1956 Buick Special Project

jacob

Member
I acquired a 1956 Special at the same time I bought my Century convertible you might have seen pictures of on this cite. I was going to use it as a parts car, but decided it was in much too good of shape for that! I am giving this similar treatment as the century- the jaguar suspension, original looking exterior with original colors in base / clear. I will be putting a newer drivetrain in this one though. I have a 2015 Chevy L83 and 6l80e, both very low mileage from a wrecked truck. The Jaguar suspension just couldn't be better for these cars- it goes in so well, and handles great with the rack and pinion steering and disc brakes. It's subtle but this car is two tone- dover white on the top and cameo beige on the rest of the body. The previous owner had this car since the 80's but to my knowledge it has not ran since the 70's.





















 

jacob

Member
1956 Buick Special Engine install pics

Here are some pictures of that engine going in. Just test fitting for now, not finalized. The transmission is quite a bit bulkier than even a 4l60e. I was planning on going to bucket seats and center console though. I am also working on a new firewall mounted ac / air box that bolts on as factory and provides a little more clearance for motor swaps.






 

bhambulldog

New member
Nice work !!
That'll make a great cruiser !!
What did you do with the old nailheads?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

jacob

Member
With the old nailheads, I sold what I could and then scrapped the rest. the engine was seized up on this car.

Painted the firewall and a few other parts last night.



 

jacob

Member
Made some progress on the Special today. I still need to finalize the steering shaft and brake lines, but I couldn't help but put the newly painted panels together! also got the torque tube out, should have the jag rear end mounted tomorrow.










 

jacob

Member
1956 Buick Special Project- brakes and steering

I was able to get some more work done on the special this weekend. The jaguar rack and pinion uses a 3/4" 48 spline shaft, while the buick column uses a 2 bolt flange. Some good old fashioned CAD programming and plasma cutting did the trick. I was also able to get the firewall booster and master cylinder installed, as well as make some progress towards a new air conditioning setup on the passenger firewall.












 

jacob

Member
Here are the pictures of the jaguar conversion. These rear ends fit under these cars so well and make for such an improved ride! although it is welded to the frame, I am only welding the cage mounts so the hole rear end can easily be removed / installed. As you can see, the only extra parts you need to mount the cage are a couple pieces of 2x4 steel. I'll put some pictures and details about how to do the support bars down below later. In the first two pictures, the right side is towards the front of the car. I haven't yet drilled holes through the 2x4 for mounting bolts in the pics.





 

etizz

New member
this car is fantastic too. I do have a question regarding the u joint adapter you made. I need to make something similar for my car, did you leave the u joints in the piece when you welded it or did you take them out? If so is there a trick to doing so? I haven't tried yetbut i was just curious if its similar to a driveshaft I won't have any trouble. thanks!
 

jacob

Member
this car is fantastic too. I do have a question regarding the u joint adapter you made. I need to make something similar for my car, did you leave the u joints in the piece when you welded it or did you take them out? If so is there a trick to doing so? I haven't tried yetbut i was just curious if its similar to a driveshaft I won't have any trouble. thanks!

I left the u joint assembled, and welded it off of the car. No trick to doing it- just set it on a flat surface so the bottom of the adapter and bottom of the u joint are even. If you need me to make you one let me know.
 

jacob

Member
1956 Buick Special Air Conditioning

I made some progress on the AC. This has been rather difficult because with the new engine in there, there isn't enough clearance for even the factory non AC air box. Like the brake box on the other side, I am doing this without cutting or modifying the firewall. Depending how much spare time I have this summer I might work on a new heating system. With the other car being a convertible theres no such thing as too much heat or too much AC when you need it. I am using a mid 2000s Silverado evaporator. I will need to make a couple adjustments but overall I'm happy with how its looking.









Heres a later model heater core I was thinking about installing. At first I wanted to do a firewall mounted setup with both heater and AC but ran out of room in a hurry with just the AC so heaters staying in the factory location

 

jacob

Member
These pictured didn't turn out the best, but heres how I attached the trailing arms for the jaguar suspension. I used 20" threaded tubes with 5/8" threads and 1/2" eyelets on the rod ends. I welded a 2x2 bar between the frame rails. the bottom of the bar sits 1" below the frame to have clearance for the exhaust to come through the frame. The bar has two 30 degree cuts in it to fit the X in the frame. I'll put pictures of the measurements to help anyone doing the same thing on a 56.






Overall:


Longest part of angled area:


Shortest part of angled area:


In front of the rear driver tire:


A little undercoating fire:




 

jacob

Member
Here are a couple pictures of the power steering conversion using the ICT billet kit. very pleased with it.




 

jacob

Member
1956 Buick Special Project - Air conditioning evaporator

The air conditioning project has turned out to be a lot bigger of a pain than expected. the main issue is making it so that it has clearance to be removed with the engine in place. right now it bolts together from 3 pieces, and does clear this engine, so it has a smaller profile than even the factory non ac box. I also found out that the factory blower motor housing couldnt be bolted to a flat surface, so the flange for that had to be spaced out 3/4". here are some pictures











 

jacob

Member
1956 Buick special Project - Air conditioning

On the bright side, getting a new condenser in there was a breeze! Im thinking it will need its own pusher fan, maybe a thin 15"
An original condenser weighs about 40 pounds and this thing is maybe a quarter of that, and should work better!
I made a pattern from the original radiator core support, which will come in handy to make a bracket to hold in an aluminum radiator.






 

jacob

Member
Got a bunch more work done on the Special this week. This car had one of the dirtiest frame / undersides I've seen. Not oily or greasy, but probably 20 pounds of that california desert sand from sitting for ages outside. On the bright side, almost zero rust in the trunk and floors, with the exception of the area where the rear passenger's feet would be. this will be an easy fix though. I used an angle grinder and various wire wheels to clean it up, some wax and grease remover, and then sprayed some kbs rust seal on it. I should have got some before pictures, heres after wire wheeling it and then paint.










 

jacob

Member
The gas tank on the left is the original to the 56 special, and the one on the right is from a 51 Roadmaster. the 56 has been visible leaking and looks rough, so I test fit the 51 and sure enough its a match! the filler neck actually sits a tiny bit higher but with the electric fuel pump and plumbing, I will need to space the tank down a 3/8 to 1/2" anyways. Went over it with the wire wheel on the angle grinder and painted it up.



 
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