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Looking for info re Lesabre Limited Collector's Edition


buzzflood
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Hi,

Yesterday morning, I came across a 1985 Buick Lesabre Limited Collector's Edition. This surprised me, because I had never heard of this version of the Lesabre. I've been searching the web for info about the Collector's Edition, but haven't come up with any details. All I could find was that it was issued to commemorate the end of the RWD Lesabre coupes and sedans.

I'm hoping someone can provide some details about this Lesabre. What differentiated the Collector's Edition from other Lesabres? Was it merely cosmetic or were there performance enhancements? How many were produced? Is there a unique code in the VIN that IDs the Collector's Edtion? I appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you!

Buzz Flood

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Buzz,

It was cosmetic. Hood ornament and maybe another label somewhere. the most important aspect of the Collectors Edition was a leather-like portfolio that inlcuded some nice art/heavy stock photos and other items. I believe the key chain was special but don't quote me on that.

I have thrown away a few fo these commemorative leather packets. These 1985 Collectors Edition Buick LeSabres are nothing special. I would "collect" them only if you like the 1985 LeSabre styling and features. There will be no additional value because of this label.

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Hi Jake,

Thanks very much for the super-quick reply. Not that I'm very familiar with the details of the Lesabre, but I didn't see anything that made the car special. I only knew it was a 'Collector's Edition' because of the insignia on the dashboard. It's hard to believe that Buick would throw the CE label on a car with such insignificant distinctions. Thanks again!

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Guest my3buicks
Hi Jake,

Thanks very much for the super-quick reply. Not that I'm very familiar with the details of the Lesabre, but I didn't see anything that made the car special. I only knew it was a 'Collector's Edition' because of the insignia on the dashboard. It's hard to believe that Buick would throw the CE label on a car with such insignificant distinctions. Thanks again!

Keep in mind that the probable reason for the "collector edition" nomenclature was that it was the end of an era being the last of the full size rear drive Buick's(at that time, not yet having the Roadmaster rebirth in sight) - While the collector potential never really materialized these cars are still wonderful road cars, ultra plush, in some cases more Electra like.

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buzzflood,

In that case you might pull everything "Collectors Edition" off the car and sell them. Look also in the glove box for that Leather Look folder, they are pretty neat - or might be under the seat.

Keith makes a very good point. About the desirability of this era of Lesabres. He knows I am a fan, so my comments aren't about the collectability or desirability of the 85 LeSabres. I've owned an 85 four door, nicknamed by my family BOB for Big Old Buick. And I would take an 85 2 door sport coupe with road wheels any day of the week - but i don't look for the Collectors Edition badging to make my final decision.

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In the middle 1980s, it was a time of change from rear wheel drive vehicles to front wheel drive vehicles of the same model and name. For some, it was "the end of the line" of their favored vehicles, which many manufacturers tried to capitalize on with "Collector Editions" of many vehicles. In the case of the 1985 LeSabres, ALL of them had "Collector Edition" status and ornamentation . . . plus the really neat Owner's Manual Portfolios. So, it was much more than just a decal/stripe/ornamentation package conjured-up by a dealership to justify charging more money for the vehicle.

Whether or not you might have bought into the "Collector Edition" hype of the time, that generation of rwd LeSabres were incredibly nice vehicles (just a little underpowered with the Olds 307 V-8 in them!). GM also had other "Collector Edition" vehicles in that era, including some Corvettes and also later-model rwd Roadmasters (of a particular model year).

These "Collector Edition" LeSabres might not have any additional value than a prior model year's LeSabre, but it does give them a little added status of sorts as "the last year" of rwd LeSabre. The "Collector Edition" ornamentation has been long gone from GM's parts bins for many years, so finding some in good condition CAN be valuable for correct restorations of these vehicles . . . or maintaining their "archival" status in the future.

Regards,

NTX5467

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GM copied the Collectors Series from Lincoln in 1979. Those were special edition cars that sold for a premium over the regular Lincolns. They had special interiors, badging, gold plating, etc. They were quite successful and ended up selling much better than the 1980 Lincolns that replaced them.

I remember a neighbor purchased a new 1985 Collectors Edition LeSabre. It had a special hood ornament, dash plaque, and portfolio. A far cry from the Lincolns extra plush interior, accessories, and options. However, while the LeSabre might not look that exciting in retrospect, I remember GM axing all the rwd drive models and replacing them with tacky little fwd boxes. I still think it was an incredibly stupid move to get rid of all the rwd models. GM ended up with everything looking like a Pontiac 6000. I think that is what started the downfall of GM. I still like the Lincoln Town Car commercial that capitalized on it where the valets cannot tell apart any of the GM cars or divisions, but the Town Car is unmistakeable.

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It's nice hearing Lincoln guys comparing Lincolns to LeSabres. They never did make a Lincoln that could compare to an Electra/Park Avenue - the Park Ave's far outplushed the Lincolns so it was a good fair comparison between the middle of the line Buick and the Lincoln. "Special Edition" & "Collector Edition" cars where around long before 79 Lincolns or 85 LeSabres so I doubt that Buick stole that idea from Lincoln. As far as the tacky fwd Luxury cars from GM, I guess the fact that Lincoln didn't do the same is why Lincoln is still the leading luxury car of the world:rolleyes:

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While special edition models were nothing new, I am unaware of any company using Collectors Series badging before Lincoln in 1979.

Buick "outplushed" Lincoln?? In whose opinion besides yours? Those vinyl interiors Buick had were just so plush and prestigious. So were the foam dashes that cracked on every car.

Oldsmobile is gone, Pontiac is gone, Buick has a whole 3 models. How much longer before Buick is gone? Ford and Lincoln were the ones that didn't need bailout money. Seems like those tacky fwd GM's weren't such a good idea.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)
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I'd like to say thanks for all your responses to my request for info re the Collector's Edition Lesabre. I didn't mean to spark this GM vs Ford/Lincoln debate. I guess I'll remain neutral. I have a 1956 Lincoln Premiere in my garage. It and its GM stablemate are waiting until my 2010 retirement, when they will get the attention they deserve.

