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1954 Buick Forum - the 54 Buick Highway

time to put Betty together


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Betty is giving up her interior and the custom interior is now in production. I have a retired upholstery man who retired after a bad fallout with Clive Custler. After much debate, I decided to use th

and the seat is coming along

Well, Betty is now finished. Its been a fun adventure. The custom leather interior was made by Rick Seely, retired but we talked him into doing 1 last interior (who knows, maby more) The car is n

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  • 1 year later...

Betty was happy to get a BCA gold, but there is still a way to go. The interior is going to another car and its time for a custom leather interior. I have a retired fellow that is going to do a full custom. The Wheels were also not quite up to par, good driver set but now its time to get some new wire wheels. Thinking about going to a 16 or 17" rim. I'm pretty old school but slightly larger rims can still keep the look. Never did do the custom sound system but I want to keep the wonderbar but incorporate it into a more up to date stereo.

The good part is that the 2017 nationals are in California (or so I heard) so I have plenty of time!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Found this Lark on a local AACA show. The owner, Frank L Garcia, told me the car number but I don't remember. I think it was #237 or 238 but I can find out for sure if need be. I think one of our Forum members is gathering this information. Garcia was not aware of the 54 Highway and of course he was invited to introduce himself here. Sharing some pictures of the the Lark at the event "Biltmore Way Car Show" Coral Gables, FL. There are additional pictures on the club website at AAA South Florida Chapter

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  • 1 month later...

Betty is giving up her interior and the custom interior is now in production. I have a retired upholstery man who retired after a bad fallout with Clive Custler. After much debate, I decided to use the Roadmaster front seat. I wanted to go buckets but the car is kept pretty much "old school" so I'm staying with the theme of a stock look with a little extra punch. We bought 4 hides but the interior is going all custom. I had an old interior for the patterns and we decided to go black.  The car was originally black with a black yellow interior, I went with matador red and the red interior just didn't quite pop. It will look pretty much stock but cost a fraction of the Jenkins kit- with a few minor modifications.  He just finished up a 55 star chief interior for me and he loves to do leather!20160417_133448_resized.jpg

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When the Skylarks were made, they took a Roadmaster seat and put it in the small body. The seat looked great but didn't really fit. Being a modified, I have had an ongoing delima, to do bucket seats or the original seat.  The car ended up with a very stock look so the theme is stock appearance with old school mods.  My upholstery pro is moving to Minnesota so for a final fairwell I decided to have him reproduce the original interior with the waffle pattern.  The red interior is going to the 56 convertible,  so it worked out great. We bought 4 hides of black leather and I can quickly see that the red interior just didn't pop, the matador red with all black offsets turned out to be a great choice. The car was originally Black with the black and cream interior and I had the old interior for patterns. This is saving me 20K over the Jenkins kit. The Jenkins kit is perfect, it's expensive but top notch- a must if you are going original. But this interior is pretty close and a fraction of the price. 

Buick hacked in a couple of mount points for the wide body seats so we made some better brackets- the original mounts were hacked in at the factory. They appear to have beat the floor pan flat with a hammer and tacked in a mount. There is also a problem that the seats touch the doors and worse interfere with the armrest when you raise the seat. the seat will go back and forth OK but the up position is really unusable.  It's extremely difficult to get the doors right on the convertibles and any pressure from the seat compounds the problems. The tilt wheel helps alot, the seat is really too big for the car. I just go with all the way back and down so the adjustment is more for show than practicality. I also removed all the hydraulics and went with all electric rams- Windows, seat and I even have electric rams for the top.  The original hydraulic system was quite impressive but simply impractical. Any leaks would be a disaster and servicing the system is terrible. It's interesting upgrading the parts of the car that were actually cutting edge in 1954 but just not very practical by modern standards. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Looks like that was the missing link. The upholstery man is retired and this is his last interior. Looks like Betty should make the all Buick show in Loveland, 30days to finish. usually the pictures look better than reality but this one you have to see in person!

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  • 3 months later...

Well, Betty is now finished. Its been a fun adventure. The custom leather interior was made by Rick Seely, retired but we talked him into doing 1 last interior (who knows, maby more)

The car is now ready to sell. Yes, its my favorite car but I happen to have another (go figure) and I need some funding for eclectic classics to keep my body man busy. Its fun but ties up a lot of cash! My next Skylark is Marsha and I'll be posting the build- but probably not till next year. Just been a bit too busy with work lately.

The fun part is Betty has a completely stock body. I also have the original frame and drivetrain, should anyone unhappy with the modifications desire they are welcome to put the car back to original! I doubt that will happen...

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