'60 LeSabre 2 door sedan

Discussion in 'Classic Buicks' started by weim55, May 9, 2010.

  1. mosslack

    mosslack Well-Known Member

    Yeah, the radio in my '61 still works too and it is still the tube type as well. I see them on ebay all the time, sometimes just sold as parts. You might check there if you haven't already.
  2. weim55

    weim55 Well-Known Member


    As you might expect the windlace around the perimeter of both doors is just shredded from years of contact. One of the few things that just HAS to be replaced. It's not too spendy, enough to do both door surrounds was about $70.00 from Pro Fit Interiors. The color and design are not exact but the original design is nonexistant. The original has a cardboard material that is used to attach to "hooks" , or to be stapled, in various sections around the door perimeter. Upon removing the original windlace I found a problem. The windlace is installed before the headliner at the factory. It's impossible to install the new windlace above the door in the headliner area for two reasons. One: there's no cardboard on the new windlace to attach to the hooks. Two: With the headliner in the car there is no access to said hooks for proper install. My solution was to sew a cord to the new windlace in the areas not stapled to the surround. Those areas are the headliner run and the doglegs close to the dash. I carefully pushed and formed the "cord" into the open seam in the headliner. The cord sewn into windlace makes for a good tight fit here. Looks factory. The cord area for the doglegs allow the windlace to be swedged between the trim panels for a nice tight fit. Better than the original cardboard I think. The rest is just stapled in place. I reused the original boards and the new staples are still good and tight. I was very happy with the way these turned out. New problem ?? How does one keep from tearing up the new windlace ?? Jeeez.... I've bumped my head, knees, feet, hands..... on the stuff over and over again. It is SO vunerable !! No wonder it's completely torn up on every 50s car I've ever seen................

    Attached Files:

  3. mosslack

    mosslack Well-Known Member

    Looks good Steve. That is something I will need to address also, so thanks for going first! LOL
  4. weim55

    weim55 Well-Known Member

    Steering Wheel

    This car has the optional deluxe wheel that has a super deep dish with chrome trim and separate horn buttons for the left and right. A very cool looking wheel that fits and styling and look for the car and era well. The problem is my example is in deplorable condition. This wheel must have 1,000 cracks in it. Positively unrestorable. It's all I've got, so a really good cleaning followed by a simple ebay cover get her on the road. These lace up covers aren't common like they once were. No auto parts stores have 'em anymore. The best color match I could find was tan (wanted brown...) . Plus the largest wheel diameter cover sold is for a 15". The LeSabre wheel is 17". Found quickly there is no way it would stretch to that size. Until.... Heat gun! Warming it up to nice and spongy made the stretching a peice of cake. Fits fine. Certainly looks alot better.......

    The chrome horn button bar was in great condition. Clean and polish, good to go. Workings of the horn buttons and wiring good too. Since I switched over to power steering I topped it with the cap from the Invicta.

    We can steer now!..........

    Do need to find a better wheel someday...........

    Steve weim55 Colorado

    Attached Files:

  5. weim55

    weim55 Well-Known Member

    Kick Panels

    These things sure take a beating. The originals are beat to death and absolutely had to be replaced. A cheesy simple painted heavy cardboard, they just don't hold up well. Replacements were about $80.00 buck a pair shipped and i just couldn't talk myself into more weak cardboard for that kind of money. With a stroke of luck I came into a much better solution. Had a fiberboard and wood shipping crate left over from a piece of cab glass for a John Deere backhoe at work. The fiberboard is nice and flexible and much more durable. Only slighty thicker than the original cardboard. As an added bonus it has a nice texture on one side to give it some form. One piece of this stuff was enough to do both sides. Trace the originals and cutout with jigsaw. That done I took a palm sander and knocked down the texture a bit to smooth and remove the "hairs". Lookin' good.......

    The vents just needed the usual prep for paint. Clean, sand and clean again. Went to Hobby Lobby with originals in hand to try to match the color. This Krylon looked pretty close in the store. Turns out it's an absolute dead nuts match to the original color. Shoot the panels and vents separate before assembling. After paint, all that's left is to drill and attach the vents to the new panels. Stainless rivots are used to attached 'em from factory. I carefully removed them and got lucky, was able to clean, crip and reuse all of them.

    These turned out better than the repops and all for the price of a can of paint! Go to John Deere and ask for an old cab glass crate.....

