Nun Better: 1989 Buick LaSabre

Like many of you, I remember when 1989 Buicks were new cars, and like so many others, were boring examples of General Motors Malaise era design. Appliance cars for sure – though they do have their fans. This ad here on craigslist for a 1989 Buick for sale in Wilton, Connecticut looks like just another old used car, but it caught my eye.

This might be one of the best and simply written ads I have seen in a long time: “Car was owned by the convent! Nuns drove it.”

That’s all you need to know. I’m guessing this car is solid, clean, and very driveable. And it is probably just as boring to drive today as it was when it was new back in 1989. Still, if you like to put your fanny in the nuns’ seat, this is the car for you. And you don’t even have to join a convent to drive it. With only 64,000 miles on this car, a nice set of wire wheel covers, and an asking price of only $2,000, how can you go wrong? Cue nun jokes now please.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Sorry, some things are the way they are. This looks exactly like the type of car a nun would drive. I did a little research, as I didn’t think nuns could drive, and apparently, yes, they can, however, most remove their habit, which I can only imagine would severely restrict their peripheral vision. The car, meh.

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    • grant

      Modern, non cloistered nuns are pretty normal people, really. The one I’m thinking of drove a Corolla and was the sweetest lady ever, but god help you when she was behind the wheel…..

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    • Woodie Man

      The last car my Dad had…albeit an ’86…embarassing to be caught in! Really the old persons best automotive friend.

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  2. MH

    These are wonderful cars. I had one for a few years. Sold it when the tranny started to slip. People were always amazed when I opened the hood because it opens backwards. I would buy this one if it was closer.

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    • Joseph Pinks

      I have a 1989 Buick Electra Park Avenue only has 138000 miles on it been garage kept since the day it was bought new runs and drives great looks like it just came off the car lot. My wife loves the car. I have only the second owner, I love this car. You can’t beat the 3800 V6

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  3. Diogenes

    This GM platform, considered a midsize, has got to be one of the most uncomfortable cars made during the era. I picked up an example with 52K, in excellent condition, but it was really unpleasant to drive–worse as a passenger. There was little consideration for ergonomics back then–no leg room, etc, etc…The drive line leaves a bit to be desired as well, with numerous issues plaguing these cars–engine management electronics are full of gremlins. As I tell many people, these are rolling, or towed, examples of why GM went bankrupt, and why it is now a welfare corporation.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Cue the reality check on the Big Three bailout and payback.

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  4. Rock On

    Heavenly find David!

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  5. Bingo

    Aparently this convent didn’t have flying nuns.

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  6. m power

    Low miles and a low price, I know this isn’t most people’s cup of tea, but I’d love to have it. I had a ’94 Lesabre back in high school and it’s still one of the best cars I’ve ever owned.

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  7. ccrvtt

    Peter Egan wrote about one of these, may have even owned one. He said very nice things about it and as we all know, Peter never lied.

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  8. Poppy

    I put 100K miles on one and then sold it to a friend who still drives it 100 miles a day. Great cars, plentiful parts supply, efficient engines. I drive a mid ’90s one now which has the same underpinnings and essentially the same drive train but is much improved with standard ABS, airbag(s), larger front discs, and better power window mechanisms. I love the looks of these old boxy ones, but would opt for a later one if I was going to drive it daily.

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  9. Dan

    This is not a “malaise” era car. By the late 80s GM was bolting together some solid, nice to drive cars. And this is one. I bet most of the comments on this car are positive.

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    • Todd Zuercher

      Dan – you’re absolutely right. BF writers seem to get the malaise era years mixed up all the time. By 89 it was definitely in our rear view mirrors.

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  10. Chris

    Had an 87 with the v6. Quality was terrible. When the car had 300 miles on it the dealer had to remove the heads due to a massive coolant leak. Long list of warranty issues and on cold days the engine would never run right until it warmed up. I remember when it had 5000 miles on it it stalled pulling into traffic and almost killed me.

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  11. leiniedude

    For 2K, 64,000 miles. If its real, a great winter beater.

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  12. CCFisher

    This wasn’t just a malaise period for GM, it was downright delusional. Full-sized Buicks of this generation had a reverse-opening, clamshell-style hood, modeled after European cars that were eating GM’s luxury lunch. It’s as if GM thought that all they needed to do to compete was throw on a few random features. In this case, they wound up with a very expensive hood system that fooled nobody and likely frustrated many owners and mechanics.

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    • Poppy

      Not that crazy or expensive of a hood system. Gravity held them open once the mechanism went over center. Never had to worry about gas struts giving out. Made changing the rear plugs a breeze.

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    • MH

      CCFISHER has no clue what he is talking about. These cars were very well liked back in the day. The buick lesabre of any year was a great and extremely reliable car.

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    • Keith

      CCFisher obviously never owned one of these era Buicks. The hood system made working in the engine bay a breeze. The 3800 V6 was an excellent engine (I’ve owned many Buicks with that engine and never had an issue, my 89 Lesabre T-Type I drove 300 miles a day 6 days a week for 2 years without issue and the car was over 100k miles). The mere fact that you see many of these, now 25 year old cars, still on the road, is a testament to their durability.

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  13. rmward194

    These were and are great cars. I worked at a GM store at the time and we sold these things like hotcakes.

