My 1937 Buick Story

In the beginning


I did not have any intensions of buying this car. A neighbor of mine and his friend met a gentleman from Peoria Illinois at a swap meet in in Elkhorn Wisconsin in August of 2009 who was in failing health and wanted to unburden himself of some of his cars and parts he amassed over the years. My neighbor and his friend struck a deal to buy a '52 Hudson Hornet and a large pile of Hudson parts and wanted to use my car trailer to bring the car and parts home. When my neighbor came to pick up my trailer we found his truck didn't have the electrical hook up for the brakes on the trailer so I offered to use my truck and drive down to Peoria for the price of gas and a good, non-McDonalds meal. The deal was struck.

When we got down to Peoria, to where the Hudson was parked, we saw the '37 parked in front of Hudson. Being a car guy I took a casual look at the car. I thought it was pretty sharp but didn't honestly think much about it. While we were loading the Hudson onto my trailer my neighbor asked about the Buick. The owner said he wanted $400 for it, the price he paid for it. Later he revised the price to $550, he forgot he paid $150 to have it flatbedded to the place it was sitting. My neighbor started bugging me to buy the Buick. He kept telling me how cool it was and how it would be a cool car to cruise around in. He even offered to lend me the money right there and then to buy it. I told him if he lent me the money he better have a good divorce lawyer in his pocket along with the money. My wife is not very enthused with my old truck hobby, she thinks it's a big waste of time and money. All the way back home my neighbor kept nagging me about the Buick, I kept reminding him about the divorce lawyer.

The next morning I was uploading all of the pictures I took the previous day onto my computer. Along with the Hudson and Buick, the seller had about another two dozen other cars in different buildings in the neighborhood. I took pictures of most of the cars he had for sale. Just as I finished uploading the pictures to my computer my wife walked into the room and I asked her if she was interested in seeing the cars the guy had for sale. I started scrolling through the pictures when the Buick popped up on the screen. I wasn't even thinking about the Buick. When my wife saw the Buick she asked if it was also for sale and I said, "Yes". She told me she I should buy it and I told her to "Shut up!". I knew she was just messing around with me. She asked me to find some pictures on the net of restored Buicks. After I showed her a few pictures of restored '37 Buicks she asked how much the guys wanted for it. When I told her $550 she told me, "You have to go back down and get it!". Again, I told her to "Shut up and quit screwing with me." She then told me that if I bought and it and made it look as nice as the internet pictures she'd drive it herself. Well, I couldn't really argue with her, I like to keep her happy, so I went back down the next weekend and bought it. I should go back and get it.

I started tearing it apart right after I got it home. I had my oldest son raise the front of the car up with a floor jack. The car went up about 6 inches and immediately came down 4. I looked underneath and jack went the bottom of the front frame crossmember, it was completely rusted out. It looked like a relatively simple fix. The engine and transmission are also junk but I was able to find a replacement engine out of low mileage 1936 Buick. I know it's not the most desirable engine, I was told a 1937 and up is better because they have insert bearings, the '36 has poured babbit bearings, and the older engines have 10 less horse power than the later models but I dont' really care. I'm not building a 100 point show car, I just want cool old cruiser that will forward and backwards and that I can enjoy driving. To date I have the entire front end off and the engine and tranmission out. After I got the engine and transmission out I found the front crossmember is worse than I thought so now I am on a search for a piece to replace the rusted out piece. Next step is to get the body off of the chassis and make sure the rest of the frame is solid

12/05/2009 Update: I have the interior gutted out and have found front crossmember out of a '40 Buick. It's slightly different than the original '37 piece but if I can't find the exact piece I'm pretty sure I can make this one fit. I have also gotten from the same car a '40 straight engine with transmission, complete front and rear suspension and four like new used wide white walled tires and wheels. I am going to try to combine all these parts to make a decent driver. The car is in such bad shape that I don't think I could devalue it by mix and matching parts. I think I can only enhance the value with anything I do.

Bob Jones '49 F-2 Ford pickup
'48/51 F-4 Ford flatbed '48 F-1 Ford panel
'49 ford 8N
'37 Buick Special

Click here to go to the pictures Pictures of my 1937 Buick Special
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