Author Topic: To restore or not?  (Read 34129 times)

Offline Roger Zimmermann

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  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
To restore or not?
« on: January 27, 2008, 07:23:39 AM »
As requested by veesixteen, I will show the next few days some pictures from my Biarritz: I bought the car unseen; it was in transit in England, coming from Virginia. As I had already at that time (1986) a '56 Sedan de Ville, I was not too anxious as I had a good base to look at, even if some details are different. So, I did the gamble; however, it was more like russian roulette with just 1 missing cartridge.
I mandated a transport company to pick up the "car" from England and to deliver at the village where I have my shop.

The first picture was sent by the seller, it was taken in Virginia. The second one show the thing at arrival.
I had a bad sleep the next night...
« Last Edit: January 27, 2008, 07:31:40 AM by Roger Zimmermann #21015 »
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2008, 07:30:11 AM »
After the triumphal arrival, a friend was kind enough to tow the "car" through the village. The drive did not stay unnoticed by the inhabitants!
I could not begin immediately with the work on that ruin: I had first to finish my '57 Brougham.
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2008, 07:48:43 AM »
When I had enough with the trouble the Brougham gave to me, I cleaned the mess from the floors and did a first inspection. It was not glorious: the radiator was missing, the engine was a 1956 one, but not the correct one. It never ran in this car: the studs from the front supports were not in the frame's holes, they were on the frame!
The condition of the transmission was unknown; anyway, it was not the right one, it was for an engine with one carb.
The floors were badly rusted; the trunk floor was real bad: the housing for the spare wheel was gone, eaten by the rust. Interesting enough: the trunk lid was in good condition, no holes. It was not the case with the hood: the sheet metal part on which the lock is attached was full of holes...

At that time, I had no idea how to repair that disaster and I could not weld.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2008, 03:48:36 PM by Roger Zimmermann #21015 »
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2008, 09:56:59 PM »
When I had enough with the trouble the Brougham gave to me, I cleaned the mess from the floors and did a first inspection. It was not glorious: the radiator was missing, the engine was a 1956 one, but not the correct one. It never ran in this car: it's front supports were not in the frame's holes, they were on the frame!
The condition of the transmission was unknown; anyway, it was not the right one.
The floors were badly rusted; the trunk floor was real bad: the housing for the spare wheel was gone, eaten by the rust. Interesting enough: the trunk lid was in good condition, no holes. It was not the case with the hood: the sheet metal part on which the lock is attached was full of holes...

At that time, I had no idea how to repair that disaster and I could not weld.

Hi Roger!!

 -- The floors your showing in those pics are much like my '55 Eldorado was before
restoration -- my trunk was no better -- all had to be replaced (I used a parts car).

Good luck with that '56 and let us know how your doing!

Mike
1955 Cadillac Eldorado
1973 Cadillac Eldorado
1995 Cadillac Seville
2004 Escalade
1997 GMC Suburban 4X4, 454 engine, 3/4 ton
custom built by Santa Fe in Evansville, IN
2011 Buick Lucerne CX
-------------------------------------
CLCMRC Museum Benefactor #38
Past: VP International Affiliates, Museum Board Director, President / Director Pittsburgh Region

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2008, 10:06:49 PM »
G'day Roger,

I know where you are coming from.

I too have been a witness to the Sale Photos and what actually arrived Photos, and if only I was able to physically see the vehicles in question, I would have left them well alone.

But, what Americans consider as "Repairable Rust", most of us "Sane" outsiders, wouldn't even contemplate.

But, if we had to buy a good car, it would never get purchased, even though the "Rusty" Cheap car costs more to restore or fix up in the end.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2008, 02:45:31 AM »
G'day Roger,

I know where you are coming from.

I too have been a witness to the Sale Photos and what actually arrived Photos, and if only I was able to physically see the vehicles in question, I would have left them well alone.

But, what Americans consider as "Repairable Rust", most of us "Sane" outsiders, wouldn't even contemplate.

But, if we had to buy a good car, it would never get purchased, even though the "Rusty" Cheap car costs more to restore or fix up in the end.

