johnnyrock70

1971 LeSabre production numbers question

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Hi everyone.  Question:

1971 production numbers data shows 26,970 4dr LeSabre Custom sedans were produced. I know Ford (specifically Mustang freaks) can figure out how many cars were made in a specific year, AND how many within that same year were ordered with certain engine options and color combinations. Is this type of data available with GM/Buick as well? I was curious if out of the 26,970 LeSabre 4dr Customs in '71, how many had the same color & engine combo like mine. I'm thinking that specific type of data is not available, but thought I'd ask. Thanks. 

Edited by johnnyrock70 (see edit history)

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I think this type of information has been procured for some special models, like some GS's, and Reatta's and maybe some Riviera's, , but I've never seen it for the general Buick car population.  Have you tried the Sloan Museum in Flint MI? Or the Buick Heritage Alliance? 

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This information is indeed available for the 1971 LeSabres from the Sloan Museum, Buick Gallery and Research Center.  If you request the daily production reports, you can obtain the figures for the cars produced in specific colors and equipped with individual options.

 

It is not, however, possible to determine how many were produced in, say, Twilight Turquoise AND having the 455 engine option AND having power seats.  It is simply possible to know how many LeSabre  Custom sedans were finished in Twilight Turquoise, how many were equipped with the 455 engine option, and how many had the power seat option.

Edited by Centurion (see edit history)
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Sloan Museum says:  they have tons of data available for model years 1970, and 1972 through 1976 only. For whatever reason, not 1971. Oh well. 

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Another source of some of the info is Ward's Annual.   If you live near a good library (or university library) they may have the Ward's books.

Once you find someplace that has the Ward's books.........then you will see that they do not break it down that fine, they will tell you what % of the cars had power brakes, AM-FM, automatic transmission and other options.

An example would be A/C ,  Ward's will tell you what % of 1971 LeSabres had A/C...the problem being it will be a % of ALL LeSabre produced that year.   The secondary problem is they use a percent.  Adding up all the different

LeSabre that year I get 153,835.   Next lets say Ward's list it at 88.7%  the first number you get is 136,451.6,  We know they did not make 1/2 a car so the percent was rounded, meaning it could be between 88.65% and 88.74% or

a .01 variable which would be 1,538 vehicles.   That is the problem with the Ward's numbers,  when you have a high production vehicle, the rounding of the percent can be quite a few vehicles.

 

They do not deal with colors........

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By observation, not all car companies (and divisions thereof) kept production data that many now have become interested in.  To many, once the model year was over, any reviews were done, the information was "archived" and then disposed of when file space was needed.  Just "thrown away" . . . UNLESS somebody had the foresight to archive it "off-site" and away from prying eyes, for future use by enthusiasts  . . . OR retrieved it from the dumpsters.

 

Much of this information was first desired by "special interest" enthusiasts (i.e., Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, Chevy SS, Pontiac GTO, Corvette).  In some cases, specific "hard" numbers were available.  In other cases, just "installation percentage" numbers.  ALL of this information was once in the files due to the various procurement activities in order to get the cars built.  Whether in actual sales orders or individual pieces procured to build the vehicles.  As mentioned, possibly the best time to get the data was at the end of the model year desired.

 

Now, in some cases (as Chrysler performance cars, the A-, B-, and E-body cars), some have taken the build numbers to a very tight "science".  Hitting some of the main model and equipment specifics to generate "__ of ____" numbers.  As possibly 1970 'Cuda 383 with factory a/c, TorqueFlite, specific paint color, specific stripe color, specific interior color and type, etc.  On the Chrysler Products, with their "data plate" in plain sight under the hood, it was very easy to document a vehicle without specifically having to take the interior apart looking for Build Sheets.  AND, much of this stuff was followed as the vehicles were produced, which helped keep the information "alive".  In this, too, was a dedicated man in Chrysler Historical who was a long-time (and known to the gate guards) employee who single-handedly transferred much of the "historical" things into private off-site storage during the times when some in Chrysler wanted to sell anything of potential value and scrapping/selling old parts for "chickenfeed" prices.  When the "crisis" was over, he moved it all back and Chrysler Historical came to a new prominence of being able to track things and customer inquiries.

