February 19, 2018

Rebuilding the 1949 Buick 248 Straight 8 Engine


1949 Buick 248 Straight 8 Rebuild

Most people have never seen inside a straight 8 engine. Although this isn't the first one we've re-built at Driven Restorations, we are the FIRST to dig into THIS particular ALL ORIGINAL Buick engine and the photos in this blog post let you see it first hand. 

It feels like opening a time capsule as we excavate to the depths of the engine, revealing parts that haven't seen open air since being pieced together on the assembly floor in 1948.  

The '49 Buick emerges from storage

Those very parts transported the Buick's family all over Oklahoma, coating her undercarriage in layers of clay and speckling her body with dings along the way. We've been told a few stories hinting that there may have been some shenanigans resulting in a couple of LARGER dings and one particular joy ride ended in her engine to running low on oil (was it low or empty?). The Buick's original 248 never ran the same again. It seemed her fate was to remain shoved, nose first, in the storage garage. 

Lucky for us, she was rescued.

 It's hard to believe, but members of the very same family who enjoyed this Buick for decades not only kept the car, but they've decided to honor her with a frame off restoration at our shop!

She will be GLORIOUS 

In the photos that follow, we take you from tear down through a fresh coat of paint as we meticulously re-constructed the heart of the '49 Buick, it's original 248 Straight 8. 

December 30, 2017

The Truth Behind the Trans Am Restoration

1977 Pontiac Trans Am Restoration: Metal Repair

At first glance, this 1977 Trans Am looks solid. It's well cared for, driven frequently (only in the summer), and any minor body damage or mechanical repairs were always done promptly. But there was a dirty little secret hiding under the whopping 5 layers of Brentwood Brown paint(see the video tour of paint stripping on Facebook)Old repairs left the rear wheel housing, trunk extension and quarter panel with rust eating away at the sheet metal.

In the photos that follow, we show you the rusty consequences of incorrect metal repairs and how we fix it at Driven Restorations LLC, using fresh sheet metal on this 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.


November 6, 2017

A closer look at the 1949 Buick Special Series 41 Sedan

There are numerous unique characteristics of every vehicle whether it's a classic car or your daily driver. It's not until decades later that any of these design details become very interesting. 
  • Power windows: Once an innovative luxury item and the reason your kids/grandkids don't know what "roll up the window" means. 
  • 2 sun visors: That was once an extra feature
  • Power steering: Now the only reason anyone can park in a city thanks to the design of the seemingly shrunken parking lots.
  • Turn signals: Can you imagine using hand signals on congested roads? Ouch!
Seems like a pretty basic list right? At first glance, it definitely is B.A.S.I.C. Things get's more complicated when replicating the early versions of these "options". Digging into the wire routing, mounting brackets, bulbs, wiring, wiper blades, specialty hardware, trim clips....well you understand. It's a different ballgame altogether when attempting to create a classic automotive time capsule that looks better than show room new. Oh and there's that minor detail of ensuring the old technology can safely carry people on today's busy roads.

Meet our latest challenge: 
1949 Buick Special Series 41, straight 8, 248 CI, 4 door sedan

The hood latches double as decorative trim on either side of the hood. The telescoping antenna has a knob above the rear view mirror to turn it from it's resting position, laying on the center strip of the windshield, to it's "on" position, upright and 4 ft tall!


We thought the interior of the car was tan. It appears to be tan. Even the headliner is tan! However, the body tag(discussed later on this post) and the smallest parts of the interior that escaped sun exposure tell us that the interior was in fact gray wool broadcloth with a dark gray metallic dash. The seat foam was so rodent damaged that the blankets on the seat are in place to cover the springs and the door panels are nearly missing all together. 

For the passengers, each seat has it's own ash tray and the glove box has a large clock front and center. Perhaps to allow well timed nagging of "are we there yet?" Sliding rear windows are a unique style and include a drain tube in the structure of the car to direct the rainwater from the window well , over the rear inner fender and to the ground through the rocker. 

January 15, 2017

Dyno Test: Re-built Small Block Chevy 350

This Chevrolet Small block isn't stock any longer!

Our customer wanted just over 400hp under the hood of his 1968 Chevy C10 show truck currently in our restoration shop getting a frame off restoration. We discussed the truck owner's goals, planned the build, had the block machined, assembled it, and painted it a high gloss Chevy orange. The results will get him to the shows in a hurry and he can do some burnouts on his way home!

A few details about the engine shown on the dyno in the video below:

  • Small block Chevy 350
  • Bored .060
  • Roller rockers
  • Roller cam
  • Aluminum intake 
  • Aluminum heads

Dyno test and block machine work performed at Advanced Engine Concepts in Green Lake WI.

Dyno test results: 432HP  460lbft torque
Assembly on the left, fresh paint on the right. The 350 looks great!
The SBC is now mounted on it's freshly refinished chassis and is backed by it's new 5 speed Tremec transmission with a more goodies on the way.


See more details and photos at the link below

December 12, 2016

Mopar Metal Repair 1970 Road Runner

Every once in awhile we stumble across an "original" car, which isn't quite as un-molested as we were led to believe. Unfortunately this very low mileage B-body Mopar had some hidden history despite rarely seeing the road. 
The owner of this 1970 Plymouth Road Runner did in fact know about the previous repairs in the lower quarters, however, the rocker panel was a surprise. 1" of mud is NOT how to repair major damage. Ever. No excuses. Here we take you step by step through the repair process, to correct a horrendous repair job done several years ago. 
1970 Plymouth Road Runner being mechanically stripped of all paint
The work is just getting started. Continue reading...