Bruce. >:D
You are right, Bruce! If I had see the car, I would have run back home! Halas, it was too late: the car was there, totally mine and at that time, with transportation and customs, too expensive to throw away (about CHF 10'000.- or $ 8'000.00). Resell parts? which ones? there was nothing good, except the outside windshield's moldings.
Anyway, I did not bought that scrap on basis of the pictures alone: I friend of mine, Don Bedford, let send an inspector from AA Technical Services to see the car, at my expense, of course.
His report was more or less correct, except that instead of "corrosion" I would have written "rust hole". The recap of his report is interesting:
"As can be seen from the contemts of this report, the main structure of the car is sound, with very little damage other than corrosion and general deterioration to the body work" This inspector was also a very optimistic man!

I'm glad you like the description and the pictures, I will post more. And sorry for my far from perfect English!
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2008, 03:09:56 AM »
Roger,

I have had sellers say to me - "It only needs a rear quarter, and that is a simple job - we do that all the time here".   That statement makes me want to run and hide.

Just like the sellers that say, "The A/C just needs a charge up", or "Ran when last parked".

If things were that easy to fix, then why didn't they do that before selling, and then receive a better price.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2008, 07:47:53 AM »
Over the years (the Brougham was not yet completed), I began to remove parts. As I lost my game, I had to assume: therefore the thing will be a car again. the next few pictures are from 1990.
The roof structure was not bad, however, some work was needed to get it to MY standard.
The engine compartment was not worse as some I saw on driveable cars. The bad surprises would come later...
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2008, 07:53:20 AM »
In contrast to other parts of the vehicle, the firewall was almost perfect. With a vehicle in that condition, it's a relief to see something acceptable.
Once the roof gone, the view at the rear quarter was not too bad either. One access plate to the window's motor was missing.
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2008, 08:05:21 AM »
We are still in 1990. Many parts were removed and stocked next to the car. I had to think seriously how to gain usable space...
The "real work" began in 1991. We see on the second picture that the plate behind the rear seat is gone.
In between, I found somebody who was willing to help. The price he asked per hour was acceptable; he would only "beat the metal" and weld. All the rest was my task, which means bore the weld spots, clean the rust and so on...
I began to look for a better floor for the trunk and under the rear seat. Not an easy task, but I found something. More about it later.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2022, 09:32:10 AM by Roger Zimmermann »
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2008, 12:18:15 PM »
In a way Roger I think I would rather have been in your position with that car than I was with my 54 CDV. I bought that in 89 and drove it for about 8 years, then when I came to restore it I discovered that it had had alot of "repairs" done to the body ! These consisted of pop rivitted panels that were covered in acres of filler, it must have taken so much time and effort to do this as the body looked so straight, why didn't they spend that time doing the job properly instead ? Anyway, ten years and alot of money later I have a nice car [teething problems aside] , but with a Biarritz you will have a car that is worth the money you spend on it, unfortunately with closed coupes the cost of restoration far outways the value. That's not why we do it though !!!
Phil

Offline Roger Zimmermann

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  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2008, 12:36:21 PM »
In a way Roger I think I would rather have been in your position with that car than I was with my 54 CDV. I bought that in 89 and drove it for about 8 years, then when I came to restore it I discovered that it had had alot of "repairs" done to the body ! These consisted of pop rivitted panels that were covered in acres of filler, it must have taken so much time and effort to do this as the body looked so straight, why didn't they spend that time doing the job properly instead ? Anyway, ten years and alot of money later I have a nice car [teething problems aside] , but with a Biarritz you will have a car that is worth the money you spend on it, unfortunately with closed coupes the cost of restoration far outways the value. That's not why we do it though !!!
Phil
Phil, I'm not surprised. You have to understand that almost everybody is able to rivet panels and apply lot of bondo. No special equipment, no weld skills...You can to that in the back of your home without disturbing the neigbours. It costs not too much either, but at the end it's a lot of energy for nothing. Anyway, a closed coupe is not that bad, maybe not the same value as a Biarritz, I admit. Anyway, you could drive it a couple of years before you restored it!

