Super Sedanette – David Ceccanti’s Classy Custom 1947 Buick
Building a radical traditional custom requires many different elements all coming into alignment. You need top-rate craftsmen, a thoughtful design, the right combination of parts, and plenty of persistence. And as David Ceccanti will tell you, a little luck doesn’t hurt.
David was fortunate enough to find Marcos Garcia of Lucky 7 Customs in Antioch, California, when he got serious about commissioning a custom car project. “During our conversations, Marcos told me he had a 1947 Buick Super Sedanette and offered it up,” David says. “I purchased the vehicle and the rest is history. I was very lucky, to say the least.”
It was an ideal starting point. Not only was the Buick a prime candidate for a classy and stylish cruiser, but Marcos is one of the premier names in the traditional custom car realm. He and his Lucky 7 team are true metal-shaping masters who have an excellent sense of design and style.
One of the challenges with building a custom these days is that you first need to restore the car. Marcos and the Lucky 7 team began by having the Buick media blasted and performing necessary metal repairs. They also smoothed the firewall, while retaining the factory stampings to keep it looking original. Then they were able to move onto the exterior restyling.
The 3-inch top chop is the most significant body modification – and no small feat to execute in a way that flows well due to all of the Sedanette’s curves and angles. “Watching Lucky 7 perform this was incredible,” David says. Besides altering the top’s height, the chop involved sectioning the trunk lid and hand forming the window openings to keep all the proportions correct.
The chop was just the start, as a host of other well-designed modifications transformed the Buick further. The front was treated to a ’47 Oldsmobile grille in a restyled opening, peaked fenders with frenched ’60 Jaguar headlight rings, a peaked hood, and a smoothed cowl. The front fender fade-away sections on the doors and quarter panels were welded to the body for a seamless finish, and the rear fenders were also welded to the body and received hand-built, flush-fit fender skirts. The door and trunk handles were also shaved, and the rear pan welded to the body.
While the body was being reshaped, the chassis was undergoing a transformation of its own. A ’69 Nova front subframe was welded on to replace the front section of the frame, and then updated with Fatman dropped spindles, QA1 coil-over shocks, and a Hellwig sway bar. The rear suspension was updated with air springs and QA1 adjustable shocks, along with a 12-bolt posi rear axle assembly. The frame was media blasted, powder coated, and fitted with a new 18-gallon fuel tank before being detailed and assembled.
A custom this interesting deserves an interesting engine, which came in the form of a 1960-vintage 425c.i. Buick Nailhead. The rebuilt V8 was treated to a Holley 650cfm carburetor, finned Fenton valve covers, a Cadillac-style air cleaner, HEI distributor, and cloth-wrapped plug wires. A Northern radiator with a Spal fan keeps things cool, while a Bendtsen’s adapter links the engine to a modern 4L60E transmission. The engine and all under-hood accessories were painted and detailed in correct early-’40s Buick factory colors and semigloss black finishes.
The paint that was ultimately selected for the body was also very period-appropriate – a rich, custom-mixed PPG tri-stage hue named Caledonian Blue. David vividly recalls seeing the painted body for the first time. “Marcos and I discussed colors, but I had no idea what I was in for,” David says. “I walked into the shop and saw Marcos standing next to the booth, smiling. As I got closer, I saw the car and the color. I had to turn around, walk out, then walk back in. The way that paint shined was the most memorable experience.”
The paint was polished to a concours show finish inside and out and is complemented by body moldings that were tailored for a precision fit before being plated by Sherm’s Custom Plating. The bumpers were also plated at Sherm’s after the front one was shaved and the rear had its guards sectioned and shortened. The exterior appearance was completed with a set of plated ’50 Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps and Firestone wide whitewall tires.
A similar period-style approach was used inside, where the dash and garnish moldings were treated to a hand-applied woodgrain finish and the instruments restored and converted to electronic operation by the North Hollywood Speedometer Company. An American Autowire harness, Vintage Air system, and modern audio system were all tucked away out of sight behind the dash, while a ’40 Ford-style column by Limeworks was topped with a factory wheel restored by Dennis Crooks. Devine’s Custom Interiors handled the upholstery, stitching mohair and broadcloth over reshaped original seats and custom door and side panels, and trimming German-weave carpet for the floor.
Built over an intense 24-month timeframe, the Buick stayed true to the original goals David and Marcos had to demonstrate classic style, excellent craftsmanship and detail, and concours-quality fit and finish with street functionality. And while a little luck might have helped to get the project started, the finished product is the result of the good fortune created when you make the right decisions and align yourself with the right people.
“Working with Marcos was an awesome experience,” David says. “We discussed everything. With his knowledge and experience, and the choices that were made, I have zero regrets. The entire crew at Lucky 7 Customs – Marcos, Jr., Logan, and Robert – are truly the best in the game.”
As great as the build experience was, the best may be yet to come. “This car was built to be driven,” David says, “and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Taking time to get out and just cruise with the wife, kids, and grandkids.”
Photos by Marc Gewertz