    Steve weim55 Colorado

    Attached Files:

  6. weim55

    weim55 Well-Known Member

    Carpet and Sill Plates

    Another must replace item as all the original carpet was removed and discarded before I aquired the car. The LeSabre 2 door sedan uses a very unique rubber mat - carpet combo. Dino Bob posted some pics earlier in this thread of the originals in his car. Likely mine were the same. Unfortunatly these have never been reproduced. I found a small patch of carpet left under the sill plate that was a solid tan color. With a little searching and a tip from Dino Bob ProFit Interiors had the correct color and a listing for the 2 door sedan floor. A custom order, 3 weeks and it was at the door. $235.00 shipped.

    The back carpet goes in first and was pretty much a no brainer. There's plenty excess all around to trim everything up nice and tight. Carpet is moulded well and fits the contours of the rear floor very well.

    The '60 Buick has a neat back seat heat plenum screwed the the front floor over the transmission hump. The problem here is it makes the front floor very irregular in shape. Since I don't have an original car with factory carpet too compare, I'm not sure how the fit should be over this area. With the front carpet in place a couple of problems surfaced. Not a real good fit in the footwells and when I pushed the carpet tight into the wells just in front of the seat, there's very little left to trim at the firewall. I had no choice but to run the firewall edge mostly untrimmed, which is OK for this driver, but this wouldn't get it for a true restoration. I would like to have a vinyl trim sewed along this edge to make it look more finished. Another issue is the carpet fits loosely and baggy over the heat plenum and transmission tunnel. Again, OK for this driver, not so great for a resto. The sides trimmed up nicely. With the rest of the interior finished I'm happy with the carpet now. It'll do. Little stuff, is the drivers foot pad in the right spot? Reused the original tan high beam ring (carpet set came with a black one..) A little tip..... I use a soldering iron to burn in the holes where any screw or bolt passes through the carpet. Singes the edge so the fastener won't accidently grab the carpet and ruin a section of loops.

    Sill plates are pretty beat up. Drivers side torn n worn. Reused 'em for now. Lots of scrubbing and a little hammer work to bring 'em around for one more use. Same both left and right even though the holes aren't symmetrical (?). Hope to replace these at a later date.

    Under the carpet at the sills on both sides is a transition plate between the sill and the floor. The passenger side front plate was rusted out so I cut the solid rear 2-door piece and grafted it to the a solid front piece from the 4-door parts car. Quick and easy fix.

    Grabbed cleaned up all the tan seat belts from the '70 Electra parts car and put 'em in. A good match that will do the job for this driver. Enough belts for 6 passengers!

    Steve weim55 Colorado

    Attached Files:

  7. weim55

    weim55 Well-Known Member


    When I purchased the '60 I knew basicly nothing about these cars and thought the seat material to be original to the car. No rips or tears, it looked to be savable. With a little research I found the material is actually aftermarket covers dating to the late 60s. Much like the aftermarket covers Dinobob found and used on his '60 earlier in this thread, these are a good quality and fit. Just hidiously dirty. I took a little experimenting with various cleaners but here's what did it in the end: For the vinyl it was Bleche Whit tire cleaner. Potent stuff, maybe too potent, but it DOES clean what nothing else would. It didn't deteriorate the vinyl a bit and it took off ALL the stains. For the cloth the best seemed to be Tide Liquid Concentrated Clothing Det. mixed with water and allowed to soak for 15 - 20 minutes. this didn't get out all the stains but it came pretty close. Gets rid of the musty smell too. Acceptable enough use the seats for now. Rest was just cleaning and greasing the seat tracks and polishing the side trim.

    It's too bad the original material was shot under the covers. It's a super cool tri- tone vinyl and cloth and would really up the WOW factor of the car. It's on the wish list.

    We now have a place to sit for 6 people..........

    Steve weim55 Colorado

    Attached Files:

  8. mosslack

    mosslack Well-Known Member

    Very nicely done Steve. The seats turned out much better than I would have expected after seeing the before pictures. Bet it took a lot of elbow grease on that project!

    I bought a set of those seat covers that Bob told us about and I still have them. My initial plan was to use those while I had the originals repaired. At this point, I'm not sure how I will proceed, but they are there if they are needed. Like yours, they do not match the original covers, but at least they are brown oriented which would still look okay if I ever decide to use them.

