Sign in to follow this  
BuickFan71

Need advice on car selection -- thanks

Recommended Posts

Looking at a few clean models for a weekend car. I would like to find one that has eye appeal, is comfortable to drive and ride in, will be dependable. I am not interested so much in future value -- just a really nice, clean, car that is really nice to drive for short weekend travel -- and one that looks classic.

Here are my choices thus far. Please feel free to add what you know about each model. Thanks!

1985 Cadillac Seville 53K

1991 Cadillac Allante 57K

1985 Buick Riviera 51K

1991 Buick Riviera 62K

1989 Buick Park Avenue 102K

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have shockingly similar taste in cars..... I have a strong affinity for every car on your list.

I presently own both an '84 Seville Elegante and an '88 Reatta.

The Seville is plenty nice, plenty comfortable. The 4100 Engine is a bit of a liability as they have a tendency to self-destruct if not properly cared for. Gas mileage is acceptable (24 Hwy) though performance is best described as leisurely, but she is definitely smoooth. I love my Seville, but it is not exactly a blast to drive, though I do thoroughly enjoy it.

The Allante (a car on my wish-list) has extreme problems with parts availability and cost, part quality ('80s Italian plastics are terrible and subject to warpage and straight-up decomposition), Allante tops WILL leak (slightly) ALWAYS, not-quite-ready-for-prime-time electronics can be a PITA and the potential for catastrophic loss of the power brakes if they aren't properly maintained must be attended to. My dad had an '87 and for all of it's many flaws he (and I) still loved the thing. They are beautiful and fun to drive for sure.

A '91 Riviera will bring the bullet-proof 3800, though with the eventuality of intake gasket failure. The digi-dash and climate control head unit have a higher than normal mortality rate, but are more or less readily available at reasonable cost through us Reatta folks.

Speaking of the Reatta, you should seriously consider one. They have their own problems the dash and climate problems shared with the Rivi in 90-91, brake problems similar to the Allante (can be easily averted with proper maintenance), are available for reasonable $$ and are truly rare though extremely well-supported by the Reatta section of these forums. They are based on a shortened Riviera platform and 3800 mechanicals so mechanical parts are reliable, readily available and inexpensive. For me the touchscreen electro-gizmo wizardry of the '88-89 models is still like "wow" every time I drive her and performance is brisk, handling is extremely well-balanced and gas milage durn good (30MPG Hwy).

Think of a Reatta as a mix of the best attributes of the Allante and Riviera and you'll see why I'm suggesting it. Was also available as a convertible, though pricing on those is dear, higher than a comparable Allante, probably for good reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about a 1979 Lincoln Continental Collectors Series Sedan. Triple dark blue, new leather interior, and rare fixed glass roof. Florida car with 52,000 miles and no rust in perfect condition. Car is in Dayton, Ohio

post-41405-143138049369_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Here are my choices thus far. Please feel free to add what you know about each model. Thanks!

1985 Cadillac Seville 53K

1991 Cadillac Allante 57K

1985 Buick Riviera 51K

1991 Buick Riviera 62K

1989 Buick Park Avenue 102K </div></div>

Whatever you wind up buying be sure to get a car that has the best gas mileage you can find that suits your needs. The $2.00 gas we're "enjoying" right now will disappear as soon as this economy returns to normal, and we'll be right back where we were last year.

Among these picks I'd stick with the 3.8L cars. There isn't a better engine in this class for economy and reliability.

I just bought my son his first car, a 1993 Dodge Dynasty. To my eye it's no thing of beauty, but it is in the same vein as the Caddilac and Buick models you mention. You can pick them up for a song (they're just about the cheapest car you can buy right now, much less than the Caddy or Buick), and for a 150,000 mile Electra-sized car with a 3.3L engine they get pretty good mileage. I put 200 miles on it before I gave it to him (all city driving) and got exactly 20 mpg. They had problem transmissions in the early '90s models, but most cars have had theirs replaced by now. Even a good 3.8L would have a hard time getting 20 mpg in the smaller LeSabre.