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I happen to have an '85 2dr Collector Edition and am looking for some parts. Moldings, etc. Too nice a car to give up on. Any still out there for parts? Not much luck in the salvage yards.

Thanks

Rod

Hi Rod,

I brought a number of those '85 Collector's Edition parts home from the U-Pull-It yard. I've listed some on eBay; others are not yet listed. Let me know if you have specific needs. I expect to be back in that yard in the near future.

Buzz

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While special edition models were nothing new, I am unaware of any company using Collectors Series badging before Lincoln in 1979.

Buick "outplushed" Lincoln?? In whose opinion besides yours? Those vinyl interiors Buick had were just so plush and prestigious. So were the foam dashes that cracked on every car.

Oldsmobile is gone, Pontiac is gone, Buick has a whole 3 models. How much longer before Buick is gone? Ford and Lincoln were the ones that didn't need bailout money. Seems like those tacky fwd GM's weren't such a good idea.

LINC400,

You and I have commented on the Packard forum in a respectful disagreement. I certainly appreciate Lincoln and have several Lincoln posts. Even if I disagreed with an over the top loyalty based statement by a Lincoln poster, I would not denegrate a Lincoln.

...and it could easily be done. All manufacturers have had their high points and low points. Few auto design pundits (not that I rely heavily on their opins) have lauded the Lincoln passenger car styling of late, while the new LaCrosse is getting rave reviews.

If a poster said some untoward comments about your favorite car line, the best response is a positive rebuttal not a slam on the Buick forum - of Buicks.

I've recently been looking to purchase a 57 Lincoln, Kaisers and more Chryslers.

But in terms of the modern cars, Lincoln has a line up of 3-4 cars I think, and Buick has three. If I am not mistaken, Lincoln has an MKZ, a Navigator, another Ford based SUV and does it still make the Town Car? Buick has a similar line up of premium cars.

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That all being said, I could easily be very happy with a Lincoln MKT or MKX sitting in my garage - I think they are both great looking vehicles that hit an excellent market segment both of whcih would perfectly suit my needs.

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Ok the bailout comment was mean. But that was in response to the Lincoln bashing. As far as new vehicles, I am not impressed by any 2010 Buick or Lincoln. In my opinion, the only one of interest is the Town Car which is an aging design on an even older platform that looks much more like a Marquis than a Lincoln. If I were going to buy something new it would be a Camaro, Challenger, or Mustang. And I do not even like muscle cars. They are simply the only new cars that have any personality and have 2 doors.

I still stand by my original comments though. Like I said, while special editions were nothing new, I am not aware of any company using Collectors Series/Edition badging before Lincoln in 1979. The Collectors Series Mark V had a completely unique interior with special velour, console, thicker carpeting, special wood and metal trim (although plastic), leather wrapped dash, most options standard, special gold plated grill, roof treatment, color keyed wheels, tool kit, umbrella, leather wrapped owners manual, gold plated badging, limited colors, padded Continental hump, plush color-keyed carpeted trunk, special hood ornament, and probably a few more things I've forgotten. This was to commemorate the last true full size Lincolns.

To commemorate the last rwd Buick in 1985, Buick offered the Collectors Edition with special hood ornament, dash plaque, and portfolio. How is that not a cheap copy with nowhere near the effort Lincoln put into it?

The Collectors Series Lincolns do command a premium over the standard 1979's now. I do not think anyone will be paying a premium because of a hood ornament on a LeSabre. The hood ornament itself and portfolio may command a premium on Ebay, but I do not see anyone paying more for the Collectors Edition LeSabre over a regular one.

I actually like the 1984-5 Park Avenue and LeSabre. I cannot see how anyone thought that the 1985-6 models were an improvement. I really can't see how anyone would pay more for a 1985 Park Ave instead of paying less for the much nicer 1985 LeSabre. I am not a fan of downsizing. But it can be done well. The 1979 downsized Riviera was a huge improvement over the previous years bland looking can't really tell it apart from the LeSabre model. The smaller size and curvaceous lines with verticle roof gave it a sporty yet formal look. A great design. The 1985-6 Park Ave and LeSabre were just extremely bland boxes that looked like they had the front and rear chopped off. They didn't look much different than the much cheaper Pontiac 6000. I thought they were a bad idea then, and still think so now.

The buyer of a 1975 LeSabre or Electra would never look at a Honda or Toyota. However, by the late 1980's when a LeSabre was the same size, price, had the same equipment, and the media was hyping how wonderful foreign cars were, why not look at a Honda or Toyota instead of a Buick? If the Toyota or Honda was a little less expensive, even better. GM was stupid by making everything a fwd little box and abandoning their traditional buyers. There was no reason they could not have made both. I like GM's, but chopping and downsizing everything is something I will never forgive them for. The first round in 1977-8 was perhaps needed, but the second round in 1985-6 was not, and it was not well done either.

Lincolns are not the most fabulous cars ever. They have their flaws. My biggest complaint is the armrests and wood on the steering wheel on the Mark Series. They crack on every car. There is actually very little interchangeable between a Mark IV and V interior. However, in an incredibly stupid move, when the armrests and steering wheels were already going back to Lincoln for replacements under warranty on the Mark IV, those were the 2 items they carried over to the Mark V.

However the comments that a LeSabre/Park Ave are plusher than a Lincoln are ridiculous. How is vinyl plusher than leather or velour? The standard engine on most Buicks was a 350 (and I was NOT impressed by the one in my 1975) as opposed to a 460 or later 400 standard in a Lincoln. My 1975 Buick did not have power windows, locks, seats, rear window defroster ( great fun in Chicago), FM radio, etc. because those were all optional on a Buick, but standard on a Lincoln. In fact the only things my Buick had that my friend's much cheaper 1972 Nova did not were a/c, a clock, and a cigarette lighter. Not very prestigious. But then Buicks were not made to compete with Lincolns. Cadillacs were.