    Your car sure did turn out nice with all the work you have done. Something to be proud of for sure.
  9. weim55

    weim55 Well-Known Member

    I should have added just how much it took to clean those seats. I first propped the seats upside down in the driveway and beat the cushins with a small flat board to get the loose dirt out first. Then I took compessed air to everything after that . Did this 3 or 4 times until the shower of dirt finally stopped. A mist of crap all over the driveway. Wish i would have taken pictures of that! A dustpan full. The scrubbing after that was a full afternoon. While this car was obviously parked inside something before I got it, I'm convinced the structure was open to something and that a window or two was left open for all those years. The filth was in EVERYTHING inside this car. Not one single interior component of any kind (material, switches, cables, hinges, rubbers....)was usable as is. Between the dirt and that humid climate this poor LeSabre really suffered. The upside is I've been very surprised how much has been usable with some time and labor. At the top of that quality list is anything electrical. I'd have to say AC Delco produced the finest automotive electrical systems and components in the world at the time this '60 rolled down the line. I've worked on or around just about every make of the era and nothing else compares. And on this car not even one electrical item has needed to be replaced. All needed to cleaned, lubed and some adjustments, but no failures. And every stitch of the wiring still works as it should. No bare spots, cracks in the insulation, broken connectors, nothing.... Amazing, but honestly, not surprising. Good old GM quality!

    Mosslack, Yea, I'm happy with the way the interior has come together. It's functional and presentable. At a later date if the $$ is available I'd love to do the interior top to bottom as it really deserves. That tri tone material is just perfect for 1960 and it would make the car I think. Maybe someday.......

    Steve weim55 Colorado
  10. mosslack

    mosslack Well-Known Member

    Well, you my friend, take the prize for getting the most bang for your buck! Pun intended. I'm sure most people would bite the bullet and wait for the extra $$ to redo the seats, but you've taken those disgusting items and made them usable once again. Kudos for that and all the hard work you've put into this project.

    As for electrical connections and wiring, I have to agree. Other than tune up parts, a few bulbs and the temperature sending unit, I have not had to replace anything. I was able to repair my fuel gauge sending unit (corroded wire), one door jamb light switch (just needed cleaning) and my wiper motor (cleaned and lubed). The system was not charging when I first started it up, but all that required was polarizing the system.

    The plates on my car were from 1989, so I assume this was the last time it was registered before I got it. From the items found in the glove box, I believe the person I bought the car from was the 2nd owner. So from 1961 until 1989 (28 years), and only 60,000 miles showing, the car was not driven much by one owner or the other, or possibly both.

    From the condition of the paint, I believe my car was parked outside and spent most (if not all) of it's time in South Dakota. I've been told that they do not use salt on the roads in that state, so that is why there is so little rust. And even though I've heard many horror stories about the leaky Dynaflow transmissions, mine has not leaked one drop on the floor of my garage so far (going on 3 years here). I did notice a spot in the rear which appears to be from the pinion seal, but it's not enough to warrant replacement yet. So glad I don't have to deal with a torque tube.

    I believe the reason my car was parked was because the heater core or valve leaked and the car was driven for a ways and overheated. This caused a problem with a head gasket or possibly warped a head. The car was parked and never fixed. Although I have not repaired this problem as it should be done yet, I did use a temporary fix of K&W block sealer, which has cured the problem for the time being. I do plan to remove the heads at some point down the road and fix the problem right.

    All in all I'm very pleased with my car. While I would have rather had a 2 door, I had been searching for a long time when this one appeared on ebay. It was in my price range and I decided to go for it. According to the guy where I picked it up (not the owner), it had not been started in 5 years. Put new plugs, wires and points on, directly fed the carb and it fired right up.

    It has been a true source of enjoyment (as I'm sure yours has), for me in my retirement. I work on it when I feel like it, spend some time with my grandkids when they decide to help me work on it and I actually get to drive it around town now and then. I suppose it's an acquired taste, but I do love it!
  11. weim55

    weim55 Well-Known Member

    Nailhead Commits Suicide

    Been putting some miles on her and everything has been great. The 401 couldn't have been running better. No smoke, ticking, knocks, leaks, great power, smooth runner. Cranking it over cold before the last drive I could hear a weak cylinder as the starter spun over the engine. Popped the hood for a listen or sign of problems..... nothing. Sounds good. Hit the highway and she ran as smooth and quiet as ever. Coolant temp perfect, never lost oil pressure...... Fifteeen miles in with no warning of any kind....

    BAM !!!!!

    I coasted off to the side of the road...... Hit the starter. Engine completely locked up. I knew this was going to be bad...... Next pulled the dipstick...... Gallons overfull, loaded with antifreeze. Some of you already know where this is going......

