New to me: 1966 Buick Wildcat

Discussion in 'A boatload of fun' started by 66electrafied, Jul 15, 2021.

  1. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    I mean better plows but i'm not sure if it's possible. Probably better technique to plowing. I'm just going by what a friend told me 35 years ago about NY methods.
    I believe there is some better and less corrosive salt based chemicals?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
  2. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    Here they don't plow much except for the main roads and the highways. The side streets and the residential streets may get some action once or twice a year. And they throw down salt, man, do they throw down salt. My last LeSabre, which was a cherry 2001 dissolved over the course of 2 years when the City of Edmonton tried a different type of chloride. The stuff worked great, the roads were fluid at -20, but you knew it had to be good for the car. And it was; - the rockers developed holes that year.

    There is no such thing as non-corrosive salt or chloride based chemicals, no matter what they claim. They're all bad. All it needs is a crack in the paint, and to be able to attack bare metal. Once it starts, it's impossible to stop.

    German engineering is highly over-rated. They tend to over engineer almost everything. It works fantastic when new or kept up, but is unforgiving when not properly maintained. I don't know why i like Mercedes, my dad had a few, I liked them, but they were a lot closer to new than the things I owned. My dad's last Mercedes was a 1990 560 SEL, it drank a lot, wasn't the most powerful, and wasn't even very comfortable. He spent a fortune on keeping it up, apparently there's close to 100 light bulbs in the dash.

    I prefer the 50s vintage Mercedes. Easier to work on, but rusty as hell. So I'll likely never own a nice one. I certainly won't be welding any up. I watched a couple of YouTube videos on guys doing just that. You pretty much have to gut the car completely and strip it down to bare metal to do any good.

    So the Wildcat is tarped up for the season; - the garage is full and not heated, so no real work will progress. So I'm just accumulating parts for it right now and will begin again in the spring. The Child will be half a year older and hopefully more mature, so maybe we can accomplish more.
  3. telriv

    telriv Founders Club Member


    I have a '66 Cat 2dr. hdtp. I'm parting out IF I can help supply you with some needed parts.

    Tom T.
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  4. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    I learned about the maby new salt the hard way like you. When I say maby I believe it was the new chloride based as you explained just about to what I went through with my 92 Lesabre.
    When I bought it around 2012? it had the usual lower rocker rust like all the Lesabre's of those years seem to do and someone did lets just slap on some bondo job. I knew about it when I looked underneath but it looked good and only paid a $1000. When it started breaking of in chunks a year later I would see parts of it that were at least 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick.
    I did the usual brake lines ""instead of doing all the lines at once I did little pieces of it as needed, i'm a idiot"" and a fuel sending unit which was a nightmare.
    For the first 6 years all looked ok underneath..
    MA has some heavy no rust laws for inspection stickers. I was due for one and as I always I took a look underneath to check. The year before everything looked ok but when I went to check 1 year later the front 2 sub frame?? brackets on the passenger side where the body mount bushings go was gone! There was a huge hole in the floor and the wiring harness that was under the carpet was hanging about 4 inches from the ground.
    This car was probably minutes away from breaking in half at that side. Was it the new salts I don't know but it sure rotted out something severe in that 1 year.
    Being it was on the passenger side am I right in thinking it was more vulnerable because the salts were plowed to the passenger area of the street and natural street curve and drainage?

    My Sister and inlaws drove Mercedes for a while but they always had rear suspension issues and so did the Jetta they had at one point. They went to BMW's which they said had alot less issue's.
    Now they drive and really like Subaru's.

    50's era Mercedes sure have some nice interior's, on the plain side even with the gauges but those speedo's and tachs and chrome trim are elegant. Aren't the knobs on some made from ivory?

    What is involved when you brought a old Mercedes for check up service in the old days like 1950's and 1960's?
  5. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    Tom, be rest assured you're the first one I contact. The project is on hold for the winter, but if there's anything I need, yes, I'll be in contact.
  6. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    A 50s Mercedes needed regular tune ups, valve adjustments, that sort of thing. They were definitely a lot more expensive to run than domestics were. I like the interiors, especially the 220 series with all that lumber. There's an elegance there that just doesn't exist in a modern car.

