- - Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shortly after World War II, Jacob Blaufarb bought some acreage in the Poconos near Bushkill, Pa. With the land came a 1928 Buick, which the owner had purchased new.

Until his death in 1972, Grandfather Blaufarb’s place was a favorite summer vacation site for his six grandchildren. One of those six, Dave Blaufarb of Silver Spring, can still recall piling into the old Buick with his siblings and cousins for a ride down to the nearby Delaware River for some summertime fun.

Early on, his overriding interest in the Buick became apparent to the entire family. That’s why nobody was surprised in 1967 when his grandfather gave him the car. Young Mr. Blaufarb was 16 at the time.

His father, Douglas, that autumn drove to Pennsylvania in a huge rental truck to retreive the 3,140-pound car and delivered it to a sympathetic friend’s garage near Tenley Circle in the District.

Typical of cars of that era - when good roads were scarce - the odometer had not yeat reached the 60,000-mile mark. Even so, the then-39-year-old six-cylinder engine wouldn’t run. ‘I hadn’t a clue what I was doing,’ Mr. Blaufarb admits as he threw himself at the task of taking the engine apart. ‘My skill level was pretty rudimentary.’

After a year or two, he delivered to a machine shop the 207-cubic-inch block along with boxes of parts that formerly had been inside the engine.

The machine shop ground the valves, shaped it up and got it running. That’s when the garage owner invited Mr. Blaufarb to find another place to park his treasure. Hew found a corrugated metal shed on Porter Street NW near Connecticut Avenue that passed for a garage and rented it for $5 a month.

With the Buick running, Mr. Blaufarb’s father insisted that he replace the plate-glass windshield with safety glass and overhaul the mechanical brakes.

‘My dad bought four new tires,’ Mr. Blaufarb says. ‘He was into safety stuff.’

The first - and only - ‘big trip’ he made in the Buick was when he loaded it up with friends and, on the new 5.25x21-inch tires, drove all the way out to the Brighton Dam in Maryland and then all the way back to the metal garage. There it sat unattended until 1977. In the meantime Mr. Blaufarb went off to college, after which life got in the way. With the garage roof leaking and about to collapse, the Buick was evicted.

It had been idle so long that, once again, the engine wouldn’t run. Mr. Blaufarb rented a trailer and in the summer of 1977 hauled his car to a West Virginia farm his father owned.

His grandfather had long ago discarded the entire top, so Mr. Blaufarb had new oak bows fabricated along with the chrome-plate top irons.

By 1979, the engine, with the help of a rebuilt Marvel updraft carburetor, was once more smoothly producing 63 horsepower. ‘Every one of them a stallion,’ Mr. Blaufarb is quick to add.

He then convinced his bride, Gail, that it was ‘body off’ restoration time.

The Buick was reduced to a pile of parts and soon the rolling chassis looked like new with the engine and transmission in place. This foundation for the entire car was hauled back to Silver Spring.

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