (an attempt to sell it on Craigslist didn’t even net a scam response – believe it or not, not a lot of call for 40-year-old 2-speed automatics).
I then loaded up one of my favorite albums of the last decade and spent a late night with a bucket of soapy water washing all the accumulated grease and transmission fluid from the pile of tools that had wound up on the floor.
I also wanted to get my workbench cleared off. This mess is what I started with:
And, after a short time, this is what I ended up with:
It may not seem like much, but it’s important since the counter will be strewn with tiny, easily lost carburetor parts before too long. It’s also important because now the lovely Mrs. Magicboltbox can park her car in the garage again, just in time for the winter. Unfortunately, that doesn’t count as a Christmas gift.
Although the proportions are a little off, I could see this car fixed up as an alternative to the ubiquitous ’57 Chevy at your local cruise-in. It looks to be mostly there (although I bet the missing trim and chrome are nearly unobtainable), but what really made me include this ad is the priceless “Needs some work to be driven on the street.” Ya think? It has no lights, a cockeyed window, no real interior, and appears to be riding on tires from 1978, but in the seller’s mind, it’s only a spit shine away from being street legal. I’m all for optimism, but that’s just insanity. But hey, for $1800, you’re not much above scrap prices, so what do you have to lose?