Caregiver for a 1965 Buick Special "Billy Goat" Wagon

Discussion in 'The Welcome Wagon' started by elagache, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. elagache

    elagache New Member

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    Headers were only ones that fit!!

    Dear MikeT1961, MotoMike, and fans of assertive station wagons.

    Well, I hope I won't have the same problems you have. Unfortunately, I really had little choice. The Buick big-block engines were designed after my car was built. They first were available in 1967. While the engine bays hadn't changed too much in 2 years, still, it is a tight squeeze. The headers are specifically designed for a 65 Buick A-body to take this larger engine and provide the necessary clearances so the engine can fit.

    Unfortunately, I understand what you are describing. There is no doubt one of the reasons people keep buying SUVs is that they can cope with the horrible roads our country continues to put up with it. It certainly makes trying to keep a classic much more miserable. :mad:

    Hopefully the installation will start in probably 2 weeks or so. I need to finalize the list of required parts and get those ordered one way or another.

    There is a performance hardened 200-4R tranny that is right now stored right next to the engine so that they can start bonding!! :D

    I've already upgraded the front to disk brakes. Alas, I didn't do the same to the rear. We'll see, but I suspect that will have to happen at some point.

    Thanks for your interest!! (y)

    Cheers, Edouard :beerchug:
     
  2. MikeT1961

    MikeT1961 Well-Known Member

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    I understand why you went with the headers. I went with them for the increase in fuel economy that comes with the, Nora sits lower than Billy Goat, so with a bit of luck you'll be okay.

    The drum brakes in the back of Billy Goat will likely work extremely well for you. Most of the time, rear drums are just fine. Not many cars really need rear discs. The only time they become a really nice thing to have is when you are towing in very hilly/mountainous country. The drum brakes don't dissipate heat as well. Make sure you use a high temp brake fluid, and be sure to change it every two years, and chances are the rear drums will do you well. The biggest part of braking performance comes from the tires, anyway. After all, if you can lock up the wheels, you have more brake than the tires can handle, no matter what brakes you have on the car. Back in 79 my family went climbing the Rocky Mountains in a 72 Dodge Dart sedan that had manual 4 wheel drum brakes. We never had a single problem as long as we remembered to use the transmission as well as the brakes on the long slopes. A good rule of thumb is to use the same gear down a hill as you would need for climbing that same grade. That keeps the temps down on the brakes. I have actually seen flames coming off brakes on a very long, steep hill, and those were discs!
     
  3. elagache

    elagache New Member

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    Thanks for the brake advice!

    Hi MikeT1961 and Station Wagon lovers,

    Bingo!! I'm really trying to get some amazing gas mileage out of this big-block engine. We'll see. It is an interesting experiment in engine design.

    I'm is unfamiliar territory because the only car I've ever had is this wagon and so I've never towed anything more than about 1000 pounds. With the new assertive engine, the car might be able to tow upwards of 6000 pounds. Other Buick Special wagon owners have succeeded in doing this.

    However, I don't know if I have the stomach (or the wallet) for those extremes. Since I haven't even started looking for the travel trailer I would be towing, I'll probably just see how the car handles as-is. This is most definitely a long-term project!

    Thanks again for the help!! (y)

    Cheers, Edouard :beerchug:
     
  4. elagache

    elagache New Member

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    Trusty wagon photos and update

    Dear Station Wagon Lovers,

    I had a chance to photograph my favorite station wagon this week and thought you'all might enjoy the 3 best photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I used the first of these three photos for another exercise in photo aging that you can see here.

    The great drive-train makeover is at least 2 week away, but most of the parts are have arrived and the obstacles to the work are being resolved. So odds are good the work will finally start sometime this month.

    Thanks for your support and keep luvin' your wagons!!

    Cheers, Edouard :cheers:
     
  5. theone41

    theone41 Member

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    :thumbs2:Welcome aboard. You're a man after my own heart! I had a 65 for a daily driver some years ago, but it was a Sport Wagon. These little cars ride and drive like a dream.
     
  6. elagache

    elagache New Member

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    Not everyone thinks she's "little"!!

    Dear theone41 and Buick wagon fans,

    Well now, I'm glad someone else noticed that these were mid-size cars!! Our 2000 Buick Century is actually a touch longer than my billy-goat wagon.

    Still, at the Orinda Classic car show, parents were bringing their kids to see the "monster car" that they were calling my wagon.

    It is situations like this that test my good Christian upbringing . . . . :rant:

    Cheers, Edouard :cheers:
     
  7. jmt455

    jmt455 Well-Known Member

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    welcome aboard, Edouard!
    Biquette is a beautiful little thing; you have done a marvelous job of preserving and improving her!

    I can't wait to hear how the new engine performs; I think you're going to be on cloud 9!
     
  8. elagache

    elagache New Member

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    Da' work begins . . . . . (Re: Trusty "billy-goat" Wagon!)

    Dear fans of "assertive" station wagons, . . . .

    Just a quick word that the extreme drivetrain makeover of my trusty 1965 Buick Special wagon is finally underway. Definitely read through this whole thread for more info, but just about everything is being changed from the engine to the stereo.

    However, perhaps the most complex part of the upgrade is the installation of the Vintage Air aftermarket air conditioner. In order to save the kick-panels for speakers, I've asked that the heater and refrigerant hoses not be routed through the kick-panel as Vintage Air recommends. That is going to make routing those hoses very tricky. So to get all that working, the Vintage Air behind the dash evaporator unit needs to be installed first.

    So the first work to do was dismantle the dash:

    [​IMG]

    On the right you can see the housing for a factory A/C vent housing that I grabbed on eBay. Underneath the housing you can see the welds that were necessary because in my first attempt to cut that hole - I cut 3/8" too low!! :banghead3:

    Here are some of removed components from the dash:

    [​IMG]

    The car is now at a body shop to have the dash painted. When that's done, then the procedure of putting the dash back together with the Vintage Air system can begin.

