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 1953-1956 Buick chassis, here’s a detail item that wouldn’t take much to duplicate. I saw one of these for the first time before I started carrying my 35mm film camera with me to car shows many years ago.
Knowledge of Part and Model Numbers along with interchangeability with other frames will help with understanding what I’m trying to describe. A 1953 Buick Skylark convertible Model 76X 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 Convertibles, as well as the 1953 Super 59 and Roadmaster 79R Estate Wagon frames. The 1954 Buick Skylark convertible Model 100 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 Buick Part and Model Numbers along with the frame fabrication date (not the VIN number or the car assembly 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 passenger side; the orientation was readable right side up or upside down; or if the correct Model designation number matched the actual Model Number of the car being built. There are contrasting pictures and stories out there that show this detail on the driver side, somewhere below the door on 1953 Buick frames, and on the passenger side, again somewhere below the door, on 1954 Buick frames, both right side up or upside down. There are also accounts from Skylark Owners that mention they have a frame showing a Model Number other than 76X (like 56C or 76C) and a Model Number other than 100 (like 46C or 66C) are under their 1953/1954 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 people. The picture shows the frame identification information right side up on the driver side of my 1953 Buick Skylark 76X frame between body-to-frame support #3 and #4. Since my Skylark has a late- September production number, I decided why not 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.