 

There were some similar people in the Buick area of things who actively sought archived files and retrieved them from dumpsters, then got them to a "safe place".  This was mostly by pure luck, which might explain some of the gaps in the Sloan's information.  Once the "filed" files were found where they were, then further investigations probably led to contacts with the disposing entities so the information could be saved rather than discarded.  As iconic as this information might have later become, at the time, it was just numbers to many who made them happen.  "Just work", to them.

 

From what I recall, Pontiac was the first to advertise that they had archived information and would respond to inquiries.  I also believe that many divisions might answer specific requests with Letters of Authenticity, of sorts.  LIke "The Last 1975 Caprice Convertible Build", or how close a particular one was to that "last one", for example.  There are some figures for Camaros, which I've seen online or in print, I believe.  The referenced Ward's Auto publications can be interesting, but still a little too general for many enthusiasts who are seeking that "One of ____" confirmation of their particular car, for allegedly more value of the vehicle.  But you can determine which particular things were more rare than others, in some cases.

 

So, finding this information in a more current time orientation is not universally available for all carlines or manufacturers.  The total production of a particular model might be available relatively easily, which can be revealing enough in its own right, but getting much past that can be difficult.  Some trending data form one year to the next might be possible, but still speculative and somewhat related to historic events of the particular model year . . . which might be better than "nothing at all".

 

Be cognizant, as well, that "rarity" of option groupings or individual options themselves might be significant if it was their "first/last" year of use, or unique due to a low production level, but that does not always equate into more vehicle value unless a particular buyer might desire that distinction and is willing to pay for owning such.  As time progresses, such distinctions can be lost and become more in-important.  For example, having one of the first (or only) Reattas with the FACTORY cell phone option (where the phone handset was housed in the center console (pretty neat!) OR a Olds Toronado with the factory multi-color electronic instrument cluster and factory cell phone option/anti-theft system (where if the car was stolen, it'd "call somebody" to alert them of the possible theft (even neater!!), but each of those technologies have now been obsoleted and inoperative (in the case of the cell phone operation!) and could be more problems should they need service.  Still very neat, though.  "Late in the model year introduction" of particular options would be another area, as the first 3800 Supercharged C/H cars were, with regular option availability in the following model year.  Hundreds were produced in that last 120 days of the model year, which were significant back then, but then blended into the regular production ranks of things.  And then there were some GM Fleet Colors that were available in the model year before they became regular production items, too.

 

Just some observations,

NTX5467

 

 

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Let me clarify further.  The Sloan does not have information about individual cars built for 1971, unlike 1972 and other years.

 

But the kind of option and color production numbers requested in the original post IS available.  I have this exact information for the 1971 Centurions, obtained from the Sloan.  It is simply a matter of requesting the same information for the 1971 LeSabres.  Ask for the Daily Production Reports for the 1971 LeSabres.

Edited by Centurion (see edit history)
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I found this photo that gives you an idea of what you can get from Ward's...this is for 1965,  note it shows 0.1% of the full size Buick cars had a 4 speed manual.

 

65 Buick.jpg

Edited by Barney Eaton (see edit history)
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Very Interesting, I never saw a Ward's list before. 

 

0.4% of full sized Buick came with 3 speed manual transmissions. About 4 times the number of 4 speeds installed. Plus or minus error of such a small number.

 

Also interesting, the 1965 Chevy II had .3% of production with the 4 cylinder engine installed! All the other models have the V-8 and 6 cylinder cars totaling 100%. Only Chevy II had a four cylinder in 1965 domestic production from this list.

 

Oh, and 1.8% of Corvettes came with a 3 speed manual....😁

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GM of Canada Vintage Vehicle Services (I think that’s what they’re called) have decent records for cars produced in Canada or destined for the Canadian market. Many have been privately imported since so they don’t have records. I have very good information for my 1966 Wildcat, 1975 Electra, and 1988 Reatta. Going back to 1956, they could only provide general information. 

 

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I may have some info. If you list the options (codes will be helpful too), one by one, plus the model/body code, it's possible I can help.

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