    I'll try to provide periodic updates on this forum. Feel free to ask any question about what I'm doing to my trusty wagon.

    Cheers, Edouard :cheers:
     
  9. Longroof79

    Longroof79 Well-Known Member

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    Bienvenue Edouard!
    I absolutely love your Buick Special wagon. One of the many body styles that I've always liked. :2_thumbs_up_-_anima
    It's pretty incredible that it's been in your family all these years.
    Love your engine as well. That is going to be quite a torque monster.

    A plus tard
    Jack
     
  10. DocZombie

    DocZombie Village Crazy

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    That is an absolutely stunning car Edouard! THis is a LOT of love borne along by great memories.
    This car represents the real heart of the car hobby industry! Its great to have you here!
     
  11. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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    God, I love this Buford!! :1st:(y)
     
  12. elagache

    elagache New Member

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    Thanks - back to the body shop purgatory.

    Dear lovers of "mature" station wagons,

    Thanks for all the praise. Saving my trusty "Billy Goat" wagon has been very much a labor of love. However, it has always required a lot patience. The poor car is once more stuck in that difficult location: a body shop. I called this morning and unfortunately there was no sign of progress. Looks like I'll have to pay a visit tomorrow to "encourage them along!"

    Cheers, Edouard :cheers:
     
  13. elagache

    elagache New Member

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    Got d'em body shop blues . . . . . .

    Dear fans of a trusty billy-goat Buick Special wagon,

    It has been one week since my wagon headed over to the body shop to have the dashboard repainted.

    Yesterday, I wanted to order a tailgate window channel seal from EINSTYN (Engineered Innovative New Stuff That You Need.) So to make sure I was getting the right part, drove over to the body shop to have a look. My poor old wagon was stuck outside, covered with pollen. The windshield is finally out:


    [​IMG]

    However no indication when the dashboard and other painting will be done. The dash is now prepped for painting. Here is the passenger side:

    [​IMG]

    There was more patching required because my error with the air conditioner vent hole.

    Finally, here is a photo of some of the miscellaneous parts that will be painted at the same time:

    [​IMG]

    In addition to the OEM A/C vents I bought on eBay, there are the metal trim parts for the spare tire cover. Around 1990, I had painted them by hand using the color matching available at a local paint store. It sure beat rust, but now this was - not exactly up to standards. The tailgate also needs to be painted on the inside. It had been painted in 1994 when the car was previously repainted. Alas, that paint isn't holding up and there is some rust showing up.

    There was one pleasant surprise on the project. I took the dashboard pad over to my favorite local upholsterer to try to repair a few spots that had apparently gotten discolored. I got a call from them and went over to see what they had done. The "repair" could not have been much easier. When they tried to clean the pad to start work - the discoloration came off in their rag!! It was probably just some residue from a product like Armor-all that I had used ignorantly in the distant past. Once wiped, the original 48 year old pad was perfect!

    Sure wish everything on this job was that easy!

    That's the report for now. Alas, progress will be slow until finally my wagon gets out of d'em body shop blues . . . . .

    Cheers, Edouard :cheers:
     
  14. elagache

    elagache New Member

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    With perhaps the luck of the Irish?

    Dear fans of a certain trusty Billy-Goat station wagon,

    I went over to the body shop yesterday and . . . . . *sniff* absolutely no progress :(

    As soon as I got home, what did I find in my mailbox but the Tailgate Window Channel Seal I had ordered from EINSTYN. This morning, I called the body shop to see if they could use the seal and . . . . they were repairing the tailgate to get it ready to be painted!!

    [​IMG]

    I left a party-platter of St. Patrick day goodies with the message: "green cookies courtesy of the green wagon." Perhaps that will finally get my wagon out of body shop purgatory!!

    Thanks for your support! :thumbs2:

    Cheers, Edouard :cheers:
     
  15. elagache

    elagache New Member

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    Escape from body-shop purgatory!! (Re: Trusty "billy-goat" Wagon!)

    Dear fans of a certain 1965 Buick Special wagon,

    I called yesterday to see if I could visit da' Patient at the body shop and got much better news. I could bring her home! :yahoo: All the painting was completed and she was ready resume the mechanical work.

    Here is the tailgate:

    [​IMG]

    Only the metal around the cover-plate got repainted. I would like a carpet to be put over the cover-plate once the mechanical work is done. My knees ain't what they used to be!!

    Here is the bezel that goes around the speedometer:

    [​IMG]


    Here are the factory air conditioning vents that go on the outer corners of the dash:

    [​IMG]

    In the background you can see the mounting panel for the gauges and the speaker grills.

    Here are the speaker kick-panels and in the background the door for the glove compartment:

    [​IMG]

    Finally, the painted dash itself.

    [​IMG]

    The photo really doesn't do the job justice. What appear to be "smears" are actually reflections!

    In addition, the body shop put on a new windshield:

    [​IMG]


    I never realized how much the old windshield was reducing my visibility until now. It almost feels like the car doesn't have a windshield, except you don't feel any airflow. Replacing the windshield might be a more important visibility and driver enjoyment upgrade than folks around here realize.

    The other nice improvement is the new tailgate window channel seal. Now the tailgate window goes up and down without any binding. With the tailgate working properly now, for the first time in decades I have the hope of a working wagon!!

    Alas, there is some bad news on the heals of the good. Greg, Orinda Motors classic car expert, is really down for the count with pneumonia. So the mechanical work won't start before next week at the earliest. At least the car is back home and I ain't got d'em body shop blues no mo'!! :)

    Cheers, Edouard :cheers:
     

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