Not long after completing his custom ’71 Chevelle restomod “Showtime” in 2013, Joe set his sights on building a custom ’50 Buick Sedanet for which he already had a build car and
donor car. Joe’s quest for a custom ’50 Buick started when he saw a Norwegian custom ’50 Buick Sedanette that showed him how best to chop a torpedo back and keep the proportions looking natural. Other design details were gleaned from a California custom ’50 Buick he saw in one of the many magazines strewn around his office and garage.
In April 2017, after a number of delays, one being Joe purchasing Radical Speed Sport from Greg Turner in 2015, he took the Buick to the Aubé brothers (Aubé Customs - Ghislain and Christian) to have them build his dream Buick. Having worked with the Aubés on the Chevelle build, Joe knew exactly who he wanted to do the body, paint, wiring and mechanicals on his new project.
Over the next two years there was a laundry list of collaborative modifications that Joe and Ghislain worked on. The first being the chop. This required the entire top half of the car be removed - affectionately called the “bath tub” shot - if they were going to have a similar roof line to the Norwegian car Joe had used as a mental template. After the chop they went to work on the rear of the car making new inserts that followed the lines of the car, and wrapped around the back of the rear quarters to house ’54 Merc taillights. The rear bumper was built from ’56 Belair rear bumper, and the original Buick overrider and back up lights were modified to fit in the holes in the Chev bumper. The front fenders and rear quarters needed to be modified as the car was going to be channeled over the frame and floor pan of a 1984 Oldsmobile 98 Regency, and the wheel wells didn’t line up. Why use it then? While talking to Gene Winfield at the Atlantic Nationals about the Buick build, Joe was given the tip that all of Gene’s recent custom builds rode on Oldsmobile frames and suspension. Once the donor Olds was purchased and the frame put under the car, the only major modification was to add an airbag set up to allow the Buick to nestle in the weeds when at rest.
The front wheel opening issue was fixed by cutting them out and moving them back 2.5”. This actually makes the car appear lengthened because there is now metal between the back of the front bumper and wheel well, where before the front bumper ended in thin air. Ghislain also added custom front inner fenders, modified 1956 Studebaker headlight bezels to fit the Buick front quarters, replaced the 2 piece windshield with a single pane of glass, and added 1950 Oldsmobile door handles. The last modification is the most subtle as the stepped down door handles play off the custom US Mags rims and Merc taillights. The front bumper is primarily stock, but Dagmar bullets were added where the original signal lights were positioned. The new front signal lights are black motorcycle LED signal lights that are tucked up under the hood to either side of the grill so that you can’t see them unless they light up. The final modification to the front was peaking the hood after it was shaved.
Once all the body work was complete Joe and Ghislain set about to pick a colour. Originally Joe wanted to paint it “sunrise” yellow pearl as a reverse play on the “sunset” orange pearl on his ’56 Chev called “Sunset.” Ghislain didn’t take to that idea, so after many, many paint chips, the two finally agreed upon House of Kolor’s Apple Red Candy.
Next up was a custom interior. Ghislain customized the original dash by filling and smoothing unnecessary holes. He also built a custom waterfall console that houses a pioneer audio system and back lit control knobs for the air conditioning system. Gauges are custom, analog look Dakota Digital units whose faces were designed by Joe and Remy Degrâce (InColor, Moncton). Subtle brushed aluminum touches come from Lokar door handles, gas and brake pedals, and custom door plates embossed with “Bombshell”. The finishing touch is the custom wood steering wheel from Forever Sharp.
When it came time to design the upholstery for the Buick’s interior, Joe was at a loss to find something that made him think “that’s the interior I want!!!” On a whim Joe reached out to Dave Kindig (Kindig Designs) and asked if he would be willing to render an interior that suited the car and looked timeless. After a few months Joe had his interior rendering and took the car straight from the Aube’s shop in Miramichi to Colin Hoyt at AJM Customs (Dieppe, NB). Colin was able to take the 2D rendering from Kindig and bring it to life in the 3D world of the car. The front seats are out of a 1965 Ford Galaxie XL, and the back seat is modified to look like the front seats, and came from the donor Olds used for the frame and floor. Not to be outdone, the trunk also received the same custom touches as the interior, including a set of port holes like those on either side of the hood, and that were added to the upper door panels of the interior.
Power for the big car is an iron block 6.0L LS with aluminum heads, Holley Sniper EFI intake, and CFV Racing Billet pulley systems. Custom finned valve covers were added and painted to match the interior, as were the engine block and transmission. With a few internal tweaks the motor now puts out 545HP. The transmission is a TCI 700R4 and was built specifically to handle all that power.
Joe knew “Bombshell” would be the name of the car before the build even started. Although the car no longer appears to look like a 50’s Buick, the styling cues and integration of parts from several other 50’s cars make it appear timeless. This was Joe’s ultimate idea for the build, as well as the goal that he set for all of his collaborators. He wanted something that not only looks cool now, but will be cool now 20-30 years from now. I think Bombshell checks all those boxes and more!!!