Monday, November 10, 2014

Reflecting on the Gran Sport

As I recently posted the Gran Sport was sold.  One of the nice parts of the sale was that it was purchased by an extremely nice local couple Ryan and Jody. Ryan had owned a V-10 Viper powered Ram truck so he had experience in big block vehicles and knew enough about classic cars that a big block "A" body car with Ram Air and a very low production number of 7,600 units for the year would only increase in value. I am still receiving calls and emails on the car as of this writing so I have little doubt this car will appreciate in value.

This Buick was different from any other GM "A" body cars I have owned or driven. The "A" bodies being the GTO, Chevelles and 442s. It was just better made. Almost all of the drive train was heavy duty.  For example the suspension was heavy duty, it had GM's best and strongest automatic transmission for the period, the Turbo 400.  Still rated as one of the best transmissions GM has ever built. And a 12 bolt rear end. So it was built to handle the very large torque of the 400 cu.in. engine.
The real surprise cane when you drove this car. It actually drove almost as well as a new car.  The ride did not give a hint of the heavy duty suspension, the seats were very comfortable, the steering had almost no play in it, the power brakes with the aluminum finned drums stopped the car as good as a disk brake car and the visibility was outstanding - very unusual combination for a muscle car that was 45 years old.

The good and bad. The good part of the car was that the previous owners had obviously taken a lot of pride in ownership and maintained the car mechanically to a high standard. The bad was the car had factory undercoating, which is a rough surface and allowed a lot of road grime to accumulate on the under side of the car. To see the real condition of the suspension etc, it is best to remove as much of the grime as possible so that you can get a good view of the ball joints, seals, brakes and even find all of the lube points. This is a 45 year old car that contains very few pivot or rotating parts that are sealed so they still have grease fittings and each fitting needs to be lubricated. This is a job that would be much easier and faster using a high pressure washer, however I do not use one because I am concern that the extreme pressure can easily force water into electrical connections, starters, solenoid and many other places that water is not welcomed.  I actually go under all of my cars and clean them with a wire brush and degreaser and then spray the area with paint to prevent rust. This is a nasty time consuming job and one I do not enjoy, but I feel it is well worth the effort. With the Gran Sport I believe I had over 200 hours in the restoration work which included the installation of the new carpet, interior repair, new windshield and respraying the engine and trunk area. It is this kind of work and hours that created the saying "Buy the most restored car you can afford."

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