Antique

1966 Buick LeSabre – Brad Kolar

Still in college and has a passion for classics!

Brad Kolar was raised around classics, so, it is just common sense that he would love them so much that he bought a rusted out 1966 Buick LeSabre and fixed it up.

Make sure to keep scrolling and read about the incredible transformation of this car and listen to it run! (Yes, we have videos!)

Check out the pictures below, make sure to click on the picture to see the full version.


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What type of vehicle is this?: Car

Make, Model, Year of Project

Buick , LeSabre, 1966

What stage is this in?

Just Started Project

When did you purchase it and for how much?

I purchased this car in May of 2018 for $1500.

Why did you choose this vehicle?

I chose this vehicle because I felt that it embodied what a “classic” was.

I know it is not the usual Mustang or Camaro, but for me it was the lines of the car and the looks that I got when I was driving it. They really don’t make them like this anymore.

My grandpa always showed me classics growing up, so I became sort of an “old person” at a young age.

I fell in love with classics even more when a neighbor stored his 54 Chevy in my aunts garage. I remember every time I went to visit her I would get to sit in it and feel all “retro.”

Also, it helped a ton to have two neighbors across the street from my house that had an Austin Healy 3000, and a Lincoln with suicide doors (not sure what year). I was immediately surrounded by classic cars and I could not get enough.

What sort of condition was it in when you started the project, what was wrong with it, etc.

When I purchased the car it was “running” but very badly. It had rust everywhere, it was rotted on the front and rear quarters, in the trunk, and no paint to be seen except for a small sliver of factory “baby blue” on the dash.

The engine had a ticking noise, the heat did not work, and most of the electronics were non-functional.

The Interior was in horrible shape. It had seat covers over destroyed seats, a bad headliner, and basically the dash pads for the front and rear were cracked beyond repair.

The wheels were nice steel rims, not stock, but the rest of the drive train was pretty rough.

What, specifically have you done, or had done to it?

I have done countless repairs.

I have replaced the suspension, the engine needed a full refresh with new valve covers, gaskets and other sorts of pieces.

I replaced the intake manifold from 2bbl to 4bbl with a newer Edlebrock carburetor.

I rerouted heater lines, and other hoses for coolant and windshield washer fluid.

I added new headlights to the car that accepted standard bulbs, but also had LED halos in them for a little bit of a resto-mod look. I was 19 so this was ” the cool thing to do” at this point.

As for the exterior, I did not have a huge budget and I ultimately paid the price. I had a painter put some color on the car and fiberglass the quarters to stop rust. It is a 5 footer paint job (Looks good from 5 feet away) but gets the job done because I drive it way more than I show it!

As for the interior, I have replaced the windshield, I recovered each door panel with my dad and the front/rear dash pads.

I added a newer stereo underneath the dash with a rear dash speaker.

I had the carpet cleaned, and then the seats reupholstered by a local company in my hometown. They have done an excellent job.

I also reconditioned each door handle and window crank.

I am in the process of putting new armrests on each door, and I have added a wood steering wheel a decorative but functional piece.

Can you list any and all parts that you have put in?

If I list parts, most are above, but new hoses for engine, an Edlebrock 650cfm 4bbl carb with electric choke, a 4bbl STOCK intake on the original RARE “one year 66-67 Buick 340 Engine.” Not a Pontiac 340 which means parts are hard to find.

I also put the wood steering wheel in, new interior pieces, LED halo headlights, Cherry Bomb Glass-packs because, hey, who doesn’t want some rumble!

I have also put in new suspension and Rare 1960s Full Size Buick Rally rims. I reconditioned these myself after finding them in a barn.

Countless small items I have found and added on like new mirrors, some exhaust tips, and other little pieces, like a trunk liner I made out of marine carpet, and new rubber surrounds for each of the doors and trunk.

Where have you purchased your parts?

Most major auto parts stores had parts, but I had to work with them to get things exactly right.

Autozone was okay with me, but O-Rilleys helped a ton!

I also went on the AACA forum and got a ton of help from them.

I have been on multiple Buick Facebook pages that have helped me.

A lot of the work done was from a family friend who drag races. He was able to help me track down parts or make other parts fit my application.

I was never intending to make it a show car restoration so I tried my best to just get everything back up and working.

What about you?

I am currently a college student at Illinois State University. I will be going into my senior year as an education major.

I always have had a passion for classic cars, ever since I was younger, but I never imagined actually buying one.

I bought the car in spring of 2018 and it was a train wreck.

If I had to really think to what makes me associate with classic cars, it was my moms dad (Grandpa Tony). He always was showing me classic car pictures from when they were younger and I really did this entire thing because of him. I wanted him to sit in a car that was a nightmare and then see what hard work could do to make it worth something.

He has gotten to ride in the car a couple times since its full completion but it really will never be complete. I think that I will always find a way to improve something. I just love tinkering! It is my passion.

I love to see engines run and to stop at an intersection and have everyone stare at me because some young kid is driving a car that was made the YEAR his parents were born! It is a great feeling.

Any stories regarding this project?

When I bought this car, my parents hated me. They hated the car, it was waste of money and they swore it “looked like the animal house car.”

After countless hours of work, my mom actually texted me a picture while I was at college of my dad in the garage one night polishing the paint on the entire car because I had not gotten the time to before I went back to school.

They both actually drive the car occasionally, now that it is functional.

It is a fun conversational piece to show up in and I hope they continue to see the value in showcasing how hard work pays off.

I have also, on the negative side, driven through an intersection with no brakes! This was before I was able to get the brakes correctly adjusted. Thankfully no one was injured. This was also at the time that I had not fixed the overheating problem.

I went to a car show in Rosemont, IL on a 95 degree day, got there, parked my car and opened the hood and BOOM a radiator hose broke spraying molten hot coolant all over the beautiful Buick Riviera next to me. I felt awful and like a complete loser, but the owner of the car was so nice to me. He forgave me and said that things like this happen, and I will learn to work with it as I progress with fixing the car. Since then I always have checked my radiator hoses before I go out!

Any garages, parts stores, fabrication shops, etc you want to call out specifically?

I had a couple places work hard on it. None of this would have been possible without 3 important family friends.

The first two Butch and Jill are just amazing. They have been literal family to me and encourage me to keep with this hobby and make it into something I love.

Another family friend, Ed (we can keep his last name private) has been a huge help and I hope that he one days finds out how thankful I am to have him as a reference. He has done countless fixes when I am about to blow the car up with problems I don’t even see!

Also, Busch Auto in Palatine, IL is excellent, they took time out of the day to work on a classic car that is not their usual client. I was grateful to have them fix things in my car that I was not familiar with.

Also AJ & H Transmission in Palatine, IL did an excellent job for me in checking my drive train and repairing anything necessary. They also stepped outside the bounds to work on a classic car that is not usually their typical client.


Below, click the buttons for some short videos of the car running.


Check out the pictures below, make sure to click on the picture to see the full version.


Before you go, check out these articles. Restoration and I’m going to fix it someday


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