The Big Move…

December 19th, 2009

I have a few more pictures to share but I think a little explanation is order first.

My friend Joe and I that were both having our respective 59 Electra 225 convertibles restored weren’t entirely happy with various aspects of the restoration shop…so we rented U-haul’s largest truck, and along with a couple of enclosed trailers, moved the whole kit and kaboodle over to Cook’s Restorations in Gettysburg.  Think about that a minute…taking two 59 Buicks, one partially assembled, and the the other (mine) a completely disassembled body shell, and boxes and boxes of loose parts from two cars over to a guy that didn’t take the cars apart and has never restored a 59 Buick…Shocked

Aside from a part time helper, Greg Cook is a one man show and generally only works on two cars at a time (his shop can’t hold much more than that). He pretty much works each project to completion before beginning another. Greg had already completed beautiful jobs on Joe’s  59 Mercury Park Lane Convertible and was almost finished with his 60 Fury so he was able to fit the two 59’s into his shop schedule.

With Greg we have a meticulous world class craftsman with numerous national best of show winners under his belt…the cars couldn’t be in better hands.

Greg will direct most of his energy into Joe’s car first, and will be going full tilt on mine as soon as he’s finished.

Here’s the stripped shell of my car loaded up for the big move…

Here we are with the U-Haul backed up to Greg Cook’s shop…

And now to unload all this stuff…

Yup…we saved taking the engine out of the truck for last…

Trying to fit all this stuff into the shop was no small feat…

Oh yeah…Joe’s car is red, you can see some of it and a few of its parts laying around…

There’s Joe’s almost completed 60 Plymouth Fury in the background…behind the boxes and boxes of loose parts

~ Tom Sidoti
1959 Buick Electra 225 Convertible

Reassembly Begins…

January 4th, 2010

Even though its not my car’s turn just yet…Greg has been able to do a bit of work nonetheless.

First off, as is customary in his shop, he’s given my car a name…

drum roll please…

Snow White!

Reassembly is beginning, but we’re talking baby steps here. No cracks about the inside car storage…hey its a small shop and Greg needs to keep the stuff somewhere until Joe’s car is out of the way!

We’ll start with rough mounting the doors and buffing out the paint…

Now lets get the trunk lid installed…

Next up is installing some polished stainless…

How ’bout we add some side stainless…

The first batch of chrome is beginning to come back from the plater! Every piece of chrome is being done by Librandi’s Plating (

Check out these taillight bezels…

and what about this trunk emblem, and various parts from the back-up light housings, front door panels, and interior light housings…

These stainless rear valance trim pieces go right above the bumper on either side of the license plate and only came on the Electra 225 series…they are next to impossible to find!

Over to the back we need to get on the rear valence stainless, license plate assembly and and trunk emblem…

I know, I know… this license plate pull handle is from the LeSabre models and is incorrect for a 225 Conv’t.  I finally found the correct full frame license plate pull but it still needs to be straightened and polished…

Now that’s a trunk emblem…

And finally the taillight bezels, a shiny new bumper, a properly painted rear valence panel (not the incorrect chrome version that was  on the car) and back up light assemblies…

Hey…at least the back-end is starting to look like something!

I also took the plunge and ordered almost all of my rubber parts.  After searching everywhere I got the best quality, price and absolute best service from Mike and Elizabeth Gadaleto owners of Cadillac Parts Limited (  I would highly recommend giving them a call before buying any new rubber…chances are you’ll find their prices and service the best anywhere.  Their number is 856-753-6788.

