Featured Member of the Week – Paul Dobbin
For the week of 4/27/15
This project started with a snowmobile trip in January 1995. A Florida friend had told me that he owned a ‘35 Buick in a barn in Wisconsin. When our butts were too weary to snowmobile anymore, we drove 200 miles out of the way to see this car. After seeing it by flashlight in the snowbound barn, full of mice and junk, I answered my wife’s buying question with a firm reply,“Absolutely not, way too much work”. But, I did take half a dozen flash photographs. It was a fun trip but I was almost 50 and didn’t want another big project (Do you know how many trees there are in an early Buick?). I had a ‘34 Ford Tudor and a ‘35 Ford Pickup at home; I was happy. When we got back to Florida, I had the pictures developed. THEY LOOKED GREAT (They always look great in pictures)! So, we bought it and began dreaming of the finished Buick.
It was delivered in May 1995 and the project began. With a few friends’ help, we got the straight eight running well enough to drive it to the world famous John McNally in St. Petersburg to begin the transformation from a toad to a princess. Many friends like John helped in the 4 years it took to finish this 1935 Buick Series 40 Touring Sedan. It was important to keep it as much Buick as possible without making it gaudy. I’ve always preferred “Resto-Rods”. The body is painted a bright silver metallic and the fenders are a bright pewter metallic. This combination appears to have a variable contrast depending on light. There is lots of polished stainless steel trim and chrome McLean wheels with 4” wide white wall radial tires. The top has a fiberglass insert (looks stock) covered in gray Mercedes cloth. Some non-Buick liberties were taken in exterior trim, but that’s what streetrods are for. Can you find them?
Engine is a 1983 Buick LaSabre 307 V8 with an automatic overdrive transmission. The front suspension is Ford Mustang II power rack & pinion, 3” dropped spindles. Rear end is a 85 Buick Regal trailing arm coil spring set up using the entire crossmember from the donor car up inside the 35 Buick rails. With heavy duty regal station wagon springs, the ride is pure luxury. The computer engine was retro-fitted with a 77 Buick Quadra jet carburetor and HEI ignition. Dual exhausts naturally with mufflers & resonators for a quite ride. Buick things (modern parts) really do go better in a Buick. Inside is gray Corinthian leather from a 89 Chrysler 5th Ave, narrowed to fit. Rear foot rests from a 47 Cadillac, crystal bud vases, stereo, power windows, locks and 6 way front seats and all original dash in teak wood grain with restored 35 Buick gauges converted to 12V, a banjo wheel, tinted glass and ice cold air conditioning make this a cool car, even in Florida. Tag # XXXV.
First time out at the Southeast NSRA Nationals in Tampa, it was picked for recognition. We can always proudly ask non Buick people, “Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?” Finished in 1999, she’ll be sweet 16 this year (2015) and 80 in original dog years.