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Old 12-20-2009, 07:11 AM
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Default Buford the Buick

In the magazine biz, Iím a tech head, which in turn, means I write about things of a technical nature. No secret to this crowd, Iím sure. But what some of you donít know is I live pretty much fifteen miles from nowhere on Vancouver Island. Black bears (a bunch of them) and cougars (the cat variety, not the other) are my close neighbors. In order to write about things and obviously, to make a living, I work on a project car. Bits and pieces of the build become magazine articles. My current project, which is drawing to an end, is a 1986 Buick T-Type. Itís a neat car and although not anywhere near a classic musclecar, I think it might interest a few of you.

What I started with is a really clean, 18,750-mile original paint car. It was a garage queen, living in a couple of collections, surviving (from what Iíve picked up) a divorce or two, and eventually ended up in the hands of a young guy in Florida. I bought it sight unseen (but I did have a good appraiser go through it with a fine tooth comb). From a geographic point of view, it was in the wrong end of the country. None-the-less, I had it shipped to Blaine, Washington where I picked it up and took it home.

Once I jumped through all of the hoops and had it licensed and registered in BC. My wife and I drove the car to a little place called Cowichan Bay, a few miles from our house, shot some photos and drove home. In the process, I melted a few hundred miles off the back tires (once it got on the boost, it actually did a decent burnout). Immediately after that I ran ďBufordĒ into the garage, and began the disassembly process.

Today (and a chunk of magazine articles later), this is what the Buick looks like (less the engine and transmission):

Briefly, the car was stripped to a bare chassis (the body never came off). The undercarriage was scrubbed and detailed. The frame rails were notched at the seam at the rear end. A slightly narrowed, braced 9-inch Ford filled with Mark Williams best pieces brings up the rear with fully adjustable suspension bits from TRZ Motorsports. This a very nice setup that uses stock mounting points for all suspension hardware. All except two of the mounting points are on Aurora aircraft rod ends. I also included a very cool weld-in anti-roll bar from TRZ. The anti roll bar is really the key to making coil sprung GM cars hook without a ton of body roll. Like the other suspension components, itís completely adjustable, and the tubular mount that welds between the frame rails doubles as a reinforcement for the notched frame. The frame notch and the narrowed Ford allowed me to fit 15X10 Billet Specialties wheels (3-1/2-inch backspace) on the rear, wrapped with P325-50R15 M&H Racemaster D.O.T. drag radials. This rolling stock fits within the OEM wheel wells (tubs). On the nose, the car has an equally adjustable front end, primarily filled with hardware from Auto Fab Race Cars. Shocks are adjustable jobs from Strange Engineering. Up front, the car wears 15X3.5 Billet Specialties wheels along with M&H radial front-runners.

The fuel delivery system is all from the folks at MagnaFuel Ė the pump is a flow-through model, with large pre and after filters. I reworked a new Turbo Buick replacement gas tank with a pair of welded bulkheads hidden at the leading edge of the tank. From these bulkheads, fuel is picked up inside the sump within the tank. A second bulkhead directs fuel thatís bypassed by the pump. The fuel line is inside the framerail channel and exits by way of another bulkhead fitting located on the right front inner fender (which is setup to lead to the fuel pressure regulator on the engine).

The finicky Buick hydro boost setup was swapped for a Lamb Components (modified) Mopar master cylinder installed by way of a billet adapter from the folks at TRZ. Under it is a Hurst roll control. I plumbed the entire brake system with hand formed 3/16-inch stainless steel hard-line and 37-degree AN fittings. This is a ďfunĒ job. You should see my ďmistake drawerĒ!

Thereís all sorts of neat stuff included in the mix: A huge aluminum rad from Ron Davis Racing Radiators, a manual steering conversion from Borgensen, a Precision Performance Products shifter (the Competition Eliminator guys love Ďem and once you fondle it, youíll know why), a glove box full of MSD digital ignition bits and so on.

Right now, I have the instrument cluster apart. Iím putting a GNX style cluster together using new Revolution gauges from a company called ďSpeed HutĒ. Speed Hut is owned by a young fellow named Aaron Westberg. His grandfather started a little company called AutoMeter. You might have heard about it <g>. Anyway, the parts are awesome.

So whatís next? Iím going to sell the car as a roller and move on (I have a home built 572-inch big block Chevy in pieces that I planned to use, but Iím sure Iíll build it and sell it separately). The truth is I have a huge desire to begin an online magazine that focuses on little guy drag racing in the heyday of the musclecar. Day 2 cars and the technology that supported them is really my fervor. Iím in my late fifties, and in this stage of my life, Iím positive I should pursue my passions sooner than later. Iím sure many of you understand!

I hope you enjoyed looking at Buford the Buick. Itís a neat (albeit pricey) car. I have a ton of blood, sweat and dollars invested. And you know that old saying about no job is worth doing unless you do it twice? They must have been talking about me <g>. Thanks for indulging me!

Wayne Scraba

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Old 12-20-2009, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: Buford the Buick

nice work wayne!
good luck with the magazine, it sounds interesting.
'69 belair 2dr post 454 M20
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Buford the Buick

Thanks for the kudos man...

I'm looking forward to it. Right now, the plan is to start with a blog (when the guy building the site ever finishes it), then start filling it with basic tech...I think the kids today call it "old school" <g>.

It's funny though. A few years ago, I had a young guy in my garage and he spied my old Sun dwell tach on the workbench. Even though he was a car guy, he didn't have any idea of what dwell was. I guess that officially makes me "old school" too!

