500 MILES WEST OF FLINT
Al ‘Junior’ Malachowski
As a follow-up and closure to my last Newsletter article re: seldom seen items on frames while judging 1953-1954 Buick Skylark chassis, here’s a detail item that wouldn’t take much to duplicate. I saw one of these for the first time many years ago before I started carrying around my 35mm film camera with me to car shows.
Knowledge of model and part numbers along with the interchangeability with other frames will help with understanding what I’m trying to describe. A 1953 Buick Skylark Model 76X Convertible chassis frame with all riveted parts, is listed under Group #7.003 in a BUICK MASTER CHASSIS PARTS BOOK and has the same Part #1345865 as the 1953 Buick Super 56C and Roadmaster 76C Convertible frames, as well as the 1953 Super 59 and Roadmaster 79R Estate Wagon frames. The 1954 Buick Skylark Model 100 Convertible frame with all riveted parts is listed as Part #1163003 and has the same part number as the 1954 Buick Special 46C and Century 66C Convertible frames.
It’s a known fact that the frame was painted black and had the frame’s stamping plant location, Buick part and Model numbers, along with the frame fabrication date (not the Car Serial Number or the car’s assem-bly date), stencil-painted white on an outer frame rail prior to being placed on the assembly line. What I don’t know to be fact is the consistency of whether the location of this detail was on the driver or passen-ger side; the exact location; whether the orientation was readable right side up or upside down; or if the model number painted on the frame matched the model number of the car being built. There are conflict-ing pictures and stories out there that show this detail on the driver side, somewhere below the door area on 1953 Buick frames and on the passenger side, somewhere further down from the doors and past the muffler, on 1954 Buick frames…..both right side up or upside down. There are also accounts from Skylark Owners that mention their frame-stenciled model number does not match their Skylark model number: like having a painted 56C or 76C instead of a 76X for their 1953 Skylark or having a painted 46C or 66C instead of a 100 for their 1954 Skylark. I’m just reporting on what I’ve seen and read…..you decide.
For five bucks worth of 1”-high stencils from your arts/craft store and some rattle-can white paint, you too can dazzle a few judges. The picture above shows the frame identification information, right side up on the driver side of my 1953 Skylark Model 76X convertible frame, between body-to-frame support #3 and #4. If you are wondering what the 'PPS’ stands for, it is where the frame was fabricated by Fisher Body…at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania stamping plant. Since my Skylark has a late-September produc-tion number (1674 of 1690), I decided to use my birthday (not date of birth) as the frame fabrication date. Don’t tell anyone, but now that you know, I’m expecting to receive a lot of birthday presents this year.