And I have to say that I thought the vinyl interiors were indeed tacky. From leather and brocades in the 1950's and 1960's, how did Buick ever think that vinyl was a suitable material for an upper middle class car in the 1970's? Olds 98's were less expensive and had much nicer interiors. So did Chryslers and Mercurys.

By the way, I own both a Buick and a Lincoln.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)
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Guest my3buicks

[quote name=

However the comments that a LeSabre/Park Ave are plusher than a Lincoln are ridiculous. How is vinyl plusher than leather or velour? The standard engine on most Buicks was a 350 (and I was NOT impressed by the one in my 1975) as opposed to a 460 or later 400 standard in a Lincoln. My 1975 Buick did not have power windows' date=' locks, seats, rear window defroster ( great fun in Chicago), FM radio, etc. because those were all optional on a Buick, but standard on a Lincoln. In fact the only things my Buick had that my friend's much cheaper 1972 Nova did not were a/c, a clock, and a cigarette lighter. Not very prestigious. But then Buicks were not made to compete with Lincolns. Cadillacs were.

And I have to say that I thought the vinyl interiors were indeed tacky. From leather and brocades in the 1950's and 1960's, how did Buick ever think that vinyl was a suitable material for an upper middle class car in the 1970's? Olds 98's were less expensive and had much nicer interiors. So did Chryslers and Mercurys.

By the way, I own both a Buick and a Lincoln.

First I think you need to climb into a Park Ave or LeSabre Limited of that vintage, and take a real look at it. Every bit as plush as a Lincoln - and YES LEATHER was an option in them, not vinyl(80's). I would have to say many Lincoln buyers have shopped Buick when they went car shopping and I am sure Buick over the years has stolen many Cadillac, Lincoln and Chrysler buyers. Had trouble finding a pic, but this interior is every bit as plush as a Town Cars

post-30591-143138131781_thumb.jpg

Edited by my3buicks (see edit history)
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You are showing me a 1980-84 Park Ave. Yes, those cars have nice interiors. However, I have never driven one. I used to own a 1988 Town Car. My friend has several 1980-91 rwd Cadillac DeVille/Boughams. While the interior looks as plush as a Lincoln, they are not as nice. They are very trucky to drive in comparison, and the seats might look comfortable, but they are not for long trips. The Buick being based on the same body might or might not be more comfortable. But I already said that GM's mistake was dropping the 1980-84/5 rwds, not making them.

Of course Lincoln also screwed up the steering for the 1990's Town Cars and added the problem prone air suspension.

I was at a Buick grand invitational a couple years ago in my friend's 1973 Centurion convertible. It has just about every option I think, and it is nowhere near as plush as a '70's Lincoln. And it has, drum roll, vinyl seats. In fact just about every 1970's Buick there had vinyl seats including Electras and Rivieras, the top of the line models. Buick should have been putting in the 1980 type interiors all along, not cheap vinyl. They got the interiors right for a few years in the early '80's, and then dropped the ball with the fwd replacements. And if they were going to do a commemorative edition for the last of the rwds, they deserved something better than just a hood ornament and portfolio.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)
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Vinyl seats in a convertible are the norm, and hold up much better than any other fabric in an open air car. Not a lover of Vinyl but that was a time when that seemed to be in vogue. The vinyl that was used in teh Centurion was a mixture of expanded and regular, the expanded you are hard pressed to tell it's not leather. I would say, at least Buick and GM had a convertible in the 70's, oh, that's right, Lincoln didn't. They left the luxury big convertible market to the true luxury cars, Cadillac and Buick.

post-30591-143138131798_thumb.jpg

Edited by my3buicks (see edit history)
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The Lincoln convertibles had leather seats, not vinyl. And that still does not explain cheap vinyl in the Riviera, Electra, and non-convertible LeSabre and Centurion. It is also quite easy to tell the difference between Buick vinyl and leather. Simply leave the top down for a few hours in the hot sun and then have a seat in your Buick. Even better if you are wearing shorts.

The Lincoln Mark series outsold the Eldorado coupe, convertible, and LeSabre/Centurion convertibles combined. So it does not seem like they lost out on much by not offering a convert in the '70's.

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Not to throw water on to a grease fire but I feel that both or you guys are right. both companies dropped the ball at one time or another. But to say that all the mid 80 interiors were bad or uncomfortable is in my mind wrong.

I drove my T-type from Albany NY to Flint MI and was fine the whole way.

DougsTtypeFeb2005006.jpg

You get lost in those seats. Also The interior is more then big enough to fit four grown people in it and still have room, and that a two door. my 94 GS was big enough to fit four grown people as well. I'm sorry to say that in my dads gs and in a ford conv that I have ridden in the back seat is so small and uncomfortable its not funny at all. So I'll take my 80's interiors any day.

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I was at a Buick grand invitational a couple years ago in my friend's 1973 Centurion convertible. It has just about every option I think, and it is nowhere near as plush as a '70's Lincoln. And it has, drum roll, vinyl seats.

The Centurion is not an apples to apples comparison to any period Lincoln. They were meant to be fast with a degree of luxury as they had the big block 455 from 71-72 and the 455 was optional in 1973.

An apples to apples comparison is the Electra Limited from this period. I have owned 2 1972 Limiteds. Both had cloth interiors. Leather was not an option that I am aware of but in terms of style, all other measures of luxury - they were the equal of Lincoln.

And Buick had the Riviera. If the entire argument is based on vinyl versus leather then I guess Lincoln wins.

