The 1958 Buick Roadmaster 75 flashed its chrome despite the morning mist in Columbus, Nebraska. Loading up my 2014 Buick Regal GS support/camera vehicle, we set out for another long drive on Interstate 30. Along the way, I conducted an interview inside the 1958 Buick Roadmaster 75, got some greasy 50’s diner grub and watched the nostalgic ruins of the past melt away. All in all, it was pretty depressing.
You can read part one by clicking (here).
I reviewed Edwin (Ed) Hendricks description of his time with the 1958 Buick Roadmaster 75 that was passed on to me for background information. Rather than paraphrase his writings, I posted it below. This should give you an idea at the type of guy Ed was.
“This car was originally owed by my brother in law’s mother. Upon her death he became the owner, driving it as a family car for many years. Then it was parked long term in front of his home just decaying.
In 1980, I was at my brother in law’s house and saw this 1958 Buick he was trying to get started. Three sockets had been broken trying to turn the fly wheel to no success. He had also put many kinds of lubricants into the engine as well in an attempt to turn it over. I loved the car, and inquired if he was interested in selling it as my mind could envision the beauty it could be. I purchased the vehicle for $400. He continued to try to start the car all weekend. The car did start, did not miss, ran smooth and clean even after all that time. I drove the car to my home. The seats were in atrocious shape, springs showing, no padding. The speedometer did not work, and the exterior paint was down to primer.
I started to restore it on my own but one day when I shut the engine down, smoke came billowing out. I disconnected the battery and determined the voltage regulator was stuck in the closed position causing all the wiring to melt. First needed part: NEW VOLTAGE REGULATOR. I was able to drive the car a bit more after that. On one return trip to my home, the engine began to miss and finally quit. The car was towed back to my home. After that, the Buick sat idle with no work for about 15 years, until I had time and money to attack it again.
Restoration began again in 2008. The engine and transmission were rebuilt. I choose to install electric windshield wipers instead of the vacuum system the car was equipped with. Then the search began for a painter and interior man. The car was taken to primer state and then repainted with the original exterior paint color….. Green Mist Metallic. While painting was being completed, front and rear bumpers were re-chromed.
Once the painting was finished, I moved to a complete interior restoration. First I had to locate a source for original carpet, fabric, and vinyl I was able to purchase everything needed from a source in California. Completing the interior work did not go as smoothly as the exterior painting! When the first recommended restorer ran off with the money and did no work, I found a second recommended man. This also was disastrous as he completely disassembled the interior and cut fabric but made no progress in redoing the interior. So, after gathering all the many parts back into the car, I moved to interior man No. 3 (Ron). I knew this would be successful as Ron had done previous restorations for me, but had moved locations and I was unable to track him down in the beginning. From the parts in the car and how the fabric had been cut, Ron was not able to tell what went where, so I ended up having to order more fabric and locate a restored 1958 to photograph for detailed patterns. After installing all the interior except for seats, Ron recommended another young man to do the seats, assuring me Juan would do great. I was skeptical but am totally pleased with how the seats were redone.
There were 10,000 of these beauties made. This Roadmaster 75 has power steering, power brakes, power antennae, power seats, a body decked out with chrome, and a new drawer pull grill with rectangular chrome squares. On the rear deck “ROADMASTER” is spelled out in block lettering underneath the Buick emblem. The car is 219” long, 80” wide and weighs 4,668 lbs! The only optional accessory missing is air conditioning! For the first time since 1948 there were no distinguishing VentiPorts on the front fenders.Wheelhouses had bright moldings, rocker panels had an ebbed molding and a large rear fender bright flash with ribbed inserts replaced the previous year’s chromed rear fender lower panel. Four headlamps were standard. New brakes, with cast iron liners in aluminum drums, proved to be the best in the industry.
This is a difficult car to find parts for, but I persevere as all 1958 GM products were single year productions. At the first weekend of car shows this season, my 1958 Buick Roadmaster was chosen “Best of Show=People’s Choice”, making me a happy restorer!!!” – – Ed Hendricks
Second leg: Columbus, Nebraska to Dixon, Illinois – just a hair under 500 miles, all along I30.
I managed lots of filming today as tomorrow is supposed to be wet. The longer I spend with the 1958 Buick Roadmaster 75, the more I understand Ed’s compulsion to get it done right and to have it preserved properly.
What a beauty.
Check out this gem from the TFLClassics channel!