DYNASTY.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Dave@Moon</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

I just bought my son his first car, a 1993 Dodge Dynasty. To my eye it's no thing of beauty, but it is in the same vein as the Caddilac and Buick models you mention. </div></div>

Dave, I have to say, that Dodge is prettier than what's out there today......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am checking out the Reatta now. Thanks for the input. I am afraid of the Allante. I test drove one (loved it, though it had a miss in the motor), but the interior looked so terrible (everything cracked and broken). The AC did not even blow. Price? 6K I couldn't believe it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure where you're located, go to the Reatta "buy/sell" subforum. About 2/3 down the page, check out '89 white/burgandy. It's a nice car, good condition...... Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take a good look at a '94 - '96 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham with the Corvette LT-1 350ci/5.7L engine.

Ours consistantly gives 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with luxury and elegance. They are remarkably durable (a neighbor has one with more than 265,000 miles and his only major expense was for a front-end rebuild and alignment, and for the rear air suspension system to get new air shocks at about $200.

Nothing rides like a Caddy, although a Buick Roadmaster of the same vintage could be a viable alternative.

Stick with GM in my opinion. I've tried Ford and Mopar products, and I guess they are OK for the other guys, but for me and mine --- GM (and Packard) !!

Best of luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest BJM

No one has mentioned your consideration of the 85 Riviera. I would not purchase a Seville or the 91 Riviera. The Seville was/is a cool car because of it's unique rear end styling but you have to love it.

The 91 Riviera is to me a dog styling-wise for bad proportions. This was the post 85 GM downsizing gone bad.

Reattas are very inexpensive and very available. I can find 10-15 Reattas under $2000 any day fo the week. all with the usual used car ills I supposes, some less then others - but remember this is a hand built wells styled 2 seater.

But back to the 85 Riviera. This model was built from 79 to 85 and offers nice handling in front wheel drive, good cruising acceleration, and 22 to 26 mpg.

The styling is great. Engines were dependable, parts are fairly available, interiors are nicely detailed. The on eyou note - has only 52,000 miles. There are issues with these cars. I would start by flushing the overdrive transmission. They were decent transmissions but owners never changed the fluid and eventually they overheated the transmissions and many were replaced between 60,000 and 100,000 miles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest BJM

Dave,

That's sharp 3 box styling in the 93 Dynasty. Well integrated, nice dark grey color. I'd have no problem driving that car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BJM</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Reattas are very inexpensive and very available. I can find 10-15 Reattas under $2000 any day fo the week. all with the usual used car ills I supposes, some less then others - but remember this is a hand built wells styled 2 seater. </div></div>

I beg your pardon, shocked.gif Find me a Maui Blue Reatta convertible for two grand, and I'll take it right now. Last ones that I saw were bringing between $10,000 to $15,000 Grand. eek.gif Dandy Dave!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Rawja</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

The Allante (a car on my wish-list) has extreme problems with parts availability and cost, part quality ('80s Italian plastics are terrible and subject to warpage and straight-up decomposition), Allante tops WILL leak (slightly) ALWAYS, not-quite-ready-for-prime-time electronics can be a PITA and the potential for catastrophic loss of the power brakes if they aren't properly maintained must be attended to. My dad had an '87 and for all of it's many flaws he (and I) still loved the thing. They are beautiful and fun to drive for sure.</div></div>

As the owner of two 93 Allantes, I'll disagree. As usual, GM fixed most of these problems the same year they killed the car. Any year Allante is mechanically identical to the same year Eldo, so mechanical parts are easy. Body and interior parts are a problem, however. While virtually all body panels interchange among years, the interior parts don't. The 93 in particular has many one-year-only items. There's the obvious Northstar drivetrain. In addition, the 93 electronics did away with the multiplex design of prior years, making them dead reliable. Similarly the ABS was changed, eliminating the risk of a complete brake failure that was a very weak point on the 87-92 cars. The 93 used Lear seats, to some a downgrade from prior years' Recaros. The 93 also used unique outside mirrors since the vent windows were deleted that year.

