: Finally, I now own two cars!

09-21-12, 10:12 AM
So, as long as I can remember, I've wanted to own atleast two cars. One being a daily driver, the other being a classic or something nice that I can drive on nice days or on the weekends and store for winter or during rainy days.

After I bought the Marauder in mid April, I found out there are only 328 made of them like that, in the Dark Blue Pearl, making it quite valuable and a collector car in the future, so I set out to buy something before the start of winter that I would drive through the snow, on rainy days and to busy places where I would worry about door dings, errant shopping carts, drunks and potential theft.

I focused my search on GM FWD products made in the late '80s and early '90s. My #1 choice was a FWD 3800 powered full sized Olds or Buick, but I also looked at Centurys, Cieras, 4.9 devilles, Town Cars, Bonnevilles and even considered an early '90s Maxima or Accord.

Over the last few weeks, I test drove a couple of different cars in the $1500-1700 range, the last being a 95 Ciera with only 86k miles, but it seemed as though everything I found needed major work to be a solid daily driver.

Then last Sunday, as I was carefully checking craigslist again, I stumbled across exactly what I wanted, a '91 LeSabre Custom Sedan (the last year for the cool Reagan era square body), it was posted Sunday morning, and I called on it Sunday afternoon and I met a few friends and went to look at it Sunday evening. 149k miles, $1295 OBO, white with the red cloth interior. It had a really creative ad that caught my attention, so I had to look at it!

I got out there with my friends and fell in love with it. It had a clean exterior, a spotless interior, a new radiator, recently rebuilt transmission, good tires, great brakes, very little rust. The only issues I saw were an illuminated CEL, both front window regulators were inop, the valve cover gasket is in need of replacement, the AM/FM portion of the radio is inop (but the cassette deck works, which is all I need with the iPod adaptor). So I made him an offer of $1100 and drove it home the next day.

I parked the Marauder in the garage Monday evening and haven't driven it since. I enjoy driving this old LeSabre so much, in a totally different sense than the Marauder. It rides like my Cadillac did, the 3800 gets 23 mpg in town, the seats are super comfy and it's much easier to park & maneuver than the Marauder is, it's a great car to slowly cruise the town in. The Marauder begs to be driven hard, in the way it accelerates & handles. Being a much larger, heavier car than the LeSabre, it's funny that the Marauder is a much sharper handler. The Marauder holds a flat stance as it aggressively takes the curves & sweepers, the LeSabre folds over on it's door handles at the slightest thought of making a turn. But whereas the Marauder transmits the bumps and potholes to the cabin, the LeSabre simply floats over them, making it probably the best riding car I've ever owned (or the '92 Sedan deVille).

My plan is to drive the Marauder on weekends, then store it once the snow flies and use the LeSabre for daily commuting and snow duty.

When I added the LeSabre to my insurance, the rates went up $118 for every 6 months, which comes down to $19/mo. I'll save that in gas in a month!

Here's a few pics from the day I bought it, before I cleaned it.

Spotless interior.

Lots of room to work on the 3800, for the little work it needs.

I ****ing LOVE how the hood opens on these, just like a Corvette. I remember going with my dad in 1994 to look at a dark blue Lesabre like this and thinking it was awesome that it opened backwards.

Considering I paid $1100 for this, I think I got the deal of the year! :D

I need to take care of a few minor things though... valve cover gaskets, the horn is inop, needs a cupholder for the front armrest. I had the LF wheel bearing replaced on Wednesday as well, that was shot.

I'm very happy with how well this worked out, bring on the snow!

ted tcb
09-21-12, 10:25 AM
Congrats, Chad.
Smart choice.
I keep my Miata and Thunderbird in the garage during bad weather and snow, of course. Drive the AWD
Jag X type and a Mazda 6 as daily drivers.

How did the safety check go?
Was the check engine light an oxygen sensor?
Up here, I still have to get my 91 Miata emission tested every 2 years ... does the Buick escape this due
to age?
I used to own a fast food franchise, and one of my drivers had the same car as yours. I remember when
the steering rack failed, he had one helluva time driving that fwd beast around town delivering pizzas
without power steering.

I love the style, and agree that the hood release was my favorite feature.

The biggest pleasure, I find, with an old beater, is that you forgive the car any annoying issues.
You simply revel in how inexpensive the car is to operate ... as long as it gets you through the day
safely, nothing else matters on a $1200 car.
As some would say, a good bicycle can cost $1000.

09-21-12, 10:28 AM
Thats the cleanest $1100 car I've ever seen. Looks like it will compliment the Marauder nicely!

09-21-12, 10:29 AM
No idea on the CEL, but they're running a free engine light check this month at work, so I'll have them look into that. In Minnesota, we do not require any sort of emissions check, I think the last time they did that was in 2000 or so.

09-21-12, 11:22 AM
Looks like there's some rust that needs attention, but all in all, smart move.

09-21-12, 12:42 PM
Awesome man. Looks just like my first car. Only mine was an 87 but aside from the steering wheel and grill, looked exactly the same. Mine was burgundy with same interior as yours. Mine was also a custom so had exact same style of cloth seats. I loved that car.

