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Difference between '67/'68 Wildcat & Le Sabre ?


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What are the differences in size (length, width, track width, wheelbase), performance, suspensions, handling, etc. between the '67/'68 Wildcats and Le Sabres ? Appears that the '67 Wildcat has the same grill minus the center hood piece that comes down to the bumper, but generally looks the same - though the '68 Cat and Le Sabre look fairly close.

Was the Wildcat basically the "Hotrod" LeSabre thus having heavier duty suspension and drivetrain ?

Thanks.

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During the 1965 - 1968 model years, the Wildcat rode on the Electra 225 chassis. As such, its 126-inch wheelbase is three inches longer than the LeSabre (at 123-inches). The Wildcats used the same body as the LeSabre from the cowl back, and the added length was in the front fenders between the wheel opening and the cowl.

During both '67 and '68, the Wildcat used the 360-horsepower 430-cubic inch engine, which was newly introduced in 1967. (This engine so impressed the auto magazine writers that they referred to the '67 Electras as the NASCAR Electras, as they watched the cars whiz around the GM test track at 130-mph.) The 430-cid engine was never offered in the LeSabre, which utilized V8's of 340-cid ('67) and 350-cid ('68).

The '67 Wildcat grille is completely different from that of the LeSabre. While they were more similar in '68, the grille is still different. Front fender ornamentation also differed, with the LeSabre using a more conventional Buick 3-ventiport design.

Base level Wildcats shared interiors with the uplevel LeSabre Custom, which was available with seldom-seen bucket seat trim. The Wildcat Custom had a fancier interior with either a notchback front seat with fold down center armrest or buckets.

All '67 and '68 Wildcats had standard rear fender skirts, which were not offered on LeSabres, and Wildcat Customs for both years featured body side paint stripes that followed the beautiful side sculpturing.

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Other major differences between a 67 and a 68 are hidden wipers were introduced in 68 as well as the side marker lamps.

The dashboards of the 67's were close if not exact to the 66 whereas the 68 dash was changed completely. Taillight assemblies

on a 67 wildcat were the same as on the 67 LeSabre. In 68 the taillight assemblies on the Wildcat were different than

a 68 LeSabre.

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Both '67 and '68 Wildcats shared the peaked chrome center hood strip with the Electra 225's. LeSabres had no center hood strip either year. Both years had different tail lights. '67 LeSabre and Wildcat tail lights look very close, but the Wildcat tail lights each had 3 protruding ridges that were formed out of the red plastic lenses. '68 Wildcat tail lights light up all the way across, while '68 LeSabre tail lights only light up halfway -that is, in conjunction with the parking lights and/or headlights. '68 LeSabres have shorter tail light lenses. '68 Wildcat tail lights only light halfway, however, when brakes or turn signals are used. In both '67 and '68, Wildcat badges were done in block lettering, while LeSabre badges were done in cursive. Both models displayed badging on the trailing edges of the rear fenders, the deck lid, and on the dashboard.

David

 

Edited by wildcatsrule (see edit history)
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Other differences between 66-67 Wildcat and Le Sabre models were a stronger frame on Wildcats, a stronger rear axle and differential, standard front aluminium brake drums (they were not available in Le Sabres but the same disc brakes were available on both models as an option). Wildcats had a "cold" coolant temperature light while Le Sabres did not. Front suspension was also a bit different. In fact 65-68 Wildcats shared their front end, frames and drivetrains with Electras while they shared their bodies with Le Sabres.

68 model year compared 67 also had many differences. Interiors, dash front fenders hood and both bumpers were different as was most of the trim. 67 automatic transmissions (both the two speed 300 in Le Sabre and the available three speed 400) had many internal differences and were the last with variable pitch stators. 350 engines replaced 340 engines in 68 Le Sabres and 430 engines also had some differences. Early in 67 the 430 had a modified timing cover with one more bolt at left of the water pump. In 68 it had different exhaust manifolds that were thicker and less prone to crack. The driver side manifold was also modified to serve as a carburator heater and had a metal plate bolted over it. The intake, carburator, heads and valve covers also changed a bit in 68.

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  • 8 years later...
Other differences between 66-67 Wildcat and Le Sabre models were a stronger frame on Wildcats, a stronger rear axle and differential, standard front aluminium brake drums (they were not available in Le Sabres but the same disc brakes were available on both models as an option). Wildcats had a "cold" coolant temperature light while Le Sabres did not. Front suspension was also a bit different. In fact 65-68 Wildcats shared their front end, frames and drivetrains with Electras while they shared their bodies with Le Sabres.

