Projects – up in the air 51 buick page 2 the h.a.m.b. 3 gases


Hey everyone, long time lurker here. Finally got me a project of my own after working on everyone else’s cool cars for so long, I figured it was time… my wife finally said yes lol. I’m a little hesitant to post this because I don’t have the car yet. But we have made the deal and I’m just waiting on them to get the title in there hands. They misplaced it so had to file for a lost title. But they proved it was in there name and I trust him so should be fine. Suppose to have it in a week.

As far as plans, well as the title states….they are up in the air a bit. I know I want to shave the handles, re wire it, lower it, update the brakes and put a sweet interior in it. I also want to get rid of the torque tube and tranny. So for sure, new rear end and I want a 700rr4 tranny. I kind dig the paint the way it is, I’m not sure if it’s patina. But it might look good with a satin clear on it. But it would look good shiny too. So that’s to be determined. Can’t afford paint right now though, so if it’s shiny paint I go with then it will be a ways down the road. Then here’s what’s going to make the purist mad….but let me explain….My dad loves these cars and he’s passed away years ago. I’m building this the way I know he would. Before he died we started building a 63 Impala, I lost the car in a house fire. The only thing I could save was the 383 that we built up for it. So that’s what’s going in the Buick…sorry, I know a nailhead or the s8 would be cool. But, I want a piece of my dad in the car with me. Now whether I should just put the 383 in the stock frame or subframe it, that I haven’t decided.

The torque tube design pushes the car forward through the engine mounts. With a straight 8/Dynaflow/torque tube Buick of that vintage, it’s all about the floating ride. That’s why they have the unique horizontal knee shock primary rear end – there is no ‘up and down’ bounce when you hit a bump, the shock is transferred to a less perceptible side-to side motion. With a Dynaflow/torque tube it’s not how fast you can get off the line, but how smooth the feel once you get up to highway speed….that’s why a ’51 Roadmaster has such features as an independently sprung front bench seat, a vibration dampening steering wheel and a dual dash-pot dampened gas pedal….The torque tube transmits the force by directly coupling the axle differential to the transmission and therefore propels the car forward by pushing on the engine/transmission and then through the engine mounts to the car frame. In a standard Hotchkiss type drive, the traction forces are transmitted to the car frame by using other suspension components such as leaf springs or trailing arms, neither of which are found on a ’51 Buick. The stock ’51Buick frame, however robust, was not designed for this amount of thrust. If you are going to drop in a 455 and a performance transmission and you don’t want to turn your frame/recycled battleship/panzer- tank steel sheet metal into a pretzel, you MUST beef up the frame and completely redesign the rear end. Keep that in mind when guestimating your projected budget. If you don’t believe me, use your Google-Phu skills to look up old articles from vintage Hot Rod mags of guys who tried to covert their straight 8 Bucks to V-8s on a budget and failed. It is not as easy as it first appears. It takes a lot of creative fun-gineering and $ to pull it off.