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My 1971 Buick Lesabre: A Long-Term Relationship (for someone else)


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See the inspiration for this posting here: http://forums.aaca.org/f163/my-1971-buick-centurion-long-term-194263.html

Unfortunately I don't have a great story about my car like Brian does for his, and I just "met" mine about a month ago.

I was searching the local craigslist for sale ads (like I seem to do several times a day) on January 17th when I came across the ad:

1971 Buick LeSabre 2 dr hardtop. 350 V8. 70,800 original miles. Grandpa's car. Always garaged and in nice condition. Not driven much since 2005 so could use a tune-up and a muffler. Photos available upon request. I need room in shop. Come see and make offer.

Hmm I thought, that probably looks just like Brian's Centurion, sure wish there were pictures. Oh well, I don't need another car, I already have 6 or 7 (sometimes it is hard to keep track)!

I might as well email him to see how much he wants for it and get some pictures, no harm in that. So he sends me two pictures the next day and I forwad them to Brian for his opinion on them.


I know this car! I lived in Bellingham from 1979 to 1997, and distinctly remember this beautiful car.

I’m pleased to know that it still exists.

This would be a fantastic tour car / show car for someone, assuming its condition is nearly as nice as it was during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Add a set of the Buick chrome-plated road wheels, and this would be a great looker.

Of course Brian knows the car, even though it has been nearly 15 years since he has seen it. And he responds with the same enthusiam that resulted in me buying my 61 Electra a few years ago. That turned out well, so what the heck, I keep chatting with the owner (Gary) via email. He tells me"

it has working air conditioning, a radio that presently isn't working (think it got unhooked when the in-laws had it worked on and maybe not hooked back up.....I haven't looked under the dash.) It starts and runs well but it hasn't had the carbon blown out of it for years. That's why I say it will need a tune-up. Also needs a muffler. The interior is nearly flawless. It has electric seats but crank windows. The exterior paint has some scratches and nicks on the sides and one very small dent under the headlight on the passenger side.

I am thinking "wow, working AC, I need that in an old car after attending a car show with Brian last summer in 100 degree heat in a convertible and spending 5 hours driving homein traffic". The reality is I needed another car like I needed a hole in my head, but it was too late for reason, I was in the thick of the hunt!

Gary goes on to say:

"I do know that they were pretty good about fixing anything that it needed. Somewhere around here I have an envelope full of maintenance receipts. There is an operator's manual and the original sticker in the glove box. I attached a pic of the dent. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Hope this info helps a little.

I believe the hood and front fenders were repainted in the 70's. I forgot to tell you that the vinyl top was replaced a few years ago and my wife thinks they had some paint work done at the same time. They were pretty fanatical about the car (and their house). There is a slight mismatch at the door and rear fender on the driver side (you might be able to see it if you enlarge that photo) so they may have had those done when they did the top. Not sure. I need to back it out of the shop and look at it before I tell you for sure (if it ever stops raining). I put some gas in it today and drove it around for some time. Every time I do that, I think about keeping it. That is exactly why I haven't sold it to date. But, my wife is ready for it to go."

So now my interest is piqued, but I am 2+ hours away and there is no way I can go and look at the car during the week. A few more pics come my way and I realize the interior is very nice and the body is very solid, but the paint indeed does not match panel to panel. I tell Gary I can come up this weekend and look at it, and email him an offer. He calls me on Saturday and we go back and forth on the price a bit and finally settle on a number and I tell him I will try and be up the next day. He says come up when you can, I will hold it for you.

I call my 17 y/o nephew and tell him I will give him $10 an hour to go with me to pick up a car on Sunday, and he is in for an easy $50 bucks, so off we go on Sunday.

We get there and talk to Gary about the car. Turns out it his wife's car, she got it from her dad in 2004 when he quit driving as he was in his 80's. Her uncle had bought it brand new in 71, and sold it to her dad after a couple of years so he could get another new one. Apparently he bought a new one every few years and all the family members fought to buy the old one becuase he took such good care of them.

Her mom and dad also had a 59 Buick back then, and that was their daily driver and this was the "special" car, and that is why the mileage stayed so low. When I looked at it, the oil was last changed in June 2004, and that was 200 miles ago!

