AllTorque's 1970 Buick Sportwagon

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Here is my new family wagon.

It is a "mid-sized" A-Body Buick Sportwagon. (Similar to a Chevy Chevelle)




High compression Buick 350



I used to have a WB Holden Ute, but the family expanded and I needed more seats.

I ended up swaping my ute for the Buick


The wagon has a few things to sort out such as get it a hellova lot lower but is generally very tidy.

Stay tuned.

Discuss //

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So, 1st job on the list, after a good check over and an oil change, is to flip the tyres.

Who has BFGs on an old car and hides the raised white letters?


Then I got the rear (electric) window working so I can open the two way tailgate.

I dont think it had ever been opened down but good old WD-40 saves the day.



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Next job an the list was to polish the front bumper. It had strange corrosion on it that looked like it was running down the bumper.

Thanks to Fletcher for helping me wash this huge wagon.


A bit of time with some AUTOSOL and a MOTHERS POWERBALL MINI the bumper came up better than expected.


At the Palmy swap meet (in Feilding) I came across a 1970 BUICK SKYLARK SEDAN. This is the 4-door version of my wagon.

As you can see the wagon could be lower.



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After some research I discovered that GM A-Body cars (such as Buick Sportwagon, Chevy Chevelle etc) have front suspension designed for safety (read understeer). So as the suspension moves up positive camber is created. So it would not be ideal to lower the front end with springs. So the best option is drop spindles so the geometry isn't affected.

I got some 2" drop spindles from USA. Were about a quarter the price of the same on Trade Me. Thanks to Dad for getting these and Kelly for bringing them back in your lugguge.

Here you can see the difference between a stock spindle and the drop spindle.




Before and after



So at the moment we've got some 70's rake going on. The plan now is to get some springs made for the rear to drop it 3" and cut half a coil from the front springs to lower another 1". It has air shocks in the back, which is handy, but the plastic pipe is split and leaking so I'll need to find some more pipe somewhere.

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Went for a cruise with the family on Fathers Day. Lost a hubcap. Guess thats a sign to go capless.

Took out a rear spring to send to Chamberlain Auto Springs. Getting them to make some new rear springs with a 3" drop.



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I ended up getting the rear springs compressed. Pretty happy with the rear ride height.

I'm loving the tyre tucked up in the guard.


I want to lower the front another inch but first I will have to ajust the headers to raise them up a bit.

(This pic was before any lowering)


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The Sport wagon is now low!

Gave the left hand headers a heat and tweak to get a bit more clearance. They arn't too much of an issue tho.

Took out the front springs. Cut off a 1/4 coil, which is 100mm of wire length. This dropped the front another 1/2 inch.

So I've ended up with 2.5 inch lower in the front and 3.5 inch lower in the back.

I got some air shock pipe from my bosses stash (cheers Tony) so the air shocks work now in the back.







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I got the Buick out to take the young fulla to the Wellington hot rod show. Noticed the brake pedal was a bit low. Got a bit further and could smell petrol. Quick check under the bonnet, fuel leaking after the filter. Had no tools so turned back for home. (5 mins away). By the time I got home had about 10% brakes. WTF. Tightend the fuel line hose clip - leak sorted. Checked brakes, found fluid leaking from the left front nipple. Replaced nipple, bled brakes all good.

While I was in fixing buick mode I pulled out and freed up the right rear brake adjuster that I knew was seized.

When I first got the wagon I noticed the kickdown cable was not connected at the carb and had no linkages or bracket. I figured it was due to a rebuilt carb resently been put on.


Had a look underneath and found 2 kick down cables??


After further investigation I found the factory kickdown cable is connected to the accelerator pedal. I guess a replacement trans(TH350) has been put in at some stage and the monkey that put it in didn't know what they were doing.

Whipped the trans pan off to connect the factory cable. Google told me it can be done without removing the pan but I wanted to change the fluid anyway.

Kickdown cable connects here;



Found there were no magnets in the pan. Fluid looked clean so I guess it hadnt been in too long. Put 2 magnets in.


Back together with some new ATF. What a difference the kickdown makes! It will be easier now to pass Honda Citys up the Ngauranga gorge hill.

