Sonomatic Radio Buttons

The white plastic buttons on these 1960 Buick radios are notoriously fragile. I guess whatever chemistry they had going on in this plastic was susceptible to UV damage, so after all these years, it’s rare to see a radio without at least one button broken, and the rest ready to fail if you touch them. I read in the 1960 Buick Universe Facebook group, that guys are filling the underside cavity of the buttons with epoxy or bondo, which strengthens them enough for use. I did this to a few on my Wonderbar radio that I bought off eBay several years ago, and one letter from the radio thats in my car. I anticipated using what I had, but I would be still missing a letter “I”. Then I thought I’d try another search on eBay… this time, instead of “1960 buick radio” I searched for “Sonomatic radio” figuring somebody might have listed one not knowing what it was. BINGO! I found a 1960 Buick Sonomatic radio with ALL of it’s buttons intact. AMAZING! Got it for $60 bux shipping included. Not bad.

1960 Buick Sonomatic radio with intact buttons

Low-Ball Offers

After too many low-ball offers and dumb questions (“does it have any rust?”) I’ve decided to keep the Buick. I’ll be fixing it up a little bit at a time. I don’t want to look back sometime in the future, regretting that I sold it. It may not be a popular car compared to an Impala, but it’s pretty bitchin’ in my opinion! So it is no longer for sale.

For Sale

I’ve decided to sell the Buick.  I’ve enjoyed it for the past few years, but honestly I just don’t have the time, knowledge, or money to do this car justice. I have my ’60 Impala flat-top restoration project to finish, which is what I’ll do with the funds I get from selling the Buick.

The starter issue that was plaguing me is “fixed” finally… I ended up re-building a starter from parts of the original and the new re-manufactured one. Never did figure out what the problem was, but.. it works now. Of course the starter does have a tendency to grind on a semi regular basis, just like it had been since day one.  I guess I’ll leave this one for the next guy to figure out!

I have a brand new exhaust system that the next owner can install. Also have the bottom pan and accumulator seals for the tranny that need to go in. I just don’t have the time or desire to do these things myself.

Note:  Some photos on this blog show the seat being equipped with factory 6-way power setup. This was non-functional (broken transmission). It has been replaced with manual seat tracks and appropriate aluminum trim. The power setup will not be included with the sale of the car. I’m saving it in hopes of finding repair parts, then using it in the restoration of my ’60 Impala Convertible (someday).

The Buick is currently listed for sale on eBay.

If you have questions, email me at dave@nostalgic.net. If you’d rather talk on the phone, email first and I’ll give you my number.

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Starter Relay

It’s been just over 4 years now since I bought the Buick and over 3 years now since I last posted to this blog. I still have the car, but after the initial repairs were done, very little has changed. I haven’t done any more restoration work to the car. It’s been driven just over 3000 miles since then, with a total of 14207 on the odometer (I’m sure it’s rolled over once).

The starter issue from the last posting was fixed by installing a rebuilt starter. It was never quite the same though, as the starter would occasionally grind, but it was manageable, and for as often as I was driving the car, I just tolerated the problem. That is until mid summer of 2013, when it apparently ground itself enough to no longer properly engage with the flywheel. That parked the car until now because I didn’t have time to work on it. I removed the starter and saw that the gear was actually only chipped on the leading edge, so why this was preventing it from working I don’t know. I figured perhaps the solenoid went bad and wasn’t engaging all the way. So I replaced the solenoid, but it didn’t change a thing! So rather that mess with it, I bought a rebuilt starter from a dealer on eBay and put it in. Now it engages fine, but it won’t let go! The starter will not disengage or stop cranking! The only way I could get it to stop was by  yanking off a battery cable. Turns out this is a problem that occurs with these old Buicks with their strange carb-mounted ignition switch (operated by pressing the gas pedal all the way to the floor). The wiring system for the ignition is a strange one that I don’t even fully understand or can explain. Bottom line is, the service manual suggest that I should replace the starter relay. No biggy right? Well, you can’t buy this part new anymore! It’s a strange relay with 4 connectors on it, mounted on a bulkhead on the left inside fender skirt behind the battery. Looking on eBay, I see that you can buy them NOS…. for $125 or so! Yikes! Not the $30 I thought they should be. Well, after Googling a bit I found that you can buy a similar replacement part that is supposed to work. You can find this part online for about $45 or so… it’s GM #1116969.  The original part was very close… GM #1116967. The difference? Something to do with the original being only rated at 6v continuous, while the new one is 12v.  Anyway, the newer one is supposed to work, but I got lucky and was able to buy an original one off eBay for $66 after shipping… I figured rather than spend $ to try something that MIGHT work, I’d go a little extra for the “correct” part.  Not that it matters, but it turns out that this relay is a something GM was using as a general-purpose relay on all sorts of different things, such as the rear power window on a 1960 Oldsmobile wagon. So after installing this part, the damn thing still won’t disengage! Wasted $66.00. What’s wrong with it? No idea at this point.

Here are a few shots of the car…. one with the wide whitewalls I ran for one summer. They SUCKED bad! Dried up old bias-ply tires. They look cool, but they are a nightmare to drive on.

BuickWithWideWhites

 

And how the car looks today, up on jack stands while I figure out this starter crap.

Buick as of 2-22-14