I had also the "pleasure" to see a 1955 Sedan in a condition worse that my Biarritz and it was in restoration! How exact, I don't know, I just know that the owner spent a large amount of time and money for his sedan. By chance, my Biarritz was not too much "repaired": just the lower quarter panels got during its existence an advertising panel welded to the sheet metal and covered with bondo.

Roger
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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  • CLC Number: 18992
  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2008, 06:12:00 PM »
It is nice when the sellers post pictures of a reasonably nice car that hasn't been used for many years, and stored in a barn, and then when a friend pokes the camera under the back of the car and snaps a "tell-all" picture.

At least the Upholstery is good, which is why I purchased it.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2008, 07:31:55 AM »
The readers will have to excuse me: I don't remember exactly what I did remove in a chronological order. Here are views from the "A" pillar. They are not very nice as you can see. Some metal had to be cut to weld good steel. It was necessary to remove the reinforcement of the pillar as it is weld over the front floor. All that happened in 1991.
In between, I got in touch with a US vendor who claimed he has the exact replacement parts for my car. As I don't believe easely such promises, I ordered the repair patches for the front floor. What a deception when I got them! I was good steel, but a crude and pale imitation of the correct form. I never used it; instead, I used the metal to repair other parts. I did myself the patches for the floor with the proper details.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2008, 07:48:31 AM by Roger Zimmermann #21015 »
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2008, 07:37:42 AM »
It was clear to me that the rear fender had to be removed to replace the trunk floor and the floor under the rear seat. I began the task by removing the outside rocker panels. The view was very discouraging to be honest.
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2008, 08:03:34 AM »
What was the condition of the other parts, moldings, emblems and so on? Well, not better. The rear bumper ends were not complete, the side plate was missing on both sides. They were badly corroded; I could not even remove the screws for the exhaust's insulation plate. By chance, a friend of mine had a restored pair for sale; they are on the car now.
I still have the bad one, if somebody wants them...
The vendor promised to deliver a set of 5 Sabre wheel. He did so; of course, the wheels were "well used". A company in Switzerland removed the steel part; I let dechrome the aluminum parts and I began to grind and file the wheels. It's a job I would not do another time: I had about 40 hours to restore the better wheels, per wheel of course. The bad one took about 100 hours. Do you want to know how many spokes each wheel has? 27. You can check that on the picture.
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2008, 07:52:31 AM »
On June 7, 1993, the LH rear fender was removed! During its stay in Virginia the car was the home for at least one animal; I discovered its nest when the fender was gone. I found also a small bone in a rocker panel.

« Last Edit: February 23, 2008, 03:56:50 PM by Roger Zimmermann #21015 »
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2008, 08:00:45 AM »
Once the fender was removed, I had a good view over the "B" pillar and the wheelhouse. Unfortunately, there was deep corrosion.
With the exception of the lower part which was eaten, the remains of the rear fender were not too bad.

For the cleaning, I had the chance to work outside,  that way there is less mess inside. But, boy, those fenders are long when you have to go through nomal doors!
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2008, 08:07:20 AM »
After cleaning, the inside of the rear fender is not bad looking.
As the trunk's floor and the one under the rear seat were so desolate, I was looking for better parts. One of my best suppliers, Ted Holcombe, send some sheet metal parts from California. These parts were from a '56 Sedan de Ville; they were not new, but in a very good condition, with some exception.
By chance that day transportation and customs were free of charge; I spared about $1500.00!
In between, I found also a correct transmission, condition unknown. It's visible on the second picture.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 08:09:48 AM by Roger Zimmermann #21015 »
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Offline Roger Zimmermann

  • Posts: 4541
  • Switzerland
  • CLC Number: 21015
  • Name: Roger Zimmermann
Re: To restore or not?
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2008, 08:42:37 AM »
On May 11, at 8 PM, the rusted trunk floor was removed! As you can see, I let the RH rear fender and trunk lid in place to help for the alignement.
During summertime, I cleaned the used trunk floor; I was satisfied with the results. Some may ask: why was it not sandblasted? Well, it was mainly a transportation problem. To transport such a large part, you need either a pick-up or a truck. At that time, I had just cars at my disposal. Furthermore, I'm very cautious with sandblast and sheet metal parts; I had bad experiences.
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

 

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