    Generally, I stay away from the German cars because of how finicky they can be. I just had a soft spot for old Benzes, as for BMW, the Germans refer to them as "Bavarian Manure Wagons". I can't disagree.

    I had a 93 Lesabre that was rotten in the rear passenger's side to the extent where I wasn't sure the door would work. It was almost as if they forgot to spray the rust proofing there. The problem was I had bought $1500 worth of shocks and only discovered it when I was going to put that last shock in; - boy was I pissed over that!
  7. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    Happy Thanksgiving Day Marc!

    I never owned a Mercedes or BMW to compare. I think I would be working full time just to keep one on the road.:eek:
    Why the bad rap for BMW's?

    Funny you mention the rear passenger side on your 93. It might not be the same but the issues are probably related.
    There was a rotted out section "which I never saw till I dug in deeper" in front of the wheel tub in the trunk on the passenger side which let so much water in that passenger rear floor board that would reach the height of the middle hump, even a short 2 mile ride in the rain or snow would do it.
    My 92 was never rust proofed, just bare white metal which was the original color of the car. Someone painted it blue for some reason, the only thing I could think of was it wasn't a MA bought car?
    It had that cloth roof that I think they called it a Collindale? Colonial? and had a trunk luggage rack. The trunk rack looked good and helped with moving things but I hated the roof and took off the cloth pieces that covered the little rear windows.
    These Lesabre drove nice but wow what were they thinking with the design layout. The exhaust pipes the way they hung was awful and no way to tuck them up as you know!

    A neighbor bought about the same year Lesabre which actually didn't have rust or not that I could see. The owner needed to change the front struts also and he knew cars as far as I knew? but he had a hell of a time changing them.
    There is another story though. Who ever owned it before filled everything with motor oil.
    The radiator was all oil, the tranny was topped off, the power steering topped and brake booster were all topped off with oil.
    Last I knew he tried flushing everything, shame because it looked like a nice car..
  8. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    Happy Thanksgiving Peter!

    I've scrapped two Lesabres so far, loved both of them, but they both died due to rust out. The last one was an 01 Lesabre Custom, and it was loaded. It was a real sweetheart, owned by an older couple who maintained it impeccably. I bought it with just over 60,000 miles on it and drove it to 200,00 or thereabouts. I'd still be driving it were it not for the rust. The first one I had was the 93 I mentioned, also loaded. Both "old men's cars". Nothing wrong with that! they had taste and money. They were maintained when I bought them used, and I didn't have to do anything to either of them.
    Now I'm driving a Toyota Solara convertible, it's nice, but not the same. The Toyota is definitely sportier and more fun to drive, but not as comfortable. It's better on fuel and is faster than the last LeSabre but not as powerful.
    My bias against BMW starts with having to help out buddies fix theirs. I saw a lot of stuff I just don't like. The cars are overly complicated, sure, a full pressure lubrication system is nice on aircraft if you're doing inverted flying, - but not exactly useful in a car. Develop one oil leak and the car runs like a toilet. And the older ones are notorious oil burners. So you can keep 'em...
  9. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    Ah BMW "The Ultimate Driving Machine":confused:

    When I started my thread about the Merc I got a PM from Brad Conley.
    I don't think he would mind me posting this:oops:? He inherited a 2000 Lesabre from his Aunt who was getting up in age and she bought it new in 1999.
    35,000 miles and he said it needed nothing as everything that needed fixing was fixed. Drove like a dream, I'm pretty sure Dan looked after this car like it was his..
    It was in Ohio and I needed a car 'kinda" quick.
    The price was nice and i'm still kicking myself for not figuring out a way to get it to me in MA:( Probably could of paid someone $300 or so to drive it over and a bus ticket back or cheap airline.

