55 Buick Super 56R project direction is undecided

Discussion in 'Classic Buicks' started by jkwincal, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. jkwincal

    jkwincal Well-Known Member

    So I picked up a '55 Super 56R 2 door hardtop project. It runs and drives and is complete but burns oil and needs work. This site has been a wealth of knowledge with my previous Buicks so I thought I would post something.

    The '55 been on the trailer since I bought it (a long time) and I'm still trying to decide whether to return to original or update the drivetrain and accessories (A/C for example) to make it more road friendly and reliable. All within a reasonable budget ( I honestly don't know what that is right now).
    I've read the 425 nailhead seems to be a direct bolt in with updating the trans and driveshaft etc. But if I find a 425 and get it rebuilt, for the same $$ I can rebuild the original 322, which would probably be just as reliable as the 425, just not as powerful. One 322 engine rebuilt quote was around $5,600. I've never tackled an older Buick engine rebuild.
    This then leads me down the path of putting something newer into it, whether chevy drive train like an LS setup or something a bit different. But that may be a rabbit hole and opens up suspension, brakes, steering questions.

    Anyone have recommendation for an engine rebuilder in Northern California (I'm about an hour north of San Francisco)? So I can shop around for rebuilding the 322.

    Anyone had the same dilemma of not knowing which route to take?

    Any recommendation for 322 engine rebuilding parts or kits? In case I want to tackle this myself.
     

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    bhambulldog likes this.
  2. My3Buicks

    My3Buicks Proud Liberal

    Looks like a really solid clean car to work with, great 50’s color. (Us the top white or green?) Looks like probably back when the car was newer someone added the Roadmastwr trim behind the rear wheels for some added flash.
     
  3. JoeBlog

    JoeBlog Platinum Level Contributor

    I would build the nailhead. More power, more available parts and more drivability. Certainly an LS conversion isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but that car screams for a Buick power plant. The nailhead would probably accept more mods like A/C, PS, thumper cam, etc., easier than the 322 might (I’m no expert here, and I haven’t stayed at a Holiday Inn for over a decade).
     
  4. jkwincal

    jkwincal Well-Known Member

    My3Buicks - Thanks, it is extremely solid, not the original color. The data plate is a bit different and from what I can tell and from other feedback the color combo is a black roof and the rest is white, which I think is weird. Also a gray and black cloth vinyl interior.

    JoeBlog - good point about the nailhead with more parts and accepting accessories. I agree I'm more for keeping it all Buick. I need to keep on the lookout for a decent 425 nailhead.

    I'm also wondering about upholstery. It was easier for muscle car era to find interior kits. Anyone know a good place to get original patterned seats or fabric?
     
  5. My3Buicks

    My3Buicks Proud Liberal

    Pick up a copy of the Buick Club’s “Buick Bugle” there are usually advertisements for the major players in original upholstery for these.

    Your color combo reminds me of my Great Aunt & Uncles Cadillacs, they always had 2 and would trade every other year the older of the 2. One was always white with black top and the other black with white top.
     
  6. jkwincal

    jkwincal Well-Known Member

    So the question regarding the Roadmaster flare. Here's a pic of the data plate. No number after MOD but the Style # does point to Super.
    20180611_165041_1528761042284.jpeg
     
  7. My3Buicks

    My3Buicks Proud Liberal

    Yep, black roof, white body and white below the sweep
     
  8. My3Buicks

    My3Buicks Proud Liberal

    Can't say I have ever seen one without the model number after the MOD and it usually would be 1955 MOD 55-56R and then the next line would usually say Style no 55 - 4537 - odd

    The interior is as you say black & grey

    How is the car optioned?
     
  9. jkwincal

    jkwincal Well-Known Member

    The interior was redone in black and red, lite tuck and roll. Everything else seems original.
     
  10. JacobJ

    JacobJ Well-Known Member

    Come join me on the dark side! more power and petter air conditioning. If you need AC or power brake parts let me know.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. jkwincal

    jkwincal Well-Known Member

    Hi Jacob, I followed your build thread and like the idea of having something I can drive cross country with little worries. But I probably couldn't bring myself to modifying the front end that drastically. I have a 52 dodge pickup I restored and installed a hemi and overdrive but made in such as way that the original drivetrain can be bolted back in. So I'm thinking of going that direction. With that said, I'm really intrigue by the Jag rear end install and any benefits that may have.
     
  12. nineteenfifty5

    nineteenfifty5 Well-Known Member

    LS swap I can see it on other cars but not a nailhead powered Buick , it’s your car though do what you want
     
  13. jkwincal

    jkwincal Well-Known Member

    I probably will keep it Buick, I'm liking the 430 nailhead swap, seems less invasive. And now I have another Buick to work on. Even though the outside looks great, needs suspension work like the kingpins changed, steering fixed, and brake work.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. John Codman

    John Codman Platinum Level Contributor

    You probably know this already, but to go to any engine other then the early 322, you will be getting into transmission/driveline issues. The THM 400 didn't start until 1964 and it's for an open driveline. If you are going to convert to an open driveline, any engine that will physically fit is a possibility. Personally I would go with a 401-425 because I like Nails; building something else might be cheaper though, but you know that the Nail will fit the engine compartment with minimal issues. As to rebuilding the Nailhead - whether you do the 322 or a 401-425 I would talk to Tom Telesco (telriv on here) about his pistons.
     
    nineteenfifty5 likes this.
  15. jkwincal

    jkwincal Well-Known Member

    Thank John, I was thinking of a 401 (seems easier to obtain). I'm making that shopping list for the swap to see if it fits my budget.
     
  16. 421-6speed

    421-6speed Well-Known Member

    SMS in Canby Oregon can help with your fabrics on the interior. They may be able to also make your door panels. See link. https://smsautofabrics.com/
     
    bhambulldog likes this.
  17. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    I've got SMS seat covers and door panels. They made a perfect match, color , pattern , quality
     
  18. jkwincal

    jkwincal Well-Known Member

    Thanks SMS mentioned that it would be about 14 months to complete them! Which seems ridiculous.
     
  19. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    The 401 is a good choice, and when hooked up to a Twin Turbine Dynaflow the modifications are probably the easiest. The later Dynaflow is a bit bigger, so the mounts on the 401 might need to be modified to slip it in, or you get a hold of a 1956 torque tube and axle set up. Then it would almost be a bolt up.
    I like the 401 for it's effortless power, and hooked up to a Dynaflow it is smooth effortless power that is pretty much a steady pull from 0 to 120 miles per hour. As fast as the bar in in your speedo can go red that engine will pull. Done right it will easily hold you back in the seat.
    That Super will be a nice car when done; since the colour is already off might I be so bold as to suggest a two tone paint at the sweep-spear?
     
    jkwincal and Nailhead Ronnie like this.
  20. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    It was fifteen years ago. But, I remember waiting a long time for mine.
    Maybe, it was a year, or so. They did tell me that up front.
     

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