View Full Version : Restoring an old car

August 26th, 2006, 07:58 AM
My father has an old 1962 Buick Electra 225 4 Door Sedan sitting in our garage. His father, who died in 1970, bought the car new. Its been there since we moved it over 10 years ago, and before that, it was in our old house's garage. He had to have it towed to the new house. I am thinking about trying to get the car running and driveable again. Its a standard carbourated V8 350Hp engine with a powerglide automatic transmission. The engine, transmission, braking, exhaust, and steering systems would have to be fully rebuilt. I know this would be an extremely involved job. Luckily, I at least have the service manual to help. Since my father doesn't have the time to restore it, I would like to do it, if he would pay for parts. So, if anyone here has undertaken a similar task, how did it go? I assume that it is easier than a modern car.

August 26th, 2006, 08:18 AM
How is the condition of the car? It's quite hard to assess without seeing any photos.

If the engine is not seized, try and get it running again. You should first inspect the condition of the fuel and oil pumps, as well as replacing the fuel pipes, drive belts, spark plugs, points. Also check the condition of the ignition system. There is no reason why it shouldn't start. But there are right and wrong ways of doing this - the best thing to do is to join a decent car club, or find an internet forum or usenet group who can advise.

If you can get the engine/gearbox running again, you at least would have to COMPLETELY rebuilt the braking system, just for safetys sake.

I'm part way through my second restoration. The first car I restored was a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle, it was a very original 36,000-mile car that needed to be refreshed. As it was a very original but cosmetically tired car, so was more of a renovation than a restoration, plus I also wanted to keep the originality of the car intact. It was repainted, and also had the engine rebuilt. It was basically taken apart, sympathetically restored, and put back together over the course of about a year.

The second is a January 1962 Austin Mini. It's very very rusty, and is having a full nut-and-bolt rebuild. It'll be better than new when finished, but it's taking ages (4 years so far). So far I have rebuilt the suspension subframes and various peices of running gear. Body restoration will start next year, it needs a loooooong list of panels. But I am in no hurry :)

Terry Yager
August 26th, 2006, 08:20 AM
Antique parts can be a bear to find. You prob'ly won't be able to find a shop local to you that will touch the tranny, and it ain't sum'n ya want to try yourself, unless you have a lot of experience. Everything else should be doable, provided you can find the parts (especially the engine kit). Good luck with the project. It's a great car to work on.


August 26th, 2006, 08:35 AM
the engine is not seized. We had it running as of a few years ago, but my father ended up giving up. He didn't have the time. I know that the transmission slips. The overhaul kit for it is around $200. What is so bad about the powerglide transmission, Terry?

Terry Yager
August 26th, 2006, 09:40 AM
Rebuilding any automatic transmission is difficult, especially for someone with little or no experience, although the ol' PowerGlide is a little easier than most. Are you sure it's a two-speed? (That would be pretty unusual for a full-size Buick with a big V-8). My old neighbor, Marcus Brown had one that I've wrenched on many times, but his had the 3-speed auto. Which engine is the 250 HP? It ain't the little '225 Wildcat', all aluminum one is it? My best guess would be a 350, or a 401 for that size vehicle.