    So when they started using the lower plastic moldings around 1996 on the Lesabre's it was just to hide the rockers when they started rotting out?
  10. TAG

    TAG Well-Known Member

    That was the story pretty much on every car manufacturer i know, the lower plastic molds disappeared as quietly as they came, after they were caught pants at ankles when the rust problems striked. Yes, Marcs love, Mercedez tried that too as an example.
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  11. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    (Too many threads to pull down)

    With the Mercedes, it was always a new learning experience. It got so bad that every time I got into it I'd ask it in German, "So, Mr. Uhlenhaut, what have you done to me now?"

    Rudolf Uhlenhaut was the chief engineer at DB and responsible for the 300 SL engine and the basic architecture of the OHC engines used in Mercedes during the 50s and 60s. He was actually born in England and partially educated there, which may account for some of the interesting engineering he did. The Nazis didn't like him because he was half- English, so he kept a low profile and designed cylinder heads at DB during the war, including those of the DB 603 aircraft engine, one of the best in the war. Apparently he never drove or owed a car of his own.

    Wonder why...

    I sold my last Benz in 2005, it was a 1958 180 sedan that had developed side-rail rust. Prior to me discovering that little issue, it would need rewiring every morning because the German Bosch crap was about as good with grounding wiring as the English Lucas was.

    I could be talked into another one, but man, would it have to be nice, as in totally rebuilt new.
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  12. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    I wish I have had the chance to drive a 58 era Mercedes to feel what they are all about.
    I am loving this info Marc..

    Wasn't till they put the Rolls Royce/Bentley engines in the US P38's and or P51's that the planes finally had the speed to keep with the German and Japanese planes?
  13. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    The American version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin that was made by Packard was what made a mediocre P-51 to a great P-51. The early versions of the P-51 had an Allison engine with no supercharger so that hampered its higher altitude and top speed performance. Throw in a license built Merlin that Packard retooled for mass production and used standard fasteners on, and you had a winner. The P-38 was already good enough as it was, it was engineered from the start to have superchargers on it and so wasn't hampered.

    You have to remember the P-51 was designed around a British specification for export, it was never really looked at by the USAAF until after the Brits had a go with it. The first American versions were reconnaissance or ground support aircraft.

    The increases and improvements made by all sides kept aircraft engine performance pretty much equal from start to finish; - every time someone would develop something faster, the next guy would come out with something even better. The P-51 was a game changer because the design was built around the idea of being improved; - it was a great design that just got better in practice, and it could be built quickly and cheaply. It's the same reason the Germans kept the Bf 109 around forever, or the British with their excellent Spitfire.

    The 58 180 with the 1.9 litre OHC gas engine performed like a mid-eighties Corolla. It had 4 wheel independent suspension, produced something like 65 hp, a whopping 105 ft/lbs torque, and topped out at about 80-85 with a tail wind. The one advantage those Mercedes engines established was that the engine's top speed is cruising speed, they were designed to handle redline all day long. Relaxed 1 handed driving at 85 mph too, these cars don't get hairy over 75 like the American boats do. With the 4 speed standard transmission you could whip that car up and really rev it out. It was a lot of fun to drive; - handled incredibly well with radials on, just the column shift made it a bit if a pain to speed shift. The 190 SL of the period had the same basic engine, just uprated a bit and more carbs, and they wisely put the shifter on the floor.
    Don't ask what the 0 -60 times were, they weren't that hot, but let's just say that car would still keep up with modern traffic.
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  14. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    I wish I studied WW2 arsenal and machinery better. I guess it's never to late but I have watched alot the Military Channel we have on cable which has alot of upgraded info and documentary's.
    Learned of some never known plots and huge never seen massive projects Hitler started. Not the same as books but decent watching.

    Doing 85 mph all day on the Autobahn has to be something awsome..
    That 1.9 l OHC must of sung low power or not.
    We had some US made cars that would do 100 but feeling under control at that speed was never gonna happen. I'm sure a 55 Century drove nice straight at 100 but any major panic maneuver:D
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