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Old 12-21-2009, 02:51 AM
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Default Re: Buford the Buick

Really neat car, Wayne. I've always enjoyed your magazine articles, particularly the copo Camaro clone buildup series a few years ago. Never did see it complete and always wondered what happened to it. Looking forward to your internet venture.
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:29 AM
markjohnson markjohnson is offline
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Default Re: Buford the Buick

It is good to see you here Wayne! I've always enjoyed your writing also and hav your "How To Build A Chevrolet Street Machine" book. That's actually one of my favorite books to this day. Your old Black '69 Z/28 Camaro with the Orange Houndstooth is owned by a member of this site. It's been all restored back into a stock Z/28 but I always kinda like what you did with the car instead. The current owner has even posted pictures of it on here, but for the life of me, I can't remember his name. By the way, sharp Buick! I really like it. I've built up a couple of Drag Radial "G" Body Drag car myself and your really looks top notch.
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Old 12-21-2009, 04:00 AM
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Default Re: Buford the Buick

Hey Guys ...thanks for the responses. My Buick has been a mix of ideas that I've had for years (OK - decades <g&gt. It's not a legal drag car -- no cage or roll bar. Instead, it was supposed to be a modern version (and my own interpretation with a GM bias) of Addison's Silver Bullet. That car influenced me greatly over the years. So basically, like Addison's Mopar, the Buick was put together with the best hardware I found that was somewhat streetable. It really is a cool car, and I suspect it will really rock and roll with just a simple 572 crate motor.

My old black 69 Camaro haunts me regularly. It's one of those cars I wish I never would have parted with (the other is a for real 1971 LS6 Corvette that I regrettably sold in 1974). The truth was, I had a big tax bill that had to be paid. I had a new EFI Firebird drag car in the shop (NHRA B/Stick Stocker that Tim Bishop now campaigns). The 'Bird was giving me the opportunity to make an income while the '69 was sitting still. So I pulled out the L88/Turbo 400 combination and sold the Camaro to a fellow back east. The L88 was sold to a guy in Oregon who passed away before he could use it. Kip Martin did the machining on the L88. It was a (really) nice piece -- it was more or less an NHRA stocker style engine. FYI, drag racer, Ken Reich was the original owner of the Camaro.

If you folks ever want to see more pix of the Buick, let me know. The suspension is really neat and so is the rear end assembly. My old racing partner, Mike Pustelny narrowed the housing, fought with the concept of fitting the stock mounts in place (with the narrowed width and the huge by large M-W housing ends) and back braced it. Mike does really, really nice work. You should have seen the raw TIG welds.

But I digress. Like I said before....you guys rock and thank you for letting me ramble about some of my old heaps.

Wayne Scraba

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Old 12-21-2009, 04:17 AM
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Default Re: Buford the Buick

Love that regal !I am a g-body lover also strated with an 85 ss then on to the new baby a black 86ss. Grey one is a project / drag car in slow progress lol. Keep it up beautiful car !

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Old 12-21-2009, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: Buford the Buick

its a sin what you did to it. Its a turbo Buick for Gods sake, build up the turbo 6.. 600 hp is easy with those motors. Why didn't you use a garden variety regal which could have been bought for a whole lot cheaper and it would not have been sacrilegious what you did. What you did is basically grab a mint low mile 1969 SS396/375 and tore into it and but a Big Block Buick in it You should be ashamed of yourself.

You did a nice job on it tho..
Frank Szymkowski

1971 Torino 351c 4v GT convertible. White/white with black,4 speed, shaker, am/fm, ps/pdb, buckets/console, ac, flip headlights

1969 GTO Judge Warwick blue/blue, RAIII, 4 speed, tach/gauges, safe t track, flip headlights, 3.55's, ps and radio.
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: Buford the Buick

-----Wayne,,,You have good taste in chassis guys. I used Mike P to do a bit of much needed work on "Red Alert" many years ago and he is one of the best. Looking at one of his full tilt Super Stock cars is like looking at a Mona Lisa in the drag race world!!!.......Bill S

----And Frank,,,Turbo-Schmurbo !!! Plenty of them to go around,,,A nice, healthy 540 roller motor and loose converter would give any guy on this sight the shivers in this Buick
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Buford the Buick

Hi There GN guy. I had a big long response written, and then I did a double take on your screen name. Your suggestion that 600 horsepower is ďeasyĒ could pretty much be open for debate. If you approached that horsepower level with production six cylinder Buick hardware like a block, crank and rods (even on a hopped up, cheating dyno), I have a good hunch the connecting rods would likely be laying on the ground. And even if you did somehow manage it, I really doubt youíd be able to sustain that horsepower level without eventually driving over some engine pieces.

By the way, the dripping, leaking (did I tell you how I had to chip two inches of cooked oil crud from the transmission bellhousing to get at the bolts?) V6 went to a good home. Itís powering a real GN that, uhm, for a short period of time had one of those wicked power engines youíre talking about <g>.

As far as hacking up cars, Iím definitely guilty Ė Iíve chopped up a number of them. Some were even factory pilot cars with plenty of zeros in the VIN sequence. I have a hunch a couple of other guys on this board have hacked up muscle cars too. And quite a few of us old farts did it when those cars were two days old. Or less.

And finally, I have the stock 6 banger frame mounts sitting here if someone buys the car and absolutely needs it powered by one of those nearly stock 600 HP Buicks.

Take care manÖ

Wayne (the Buick Butcher) Scraba
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