    Very comfortable cars that got great gas mileage. The 3.8 V6 and 4spd overdrive transmission combo, when properly maintained, would run forever.
    I had 1989 and 1994 Bonnevilles, basically the same car only a Pontiac, and both went well over 200k before we sold them.

    $2,000 for a 64k car is a no-brainer!

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  14. David Zornig

    I had two `89’s at one time. A T-Type and a Custom 4 door.

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    • Poppy

      I love the 2-doors of this era. Very cool.

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  15. vidsal

    Almost all I encounter have 200k plus miles and maybe only ever needed an alternator and ignition module unlike the blue smoke blowing 10 y newer Accord I saw the other day with a new head on top of multiple timing belts water pumps etc

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  16. Megan J M Clodi

    I had an ’89 v6 I purchased in 1996 and drove it through most of my college years. I loved it! It was very comfortable. My favorite car I’ve owned, by far. It had 105,000 miles on it when I purchased it and had about 210,000 when I finally traded it in. The AC stopped working and only the rear power windows worked. Ironically, my first year of college was at a small Lutheran college in Wisconsin which used to be a convent. If this car was closer, I’d grab it right up!

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  17. Mel B.

    Too far for me.

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  18. Ralph H.

    Love these cars…Dad had the Olds version, 89 Royale Brougham…his favorite..one day I would love to find the duplicate, just to own and drive in his honor…

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  19. Oldog4tz

    On the west coast it would have been donked years ago

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  20. Rustytech

    I had one of these for years ( 1987 ). I found it to be a very comfortable, and reliable car. I was a little concerned after having owned a 1977 Delta 88 for years. I wasn’t too sure about going to FWD, but was reasonably impressed. I bought another Lesabre in 2004, and it turned out to be a turd. Seems in their wisdom, someone at GM decided they could save money, and weight by going to a plastic intake manifold. It wasn’t 1,000 miles out of warranty when it filled the combustion chambers with coolant. GM basically told me to pound sand. That was my last GM car! I like this on though. Note: Intake is aluminum.

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  21. Canso Mike

    I had a 1988 Buick La Sabre Limited was probably the best car I ever owned I bought it with 30,000 miles and sold it with 200,000 3.8 V-6 never had a problem I drove it and my kids drove it over a period of 7 years . Drove good worked good and great gas mileage.

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  22. Bill

    how is this a “Barn find”?

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    • Poppy

      Technically it’s a convent find.

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  23. Bob C.

    These were not bad cars at all for the era. They moved along pretty good, gas mileage was good, handled good, and they were decent in snow. The only quirk I ever noticed in these along with other gm front drives from the 80s was when you first started them on real cold days, it took a little time for the power steering to get working.

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  24. The Giant Cornstalk

    With the possible exception of the Grand Nationals (and GNX), Buick styling in the last two decades of the 20th century (no pun intended for the use of the term “century”) was the equivalent of a coma telethon – – Oldsmobile and Buick was neck and neck with Oldsmobile for top honors in design of ugly and ungainly sedans, with Chevrolet’s Easter Egg-shaped Caprice Classic and Ford’s early Panther platform sedans all receiving honorable mention. Of course, coming off of the X-body generation of Chevrolet Citations and its various iterations from the other GM camps, Chrysler’s Aires and Reliant K-car atrocities, and Ford’s Fairmont, Tempo, Escort and its ilk, there were plenty of candidates for public lynching, including Chrysler’s entire mid-1990s series of “dinner mint” shaped cars (Chrysler’s LHS, Concorde, Cirrus and 300, Plymouth’s Breeze, and Dodge’s Stratus and Intrepid.) Wow, I didn’t realize until now just how bad things were until I started counting. Wow. Ow.

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    • The Giant Cornstalk

      Cut and paste didn’t work well. Should have read “Oldsmobile and Buick were neck and neck for top honors in design of ugly and ungainly sedans, with Chevrolet’s Easter Egg-shaped Caprice Classic and Ford’s early Panther platform sedans all receiving honorable mention.”

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  25. CJay

    Great cars our 1st 1989 LeSabre T Type Coupe (white) we have had for 16 years now has 192,000 still runs great! We found another (Garnett Red) with 49,300 documented miles, last September

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  26. rando

    Love those Buicks with tht flat spoiler on the rear in homage to the NASCAR racers of the day.

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  27. Car39

    We used to sell cars to a group of cloistered nuns. Some of them never left the convent, others were very active in the community. Used to love to see the double takes Mother Superior got, in full habit, waiting for her car to be serviced.

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    • vidsal

      Reminds me that one may want to treat those customers with extra care (Blues Brothers….mission from God.)

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  28. Miro Doporto

    This thread is nun of my business.

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  29. Chebby

    “Owned by nuns” is a curiosity, but not any kind of endorsement: try to think of a group of people less likely to care about cars or their maintenance. After all, they didn’t even own it, the church did. My high school had a few old junkers on the property formerly driven by the LaSallian brothers who lived and taught there. When they were done with the cars, there was very little left in them. As underage kids working on after-school projects, we occasionally took their retired ’77 Caprice wagon around the campus to pick up various things. No worries about us hooning around: it had no reverse and no compression, full throttle would get you to about 20mph. Interior was in shreds. The car was only 11 years old at the time…..

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