June 4, 2002
Am I getting excited? You bet!
Even though I don't have the car yet, I bought a few parts that I knew I'd be needing based on Jim Fisher's observations of the car.
I bought a pair of turn signal lenses, a replacement headlight trim ring, and the 'BUICK EIGHT' letters for the front of the hood from Buick Parts Cars, Inc.
I also joined the Buick Club of America. I remember that my father was a member, and I still have some old issues of the Buick Bugle, their magazine. I think being a member of the club will be extremely valuable to this project, and I'm looking forward to meeting other people who share a love for these great old cars.
I'm so excited about this car that sometimes I have trouble falling asleep at night. I've been thinking about this project for a long, long time, and now that it's so close, I have to remind myself that this is a time-consuming process. I'm not going to have this car ready to drive in a weekend. I've started collecting catalogs and thinking about the restoration and how I'll tackle certain aspects of it.
Initially, I wanted to to a complete, frame-off restoration which would result in a perfect car. But I've had (and still own) perfect cars that I'm afraid to drive because they'll get scratched on the road. My '93 Mustang that I've owned since new only sees about 500 miles a year because I worry too much about damage. I don't want this Buick to suffer the same fate, which it probably would with a frame-off restoration and award-winning paint.
So I decided to build a driver, a car that I can take to work when it's nice, out to our cottage on the lake 90 minutes west of Cleveland, or to parades and shows. I want to be able to drive it anywhere and not worry about paint, the underbody or anything else that obsesses me with my Mustang. I'll incorporate some modern upgrades to make the car more driveable (maybe a 12-volt conversion, an FM radio and quartz clock for example), but I'll strive to keep it as close to original in appearance and function.
Jim Fisher, the guy who looked at the car for me really help change my mind. He said that if he were to buy the car, he'd paint it and enjoy it for a while, which is my new plan. I'll sort the mechanicals and get it reliable and safe first, then have Maaco or somebody cheap spray it with a temporary paint job so I can enjoy the car this summer. Then in the fall, I'll start restoring the underbody, beginning with the suspension and brakes, but leaving the body in place. The chassis doesn't need to be detailed, just in satisfactory operating condition. The car needs an interior, so I'll look into having that done, as well. Depending on the condition of the driveline, maybe I'll pull the motor and detail the engine compartment and rebuild the engine. Sooner or later, I'll do a correct, quality repaint and maybe replate some chrome. We'll see.
It'll take time, but my primary goal is to keep the car relatively intact, so that when the weather is nice, I can use it. I don't want a pile of parts in my garage for 4 years, waiting to become a car again. I want a nice driver that I can treat like a real car.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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