Just got car for $1 from one of the MD's in the ER where I work. Car was a 2nd vehicle in case primary car broke down.
Replaced all brake pads, shoes, and rotors. about $80.
Assorted burnt out bulbs.$10.
Power steering leaks (put in Lucas Stop-leak yesterday) $5.
Replaced 2 of the three v-belts $24.
Neutral Safety Switch didn't work, so we had to hot-wire car until we traced it down, new switch was $15. My brother snapped the rod that passes through the NSS (it snaps easily) so we had to take the side pan off the trans to replace it. Rod was $10, and MAJOR pain to get at (really tight workspace inside of trans), plus had to replace the gaskets (another $20 or so) Total about 12 hours labor.
Coolant still leaks from somewhere.
Car needs new shocks all around and new rear struts. Probably $130 to replace all ourselves.
Weatherstripping around driver door had to be re-glued. $2.
Interior is cherry.
Paint is in bad condition, finish is gone.
Stock "wire-wheel" hubcaps needed a key to take them off, but were so rusted key broke-so had to break them off with a large pry-bar. Will cost $20-30 probably to get new caps to protect already-rusted lug nuts.
Car idles high, so burns a lot of gas, haven't had time to fix yet- a bottle of carb cleaner was used to spray down carb, and we ran fuel line dryer and carb/choke cleaner through gas system. $15.
Car has assorted minor rust around wheel wells and bottom of doors (to be expected from a Chicago car that is 20 years old)
Electronic door locks only work on back doors.
Glove box has to be closed firmly as metal bracket it locks to is loose and tightening the screw doesn't help.
Trans will get a new filter/service as soon as I have time. $30 for new fluid plus trans service kit.
Trans hits really hard into second when you accelerate moderate to hard. 4th (overdrive) also clunks into gear. Not sure if replacing the engine mounts will help at all.
Needs all four engine mounts replaced. Bottom front drivers side mount was disconnected when I got the car. Range from $8 for top front to $25 for biggest. Have already bought all four and installed $8 one. Think I spent $50 total.
A/C didn't work according to previous owner. Ended up removing entire system to make it easier to get at trans side pan and a few other things.
Previous owner bought me a new battery so I could get it out of his garage. $75.
Car had been sitting outside for 8 years and in garage for 2 years. Only 10,000 miles put on it in last 10 years. I knew going in that it would need a lot of maintenance work done.
Car has nice interior that seats six comfortably.
Glove box is a little small.
Car has expected get-up-and-go for an 80s Buick... not that great (although I might be prejudiced since my last car was a 88 Honda Prelude with a 5-speed manual... I LOVED that car)
Trunk is very nice size.
Interior had pretty good sound insulation.. can only hear engine and exhaust (system has holes) when windows are open.
Stock GM radio is a pleasure to use.. simple with large buttons.. stock speakers are pretty loud and still have good sound.
Car speedometer is not as clear/easy to read as it could be.
There are no oil temp/coolant/voltage gauges.. very disappointing, but not a surprise in a car that was likely originally marketed to an audience that wouldn't know what to do with them anyway.
Handles like a boat (given...shocks are pretty well gone)
Doesn't corner for anything (again...prejudiced cuz my Prelude cornered on a rail...40mph on left hand turns thru intersections)
Overall relatively satisfied with the car. Only had it for a month and am used to old used cars. So far only spent about $300 on it and that's still pretty cheap considering buying a different car would have cost me at least $500 at the outset plus whatever TLC it needed.