    Trailered home it was time for an optopsy. the pics show the very first spark plug I pulled. Drivers front. Pulled the vavle cover and rockers. Two bent pushrods, same cylinder. Pulled the head and found this. Damn. The entire short block is 100% junk. I know I read somewhere old nailheads were prone to piston cracking. Look like mines one of 'em.....

    Steve weim55 Colorado

    Attached Files:

  12. Smartin

    Smartin antiqueautomotiveservice.com Staff Member

    Woof!! Damn that sucks!! :(
  13. lrlforfun

    lrlforfun Well-Known Member

    OK Steve: Old Nailheads having piston problems. I disagree. My opinion (and I am anything but a qualified mechanic or machinist) is that Father Time cast his shadow on a 54 year old vehicle that was taken out of daily service years ago and went through a very long hibernation. i have had lots of experience with these cars and they are getting old.

    In the 70's we could find a good engine in a wrecking yard for $100. install it and we were good to go for quite a while. Today? Unless an engine has been run and maintained to some degree through the years the chances of it needing an overhaul are pretty darn good....even if it's running great at the time.

    AND......when are you going to join the 1960 Buick Universe on Facebook??????? Your contributions would really be appreciated. Mitch
  14. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    Really sorry to hear that your 401 grenaded itself. I had one in a 60 Invicta that did something similar. The back wall of the #7 just crumbled down to the first ring land; - of course the thing started using a ton of oil. It was great for killing bugs, the only problem is my friends could always find me, just follow the smoke that refuses to dissipate. Wish I would have photographed it when I took it apart, but this was way back in the print-camera days when film was too expensive to waste on a disaster.

    Nice thing is you live in the US, you ought to be able to get a block reasonably cheap. Try shipping one up here, the moment anything crosses the border tack on $1000.

    Good luck, and happy hunting!
  15. weim55

    weim55 Well-Known Member


    You're right, There's no telling what the engine has been through in the 54 years since she left the factory. Could have been anything. I've been doing this old car gig a long time with remarkable luck. My number came up. And it's such a shame, this car runs and drives great. Nailhead ran like a fine watch. Truly. The $$ till is empty, so i just had to push her into the back of the barn to wait for better times. I'll post more soon of the finishing touches to put her on the road. Hopefully tackle an engine solution over the winter.

    Steve weim55 Colorado
  16. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    That's too bad Steve..
    Sorry to hear about that...
  17. lrlforfun

    lrlforfun Well-Known Member

    OK Steve: Yeah, you are right. When my number's up...... I pulled the trigger on the 1960 Buick Universe and welcome! Mitch
  18. RJBT

    RJBT Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about this.....
    ....now you have me worried about my electra.... should one do anything to try preventing this to happen (cant think of anything off the top of my head) ?

  19. mosslack

    mosslack Well-Known Member

    Wow, so sorry to hear about this Steve. Makes me wonder now if I'm just lucky or what, drove mine out to my daughter's house about 15 mile trip a few weeks ago so she could use my garage for her yard/garage sale. I live in town and they are out in the country, so they have much better crowd here. I was doing close to 70 on a back road straight stretch, felt good, smooth as silk, but I was probably pushing my luck.

    Once I get it back home, I don't think I will be taking it out on the highways any more until I get the heads pulled to replace the head gaskets and/or whatever problem the previous owner caused when he ran it hot after the heater core blew. I really don't have the funds for a entire rebuild so I'm hoping to fix the problems on the top end and without creating too much extra compression and putting pressure on the bottom end. I've had luck doing this before, but never on a car this old.

    So like you, this will be a winter project, which the way it feels around mid-south Indiana these days, won't be too long. In the meantime, my next major plan is to paint the top of my car with a roller and rustoleum white paint. I watched many, many YouTube videos on this and the results look pretty amazing considering the effort and cost involved. The way I figure it, it can't hurt anything, my top looks terrible the way it is now.

    Good luck on the repairs and we all hope to see your '60 back on the road soon!
  20. lrlforfun

    lrlforfun Well-Known Member

    OK Mosslack: Doing the heads? That, my friend is the biggest gamble of all. You very well might have to re-build it anyway. Labor to R-N-R heads? Gone. Machine work on the heads? Gone. Head gasket set and other parts? Gone. My suggestion to all is to "save up" and have it done right by a good machine shop. Yes, I'm spending your money you don't have. Yes, there is more. Radiator, all new belts, hoses, thermostat, water pump, and more $$$$$.

    This is the only way to roll the dice approaching 2015. I can't see too many other ways around it that add up to a win-win. Sorry, Mitch

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