March 30, 2016

1968-1970 B-Body Mopar Windshield Replacement

1970 Road Runner
1968-1970 B-Body Mopar Windshield replacement

In the event that you have to replace your windshield on your 1968-1970 B-body Mopar, you need to know what you're getting into before getting started. This is a step by step guide to the process of replacing or removing and reinstalling the original glass. 
In our example, this 1970 Plymouth Road Runner was receiving a complete paint job with interior and exterior color change. To paint a car properly, the windshield must be removed. 
Read on for our step by step process of handling the windshield. 

BEFORE: This 1970 Roadrunner will receive a complete interior and exterior color change and the vinyl top will be eliminated

Before: Existing trim and glass
Before: Existing trim and glass

1. Remove the existing stainless trim around the windshield. Careful not to bend or crease your trim, look at the clip type and location(more photos later in this post), and use a clip removal tool (looks like a forked pry bar in most cases) suitable for your application.

2. Remove the windshield gasket and glass. It is likely that you will need to cut the rubber weatherstripping gasket that is holding the glass in place to remove the glass without breaking it. There are a variety of tools made for this purpose which will allow you to cut the gasket without gouging your windshield. 
NOTE- Save any and all clips that are screwed into the body of the car which hold the trim in place. You will need these or their replacements. 

March 19, 2016

1973 Pontiac 400 Built for HP and Fun!

Years of storage and memories on the road have this 1973 Pontiac Grand Am showing it's age with a moldy and mouse infested interior and worn out smog motor. It pulled into the shop running on 7 cylinders with a plume of blue smoke behind it. This wasn't quite what the owner remembered enjoying about the car when he first got it in the mid 70's.

 It was quickly decided that a complete mechanical overhaul was a necessity. With orders to add a lot more power, enhance handling and freshen the interior, we began tear down on this customer project in the summer of 2015. It's going to be a sleeper, keeping the original look and paint of the classic Pontiac. The Hooker Aerochamber mufflers and new Crager wheels are the only hints at what's hiding under the hood. 

BEFORE: 1973 Pontiac 400 smog motor, stock
BEFORE: 1973 Pontiac Grand Am: broken front facia

The seats have seen better days. Mice and mold are eating the upholstery away bit by bit. All new interior is on  the way!

Let the work begin!

Engine is removed and mechanical dis-assembly is under way

March 9, 2016

Wisconsin Car Shows and Events Calendar

View our Google calendar showing a current list of 2016 Wisconsin Classic Car and Truck Shows as well as a few other major automotive events. More events will be added as dates are finalized.

This is a LIVE calendar! 

  • View events in coming months by clicking the arrows near the month name 
  • Click the event name to see more detail and website links for each event
  • Something missing? Comment below or email [email protected] to have your event added to this calendar

Parades are a great place to see some classic cars and trucks
Wisconsin Dells Automotion
Top Truck Award Winner 2013
Attend an indoor show in the winter
months in the Midwest. 
Collect some trophies for your classic by attending
concourse style judged shows
Shown here: Customer owned 1949 Chevrolet 3100

Dodge County Car Show and Swap Meet

Lodi WI, Tuesday Night Cruise In

3 C's Car Show, Randolph WI

February 16, 2016

From Modest Driver to Mopar Dream Car: Building the 1970 Charger R/T 440

This 1970 Dodge Charger 500, 318 under the hood, arrived at Driven Restorations LLC

 October, 2014

1970 Mopar Charger
1970 Charger arrived at Driven Restorations LLC
✯The Dream✯
This project started as a harmless conversation after we met the owner at an unrelated networking event. We said "classic cars", they said "Plum Crazy 70 Charger" and before you could say "R/T" the wheels were spinning and a build plan was in the works.

It took months to locate a '70 Charger within a day's drive of WI, needless to say there weren't very many Plum Crazy 440-6 Mopar's on the market. So when the owner's found a Charger in Arkansas, they moved quickly to get their shot at starting a MAJOR Mopar transformation. 

How major? 

The highlights include 318c.i. to 440 6-pack. Column shift to floor shift. Bare interior with a cargo seat to an original interior with Leather bucket seats. Flat black 500 SE to Plum Crazy R/T package. 
1970 Charger grill
1970 Charger 500 with a 318

November 23, 2015

1968-1970 B-body Mopar Heater Box with A/C Rebuild

Rebuilding a heater box is hopefully something you'll only have to do once. For that one time you choose to complete it, do it right.

Begin with the correct heater box for your make, model and year. This one will fit a 1968-1970 B-Body Mopar, in this case, a Dodge Charger WITH AIR CONDITIONING. 
There is a big difference between an A/C box and one without A/C. They are not interchangeable.
1970 B-Body heater box as purchased used from an online seller. The lip is typically folded over but the seller had already had this unit apart and didn't bother to re-fold the seam. It will need a little flattening to get it to seal up and fold over properly.

Close-up of bottom of linkage system and vacuum actuator. Taking pictures before you begin the re-build will help you put it back together again...correctly.

1970 Charger Heater box, side view. Most of the hardware is 1/4".