Original poster here responding to the 2nd comment. Yes, the car had a rebuilt motor from a 1996 Buick park Avenue. My 1993 Le Sabre had a salvage title from heavy front end damage, but that's no excuse for all the other problems. If anyone gets their hands on a 1977-1984 Gm Full size of this vintage, hang onto it!!! Many have lasted for over 30 years, and I think that speaks volumes.
Hang on to that 1983 Park Avenue and don't ever sell it or junk it, whatever you do! The reason these cars aren't made anymore is that they're too simple and reliable, and repair shops and dealers can't make any money off people. It doesn't take a nuclear physicist to diagnose and treat problems with these cars. My '84 Le Sabre with the same drivetrain as yours still purrs like a kitten, shifts smooth like butter and has an almost showroom shine after 194,000 miles.
Five years ago my 1978 Oldsmobile 98 Regency with 403 V8 finally decided to throw a rod out the side of the block at 341,000 miles. The body was pretty rusty, but up until about 300,000 miles the car ran like a champ! I even pulled a few tree stumps with that car.
I think the late 70's to mid 80's full size cars from GM, Ford, and Chrysler are classics in their own right. They're not that powerful, some are downright ugly, but I see more of these on the road than any other cars from that era.
We have a 1983 Park Avenue. It has 68,xxx miles and except for the "chicken feet" paint, the car drives, shifts and works beautifully. We did have to have the 200 transmission redone at 56,xxx miles, but everyone knows about that transmission.
The first one we had was Silver with Grey interior and top. It was an exceptional beauty and we drove the wheels off, literally - over 200k miles. Still looked good, but was needing heavy maintenance.
We bought the current one in April 07 from, really "a little old lady". She had the car in storage for 10 years with 53,xxx miles. Everything works except the electroluminescent lite over the glove box (try finding one of those). As the original commentor stated, it rides like a cloud and does take the potholes and road bumps as if they weren't there.
I wish I could find another just as good and with low miles:-)
My review "worthy purchase" remains reflective of these cars, noting comments of other owners of same or just-one-year-different models... and even compared to my '82 LeSabre: same lousy seats, same cheap steering box, same rotten electronic carburetors and the computer-controlled "idle speed motors".
OTHER THAN THAT, they're just fine... even though my gas mileage has slipped from averaging 18.5 to 15.0.
Had one, loved it, was thinking about putting a 350 engine in it for a little more pep. Had only 110,000 when I traded it in, great car! Had some rust. Traded in 97.
After GM axed nearly all of their traditional full size-sized, body on frame, V8, rear wheel drive cars in the 1980s, the only saving grace for the badge engineered Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs was the 3800 V6.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, foreign or domestic, matched the performance, reliability, durability and economy of this motor when it came out in my opinion. It was a remarkable motor for its time, and though it is an outdated pushrod motor, the ones that are still running good today can still hold their own. It took Chrysler, Ford, and all the imports almost 15 years to match what this motor could do.
While the full-sized cars from the 1990s and early 2000s were better performing, more maneuverable and more economical, I think the 1977-1984 era of full sized American cars were some of the most stylish and comfortable ever made.
To me, the GM full sized cars from the late 1990s to early 2000s just look like Geritol pills, and ride and handle like the suspension is made of jello.
To those of us that remember these cars when they were in their prime, it is not hard at all to tell the difference between a 1982 Olds 98 and a 1982 Buick Park Ave. Cookie Cutter option packages were almost unheard of back then, and almost every car was still unique in the way it was equipped.
For example, I've seen "cheap" Buick Electra Limiteds loaded to the gills with every available option including a sunroof, chrome sport wheels, leather, and the digital radio with EQ. Then you might see a Oldsmobile 98 Regency of the same year with old style manual radio, cloth seats, plain dishpan looking wheel covers, and a 350 diesel engine.
I own a 1978 Pontiac Bonneville and a 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis, and I love this era of cars so much that I would almost have to be completely broke and close to homeless before I would consider selling either one.
"Outdated push-rod motor"? Outdated must mean 'better' then, because the old cast iron push-rod motors were much better than anything built today.
The only way the 3800 V6 is outdated is that it does not quite match the power of engines in its class today, but like someone else said on here, it holds its own in the modern world just fine, as long as you don't abuse and neglect it too much. I should know, I own one. A 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Brougham with 278,000 miles.
I bought it in 2001 with 154,000 miles on it. The only things I have had to do are an intake gasket, a water pump, an alternator, and replace the A/C compressor and retrofit everything (more money that I wanted to spend in 2004, but it still blows ice cold today). 165 horsepower and tall highway gears will barely allow it to spin the tires when you take off, but these cars were designed when people cared about comfort and luxury on long trips, not being able to feel every bump in the road and take 35 MPH curves at 70 MPH.
Only recently has the engine started to leak and burn just a little oil, and there is a little hint of lifter tick when starting it on a very cold morning. The car is still at or above 30 miles to the gallon on the highway usually.
The transmission seems like it may be getting weak, shifts are getting rough, but still no slippage.
I paid $3600 for my car in 2001, I think I got my money's worth.