68 model year compared 67 also had many differences. Interiors, dash front fenders hood and both bumpers were different as was most of the trim. 67 automatic transmissions (both the two speed 300 in Le Sabre and the available three speed 400) had many internal differences and were the last with variable pitch stators. 350 engines replaced 340 engines in 68 Le Sabres and 430 engines also had some differences. Early in 67 the 430 had a modified timing cover with one more bolt at left of the water pump. In 68 it had different exhaust manifolds that were thicker and less prone to crack. The driver side manifold was also modified to serve as a carburator heater and had a metal plate bolted over it. The intake, carburator, heads and valve covers also changed a bit in 68.

Hello Philippe

I found this post back from 2002. Would I have a problem using the frame, drive train, and suspension from a 1968 wildcat convertible with a 1967 Lesabre convertible body. Thanks for any insight,

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Hello Philippe

I found this post back from 2002. Would I have a problem using the frame, drive train, and suspension from a 1968 wildcat convertible with a 1967 Lesabre convertible body. Thanks for any insight,

Yes there is a problem, the Wildcat frame is 3" longer (See post from Centurion-)

1965 - 1968 model years, the Wildcat rode on the Electra 225 chassis. As such, its 126-inch wheelbase is three inches longer than the LeSabre (at 123-inches)

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What all of this proves is that although some vehicles might appear to be "the same", there can be many LITTLE things which are different. When I was "shopping" in a local salvage yard, years ago, I found a '68 Electra and found a nice windshield washer fluid container. I needed one for my LeSabre, so I got it. It was about TWICE the capacity, so I thought it would be fine . . . until I got it back to the shop and started to install it. It was about twice the height and capacity, the cap was the same, BUT the difference was that the bolt holes were 1-screw width WIDER than the holes in the LeSabre's fender skirt and the holes in the mounting flange on the LeSabre's container. I figured that the "bigger car would get the bigger capacity container", but did not ever suspect the bolt holes would be wider apart! Guess they didn't want the "junior" edition cars to have the same amenities as the "senior" edition cars?

There was also the additional "flat" wire spring to help pop-up the hood when the latch was pulled, which the LeSabre did not have, although the core support had the holes for it. Also had the holes for the tri-note horns, too. Usually, you'd never notice these differences unless you had both cars side-by-side and started comparing things!

And then there's the heater water control valve that is different between '68 LeSabre 350s and the Wildcat's 430! Don't forget that ONLY the Wildcats could have the spiffy chrome wheels!

Spring-wise, I suspect the real differences would be in the amount of weight they'd carry rather than "spring rate" (i.e., stiffness), unless you ordered the optional "Heavy Duty Suspension" or the Trailer Towing Package, which would also have had Heavy Duty Shock Absorbers with them. This was in the earlier times of GM's "Computer Selected Springs", where you could have about 5 different spring part numbers for each end of the car, depending upon the engine weight, transmission choice, air conditioning, and other options which could add weight to either end of the vehicle . . . for both the standard suspension and the HD suspension calibrations . . . AND each respective body style of a particular model line.

Remember, these cars were not designed in the "one size fits all" era (as in more recent times!!!), but in "We'll build it just as you like it" orientations, as long as we can sell it ("Sold Orders" preferred!) and be in compliance with federal emissions and safety guidelines. Even McDonalds is now more toward the "Have it YOUR way!" orientation these days!

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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'68 Wildcat tail lights light up all the way across, while '68 LeSabre tail lights only light up halfway -that is, in conjunction with the parking lights and/or headlights. '68 LeSabres have shorter tail light lenses. '68 Wildcat tail lights only light halfway, however, when brakes or turn signals are used.

Found a wrong presented (seller stated it is from a 68 Riviera) tail light, but is this one a LeSabre or Wildcat?

31873068.jpg

I have no opportunity to compare this photo to the lens on my own Cat (winter storage), so hopefully somebody chimes in before auction ends

Thanks

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Browsing a few books I found this:

68rear506000.jpg

5000 being LeSabre (upper) and 6000 being Wildcat (lower) I would vote the photo in my prior post is a LeSabre lens?:confused:

Edit: just received a reply from the seller; tail light has 3 holes for sockets: it is from a LeSabre (unfortunately)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=350427065108&ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:MOTORS:1123

Edited by 75RivGS (see edit history)
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