Looking for a fun project... '76 225 Convertible

Discussion in 'A boatload of fun' started by nooshinjohn, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. nooshinjohn

    nooshinjohn Member

    I know... there is no such beast< but I do know there was ONE prototype built. It was silver over slate-grey leather with a matching top, Buckets and center console with floor shifter! It was destroyed in 1979 as far as I can tell.

    My idea is to get a 75 Lesabre Ragtop, and to it attach the front clip, rear end and trim from a 1976 Limited coupe. The center console and buckets would be courtesy of a '75 0r '76 Riviera. The driveline would also come from the 76 Limited, as well as the remainder of the interior trim. The idea is to make this car look exactly the way it was conceived and 100% like it was meant to be that way...

    I do know that all of these cars were based on the "B" and "C" body architectures, and that the Lesabre/Electra shells were nearly, if not identical. Am I missing anything here or is this a project that is worth taking a serious look at. I have identified the 76 Limited very close to where I live, and plan to enjoy it a while as I look for a suitable Lesabre and the other parts I need to lift from the Riviera.

    Thanks for the input!

    John
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  2. Floydsbuick

    Floydsbuick Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a great idea to me!
     
  3. Dale

    Dale Sweepspear

    The Electra has a longer wheelbase than the LeSabre, so you will end up with a downscaled version of what you are trying to emulate.
    Still a neat idea and easier than grafting the top mechanism onto the Electra.
     
  4. pbr400

    pbr400 68GS400

    I agree that it would be awesome. I also agree about B versus C bodies--the extra length from the longer wheelbase makes the cabin longer, so it probably be very difficult to lengthen a scissors top to reach the windshield header. All the scissor top cars (Le Sabre, Grand Ville, El Dorado, etc) are short cabin cars I believe. This prototype sounds really cool--any pics or links?
    Patrick
     
  5. nooshinjohn

    nooshinjohn Member

    Sorry, no images or info from the factory on this one. Just the word of a retired GM engineer that claimed to have worked on the car in 1975 when the last convertibles were built. He said they did it more for fun than anything else, just to see what the last of the big Electra would have looked like with her hair down, as he put it. He could not recall if they called her the "Roadmaster" as a working title, but did say they used the Lesabre convertible as the basis for the project.

    That conversation took place at the ACD Museum back in 2007, and has stuck in my head since. I learned how to drive in a '76 Limited 4door, so being able to piece this big lady together would also be a trip down memory lane a bit as well. I do see that there needs to be some body mods to the rear so that she can wear the skirts over the rear wheels...
     
  6. guyrobert

    guyrobert Guyrobert

    The interior of a 75 and 76 Riviera is the same a LeSabre, no buckets or center console. There is just a little plaque on the dash under the clock that says Riviera .
     
  7. nooshinjohn

    nooshinjohn Member

    My research tells me that the Riviera in 75 and 76 was available with the console... they are just about as rare as hen's teeth however...
     

    Attached Files:

  8. guyrobert

    guyrobert Guyrobert

    WoW! That must be a really really rare option!
     
  9. nooshinjohn

    nooshinjohn Member

    I think my next move will be to get with the SoCal Buick clubs and get some measurements going with regards to the fit of the front cap onto the Lesabre, and looking into how well the fit of the rear bumper assembly/decklid will work out. I am perfectly capable of handling the build on my own if there is no fabrication involved, but if I need to do any cutting and welding, I just don't have the skills.

    My goal is to have the build done for less than 15k, including the new paint and interior. Both donor cars are costing me less than 6k between them, so I have a nice budget for paint/interior.
     
  10. Brad Conley

    Brad Conley Super Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, make no mistake about it, you WILL have to cut/weld/fabricate/etc on at least the rear of the car including the frame, etc. The rear of a Le Sabre is way different than an Electra. Hugely different. Take a look at the photos attached and I'm sure you will see the difference. Now the front end is a piece of cake, change the grill, may be the header panel and there you go. Back end is where all of your time and $$$ will go in a project like this. I wish you the best of luck, but you will be years doing this if it is just an evening/weekend thing.

    blacklesabre.jpg blackelectra.jpg
     
  11. nooshinjohn

    nooshinjohn Member

    Thanks for those... I really need to actually see them side by side. I do see the differences, but I am not at all certain the sheet-metal is involved as much as the bumper extensions and body fillers are. I know I need to reform the arches for the skirts, and part of me thinks that if I find the right(read PERFECT:pray:) Electra, she might just be too damn pretty to take apart for this.