Let's just say that there's a reason why the 93s carry a substantial price premium over the other year Allantes, and it isn't only due to the extra 100 HP from the Northstar (though that DOES make the car very fun to drive). Now if it only weren't wrong wheel drive...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BuickFan71</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Looking at a few clean models for a weekend car.

1985 Cadillac Seville 53K

1991 Cadillac Allante 57K

1985 Buick Riviera 51K

1991 Buick Riviera 62K

1989 Buick Park Avenue 102K </div></div>

Thats a tough group to pick from for me so I'll start by process of elimination. Definitely not the Seville or the Allante, while they are nice cars, they are not necessarily reliable as a general rule. I don't mean to offend anyone who has one but the 85 Sevilles were junk and I'll just let it go at that. smirk.gif I had a 52k all original 93 Allante and it was plagued with electrical problems that were extremely difficult to troubleshoot. Don't expect to find a mechanic familiar with them either. It was a decent weekend car from a class standpoint but required too much fussing over to keep everything working. The car was far from comfortable to drive. OK for going across town I guess.

The 91 Riv is a nice comfortable car with a proven drivetrain but its styling was blah and lacks personality and curb appeal to many....but as we know beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you like the styling, the 91 will provide excellent comfort, reliability, fuel mileage and value. By value I mean low mileage excellent condition car can be found for $4000-$6000. You really get a lot for the money on this one.

The 85 Rivs are fairly plentiful in nice condition and for good reason. They held up better than other makes of the same era. They were pretty reliable especially if well maintained and garage kept. What they may lack in reliability compared to the 91 they make up for in styling. To this day they still remain an attractive classy car to most.

I don't know a lot about the 89 Park Ave but have heard they easily go 200k mi with decent care and maintenance. This also is a good value and very nice examples can be had because they were primarily owned by older folks who didn't put many miles on them and were kept in a garage.

In summary if I wanted more style I'd go for the 85 Riv. If strictly value, reliability, fuel economy and parts availability, I probably go for the Park Ave. If you like the Riv styling that is somewhere in between. In any case no matter what you buy be patient and buy a car that has been pampered even if it means paying extra to travel out of your area to get it or having it transported. Paying extra to go get pampered car vs one thats just "OK" but close to home will typically payoff twice over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say search a little more and find yourself a clean 93 or 94 Regtal GS 2 or 4 door. They are out there and totally off everyones radar. As the owner of a 93 regal custom with the 3800, I can say reliability was superb. 160K when my son took it, and up to 180K+ now. This car consistently got 30 MPG on the long haul loaded. Slightly full my wife even got 35 MPG on one trip.

Another son has a 93. He does have some issues but he is well into the 190+ range. Recently he reported getting 24 MPG and attributes it to not having changed the plugs recently.

My other son had a 94, which he did get tired of because he is a perfectionist and wanted the car purely stock. Being the white one, the paint was flaking off as som many of these did but being a 93 and 94 regal GS is made using galvanized metal body panels, there was no rust out even after 4 harsh winters in upstate NY. 95 and 96's are not made with galvanized metal.

Yes, expect to eventually put a intake manifiold gasket in. A one day job. Also expect to put brakes and shocks and bearing plates. And then expect to ride in total comfort with a car many seemed to forget

post-32834-143138050191_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The '85 Riviera is the only one I'd consider off that list. The Allante is too fussy, a car you really have to be into to put up with. And that Dynasty looks better to me than any of the others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello BuickFan, one thing to consider is if you are interested in AACA activities the 1985 Riviera will be eligible soon, almost 25yrs old (yikes!). Even with that aside, IMO that generation of Riv is a beauty, great looks, old style GM posh interior, very popular then, and probably good potential to hold it's value. That would probably be the one for enjoyment and not much worrying about parts availability and such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this