09-21-12, 01:08 PM
Congrats bro!

There are ups & downs to owning more than 1 vehicle.

I got 4 right now & it is a pain in the ass...but I gotta have my Caddys!

Hope the new ride treats you good.

09-21-12, 05:29 PM
Congrats! Now you can insure with the two car discount.;)

09-21-12, 05:30 PM
Looks like there's some rust that needs attention, but all in all, smart move.

You can see the rust is staining the rockers underneath the length of the doors, indicating there is something significant going on behind the scenes. Chances are, if we had a picture of the insides of the doors, we'd see that they are rusting from the inside out at the seams. Even if they are "repaired", the door skins will have holes next year (the rust is accelerating quickly if it's leaving stains underneath). Not worth giving attention, in my opinion.

At $1100, it's a throw-away vehicle. I wouldn't touch the rust, valve cover (quarts of oil are very cheap), or the CEL (as long as it's not affecting mileage). No sense in offsetting it's low initial cost or low insurance premiums by making tons of (arguably) unnecessary repairs - then he could have just purchased something nicer.

I suggest you just run it as is, making only necessary repairs. You purchased it to use as a beater to protect your "good" car - treat it like one.

09-21-12, 05:45 PM
I have no intention on touching the rust. I just want this car to last me 2-3 years then we'll see. The underbody, however, is surprisingly clean and without any major cancer.

09-22-12, 01:02 AM
Nice! I wish I could find a comfy winter beater like that. Old Buicks are smooth, quiet, and pretty dependable with good heaters. They were born for harsh upper midwest winters. So far I've only come across near-dead Cieras and Celebritys, the latter of which are rarely seen in good shape.

I'd only do the valve cover if you have the time to fix it yourself and if there's a strong oil scent getting into the cabin.

That white hood, if it didn't have a hood ornament, looks damn near identical to the one on my Saab! It's curved at the front edges the exact same way and closes like a clamshell.

09-22-12, 01:10 AM
Oh man that is such a great 80's holdover from GM. Love all the fake wood, burgandy velour, and airbagless wheel on the inside. Seems like in the 90's they cheesed out on the interiors for Buicks. I'd say well bought for $1100, its a hell of a lot nicer than any sort of Honda/Toyota you can buy at that price.

09-22-12, 01:44 AM
I said it before, Chad, great buy! Looks like just what you need.

09-22-12, 08:04 AM
I went to the junkyard yesterday to get a cupholder for it and I was also able to snag a "Stephens" badge off a '96 LeSabre. Stephens Buick used to be the biggest, most prominent Buick dealer in the state, otherwise known as "Win Stephens Buick Town USA", but it fell under eminent domain in the '90s and is now a VW dealer.

Anyways, when I was at the junkyard, I stumbled across a 1988 Oldsmobile Delta 88 and that one did not have the clamshell style hood. I wonder why Buick would do that, but not Oldsmobile, on a similar car.

The burning smell caused by the valve cover is something that I can only smell inside the cabin once in a great while, usually after accelerating harshly, but I try not to drive hard, as it's a 21 year old car with 150k miles on it. I'm sure the EGR is failing, as there can be a hesitation when accelerating from a stop when the engine is warm & has been idling for a while, but I still want to have the SES light examined before I start throwing parts at it.

What is really funny is how large the car is, but how little it weighs. 3200 lbs is not a lot for the overall size of the car, especially the interior space.

I drove it home last night to my parent's place for dinner and surprised them with it. Dad looked it over and gave me the thumbs up, especially for $1100. He looked at one like this in '94, but passed because that one's transmission shifted funky.

Also rolled over 150k as I pulled up to my parents' house.

09-22-12, 10:48 AM
Me gusta.

I want something like that for a winter beater....

09-22-12, 12:00 PM
Congrats on a great buy!

Just remember sometimes winter commuter cars need service, too.

09-22-12, 04:41 PM
Looks great, Chad -- congrats!

09-22-12, 07:18 PM
Looks good chad, Now I won't have to fill your house with Rapid raccoons for driving my future car in the winter. I turned to Buick for my winter beater needs too. I am thinking about swapping to another SUV though as I don't drive 80 miles a day anymore and I want a Daily I can take off road during hunting season.


09-23-12, 12:05 AM
It's really interesting about the different method of hood opening between the LeSabre and the 88. IIRC, the same was true of the Park Avenue and the 98. Even at the depths of badge engineering, the divisions were still trying to differentiate themselves. Now that I think about it, IIRC, back in the 40s and early 50s, Buick hoods opened to the side, while Olds had the standard "alligator" hood.

09-23-12, 02:08 AM
Since you have a power drivers seat you should look for a set of the '86-'89 Limited cloth seats, if you didn't live so far I'd give you the set of limited leathers I have. Nice buy, my ex jus got rid of her Lesabre we bought from a junkyard in 2008, never needed and real repairs, other than once a year it liked to have a $100 suprise.

09-23-12, 03:52 AM
Well bought, Mr. Chad.