Deco Driver

Mike Young’s ’49 Buick Sedanette


We can’t think of a bad rea­son to build a cool cus­tom, but we will say that Mike Young’s rea­son might be the best we’ve ever heard.

He says he was just about to buy a ’50 Chevy when he came across a ’49 Buick Sedanette. “The old girl had been parked next to a barn since 1959 and was in hor­ri­ble con­di­tion, but it was love at first sight,” Mike says. “At $700, I over­paid, but she needed to be saved from the crusher.” Hor­ri­ble as it was, the Buick had the fea­tures Mike was look­ing for in a Chevy, but with more char­ac­ter.

The next town down the road from Mike’s home in Derby, Kansas, is Mul­vane, home to Chris Carl­son Hot Rods. Chris had built two cars for Mike, and once he found out about the Buick, ideas started vol­ley­ing back and forth, re­volv­ing around the con­cept of a cool early ’60s cus­tom.

“The Buick’s lines just scream ‘cut me up,’” Mike says, and more than 100 amaz­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions were made to in­ten­sify—not change—the shape of the body. The al­ready sleek top was chopped, and the hood was pan­caked, pie-cut, peaked, and panned, with the fac­tory seams filled to cre­ate the hood perime­ter re-cut sportscar-style. Chris used an English wheel on the deck­lid to cre­ate the look of a Riviera boat tail. He shaved the front fen­der trim and door han­dles and peaked the front and rear fen­ders. A pair of ’56 Olds 98 lights fill the raised head­light buck­ets, with ’54 Mer­cury tail­lights fab­ri­cated into the re­shaped rear fen­ders. Drew Carl­son at CCHR built a cus­tom front bumper from two stock bumpers. The dark gray pearles­cent paint, sprayed by Chris, is a vari­a­tion of the Gran­ite color from the Martin Se­nour Au­to­mo­tive Fin­ishes Rod & Restora­tion Cus­tom Color Pro­gram.

White­wall tires are a nec­es­sary in­gre­di­ent for a pe­riod cus­tom and the Buick rolls on 235/55R17 and 255/55R17 Uniroy­als from the Di­a­mond Back Tour­ing line, mounted on 17-inch Cir­cle Rac­ing Wheels 91 Se­ries bil­let solid wheels. Wil­wood com­po­nents en­sure

re­li­able brak­ing from the re­mote dual mas­ter cylin­ders and booster to the 12-inch drilled and slot­ted rotors and four-pis­ton calipers mounted at each wheel.

In ad­di­tion to im­prov­ing han­dling, the cus­tom chas­sis setup en­hances the Buick’s re­duced pro­file with a low-slung stance. The stock ’49 frame was re­tained and re­in­forced with box­ing plates. It has a Mus­tang II–style front sus­pen­sion from To­tal Cost In­volved. At the rear, the TCI four-link lo­cates a Cur­rie En­ter­prises 9-inch, hous­ing 3.70:1 gears. RideTech HQ Se­ries coilover shocks are mounted all around.

His­toric early cus­toms didn’t typ­i­cally have clean en­gine com­part­ments, but in the Buick, it’s san­i­tary. The smooth cus­tom fire­wall and in­ner fen­ders cra­dle an in­jected Chevy 383 stro­ker en­gine from Blue­Print En­gines. CCHR added the Imag­ine In­jec­tion 8-stack EFI sys­tem with K&N air clean­ers for retro ap­peal. The finned Moon valve cov­ers and Ed­die Mo­tor­sports ser­pen­tine drive pul­leys dress things up even more. Other en­gine com­part­ment com­po­nents in­clude the MSD ig­ni­tion, Be Cool ra­di­a­tor and dual fans, and Speed­way hug­ger head­ers feed­ing ex­haust to cus­tom ex­haust pipes and Mag­naFlow muf­flers. Chris backed up the 383 with TCI Au­to­mo­tive’s Street Fighter 700-R4 trans­mis­sion and Satur­day Night Spe­cial con­verter.

Chris crossed over into Ford ter­ri­tory to fill the com­pletely re­designed in­te­rior with front buck­ets, rear wrap-around seats, and cen­ter con­sole from a ’64

Ford Thun­der­bird. The seats were mod­i­fied and up­hol­stered with tan and hazel­nut leather. The con­sole was cus­tom­ized for the Lokar shifter and Pi­o­neer head unit. Fo­cal speak­ers are mounted front and rear.

The cus­tom dash de­sign was

in­spired from the Lin­coln Ze­phyr and houses a Dakota Dig­i­tal VHX-1021 gauge clus­ter. The lower dash panel con­tains the con­trols and vents for the Vin­tage Air A/C; ad­di­tional vents blow cool air into the back. A CON2R wheel tops an ididit tilt col­umn. The trunk is fully fin­ished with the same two-tone leather and deep pile car­pet.

Ev­ery part of the build was done with one rea­son in mind: driv­ing it. “I wanted a big com­fort­able road car that my wife, Glenna, and I could drive across the coun­try in com­fort,” Mike told us. “The best part is trav­el­ing with the cars and the Carl­sons to car shows and to SEMA [where Mike’s ’49 Buick Sedanette cus­tom has been fea­tured twice]. It’s nice to have that cool car but at the end of the day it’s the jour­ney and the friends you make.”

For the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence:

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