1947 Buick Sedanette - Dave Ceccanti

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1947 Buick Coupe
Dave Ceccanti of Castro Valley, CA
It’s been said that many fellows out there will “go a long way” to accomplish their desires for a custom car, but do they always have to? I’m not here to answer that question, do what you will, but why do some of us feel the need to have to go to extremes to make a statement? Why not just work with what the designers and engineers before us provided? Clearly, I’m not the only one who has thought about this, Dave Ceccanti had these same thoughts when it came to building his 47’ Buick Sedanette which he calls “Bad Company”.
It didn’t start off with this one though, Dave has always been a self-proclaimed “car guy” even from a young age. Like so many of us, Dave’s dad really is the one who ignited the fire. “My Dad was always into cars, although he didn’t have any of his own, he liked them, and because of that he always encouraged me when it came to my cars”. Much like myself, Dave started out building model cars at a young age and as he got older that passion transformed towards dirt bikes, muscle cars, hotrods, “anything that was fast and loud” and as he matured he found his way to the Darkside of custom cars.
 “I’ve always been into the big cars, before this, I had a 64’ Cadillac and one day I was at a car show with Marcos Garcia (of Lucky 7 Customs out of Antioch, CA) and I said I wanted to build a custom”. Such a simple, innocent thought which then turned into an audible statement to his friends, thus setting him on a journey which would take up the next several years of his life. “It didn’t take long from there, and the pieces truly fell right into place”. What Dave didn’t know at the time, was that Marcos had the perfect candidate for the custom of his dreams that he had been collecting parts for, for over 20 years.
“Marcos was going to build the car for himself but with having a family and owning a business, he just never got around to it, I was honestly just in the right place at the right time”. Dave was honest when talking with me about his first sighting of the car “I liked it, I thought it was cool, but to say that it was a little rough is an understatement. Marcos, being as talented and as artistic as he is told me to not take the car at face value and to trust the process. So that is what I did, and it worked out”.
It’s good to have friends, isn’t it? The one’s that are always there for you, reliable, and can guide you in the right directions. It’s even better when you and they are so much in sync with one another that they can express your thoughts even before you can. The Buick not only provided an ideal starting point, but Dave and Marcos were able to collaborate on thoughts and ideas and when you pair that with the immense talent that Lucky 7 has under its roof, the results are truly breathtaking.
The goal of the car was to focus on and enhance what Buick provided them with in 1947. The team focused more on the art of coachbuilding rather than customizing to give, what they feel the car should have looked like in the 1947 concept designs. Long, low, sleek, and smooth. Not to stray too far away from those ideologies Dave wanted to retain as much Buick in the car as he possible could but just fix what the designers missed when the car went from concept drawing to production vehicle.
When building a car, it always seems like you must take five steps back just to move one step forward. First, the car had to be media blasted which then identified any problem areas on the body which needed to be addressed and restored, at which time they were able to smooth out the firewall but managed to retain the factory stampings to keep it looking as if it was always that way.
Of course after that, the most prominent feature was done to the exterior, the 3” roof chop which involved sectioning the trunk lid and forming the rear window opening to ensure that the natural flow of the sedanette was retained. Aside from that, Dave, and the team at Lucky 7 focused on the details which transformed the car into a timeless classic which will be talked about and photographed for decades to come, and chopping the top was only the beginning.
“Marcos had a poster on the wall of his shop, it was a cartoon rendering of a car, but I really liked the grille, Marcos said it was a 47’ Oldsmobile, he said he had never seen one put in a Buick and I thought it would have a great look, so they were able to source a grille and made it fit”. In order to do that, they reshaped the grille opening, and the hood was peaked and stretched in order to accommodate the new grille. The grille is then guarded by a pair of 1960 Jaguar headlights which of course have been frenched and are set inside the stock fenders which have been peaked to match the hood. The cowl has been shaved and smoothed as have all the door handles, locks, and trunk emblems. The iconic Buick “fadeaways” were welded to the body along with the rear fenders, which were then fitted with flush mount skirts.
The body was then put into an epoxy primer and went through multiple, vigorous rounds of blocking, sanding, and massaging to get the mirror like finish they were hoping for, along with addressing any fitment/gap issues along the way. Once they felt the body was as close to perfect as possible, they finished the car in a custom PPG tri-stage called “Caledonian Blue” and from there the car was polished to perfection. “I wasn’t sure what color I wanted to choose for the car, I had ideas of course but Marcos has such an artistic eye, he had this car for 20 years, he had built it countless times in his mind. Once again, I trusted him and the process.”
The rear bumper guards were sectioned and shortened while the rear pan was also welded seamlessly to the body and the front bumper guards were removed. Bumper fitment was absolutely critical in this build as they are so large and heavy in appearance by tucking them in closer to the body it makes the car seem as though the bumpers are part of the car’s design. Dave credits “Sherm’s Custom Plating” out of Sacramento for doing all the brightwork on the car.
Much like the top side of Dave’s Buick, the underside leaves just as much to be desired. The chassis was media blasted and powder coated and up front they opted for a 69’ Nova subframe with “Fatman” dropped spindles, disc brakes, “Hellwig” sway bar, and QA1 adjustable coil overs. Out back they installed a trusty 12 bolt rearend with custom trailing arms, and QA1 adjustable rear shocks. Aside from that the rear airbags allow the body to drop over the 5x5 Cadillac rims which were wheel smithed to accept the restored ’50 Cadillac sombreros which are wrapped in 7.00-15 bias ply white walls by Firestone.