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Have done a few jobs since the last update.I got a wheel alignment, which has made a huge difference. The castor was actually negative before the alignment which explains the shopping trolly handling. After adjustment I ended up with only a small amount of posive castor. I wanted more but they were resricted by the balloon tyres becasue the wheels move back as castor angle is added. Seeing as new BFGs aren't in the budget right now it'll have to be close enough. Handling is 10X better than it was.I lost a hub cap a while back. I just managed to find a full set on trade me. So I now have 3 spares.ir2li0wo.eeo.jpg I have owned the wagon for 6 months now so I decided it was about time I gave the poor old girl a tune up. Plugs, points, leads were all pretty new. Set the points gap, added 4 degrees more timing (base timing 8 btdc) Adjusted idle jets on the carb. Boom, that woke her up.The Buick has no factory water temp guage, just a too late light (overheat light), which has a broken sender. I chucked in a Trisco old school looking temp guage under the dash. I also have a new switch for the hot light on the way.rayud4zv.ibi.jpg

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CHEAP RETRO SOUNDS I hade a big hole in the dash where a head unit should be, so I bought a old 70's stereo off trade me. It has a built in CB radio and some sweet fake woodgrain.Once received I discovered the CB is USA spec 27mhz, not compatible with NZ's 26mhz so no mungo aerial just yet.xudljtrg.eu4.jpgI'm not keen to cut holes anywhere for speakers so decided to mount new speakers in the factory spot under the centre of the dash. jxxuro2n.uig.jpg Hidden by the mother of all heater ducts was the orignal 1970 single speaker.vypvpu40.1pe.jpg A couple of new 4 inch no brand speakers I've had in the garage for a few years. Rattle can black. Bolted together then zip tied to that duct. Flash. wmemea4e.0ae.jpg Radio installed in factory spot. The sound out of th FM radio in so much better than expected.I can tune in the ipod with a itrip and cruise to some sweet 70's rockq2ko5bgr.iwa.jpg

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The rear seats have factory waist seat belts. That's fine for miss 1 year old's baby seat but mr 4 year old uses a booster seat and would probably snap in half in a crash with a 2 point seat belt.

I plan to get some 3 point belts from usa that will match the gm ones but ran out of time for xmas holidays cruising the buick.

I found the wagon has factory shoulder belt mounts but uses 2 small bolts. The plan is to put the larger single bolt in between the original nuts.


I had to file the hole slightly larger. Welded a belt nut to a small plate and some welding wire to position the nut.



Put a small screw through in to the plate so the nut wont drop when I remove the belt.


Now the bit that made me nervous. Drilling a hole in a 40 year old interior panel. Discovered 2 circles on the bake of the panel that match the original mounts, so just drilled a hole in the middle of the circles.


All together. I did both sides so when little miss is ready for a booster seat all I have to do is drill a hole in the left hand panel and bolt th belt in.


The 'modern' belt tucks away when not in use so is nice and low key.


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The tailgate lock has always been loose and would fall out when the tailgate was lowered. It is supposed to switch the electric rear window but wasn't plugged into anything. I found the wiring and switch inside the tailgate as well as the lock retaining clip.


After cleaning the switch contacts and glueing the switch back onto the lock it was all reassembled. It even works!


There is a little rust along the bottom of the tailgate so I gave that a tickle with some rust converter to try to slow it down a tad.


Discus: //

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We packed up the wagon for xmas holidays. It was pretty choka. Chucked 75 litres of petrol in and Headed to foxton Beach.

The round trip, which was basically Porirua to Palmy and back with a couple of other missions around, only used about $80 petrol.

Not bad for a 5.7 L motor pushing a couple of tons around. All the gear in the back dropped the ass another couple of inches.


Had to leave some room for the dog.


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I packed up the wag and headed to Vinager Hill for 4 days of r & r, wagoneer style.


My wonderful wife, Rachel, whipped up some classy floral curtains.


Added a tarp so bogans can escape the sun.


Tied with Lee's Coon for mintest wag and took home Strokers choice.


Was an awesome few days and nights with amazing people. Thank you wagoneers. See you next year.

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Long time no update.

I haven't done a lot to the wagon lately, except drive it.

The drivers quarter light window stopped moving. I always have it open a bit when driving as it reduces the wind noise behind my head where the door seals are shagged. So I pulled the door card off and WD40ed all the moving parts inside the door and it works mint again.

While the door card was off I glued up the bottom were it was coming away. Your foot catches it when getting in.



On another note. When I was topping up the oil tonight I noticed the rockers aren't pressed steel as you would expect but looked like cast alloy.
The motor has TA Performance rocker covers and intake manifold so maybe there is TA goodies inside too?

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I was asked to bring the wag to the Western Bay Rodders Hot Rod Show.  To best represent old school I thought I had to have my slam bike on the roof.

Recently I installed a modern CB radio under the dash and an old gutter mount 6 foot whip.  Home made 'O.S.' pennant flag was added.


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