1985 Buick LeSabre Limited Collectors Edition Oldsmobile 350 Rocket from North America

Summary:

Chick magnet

Faults:

I acquired the car from a friend for $100 with what was thought to be a blown head gasket. Turns out it ended up being a clogged catalytic converter (2002), so I cut it out and replaced the exhaust with a V-Force custom exhaust for that loud exhaust profile I've always liked.

Soon after, the motor did blow a head gasket (2003), so I replaced it with a 350 Rocket from a 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and in the process bought a Edelbrock carburetor, replaced the radiator with an aluminum 4-core, new high output power steering pump, new wheels and tires for a muscle car look, along with replacing all the coil springs for a lifted rear and lowered front for better handling and performance, replaced the water pump with a high output water pump, rebuilt the TH200-4R transmission with all new parts and shift kit (2009), bought a double pumper Demon carburetor (2010), Optima Battery (2010), etc..

General Comments:

This car was built as a project to be a sleeper, and has turned out better than ever imagined. This car is like a couch on wheels or however others may want to state it. It is seriously one of the best cars I have ever owned, and I love the handling and performance from a few minor and inexpensive upgrades.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th September, 2010

23rd Jun 2011, 15:58

A 1985 Buick LeSabre is a lot of things, but "chick magnet" definitely ain't one of them!

1985 Buick LeSabre Limited Collector's Edition 4- 5.0 Liter (307) 4-bbl V8 from North America

Summary:

Rust free survivor, a blast from the past. "The Great American Road Belongs to Buick!!!"

Faults:

The air conditioner has a leak near the condensor.

Transmission may need a rebuild, the lockup clutch engages in 2nd gear even at low speeds, and doesn't disengage at times until the transmission forces itself out of 2nd when coming to a stop.

Valve covers leak.

Slow exhaust leak somewhere.

Paint is a bit faded on hood and trunk - Oh well, the car is 25 years old.

Everything else seems to work just fine.

General Comments:

This is the third 1977-1985 rear drive LeSabre I've owned, and I think it will end up being the best. The car's only drawback in my opinion are slow acceleration (by modern standards), poor city fuel economy and a somewhat finicky transmission. Other than that, these cars are just about as indestructible as can be as long as you have enough brains to change your oil once in a while.

I also have a 1983 LeSabre review on here titled "An ugly old thing that won't give up" which I wrote nearly 10 years ago. I sold that car in 2001 with nearly 250,000 miles on it for $300. It was looking pretty rough, but still ran like a top.

The body is nearly spotless on this '85 outside of the fading paint. All trim and moldings are intact. No rust anywhere. The old guy who owned this car was very particular about maintenance and keeping it clean. He died, the wife was not in good enough shape to drive, so I picked up this car for $2500. And it was worth every penny.

I am convinced that you will not find more reliable cars than the full size rear wheel drive GM, Ford and Chrysler cars from the late 1970's to early 1990's. True they are not always that fuel efficient and you won't win many street races, but in the end you have the piece of mind of driving something that is safe, stylish, reliable, and durable. And no car payment or high insurance premium. They were and still are true gems in the midst of dark days for the auto industry.

This particular car has the optional 307 V8 with automatic overdrive transmission. The standard V6's of this era were simply too underpowered to move around 2 tons of steel. The 307 is no powerhouse either, but it has a reputation for being buttery smooth and being able to handle pretty much any kind of abuse you can throw at it. It is dark red with dark cherry/wine colored interior. The interior is nearly spotless and looks probably as good as it did when it rolled off the assembly line a quarter century ago. The fuel mileage isn't that great for now, maybe 14 MPG city/20 Highway, but I attribute that to elderly people driving it for 25 years. My guess is the car never saw 70 MPH until I drove it. I own a 2008 Ford Mustang GT, and this car gives me as much pleasure to drive as the Mustang.

For anyone wondering, there is not a lot different about the 1985 Collector's edition. It was the last LeSabre with the drive wheels on the correct end. It has the seats from the 1984 Park Avenue, hand painted pinstripes, and special ornamentation and I believe that was about it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th November, 2009

8th Nov 2009, 17:22

Good stuff. Your review brings back memories.. I've owned two '85 Olds Delta 88 sedans (same car, same engine, diff name) and an '86 Caprice wagon (same car, again) and they were the most reliable, pleasant to drive, and solid-built cars I've had the pleasure of owning. Plus they held up well to my irresponsible and abusive driving (I owned these cars at a younger age). True, fuel mileage is not great but that comes with the territory of owning a classic car (and yes they ARE classics at this point). I'd love to find one of these like you did, owned by an elderly individual.. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. Long live the GM B-body!!