1 pair molded door weatherseals
1 pair auxiliary door (j seals)
1 set roof rail weatherseals (7 pc set included header seal)
1 pair pillar post weatherseals
1 pair quarter window leading edge weatherseals
2 pairs of outer beltline scraper seals (fuzzies)
2 pairs of inner beltline scraper seals (fuzzies)
1 pair of vent window weatherseals
1 pair of division post for the vent window weatherseals
1 trunk weatherseal
12 rear compartment body plug
1 antenna lead grommet
1 shift lever insulator bushing
1 rear bumper to body weather-strip
1 radiator body mounting pad
1 pair lower support arm bumper
1 pair rear coil spring insulators
1 pair front coil spring insulators
1 fuel filler door bumper
1 pair adjustable hood bumper
4 hood to fender bumpers
1 hood to cowl weatherseal
1 windshield gasket
1 windshield wipermotor seal
1 pair flexible window run channel
1 pair rigid run channel
2 lower window stop cushion
1 pair side window glass bumper
2 door lock cylinder gaskets
1 set door handle gaskets (enough for two handles)
1 pair door bottom hole drain weatherseal
2 door bumpers
2 door bumpers square type
1 pair lock pillar filler
1 trunk lock cylinder gasket
1 glove box grommet

~ Tom Sidoti
1959 Buick Electra 225 Convertible

Rear End Removal

January 8th, 2010

Well, Snow White has taillights…

Here’s a close-up of the taillight and fin with Joe’s beauty in the background:

The gas tank painted:

The rear end removed:

We decided to replace the mid-ship bearing, it’s a sealed unit that doesn’t run in oil. It was smooth but when it was spun it it seemed a bit noisy so one was ordered from NAPA (not an “everyday” bearing so it has to come from Kentucky):

New axle bearings are pressed on, drums turned, everything cleaned up and mostly painted:

Greg has rebuilt a lot of rear ends in his time, but after taking off the cover he’d never seen anything quite like this!

The bearing races are in the differential case and the bearings are supported by a hollow sleeve with axle shaft bushing inside.  Talk about re-inventing the wheel!

Take a close look at the procedures in the shop manual…..and all the “special tools” required.

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Based on the positive reports I received that the rear end is dependable and durable we decided not to blow it apart. Hopefully it works out because the carrier bearings in there go for $439.00 EACH (and two are needed)! Shocked

Here it is all painted and ready to go…

~ Tom Sidoti
1959 Buick Electra 225 Convertible

Rear End, Front End, Windshield Story

January 15th, 2010

Now that the other 225 convertible is nearing completion things are starting to move along on Snow White. The rear axle has been completed and the front end is getting close. New parts include a complete front end kit, brake shoes, motor mounts, and transmission pad from CARS (, new Coil Springs from Rare Parts (, new brake and transmission cooler lines from Classic Tube (, and a new exhaust from Waldron (

Greg has pretty much completed the engine work…we’ll get the driveline installed as soon as all the parts arrive.

I ordered all new tinted and date coded glass as well as window frames from Auto City Classic Glass (… but I had a little issue with them. The shipment came in a large wooden crate that was shipped to Greg’s shop.  Greg opened the crate immediately after delivery only to find that the windshield had been cracked in transit. The problem was that the crate really wasn’t large enough as the windshield just about touched both sides of the crate so any jostling in transit could easily crack the glass.  It’s likely that Auto City uses standard size crates that will fit most windshields…but the huge curved windshields fitted to 1959-1960 GM cars are about as big as any ever manufactured and the crates are just a bit too small.

Anyway, Greg immediately called Auto City no more than 15 minutes after it was delivered. Auto City passed the buck and said to call the shipper, and the shipper said “you should have checked it before you signed for it…it’s not our problem”. Greg let me know what happened and I called Auto City explaining that there was no way to open and inspect such a huge crate in the shipper’s presence. The guy at Auto City didn’t want to hear it. I then told him that since I purchased it on my American Express card I was going to contest the charge, and he told me to go ahead and do it as they always win (really rude). I called the next day to tell them that I had formally contacted the credit card company to contest the charge…now he told me that since it wasn’t his fault he would be willing to split the cost with me and wanted to charge me another $200 for a replacement windshield. I explained that he contracted with the shipper, not me, and I wasn’t willing to pay for their mistakes.

Bottom line…American Express pulled the entire purchase amount (about $1000 including the frames, side glass and shipping) out of Auto City’s account. A day later I got another call from Auto City telling me they decided to ship a new windshield at no cost. I guess some outfits need to learn customer service the hard way!

Here are a couple shots of the rear axle and torque tube assembly:

And a couple more of the front end:

~ Tom Sidoti
1959 Buick Electra 225 Convertible