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To commemorate the last rwd Buick in 1985, Buick offered the Collectors Edition with special hood ornament, dash plaque, and portfolio. How is that not a cheap copy with nowhere near the effort Lincoln put into it?

LINC, If you go all the way back to my original advice to this poster, I said as much. The 85 "Collectors Edition" Lesabre was nothing. It is certainly no reason to purchase one.

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And of course there are these spartan offerings, I even tossed in a vinyl one for your pleasure

As you can see, the Buick interiors where really subpar to that of the Lincolns - ROFLMAO:rolleyes:

post-30591-143138131849_thumb.jpg

post-30591-143138131854_thumb.jpg

post-30591-143138131857_thumb.jpg

post-30591-143138131861_thumb.jpg

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The Centurion is not an apples to apples comparison to any period Lincoln. They were meant to be fast with a degree of luxury as they had the big block 455 from 71-72 and the 455 was optional in 1973.

An apples to apples comparison is the Electra Limited from this period. I have owned 2 1972 Limiteds. Both had cloth interiors. Leather was not an option that I am aware of but in terms of style, all other measures of luxury - they were the equal of Lincoln.

And Buick had the Riviera. If the entire argument is based on vinyl versus leather then I guess Lincoln wins.

It was not my idea to compare Buick and Lincoln interiors. However, I believe vinyl is much too cheap a material to be used on any full size Buick. You could get a Ford Granada with a plusher velour interior. So I really think it was unacceptable for Buick to be using vinyl. The 80's interiors were more tasteful. However, for the 1970's, you would have to get one of the rare fabric or velour interiors on an extremely well optioned car to get the same level of luxury offered standard on a base Lincoln. This makes sense since as I already said, Buick was not intended to compete with Lincoln. Also Oldsmobile seemed to have a lot more choices in fabric and velour than Buick with a lot less emphasis on vinyl during that same time period, and Buick was supposed to be the more expensive car.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)
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And of course there are these spartan offerings, I even tossed in a vinyl one for your pleasure

As you can see, the Buick interiors where really subpar to that of the Lincolns - ROFLMAO:rolleyes:

Those would be the most expensive interior options on the top of the line Electra Limited/Park Ave. So you would have to get the most expensive interior in the most expensive Electra in order to have an interior of the same quality as a base Lincoln. Also it would have to be extremely well optioned in order to compete with Lincolns standard equipment.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)
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LINC, If you go all the way back to my original advice to this poster, I said as much. The 85 "Collectors Edition" Lesabre was nothing. It is certainly no reason to purchase one.

We agree there. The Buick Collector Edition was no comparison to Lincoln's Collectors Series. That was the whole point of my post.

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To be fair I thought I should post a pic of a sumptuous :( Lincoln interior - I would believe this would be the standard interior - looks kind of plain compared to the above Park Ave interiors, I guess more in line with a Standard Electra interior.:rolleyes:

post-30591-143138132214_thumb.jpg

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Looks a lot better than vinyl, which is what the majority of 1970's Buicks had. Considering I've seen a lot of 1970's Electras, and have never even seen any with these console interiors, that is most obviously not your average Electra interior. So if you wanted to buy the absolute top of the line Electra, equip it with the most expensive interior option, and order every option on it so that you were at a higher price than a basic Cadillac, you could get a car as plush as a Lincoln. However, I see no point to that entire discussion which has nothing to do with the original post.

The post was about the Collectors Edition LeSabre. Which as I have said was copied from Lincoln, was nowhere near as plush, and had nowhere near the effort Lincoln put into it. Care to explain how a hood ornament, dash plaque, and portfolio make the car as special or plush as all the items made standard on the Collectors Series Lincoln? Not to mention the fact that some people have not even heard of the Collectors Edition Buick, or those that like Buicks don't even think it is worth anything more than a standard LeSabre? As I already said, the Lincoln Collectors Series commands a premium over the standard 1979's. Does the Buick? According to price guides the Lincoln Collectors Series commands a premium. The Buick Collector Edition isn't even mentioned, while a/c and a V-8 are listed as what adds value to a LeSabre. Both are standard on the bottom of the line Lincoln.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)
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Frankly I find this digression from the original topic somewhat idiotic, but what the hell I'll wade in.

With a few notable exceptions Lincoln has always been an also-ran to Cadillac.

The '85 to '91 GM 'C-Body' cars (with the exception of the DeVilles) were extremely successful, were "right-sized" for the their time and were much better cars than those they replaced in terms of performance, economy, handling, quality and contemporaneity of style. Ford's dire financial straights prevented them from updating their product lines to make the smaller models that the prevailing wisdom indicated would be in demand due to the universally-predicted surge in gasoline prices. That the cost of gasoline fell rather than rising saved the company and by that lucky break Ford was able to continue and thrive on the back of their ancient Lincoln line-up, particularly the Town Car which was an incredible profit center as its tooling was long ago paid-for.

Ford has been able to forgo bailout monies due to their mortgaging every corporate asset for loans early in 2007, before the meltdown of the financial market. This was a last-ditch effort to fund a complete re-vamping of their product lines to hopefully reverse their sliding market share. They have apparently invested those finds wisely as evidenced by their current vehicle line-up, and I am happy to see them resurgent, but it's not like GM has been asleep at the switch either. Cadillac's line-up is more exciting and contemporary than its been in prolly 50 years, the new LaCrosse and Enclave are genuinely attractive and competitive with all comers, and quality is across-the-board the best it has ever been.

Comparing ersatz luxury-cues, especially in the context of the era when all that was in the process of being rejected by the car-buying public is pretty silly IMO. In the present day, the domestic makes of the seventies and the early eighties are rightfully looked on with some disdain. They were almost universally too big, too thirsty, poorly handling, over-styled, under-engineered, indifferently screwed-together, under-performing junk. That we love 'em doesn't change the facts. (For the record, I own and love an '84 Seville Elegante mostly due to how over-wrought and over the top a design it is, so you shouldn't take offense from my observations, I'm one of yous).

