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TxBuicks

Buick Rescue - 1997 Buick LeSabre

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Interesting thing was that the fwd Impala police package performed "right with" the Ford 4.6L V-8 in those performance tests!  But did it on less fuel, which was an important consideration for some.  BOTH engines were rated at approx. 200 horsepower, but the Ford was obviously heavier.

 

The front sheet metal on the fwd Buick Century was longer to accommodate the wider width of that engine, being a 90 degree V-6 as the other GM V-6s were narrower 60 degree V-6s.  The 4.1L V-6 gave the "higher carline" Buick a more powerful and larger engine than the lower carline brands, which was still somewhat important for brand differentiation.  Which also played well with that engine being available in Cadillacs, I suspect

 

NTX5467.

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To get back (somewhat) on topic, one other consideration is the fact that these cars are VERY inexpensive to insure, even with full coverage.  I am an insurance agent with over 36 years of experience and one thing I tell my clients when they are looking at a first car (or even second, third, etc) for their child is to get something the child's grandmother would enjoy driving.  A LeSabre, Century, Park Avenue or even a Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis or Town Car make excellent, inexpensive choices for young drivers.  They can be obtained cheaply and as such, some just put liability coverage on them as replacing the car with one of like kind is so inexpensive and it keeps the costs down for the customer.

 

My own son purchased a 1999 Town Car with 46,000 miles on it about 4 years ago.  The total cost was UNDER $5000 and he now has about 110,000 miles and "Beulah's" old Town Car (literally, previous owner's first name was Beulah, I kid you not) is going strong.  These types of cars do not have the "flash" of a Mustang or Camaro or Honda (one of the MOST expensive brands to insure out there, believe it or not) but will give YEARS of trouble free service and you know that the previous owner did service and maintain them as they were typically owned by older folks, one's that have the economic means to maintain the vehicle.  They make excellent value's in todays economic times.  The cost of ownership is unbelievably low of these autos.  Much more so than any "flashy" car out there, I guarantee. 

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Well said, Brad.  My experiences with rescuing these 1990's Buicks is that people won't even consider them until they are desperate.  I have to lead the people to the cars.  When I first mention that I have a good candidate for them to look at, but it is a Buick, they usually aren't that interested.  It is only after they actually see it that they become interested, with me constantly telling them how good a deal it is.  I have a 16 year old son, and he will be looking for a car soon.  Even after seeing me turn over these cars to happy new owners, he isn't interested in them.  I tell him, it beats walking.

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You are exactly correct, Roy.  NOBODY wants these excellent values in automobiles.  My 89 year old aunt moved last March from Ashland, KY to here with me and is now in assisted living locally.  She owns a 2000 LeSabre Custom and, when we drove it up last March, had just over 24,000 miles.  Still had the factory delivered tires mounted (which I promptly changed).  It's only issue was that it sat out all these years and had some minor issues with the headlights being cloudy and the typical GM headliner drooping.  I used one of those kits you find at the auto stores and polished the headlights out...don't look too bad if I do say so.  Headliner is next.  Gave it a quick detail with some much needed wax and the old girl cleaned up pretty well (the car, not Aunt Polly :)).  It's your typical "Grandma Gold", or as Alan Oldfield calls those colors, "Preservation Gold".  Talk about unloved....

 

So I tried to sell the car as Aunt Polly will be needing funds for the extended care facility.  I couldn't give it away at $2000, so....I kept it (I need another car like I need another hole in my head).  My daughter lives in Springfield, IL and it's a little over 6 hours from door to door.  I'm using the LeSabre to make the trips.  32 mpg, cruises at 80 mph without effort, cops pay ZERO attention to it, comfortable as all get out, plenty of room to even take the fur babies with us (two shelties) and it keeps the miles off my daily drivers.  Now THATS value!  How come no one else see's this?  Are we just that smart, or are we the dumb ones?

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Well, I wouldn't claim to be that smart.  I think logical would be fair to say.  When it comes down to functional and dependable transportation, it would be difficult to find another series or era of Buicks these days that are better.  I don't mind driving an unpopular car as long as it suits my needs.  I have other Buicks I can drive for "fun". 

 

My 1991 Roadmaster Estate Wagon was my daily driver for many years.  I took my family cross-country in that car a lot, attending many BCA Nationals in it.  Now, no one in my family will be caught near it.  And my son said he'd never drive it, so I'd better find something else. Go figure.

