1959 Buick LeSabre

So…how did it come out?

 Very nice, thank you. 

It is hard to even fill up fuel, without getting in to conversations with folks:
I remember when aunt Betty and uncle Lester owned on of these”…

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Dumbest questions so far:

Did you paint it?

Is this Christine?

What kind of mileage do you get with that?

Are those fins real?

Thanks everyone that contributed and visited. I hope I inspired someone to restore another classic for yourselves and future generations.

What did I learn? 

Make it clear to your vendors/suppliers what you are expecting BEFORE committing. Then, make sure it happens that way. 

Keep working with it until it looks like you want it, until then, it’s simply not finished, and you will regret it later.

Don’t give up! If you hit the “bonk”, just close the shop and walk away. You can come back later and work, don’t rush it. 

When looking for a vendor or supplier, spend some time to ask around. Check our local car clubs: Who does good chrome, paint work, etc…Then go and look at some of their work they have done. Ask for references.

This car is now sold to Australia, and it received  “Best Car award” by Directors Choice at the GM 2000 American Car Display in Australia.

As you can see, Vilma is in really good company!

See what car they used for the poster for the Yarra Glen, Australia All GM car show!

“This is obviously a vintage car but if you are in the market for a new or used Holden take a look at Carsales.com.au
Sept 13, 2012

Up-date: in 2011 the car was used inside this rock and roll album produced for the European market.

I am honored.

Also, I learned that the car is now sold to a Holden dealer and sits on the showroom floor together with brand new Holdens.

1959 Buick Interior

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A couple of dual cone speakers “stealth” hidden under the speaker grill will be a major improvement.

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I didn’t like the idea of bulging after market speaker grilles on the rear shelf, but I still have to have some tunes when cruisin’, so I made spacers, that will “counter sink” the speakers below the surface.

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Then I made a new shelf board and covered it with speaker cloth.

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Using the original vinyl trim that goes against the back seat, it looks quite original.

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More stealth…Nobody would know there are two high powered Pioneer speakers here.


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All dash and steel interior trim was repainted. Use an acrylic lacquer for this. Since it dries semi flat, you can leave the parts you want flat (matte) finish, and hand rub the parts you want shiny. This way the paint matches perfectly.

Instrument cluster…This thing weighs 20 lbs.!!! It was disassembled, and restored. The background faces and the black trim was redone, and some fluorescent paint from the hobby shop makes the dials and arms look like 1959 again. We also added an optional clock.

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The radio and glove cover plate was painted white on the LeSabre. A dip in the chrome tank and a Electra/Invicta Buick shield brightens things up.

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Door Panels

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Door panels are in good shape, but very warped. Start by removing the vinyl from the old board (carefully!!) Use a heat gun to soften up around corners.

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Remove the steel top support from old panel.

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Using the old panel as a template I outlined the shape on new door panel material. Choose the waxed kind, it repels moisture. Cut panel.

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Position the top metal support at the correct place, and rivet it to the panel.

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Apply a layer of 1/4 inch “landau padding”, (Yes, the stuff that’s under your mother’s Cadillac roof) and then put the vinyl side back over. Use spray adhesive, mostly in the corners. It is better to let the vinyl stretch, that be glued down everywhere, it will stretch better and look more straight.

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Since I replaced the rear window with tinted, all side glass was also replaced with matching tinted glass in re-chromed frames.

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The channels in the front door that holds the window frame straight was recovered with velvet material.

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Power switches was installed…

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Tinted glass installed, and power operated to boot! Took about a week to line and adjust everything to work nice.


New pad was installed before carpet.

New carpet and shiny repro door sill plates. “Body by Fisher” (Body by Rolf??)

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Fresh repro rubber all around ensures a rattle and leak free Buick

All seats were re-upholstered with NOS original material. Looks great. The side panel were in very nice shape, and they have an embossed Buick crest, so I was lucky.

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If you ever forget your Buick is equipped with power steering, look in the center of the steering wheel to re-confirm!

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Looks like we need to go for a ride.

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Postcard from Carmel “by the sea”

Wouldn’t you like to get one of these in the mail? Those were the days…

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The LeSabre didn’t have the shiny trim around the head liner, so I had a good set polished to chrome finish.

 This sucks!

I hate this!

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After installation of head liner (puh!) I can install the shiny stuff.

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The art deco courtesy light from are way cool…


After much searching, I found a repro houndstooth material that matched the trunk liner. The old pieces were intact but faded and soiled, but they make great patterns.

Some companies offer a 5 piece set for LeSabre and a 7 piece set for Invicta. I have no idea what they are talking about, since my LeSabre liner consists of TEN pieces, plus five cardboard panels. So, let’s just do it ourselves…

The old pieces were used as pattern. I used a tar paper like material and covered it with the houndstooth material.

I should have some more trunk pictures, but they may have been erased.

So…How did it come out?