Accusing GM of "stealing" something as generic as "collector edition" is laughable, especially in the context of and during the era when almost every Lincoln model rolled out was often a poorly-executed reaction to Cadillac's marketing moves (Versailles and '82 Continental anyone?). But in any case if a competitor has discovered an profitable niche be it smaller luxury cars or premium option packages only an idiot wouldn't try to exploit it by rolling out an offering to try to get a piece of the action, which I suppose brings my rambling full circle to "boy is this a dumb tangent". :rolleyes:

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With a few notable exceptions Lincoln has always been an also-ran to Cadillac.

The '85 to '91 GM 'C-Body' cars (with the exception of the DeVilles) were extremely successful, were "right-sized" for the their time and were much better cars than those they replaced in terms of performance, economy, handling, quality and contemporaneity of style. Ford's dire financial straights prevented them from updating their product lines to make the smaller models that the prevailing wisdom indicated would be in demand due to the universally-predicted surge in gasoline prices. That the cost of gasoline fell rather than rising saved the company and by that lucky break Ford was able to continue and thrive on the back of their ancient Lincoln line-up, particularly the Town Car which was an incredible profit center as its tooling was long ago paid-for.

Comparing ersatz luxury-cues, especially in the context of the era when all that was in the process of being rejected by the car-buying public is pretty silly IMO. In the present day, the domestic makes of the seventies and the early eighties are rightfully looked on with some disdain. They were almost universally too big, too thirsty, poorly handling, over-styled, under-engineered, indifferently screwed-together, under-performing junk. That we love 'em doesn't change the facts. (For the record, I own and love an '84 Seville Elegante mostly due to how over-wrought and over the top a design it is, so you shouldn't take offense from my observations, I'm one of yous).

Accusing GM of "stealing" something as generic as "collector edition" is laughable, especially in the context of and during the era when almost every Lincoln model rolled out was often a poorly-executed reaction to Cadillac's marketing moves (Versailles and '82 Continental anyone?). But in any case if a competitor has discovered an profitable niche be it smaller luxury cars or premium option packages only an idiot wouldn't try to exploit it by rolling out an offering to try to get a piece of the action, which I suppose brings my rambling full circle to "boy is this a dumb tangent". :rolleyes:

If you prefer Cadillacs, that is your opinion. However to say that Lincoln was an also-ran to Cadillac is not true. The 1960's Lincolns had nothing in common with Cadillac. They were understated and timeless as opposed to Cadillac's flashier look that changed every 2 years. One is not necessarily better than the other. It depends on what you prefer. The Mark series Lincolns outsold the Eldorado every single year with Eldo offering both a coupe and convertible. The 4 door Cadillacs outsold the Continental/Town Car, but the Continental was also priced much higher than the DeVille. Fleetwoods did not have huge sales volumes either. Lincoln sales actually picked up a lot in 1977 when Cadillac downsized, and remained high through 1979. The Versailles and 1982 Continental were not Lincolns best. But how about a Cimmaron or Catera? How great are those?

My personal opinion is I do not care how wonderfully a car drives, what gas mileage it gets, how nice the interior might be if a car's styling is unattractive to me. I have to see it every day and be seen in it. The 1985-86 Full size GM's were most definitely not a styling improvement in my opinion.

Chicago used to be prime Buick territory. When the Roadmaster came out in 1992, one Chicago auto critic bashed it as being a dinosaur. That drew a huge response from Chicago Buick dealers that bashed him right back. They stated that they could not believe the huge number of 1970's-1984 Buicks and Oldsmobiles that came in on trade. There were also a lot of Caprices, Crown Vics, and Marquis that came in on trade. They said that their traditional buyers either held on to their old cars or switched to Chevy, Ford, or Mercury because Buick and Olds were not offering the type of car they wanted. And they were thrilled that Buick finally came out with a car that their traditional buyers wanted.

Ford did not downsize when GM did because they did not think that the public would like the smaller cars. Not because they had financial problems. They finally did downsize a couple years later. But in a way, they were right. When Lincoln downsized in 1980, their sales dropped to about a third of 1979's.

It seems unbelievably coincidental that both Lincoln and Buick independently decided to offer Collector versions of the last of their full size models. Especially since Buick's came 6 years later. GM offered their own ersatz special editions. Fleetwood Talisman, Eldorado Biarritz and Bicentennial editions, etc. Those were their own ideas and I see nothing wrong with that. The Collector Edition, however, was a blatant copy. The fact that it was copied alone wasn't that bad. Automakers copy each other all the time. It was the fact that it was copied and zero effort was put into it. The special editions were hardly rejected by the public as more and more special ersatz editions rolled out from every manufacturer as the 70's rolled on. In fact Lincoln seemed to be the most succcessful with them as special editions accounted for more than 30% of their sales. To each his own, but personally I like the special editions. It is a way of getting a car that is a little more unique than your average model. The exact same way and reason that they sold when they were new.

I also disagree with the disdain for the 1970's cars. IMO that is the last era that cars were sold based on style. Not fuel economy, bean counting or other ideas that make the cars less interesting. They also had the most to deal with in that decade with fuel shortages, crash standards, emission standards, and lots of other goverment interference that previously did not exist. Yet they managed to produce lines of cars with style and actual size differences and a variety of body styles. Unlike today when everything is a 4 door sedan that is pretty much the same look and size as everything else.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)
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Here is a picture of a coveted "Collector Series" Town Car, still doesn't appear to measure up to the plush interiors of the Park Avenues.

I am not sure what one company calling a gingerbread edition of there normal cars "Collector Series" has any bearing on another company calling all of it's final run of a particular year "Collector Edition". Lincoln claimed the "Collector Series" to be a step above the run of the mill Lincolns, I don't believe Buick ever lauded the LeSabre "Collector Edition" as being any more than an end of an era.