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I recently acquired a '94 Roadmaster Estate wagon - the one with the LT1 package. My younger step-son and his girl friend stopped by a week or so after I got it. They love it. (They're both 30'ish.) They now have a Subaru Outback wagon and are planning a trip next summer which would include a bunch of camping.  After riding in the Estate wagon, they promptly decided that a similar wagon for them would be perfect for comfort and hauling the gear they're planning to take with them.  Once I put all of the seats down, they decided that they could even "camp out" in the wagon with the stars over their heads - the moon roof that's over the middle seat. So, not every younger person shuns a good value in transportation.  Those that think logically rather than "what will my peers think" may have something going for them as well.

 

Ed

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51 minutes ago, RivNut said:

could even "camp out" in the wagon with the stars over their heads

That's what my friend said about his (un-cool) 1950 Nash with reclining seats ;).  My car (almost as frumpy) was a 1951 Plymouth 4dr, but sure beat the bicycle that I retired.

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IF "the kids" can't bring themselves to see the possibilities of those Buicks, that's THEIR problem!  The instrument panel has enough real estate to install the latest and trendiest "flashing light display" radio at Best Buy.  Plenty of room under the back window for a subwoofer big enough to "crack glass", too!  Then all that would be needed is a set of air struts!  Plenty of room in the luggage compartment for the compressor to run them, too!

 

Look at the cars of the 1950s and many has pretty plain body lines, with a few styling gee-gaws and moldings defining the model and such, and provided "paint divider" lines for the two-tone paint.  A little imagination could spiff-up those Buicks, too!  Certainly "out of character" for what's expected, but unique personalized vehicles could result.  Do the "trim" in shiny chrome-look "wrap" material, for example.

 

Perhaps young 'uns are too used to looking at Tall Trucks?

 

A while back, I rented some Chrysler Sebring JXi convertibles (individually).  Great cars!  The Mitsu V-6 needed more guts to easily cruise over 64mph with the top down, unlike prior LeBaron Turbo convertibles, but those were minor things (fixed by the Chry 2.7L V-6).  Then, one weekend afternoon, it noticed that the ONLY people driving the LeBaron or Sebring convertibles were "grand mothers", some  with foam rollers in their hair.  EVERY one of them!  I then started looking at who was driving those cars.  I finally found a 40-something couple in one, with the man driving.  It had some tri-spoke custom wheels AND they had the top down.  Even so, NOT the typical vibe of a young male who drives a pickup truck for the "macho" look and peer acceptance (after all, this IS Texas!).  So all of those 1959-era ads of younger people being at the beach in a convertible, having fun, just didn't transfer to these later convertibles!  Unless it might be a Mustang!

 

During "the drought years" of USA sporty cars, I was at a new car show as the grandson crawled into a Mitsu Spyder as if that's what he wanted in the future, as his grand father watched.  I just shook my head.  Where were the USA brands??  "Mired" somewhere else!

 

In some respects, COLOR makes a huge difference in how a vehicle brand is perceived.  This can also relate to the general mood of the nation, too!  After the nicer and brighter metallics of the middle 1970s, by '79 things had gone drab again.  Several years later, more bright colors, but fewer of them.  Many pastels and such on the higher level cars, plus the lessening of adornment trim, spelled "dull" in any language (no matter high shiny the wax made the paint).  They succeeded in going for the Euro look in that respect, but the Euro brands had enough cache to not get hurt by it.  Go on almost any new car lot today and its "white, black, and gray", typically.  No matter what brand of vehicle it is.  Small cars have bright colors, as do many pickups, but cars and SUVs are usually in the wbg colors.  The cars they do have in red, crimson, of yellow really stand out!

 

Unfortunately, many of the USA brands have lost several generations of young potential buyers, over the past 30 years.  Import brands have moved to fill the void as those markets didn't disappear (as GM orchestrated the demise of the Camaro, for example, or the T-bird/Cougar came to the end of their tooling's life).  The Camaro enthusiasts raised cane and GM had to listen, just as Ford had to listen when Mustang enthusiasts learned their "Mustang" would be built on a Mazda platform in Mexico (the Ford Probe became THAT car), as Ford had to re-think their plans.  GM's beloved "brand management" figured into the demise of some product sales, too, by observation.

 

When younger people purchased an early-70s big car, they bragged about how much fuel economy it didn't get.  Now the same demographic might get an import brand and brag about how much parts for it cost.  When "the smart money" would look for one of the 1980s+ LeSabres/Park Avenues and put that "un-spent money" into other life purchases/investments instead!  College tuition, for example!  Ah . . . that's "too rational"!

 

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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