My Favorite Ride: Lots of TLC for this Buick

September 8, 2013 

The car: 1958 Buick Century four-door sedan.

The owner: Earl Welch, Merced.

1. What are the key features of your vehicle? At over 92,000 miles, it still run and drives almost as new with no rattles or any other problems.

2. What did you have to do to get it in its present state? Just a lot of tender loving care. Cleaning, detailing, a little mechanical work and polish.

3. What else do you want to do to it? Very little, if any. It's a driver-keeper and 85 percent unrestored. I have changed it to an electronic ignition, an alternator and great-sounding glasspack mufflers.

4. How did you acquire your vehicle? We saw it for sale near a restaurant in November 1988. I was amazed at its all-original condition, except for the exhaust system. It took three days to find the owner, test drive it and arrive at a fair price.

5. Why did you pick that particular vehicle and what do you find appealing about it? I didn't care for them when they first came out and hadn't even seen one for many years, but by then, I was impressed. There wasn't a thing missing, not a nut, bolt or screw, and everything was in place, amazing for a 30-year-old car with 70,049 miles.

6. What started your love affair with cars? I always liked cars and learned to drive our 1935 Plymouth when I could reach the pedals. In January 1945, I started going to the local junkyard and buying old "oogah" horns, restoring and selling them for a couple dollars' profit. Everything pertaining to cars progressed from there.

7. What advice would you give others about starting such a project? Buy a car you like and without many parts missing. And don't pay much attention to critics, and do what you want and can afford to do with it.

8. Do you have any other collector vehicles or project cars? Yes, I have a red 1955 Studebaker pickup that's a street rod and a 1980 Berlina Sports Coupe; it's a special-bodied 1980 Corvette. It was designed to resemble the late 1930s Mercedes 540 K sports car.

9. What's your favorite memory about this ride? The time I took it to the Sacramento airport and flew back to Illinois for a visit. Put the coil wire and battery cable in the trunk. Got back and all was well. It started right up and came home in great shape. I got a lot of thumbs up and waves.

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