To me "Collector Series" and "Collector Edition" are two completely different animals.

Type in "Collector Series" on your web browser and see how many thousands of other companies have copied Lincolns lead and have "Collector Series". Lincoln sure did start a revolution

post-30591-143138132234_thumb.jpg

Edited by my3buicks (see edit history)
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What supposedly doesn't measure up to the Electra interior? I suspect I could post pictures of the plushest interiors Lincoln ever offered, and they still supposedly won't be as plush as the Electra. Interesting how the LeSabre (subject of this post) and Centurion interiors don't count. Also the vinyl interiors which were in probably 80% of 1970's Buicks don't either. We are only supposed to count the absolute plushest interior in the absolute top of the line Electra which was probably in a handful of cars to show how Buick interiors are supposed to be so much better than Lincolns.

By the way Lincoln put much less effort into the Town Car Collector Series (your pic) than the Mark V Collector Series. But still a lot more than Buick put into the Collector LeSabre.

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I would believe you have your figures backwards, I would think that a substantial number more Electra's came with cloth than vinyl. If we need to, I could get the exact figures for 72 to substantiate that, should be a good indicator anyway.

Another pic attached, this one of a LeSabre Limited Collectors Ed. in question - pretty plush for a price point that Lincoln couldn't touch. Actually much more plush than the green Lincoln interior posted earlier, and as plush as the :Collector Series: pictured above.

For the record I happen to really like the big Lincolns of that era.

post-30591-14313813229_thumb.jpg

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WHEN manufacturers did their downsizing in the 1980s, it had more to do with when the particular platform was replaced with a smaller and more fuel-efficient one rather than what any other brand was doing. Every platform has a life cycle and that's what determines what happens when.

Some less vintage individuals might not remember when "vinyl" was a definite vehicle interior "fabric" choice. Leather was not the "upscale" choice it later became . . . after the "age of crushed velour". Remember, too, that "vinyl" was originally termed "leatherette", or "leather-look" without the high price of real leather. Later, by the 1980s, vinyl did not mimic leather nearly as much.

There were ALSO varying qualities of vinyl interior materials. Some were classy, some weren't (i.e., Ford Fairmont), but much of how well they looked depended upon the "gauge" (i.e., thickness of the outer wear surface) and the quality of the backing . . . plus how it was sewn for the seat covers.

In many cases, including in more recent times, "full leather" seat covers seemed to digress into "leather seating surfaces" as something of a cost containment issue. In many of these cases, the vinyl was hard to tell from "the real stuff".

When the two choices were with cloth or vinyl, the cloth interiors were generally the spiffier choice with metallic yarns, brocades, embroidery . . . and better choices than the more expensive leather for long-term durability (if not destroyed by owners and their habits). Back then, unless leather was treated with presevatives and such (who would want to shine shoes with the surface area of a Lincoln or Cadillac interior?), plus being expensive to repair (either from age cracks or damage) if needed.

In prior times, EVERYBODY had a good looking vinyl interior option, except for the luxury brands which had leather. Kind of like many people allowing vinyl floor tiles in their homes, but mention "linoleum" to them and they might go into "the shakes". If the vehicle was a higher trim level of the particular model, it was a nicer vinyl interior than what the base trim level was . . . in colors (remember COLORS???) and how it was all sewn together.

Oh, and don't forget about the pearl-tinted vinyl color codes! Or the metallic-tinted vinyls either! Whether used as the outer sections on the cloth/vinyl seats or in the full-vinyl interiors. Or the "knitted vinyl" that was used to help address the "heat" factor of vinyl seats by allowing some built-in ventilation, similar to the later perforated leather inserts on many vehicles.

It was not the type of interior seating fabrics (whether fabric or "coated fabric" or leather) that would make a particular vehicle's interior "befitting" or not, it was how the particular fabric(s) were sewn together, their colors, and combinations with knitted fabric/vinyl/leather to reflect the luxury level of the respective brand of vehicle. The full vinyl bench seat interior of a 1973 Buick Apollo was a pretty fine place to be--it looked like it belonged in a BUICK, too!

Regards,

NTX5467

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Some details:

of 172,122 Electra's built in 1972, which include base models, custom models, and Limited models, 58% had cloth, 42 % vinyl - the breakdown as one would expect had a higher percentage of vinyl in the base and custom models than the Limited. I would assume that that number stayed somewhat consistant throughout the 70's, maybe leaning more toward cloth into the middle to later 70's as tastes changed.

