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Convert 2 door hard top into convertible


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I have a 1954 Buick Special convertible that sat in a orchard for 25 years. Unfortunately the whole bottom of the car is rusted out. Would it be possible to take a 2 door hard top and use the parts off of the convertible to make it into a convertible? I see the convertible frame has more body supports than the hard top has. What other frame or body  parts would be different? Any advice would be appreciated.

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I’m thinking  the frame of the convertible is of thicker steel and x brace reinforced but not sure. I have seen conversions done however.

so is the frame rusted or just the floor and rockers etc. Floor replacement would be easier than top replacement I would thank. Willie on here restored a 55 convertible that had no floor to speak of, hopefully he will check in and can answer any questions you have

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On ‎11‎/‎23‎/‎2017 at 2:50 PM, Richny said:

.....I see the convertible frame has more body supports than the hard top has......

♦  If you are comparing the frames for all models within the 40-60-100 Series, I do not agree based on a picture in the 1954 Buick Shop Manual. That picture shows the number and locations being the same for all 10 top-rail and 10 outer bracket body supports for all 40-60-100 Series models. The trunk/floor pan conversion or swapping frames should work.

♦  If you are comparing the 40-60-100 series narrower frames with the wider 50-70 Series frames, I agree based on a different picture in a 1954 Buick Shop Manual that shows two more top-rail body mount locations (12) and two more outer bracket supports (12) for just the 56C and 76C Convertibles.          

In 1953, 50-70 Series Convertible and Estate Wagon frames had .250"-thick reinforcing (stiffener) plates welded to the underside of the X-member only. Hardtops and Sedans didn't. I doubt it but could you verify if your 1954 46C Convertible frame has these reinforcing plates? A BUICK MASTER CHASSIS PARTS BOOK shows a different part number for 40-60-100 Series Convertible frames than it shows for the 40-60 Series hardtops, Estate Wagon, coupes, and sedans and I'm trying to find out why.  Buick probably changed this detail in 1954 and just went with a heavier than the side rails X-member like Mr. Earl mentioned above.

1-IMG_3789.JPG

There is a local 1953 Skylark owner here who is converting a 1953 Roadmaster two-door hardtop tub into a Skylark convertible tub by salvaging the bottom of the hardtop body (that has good floor and trunk pans) and welding in the top beltline of the Skylark convertible tub from the doors back, along with the pockets for the convertible top cylinders and the supports for the top bow hinge's operating mechanism. The rear seat is wider in the hardtop than the convertible too due to the back seat side quarter panels that hide the stacked convertible-top side rails when the top is lowered. Lots of work and fine-tune measurements before final welding and expensive if you don't do your own sheet metal fabrication and welding. Good luck.

EDIT:  Is there anybody else out there that would be willing to measure their 1954 Buick hardtop, sedan, or convertible side rail and X-member thickness and comment?  Thanks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Al Malachowski  /  BCA #8965  /  "500 Miles West of Flint"               

 

 

   

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On 11/23/2017 at 2:50 PM, Richny said:

I have a 1954 Buick Special convertible that sat in a orchard for 25 years. Unfortunately the whole bottom of the car is rusted out. Would it be possible to take a 2 door hard top and use the parts off of the convertible to make it into a convertible? I see the convertible frame has more body supports than the hard top has. What other frame or body  parts would be different? Any advice would be appreciated.

Look at the restoration pages on my website:  buickrestorer.com

The 55 frame is different in the 'X' section (heavier).

I too used a 2dr ht:  floor, rockers and cowl section, doors,  front fenders, hood, trunk lid, replaced lower rear quarter between door and rear wheel opening.

 

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Wow! That is an amazing picture, the car is completely sunk into the ground.  I always wonder when I see such pictures, as to why anyone would just park up such a beautiful car and let it die.

I had a trip to Cuba earlier this year. There, I saw lots of '55 and '56 Buick's (along with other makes and years) that were convertibles converted from 2 door hardtops and most were pretty good, they even made proper folding tops (some junk one's too of course).

They have no spares or resource's of any kind out there but they managed it.  So I'm sure you can do it, you have the advantage of having all the parts to work with.

Looks like a good project, go for it.

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  • 2 months later...
On 12/1/2017 at 6:55 PM, Richny said:

Hi

 

I wanted to thank everyone for the replies. I'm posting some pictures of the car as I found it. This is where it had been sitting for the last 25 years. It was not an easy task getting this car pulled out of there.

I would also like to find a parts car. 1954 Buick Special.

img_4598.jpg

img_4599.jpg

img_4596.jpg

Any updates?

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