    EDIT***

    Did a ton of digging here and it would appear that the rear quarters on the Lesabre do not have extensions on them. So much for making things easy. When you don't have to worry where the parts come from and you have artisans on the clock with nothing to do, it makes things easy to cook up. This means it will take more effort than thought, but may still be a lot of fun, depending on quality of the donor cars...
     
  12. Brad Conley

    Brad Conley Super Moderator Staff Member

    The wheelbase is different between a B and C body, there is at least 6-8" more length in ONLY the rear of the car behind the wheels, etc. You're in for a lot of work, believe me.

    My opinion is to take a Le Sabre and put an Electra front end and interior in it and be done. That way you have the look you are seeking and it won't break the bank to get it. JMHO...
     
  13. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

    electra and lesabre rear end metal bumper trunk lid way different. the grill and head light bezels are different. fender vent ports are diff electra 4 hole lesabre . 3 options you have number one(I recommend) find a lesabre drop top and install a park avenue bucket seats(75-76) which I have the 75-76 rivy floor shift column( again I have that. you could install an earlier console and shifter linkage. ive also got a set of electra headlight bezels and maybe a grill. I may sound like im trying to sell you parts but im trying to save you a head ache. number 2 buy an electra that has a bad roof cut it off and get parts from a donor lesabre as far as the roof frame goes and motors. or number three buy a 1970 and earlier one. if you chose to do the lesabre route and just add the interior let me know
     
  14. nooshinjohn

    nooshinjohn Member

    I am looking at hanging the entire front clip, doing the cut-work and welding to blend the rear sheetmetal, and the buckets/console your describe, and transferring over any other parts of the Limited that make sense. Shoot me a message on how much you want for the console...

    I do not intend to play with the wheelbase or modifying the chassis dimensions in any way, though I will be looking at performance enhancements. Does anybody here do Photoshop? I would love to get a picture or two up of what this will look like.
     
  15. nooshinjohn

    nooshinjohn Member

    Thought I would revisit this little idea of mine. I am looking for an Electra limited coupe, and eventually cut the top and fit the mechanism from the LeSabre to it. I will then get the front seats and center console and steering column from a Riviera from 73 thru 76 to complete the fabrication... seems cheaper and easier to do it this way than to cut up three cars to make one...

    Anybody have some suggestions?
     
  16. sbrmd

    sbrmd Well-Known Member

    Perhaps entertaining a convertible top assembly from a '69-'70 Electra would be easier, as they shared the 127" wheelbase.
     
  17. nooshinjohn

    nooshinjohn Member

    Ok... small change in plans. I am getting a 76 Riviera S/R with center console and buckets out of Texas for about 3k shipped. 76k on the odometer, so a refresh and cleanup should be all that is needed for the drivetrain. Of course the interior is the wrong color, but having good mechanicals will give me a bit extra when it comes time for the leather work.

    Next up will be the LeSabre. I don't care one bit about anything but the body, top and chassis as interior and mechanicals will come from the Riviera. Once the swap is done, I will put the LeSabre stuff in the Riviera and sell it to raise funds to get the Electra.

    Putting the 1976 Roadmaster Convertible together looks to cost about 10k in vehicles, and I am figuring for another 20k in fabrication and body/paint, and interior/trim work. Does that seem reasonable to you guys?
     
  18. nooshinjohn

    nooshinjohn Member

    The Texas car has evaporated into thin air on me, so another has been found coming out of New Jersey. Silver over burgundy vinyl 1975 Riviera. The car looks to be in amazing shape, so I will be doing all I can to preserve this one so it can be sold later and still be a viable car for someone else. I will post pictures when it gets here in about ten days...
     

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