Edited by my3buicks (see edit history)
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If you prefer Cadillacs, that is your opinion. However to say that Lincoln was an also-ran to Cadillac is not true. The 1960's Lincolns had nothing in common with Cadillac. They were understated and timeless as opposed to Cadillac's flashier look that changed every 2 years. One is not necessarily better than the other. It depends on what you prefer. The Mark series Lincolns outsold the Eldorado every single year with Eldo offering both a coupe and convertible. The 4 door Cadillacs outsold the Continental/Town Car, but the Continental was also priced much higher than the DeVille. Fleetwoods did not have huge sales volumes either.
It's not that I prefer Cadillacs, the car-buying public preferred them, which is the only metric that matters, no? I truly admire the Lincoln models of the sixties, but that doesn't change the fact that Cadillac pretty much always out sold Lincoln, and probably more to the point that Cadillac has always always had a much larger mind-share of the American public and probably always will.
The Versailles and 1982 Continental were not Lincolns best. But how about a Cimmaron or Catera? How great are those?
I referenced the Versailles and the '82 Continental as they are indisputably illustrations of Ford reacting to Cadillac's moves rather than leading. The Cimarron would have been a deemed a masterstroke if fuel prices had moved to the predicted $ 3.00 a gallon (in '80s pricing, prolly around $ 7.00 a gallon in today's prices). That the execution was flawed is endemic of the domestics of the time period. The Cimarron actually sold pretty well at first, at least until people discovered how awful the initial models were, after that no amount of improvements were going to improve its standing in the marketplace. The DeVille/Fleetwood 'C-Bodies' (and the '86 Eldo/Seville 'E-Bodies) were also designed under the $ 3.00/gallon gas price paradigm which if it happened would have literally buried FoMoCo. That it thankfully didn't happen (hell, gas dropped under a dollar in the mid-eighties) saved Ford from oblivion as Trucks and the Town Car, which would have been DOA under the predicted high gas price conditions provided massive profits that saved the company from oblivion.
Ford did not downsize when GM did because they did not think that the public would like the smaller cars. Not because they had financial problems.
With all due respect, you're wrong. It was widely reported at this time, and in contemporary interviews with Ford brass that this was precisely the case. Here's a quote from an article from '92: AT FORD, TRUCKS -- AND LINCOLNS -- TO THE RESCUE As the only U.S. carmaker to gain market share over the past ten years, Ford has been both lucky and smart. Lucky because it couldn't afford to downsize its cars as quickly as GM did -- so after gas prices fell again in the early 1980s it captured buyers who wanted big, traditional autos like the Lincoln Town Car. But Ford was smart to turn its attention to trucks, a backwater that is now a bonanza. Former Ford and Chrysler executive Bennett Bidwell says flatly: ''The Taurus didn't save Ford. Trucks and Lincolns did.'' but there was plenty other corroborating sources and analysis at the time as well if you care to dig it up.

U.S. CARS COME BACK - November 16, 1992

And they were thrilled that Buick finally came out with a car that their traditional buyers wanted.
It is worth noting that while the '91-96 'B-bodies" were indeed a traditional body-on-frame vehicles they featured thoroughly modern styling, and in any case never really achieved massive sales volumes as the buyers with a strong preference for these types of car were literally dying off and everyone else who needed the towing capabilities of old-school cars moved into SUVs.
I also disagree with the disdain for the 1970's cars. IMO that is the last era that cars were sold based on style. Not fuel economy, bean counting or other ideas that make the cars less interesting.
That's all fine and good, but realize that you (and I) and prolly 90% of the people who participate on these forums are eccentric out-liers who in no way shape or form resemble the average car buyer, and in most cases don't buy new cars unless the missus insists on having new, reliable iron for her to drive. And no matter how much you (and I) might love 'em it is indesputable that the domestics of the seventies (especially Cadillacs and Lincolns) were almost universally too big, too thirsty, poorly handling, over-styled, under-engineered, indifferently screwed-together, under-performing junk.

And to get back to your initial assertion, "collector edition" is generic in the extreme, if it is a comfort to you to imagine that this was some sort of genius option package that Lincoln innovated with and was copied by other makes, have at it and enjoy. :rolleyes:

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It's not that I prefer Cadillacs, the car-buying public preferred them, which is the only metric that matters, no? I truly admire the Lincoln models of the sixties, but that doesn't change the fact that Cadillac pretty much always out sold Lincoln, and probably more to the point that Cadillac has always always had a much larger mind-share of the American public and probably always will.

Chevrolet outsold Buick and Cadillac every year. Does that mean Cadillac and Buick were also-rans, and Chevy was better? I don't think so. Just because a model sold more does not necessarily make it better. Duesenberg did not sell many cars. Does that make them an also-ran?

I referenced the Versailles and the '82 Continental as they are indisputably illustrations of Ford reacting to Cadillac's moves rather than leading. The Cimarron would have been a deemed a masterstroke if fuel prices had moved to the predicted $ 3.00 a gallon (in '80s pricing, prolly around $ 7.00 a gallon in today's prices). That the execution was flawed is endemic of the domestics of the time period. The Cimarron actually sold pretty well at first, at least until people discovered how awful the initial models were, after that no amount of improvements were going to improve its standing in the marketplace. The DeVille/Fleetwood 'C-Bodies' (and the '86 Eldo/Seville 'E-Bodies) were also designed under the $ 3.00/gallon gas price paradigm which if it happened would have literally buried FoMoCo. That it thankfully didn't happen (hell, gas dropped under a dollar in the mid-eighties) saved Ford from oblivion as Trucks and the Town Car, which would have been DOA under the predicted high gas price conditions provided massive profits that saved the company from oblivion.

Lincoln is not the only automaker to produce models in reaction to someone else's. ALL automakers have done that at some point or another. $3.00 a gallon gas or not, I would rather have a Versailles than a Cimmarron. I am not a fan of the Versailles, but it was a very well made car every bit as good as the Seville. There are all kinds of reports on the quality tests done on them. What was unfortunate for Ford, is that while the Nova and Cavalier had plain sides and very non-descript styling, the Granada had very distinctive sculptured sides. Making the Versailles origin immediately recognizeable. However, I think the Cimmarron was even less disguised than the Versailles.

With all due respect, you're wrong. It was widely reported at this time, and in contemporary interviews with Ford brass that this was precisely the case. Here's a quote from an article from '92: AT FORD, TRUCKS -- AND LINCOLNS -- TO THE RESCUE As the only U.S. carmaker to gain market share over the past ten years, Ford has been both lucky and smart. Lucky because it couldn't afford to downsize its cars as quickly as GM did -- so after gas prices fell again in the early 1980s it captured buyers who wanted big, traditional autos like the Lincoln Town Car. But Ford was smart to turn its attention to trucks, a backwater that is now a bonanza. Former Ford and Chrysler executive Bennett Bidwell says flatly: ''The Taurus didn't save Ford. Trucks and Lincolns did.'' but there was plenty other corroborating sources and analysis at the time as well if you care to dig it up.

