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1960 Buick LeSabre Hardtop


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I picked up this LeSabre from an estate a few weeks ago after an appraiser friend told me about it. The pictures looked great but I was skeptical, so I drove out and had a look. I bought it on the spot. Good colors, nice interior, very solid, straight bodywork, nice chrome, what else to complain about? We don't know much about its history other than it was a wife-to-husband gift so that he could hang out with some buddies who were also car guys--he wasn't, but he wanted the company so she bought him this car. It's a LeSabre, which means entry-level Buick for 1960, but it looks anything but. Long, low, wide, and sleek, just like the other 1960 Buicks. The color combination is how it was delivered, Tampico Red and Alpine White, and it appears to have had a frame-on restoration perhaps 15 years ago. We gave it a deep cut and buff and the paint really shined up nicely and the colors are deep and vivid. I can find no instances of botched bodywork or questionable repairs, and the quarters, doors, and front fenders all ring true when you knock your knuckles on them--not much filler in this one. The chrome is in excellent shape, not show quality but more than presentable.

 

I'm not expert enough in these cars to know whether the interior is 100% correct, but the red/black/white combination looks right to my eye and the cloth inserts are comfortable. There's some minor fading on the rear seat back due to the red upholstery under that giant rear window, no surprise there, but the rest is quite nice. The only possible issue is the driver's door panel is a little wrinkly and the armrest there is worn enough that someone used red tape to fix it, but an upholstery shop should be able to put it right pretty easily. That's literally my biggest complaint on the whole car. Everything works except the clock, including the power windows and factory radio with rear speaker, and the Magic Eye instrument panel is still cool. The trunk is finished with black carpet, which isn't quite stock, but it is nicely done and includes a full-sized spare under a red vinyl cover.

 

The LeSabre used a 364 cubic inch of the Nailhead V8 with a 2-barrel carburetor and making 250 horsepower. A 2-barrel seems odd, but there it is. I can't argue with how it runs, though, because it lights off quickly and easily with the accelerator pedal starter, idles nicely, and there's plentiful torque on tap to move the big Buick with ease. Someone has added dual exhaust that sounds slightly aggressive but not unpleasant, and might even add a few horsepower. The engine bay has been detailed and includes a lot of new components, including a full tune up, belts, hoses, and even correct tower hose clamps. Nice! And if it matters to you, it's probably good to know that this car is matching-numbers. Power steering and brakes are part of the package, as is the Twin Turbine transmission which operates seamlessly. It's a good pairing with the torquey Nailhead. The undercarriage is unrestored, so there's plenty of surface rust on the big iron pieces but no rot or perforation and nothing that even seems like it will make trouble in the future. It was probably undercoated when it was new decades ago and I think all I'd do is touch that up to tidy things a bit--don't bother trying to restore anything, it's just not necessary. It sits level, stops true, rides nicely, and just works like a big car should. 225/75/15 whitewall radials were fitted not too long ago and it still wears original hubcaps for a factory look.

 

Documentation includes an owner's manual, accessory booklet, and warranty guide. It also has a set of fender skirts, which were the first thing I removed. You can put them on if you like them, the hardware is all there.

 

I'm really pleased with this car. It represents a lot of car for not a lot of cash and it's far nicer than the $19,900 asking price would indicate. I got it for a good price and I'm not going to try to hit a home run with it, so if you need a big cruiser that doesn't need anything scary or expensive, this is a great choice. Just get in and start having fun. Thanks for looking!

 

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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