So my nephew and I took it for a test drive, rode real nice. Has a slight exhaust leak and needed a tune up, but damn the interior looked nice! I got it up to 40 or so and slammed the brakes on and surprised my nephew and about threw him through the wihdshield. Hey, I had to test the panic stop!

So I paid him the price we agreed to, loaded the snow tires up and headed to the gas station for a fill up and some lunch. He couldn't believe we were going to drive it 140 miles home. I figured I couldn't go wrong getting a car like this for less than $2,500!

Made it home without even a hiccup and my nephew was impressed to say the least. He drives an old 4-runner and had never driven something this big and comfy. He couldn't stop talking about how nice it drove and how comfy it was.

I brought it home and put it on the garage and parked by daily driver outside in the cold, and started cleaning it up slowly in my spare time. My wife came out and looked at it and said "good luck" and " you can clean it all you want, it will still be ugly, you can't clean that off!" I can tell she likes it. :>)

I have all the receipts for car dating back to 1971, as well as the original window sticker, pre-delivery inspection sheet, warrantly paperwork, etc. Quite a find!

I just found out today that a my Riviera I bought in VA should be picked up next week, so I will need my garage space back for it. I don't really want to leave this one outside, so I will likely be selling it. Hopefully the next owner will be as enthusiastic about it as Brian was!











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I had the opportunity to see the car on Wednesday evening, and can only say that this is the finest '71 LeSabre coupe I've seen in many years. The interior is literally like new, reflecting excellent care over the last forty years.

Someone seeking a rust-free, air conditioned Buick for cruises and tours would be well-advised to consider this one. Burnished Cinnamon is the most striking paint color that Buick offered in '71.

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Guest 827GFZ73


Brian (L) had sent me an e-mail regarding the thread on your beautiful 1971 LeSabre. I am really sorry to know that you have decided to sell it. In my opinion, the '71 GM full-size cars are not only historically significant, but they are also the most aesthically pleasing too. The Buick styling is perhaps the best in this group.

My aunt also had '71 LeSabre Custom coupe like your car. Hers was in Cornet Gold with a Sandalwood cloth interior. The LeSabre Custom interior is so much better than the standard model. I really like the title of your thread. It would be even better if I could put my name in (for.............)! Unfortunately, my collector car circumstances dictate otherwise.

Hopefully, you will change your mind and keep this one. There are tons of "muscle cars" being collected. But... how many original, low mileage cars like your LeSabre are still around?


New BCA Member

1973 Buick Regal

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  • 4 weeks later...

Nice Buick! I have a '71 LeSabre Custom sedan. It is the usual sandalwood beige with a beige vinyl interior. It was purchased new by some friends of my uncle's at Lindeman Buick in Plainfield, NJ in October 1971. I have all of the original documents, window sticker and original NJ registration. My uncle bought the car from his friends in January 1980 with 40,000 miles on it. He used it for 3 years, taking it to Florida winters. He then bought another car to keep in Florida and kept the Buick to use during the summer in Maine. He gave it to me in 2000 when he sold his house in Maine and didn't have a place for the Buick where he was going. It had 106,657 miles on it. It now has 112,300 ~ on it. The AC still works although the heater controls seem to have stopped working. Got to look into that. It's been garaged all it's life, so the dash is perfect. The steering wheel has a couple of cracks, it has a couple of split seams in the driver's seat and some of the interior plastic has discolored. It was used year round for 10 years in Jersey, so it does have some body filler in it. It runs great but the transmission is getting weak going into reverse, the radio doesn't work and the gas gage sending unit doesn't send. I really enjoy the car but my wife thinks it's one of the ugliest cars ever. I'd use it more, but it is terrible on gas - has a 350 4bbl. It gets 8-10 around town and maybe 14 on the highway. My uncle swore it got more but I found a couple of notebooks of gas mileage he kept in the 80's and it is full of 11.1 mpg and 12.3 mpg entries. A few times on the trips to Florida, it hit 15 mpg. I'd love to have a lower mile '71 in better condition as it is so much more comfortable than my '72 LTD.

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