Like I mentioned in the beginning, Dave wanted to keep as much Buick as he possibly could in the build, but the original Straight 8 wasn’t going to provide him with the reliability that he wanted, so instead, cradled between the frame rails they dropped in a 425 Nailhead out of a 60’ Buick. The 425 was rebuilt and detailed using factory correct Buick colors. Sitting under a 50’ Cadillac air cleaner and between a pair of Fenton valve covers rests a Holley 750 which rests atop a stock intake. Thanks to an adapter by “Brendsten’s”, the Nailhead is mated to a rebuilt GM 4L60E.
Peering inside the Buick, onlookers will be awe struck when they notice the period details applied to the interior. All the garnish moldings were chopped to fit the top of course and a hand applied woodgrain finish was added to them which carries your eyes into the matching dashboard. All the factory gauges and clock were restored and electronically converted by “North Hollywood Speedometer” and were calibrated to the updated running gear. The 40’ Ford column was supplied by “Limeworks” and was modified to accept the original steering wheel which was restored by Dennis Crooks in San Diego. Power windows were added but not to deviate from the factory appearance, they operate on the factory window crank, the vintage air unit was also disguised with an original appearing look, as was the stereo.
“Divines Custom Interiors” are credited with all the interior work. Before installing the new interior, the whole cabin was sound deadened and heat panel coated before laying down the German woven carpet and a wool headliner. The mohair and broadcloth interior was stitched to the reformed bench seats and this pattern continues to the door panels, kick panels, and into the trunk.
David’s Buick took over 24 months to build, focusing on craftsmanship, detail, collaboration, and strong friendships, they were able to truly create something special. When all was said and done, they were able to create a concours style car with street functionality. “Marcos and the team at Lucky 7 are true craftsmen, they guided me through every step of the process”. It just goes to show that when you are in the right place at the right time and trust the process, true art can be created.
Throughout the build process, Dave insists that although this is his car, he wants to make sure credit is given where credit is due. None of this would have been possible without great friend Marcos Garcia and the entire team at Lucky 7 Customs. Not only that, but behind every great car loving man, is an INCREDIBLE, PATIENT, SUPPORTIVE, and LOVING, family. Dave wants to give a special thank you to his wife Donna, and to his kids, Justin and Jillian, for without them, this car may have never happened. So from all of us here at Taildragger Syndicate, thank you!
Super Sedanette modified with a 3” Chop
Shaved & Smoothed Wiper Cowl
Nosed hood with Stretched & Lengthened front
1947 Oldsmobile Grill
Frenched 1960s Jaguar Headlights with peaked fenders
Molded Fade away Door & Quarter panels
Rear fenders molded to body
Trunk shaved and Smoothed
Custom Flush mounted Fender Skirts
Shaved Rear Fender marker lamps
Rear tail pan welded to body
Front Bumper guards removed & Shaved
Rear Bumper guards sectioned & shortened
Under Body Belly & Rear body panels were sealed with Line-X anti corrosive coating
Bodywork by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA
Chrome Plating & Stainless by Sherms Custom Plating. Sacramento, CA
PPG custom formulated Tri-Stage Caledonian Blue 
Paintwork by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA
Mohair & Broadcloth upholstery by Bob Divine of Divines Custom Interiors. Pittsburg, CA
German Knit carpet
Wood headliner
Original Dash with Wood Grain finish
Original Gauges & Clock converted electronically by North Hollywood Speedometer. North Hollywood, CA
Factory Steering Wheel & Column Shift Knob restored by Dennis Crook with Ivory Translucent finish
Lime Works 1940 Ford Style Steering Column with Lokar Shifting Linkage
Power Windows with Factory crank handles
Custom cut glass for chop top
Vintage Air : Air Conditioning with Original Look
American Auto Wire : 12 Volt Wiring Harness
Stock 1947 Buick frame Powdercoated Semi Gloss Black
1969 Nova Subframe with Fatman Fabrications dropped spindles
Hellwig Sway Bar
Saginaw Manual Steering Box
QA1 Coil Over Front Shocks
GM 12 Bolt Posi-Traction 3.70 Gear Ratio
18 Gallon Fuel Tank
Chassis Fabrication by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA
QA1 Adjustable Rear Shocks with Air Suspension
Suspension Work by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA
Front & Rear: Disc brakes
15” 5x5 Cadillac wheels wheel smithed to fit 1950 Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps wrapped in 7.00 Firestone Deluxe Champion Bias-Ply whitewall tires
Wheels / Tires by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA
1960 Nailhead 425 Buick engine; Black with Buick Factory paint colors
Vintage Cloth wrapped plug wires for HEI Distributor
1950 Cadillac Air Cleaner
Mini Hi-Torque Starter
Holley 750 Carburetor
Northern Radiator
Fenton Aluminum Finned Valve Covers
Stock Buick Intake & Manifolds ceramic coated with dual exhaust & 24” Glass Packs
Seal cooling fans with Custom built fan shroud
Thermo Wrapped & Heat Insulated
Air Condition system on V-Belt pulleys
180 Amp Alternator
Engine Work by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA
GM 4L60E Transmission with Custom Brendstens adapter plate
Transmission Work by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA
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