And is this article by a reporter that also reports on the stock market and current events, or does he actually have an automotive background? The books I have state that Henry Ford II (I think it was II?) did not like the downsized GM's, and did not want to downsize because he thought they would not sell. They did sell, and Ford responded very quickly. He was right in a way, as the downsized Lincolns initially did not sell. Chrysler did not downsize either. That was GM's thing. However I would say Chrysler was due to financial problems, not a stubborn Henry Ford II. The Taurus/Sable outsold the Crown Vic/Marquis. However, both were available for the buyer to chose from, or for whatever way gas prices swung. Not so with GM's 1985-6 downsizing.

It is worth noting that while the '91-96 'B-bodies" were indeed a traditional body-on-frame vehicles they featured thoroughly modern styling, and in any case never really achieved massive sales volumes as the buyers with a strong preference for these types of car were literally dying off and everyone else who needed the towing capabilities of old-school cars moved into SUVs.

Large 4 door cars were deemed "grandpa cars" at that time, and were out of favor. Look at a 1968 Cadillac. Not a sports car obviously. But sporty for a large car, and with a large performance engine. Even more so for the Eldorado. 1971-76 Cadillacs (and I do like them) were much more grandpa-ish in terms of styling. They still had big engines, but they did not perform as well with all the newly added emissions crap. Plus they were focusing on being smooth as opposed to being fast at that time. By 1984 you had a 4 door Cadillac with a 4.1 liter V-8. Certainly no performance there. Lincoln of course followed suit in 1980. Leaving large luxury 4 doors as old people cars to avoid as opposed the most desireable best of styling, engineering, performance, etc that they were in the 1950's and 1960's. By the way, I worked for a Chevy dealer in 1991. I liked the look of the new Caprice. However, the elderly buyers did not like the more modern aero-look. It was too radical for them. Also it drove, handled, and braked much worse and more sluggishly than my 1979 Cougar which was the same size. Giving credit to the grandpa statements about that type of car at that time.

That's all fine and good, but realize that you (and I) and prolly 90% of the people who participate on these forums are eccentric out-liers who in no way shape or form resemble the average car buyer, and in most cases don't buy new cars unless the missus insists on having new, reliable iron for her to drive. And no matter how much you (and I) might love 'em it is indesputable that the domestics of the seventies (especially Cadillacs and Lincolns) were almost universally too big, too thirsty, poorly handling, over-styled, under-engineered, indifferently screwed-together, under-performing junk.

I do not like small cars. While not the best for parallel parking, I'd rather have a too big 70's car than a too small new one. That is a personal opinion. As far as poorly handling, poorly engineered, junk, that depends on the individual car. For its size, a Mark V handles, brakes, and performs very well. The stablemate Town Car however, does not handle and perform as well. However neither are indifferently put together. My complaint would be the amount of plastic in the 1970's as opposed to the 1960's Lincolns. However, all manufacturers had to do that in the 1970's in order to try to reduce weight and costs. But that does not necessarily make them bad cars. I can't really comment on 1970's GM's as I have not had that much experience with them.

New car buyers were for the most part not car people in the 1970's, and they are not now. Currently the collector focus is all about muscle cars. I would like to think that somwhere in the future, the 1970's luxury cars will be appreciated as the 1930's-50's ones are. They are vehicles that you simply cannot get anything like anymore. Whereas you can still get a new muscle car. However, I really don't see a newer Honda Accord, Taurus, Camry, Century etc, ever causing a huge collector following.

And to get back to your initial assertion, "collector edition" is generic in the extreme, if it is a comfort to you to imagine that this was some sort of genius option package that Lincoln innovated with and was copied by other makes, have at it and enjoy. :rolleyes:

As I already said, special editions were nothing new. However, I would say it was a genius move for Lincoln to focus and put the effort into them that they did. The Bicentennial edition Eldo convert was also a genius move by Cadillac. I believe most ended up selling for double list price. However, if you are going to copy the name of someone else's edition. At least put some effort into it to make it better or at least different. If Lincoln offered a Bicentennial edition and put zero effort into it, I would think it was just as tacky.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)
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WHEN manufacturers did their downsizing in the 1980s, it had more to do with when the particular platform was replaced with a smaller and more fuel-efficient one rather than what any other brand was doing. Every platform has a life cycle and that's what determines what happens when.

Automakers copy each other all the time. Downsizing was GM's thing. Ford did follow suit in 1979-81. However, they did not do a second round of downsizing they way GM did in 1985-6.

Some less vintage individuals might not remember when "vinyl" was a definite vehicle interior "fabric" choice.

There were ALSO varying qualities of vinyl interior materials. Some were classy, some weren't (i.e., Ford Fairmont), but much of how well they looked depended upon the "gauge" (i.e., thickness of the outer wear surface) and the quality of the backing . . . plus how it was sewn for the seat covers.

In prior times, EVERYBODY had a good looking vinyl interior option, except for the luxury brands which had leather.

It was not the type of interior seating fabrics (whether fabric or "coated fabric" or leather) that would make a particular vehicle's interior "befitting" or not, it was how the particular fabric(s) were sewn together, their colors, and combinations with knitted fabric/vinyl/leather to reflect the luxury level of the respective brand of vehicle. The full vinyl bench seat interior of a 1973 Buick Apollo was a pretty fine place to be--it looked like it belonged in a BUICK, too!

Regards,

NTX5467

Vinyl is simply not a choice material for seats. I had a 1979 Cougar that had very plush LOOKING vinyl seats. They were not plush. They were scalding hot in summer, freezing in winter. Your clothes would get all sweated up in the summer even after they cooled down, and also in the winter after they warmed up. They cracked and split horribly, and while leather eventually splits, it is not as quickly as vinyl. And while split leather seats look bad, you can still drive on them. The split vinyl will stab and scratch you.

In any case I do not see how anybody can be arguing that a company that offered vinyl seats in most of its cars had plusher interiors than company that did not use any vinyl, only leather and velour.

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