400 HP Woodgrain Stroker! 1990 Buick Estate

When you own an estate, the daily routine can be exhausting. Mending fences and equipment, tending to your livestock, entertaining guests, disciplining your servants… it all takes a toll. The estate owner needs a vehicle that offers not only supreme utility but also a respite from the burdens of feudal autocracy. That’s exactly where this trusty wagon fits in! The 1990 Buick Estate in Broadalbin, New York offers cavernous cargo capacity, handsome good looks, a comfortable ride, and, perhaps best of all, a 383 stroker motor with over 400 dyno-tested horsepower! The modified beast of burden comes to market here on craigslist, and a mere $6500 makes it yours. Thanks to reader Pat L. for spotting this commodious sleeper.

The 383 cid (6.3L) crate motor, presumably a stroked Chevy 350, wears tubular headers and a modern serpentine belt system. Power passes through a four-speed automatic TH-200-4R transmission spinning a 3.10:1 gear set in the Positraction rear end. All in all that should make for a powerful yet practical daily driver that will rival or bury most modern SUVs in a stoplight Gran Prix.

The first two rows of seats appear to have been transplanted from another vehicle, and I’m not a fan of the baby blue mouse fur, but they look comfortable and decent. The plywood center console holds promise. I could see crafting a nicely integrated module there with room for drinks and cell-phones, etc, and a double-DIN touch-screen stereo with navigation.

Looks like someone backed into a lift-gate or other horizontal object here. Credit the seller for putting this front and center. I bought a car once with a big dent on the roof just above the windshield that had cleverly escaped the photos. Always respect yourself enough to show and describe a car’s weak points. What looks like Keystone mags resemble Buick’s factory Rallye wheels.

Maybe this is the replacement seat. Either way, I prefer the shiny vinyl to the faded blue cloth any day. As third-row seats go, these aren’t bad! Your kids can wave goodbye to poseurs who try to keep up with this wood-grain wonder in traffic. This 1990 Estate represents the swan song of this generation Buick Estate, closing a chapter that began in 1977. Sedan versions switched to front-wheel-drive by 1986, making this luxury wagon truly the last dinosaur. With fewer than 2000 miles on the upgraded power-train, this Buick could serve its next owner for years to come. Can you picture this updated Buick on your estate?


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  1. nlpnt

    The seat could be original, iirc the third-row seats in these GM wagons were always vinyl and I think they had the same sew pattern for a given model year regardless of division or trim level, and they may even have been the same between ’77-90 Bs and ’84-96 As.

    Like 11
    • Jim

      Oldsmobiles had cloth seats in the back, but I think those were the only ones.

      Like 1
  2. Matt G

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t kind of want this thing, saggy headliner and all…

    Like 11
  3. Patrick Farmer

    When you get a small block Chevy at,above or in this case near 400 cid, your having fun driving it. My dad put a stock 400 in his 1980 Camaro and it was very fun to drive. Just like a 400 Firebird. If I were to build another small block Chevy I would start out with a Dart block and build it to 427 cid. Light and fast. This is why everybody and his dog and his dogs little brother, are dropping LS engines into darn near anything that rolls.

    Like 2
  4. Jacob Burden

    Thank you Barn Finds for making this article about my car! Its a great car and extremely fun to drive, always gets alot of attention from anyone its near! The two front seats are factory original along with the vinyl 3rd seat! Thanks for sharing my car and the kind words about it!

    Like 18
    • ACZ

      I love it! Just one question….how bad is the rust on the bottom? We can all see the top.

      Like 1
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Great to hear from you Jacob. The car is great; unique, practical, and a perfect sleeper. Good luck with the sale! We’d love to hear from the new owner too!

      Like 3
      • Jacob Burden

        Hi Todd, I actually sold the car today to a gentleman near NYC. $6200 and I delivered it for him which we both felt was fair. He showed up with his brother to look at it in a 94 Buick Roadmaster wagon, happy its going to another wagon enthusiast!

        Like 3
    • Patrick Farmer

      When are you building the next one?

  5. Miguel

    Why is the only question I have.

    • Last 1LE

      Why not?

      Like 10
      • Miguel

        Because the body is not in particularly good condition. A better donor car cold have been used.

      • Steve Clinton

        It’s better than most.

        Like 5
      • Miguel

        The damage at the rear will cost quite a bit to fix.

    • Steve Clinton

      Miguel, just MOVE ON!

      Like 7
      • Miguel

        If I were to worry about what you think or say, maybe I would.

        If you don’t like the opinion, just ignore it.

      • Steve Clinton

        And if you don’t like the cars that are posted, just ignore them.(wink)

        Like 9
      • Miguel

        I am sure the owners of the site will tell me if they don’t like what I post. You have nothing to say about it.

      • Steve Clinton

        Yes, sir, whatever you say sir.

        Like 8
      • Last 1LE

        Miguel, you seem to have forgotten that this is a free and open forum for commentary about a posted vehicle, or other comments about that vehicle, subject to the rules set forth by the site’s owner(s)/operator(s). Within those minimal rules, we are all entitled to comment on and/or reply to other comments, Steve Clinton’s, mine, and/or yours included. When I started working on enthusiast car magazines in the mid-90s (I’m now retired)I was told that our jobs as writers, photographers and editors was to inform and entertain, and that’s what a site like this is — a place to entertain and inform. Let it go.

        Like 9
      • Miguel

        Yes I know that which is why I didn’t appreciate Steve telling me to go away.

        There is nothing for me to let go.

        I was attacked for my opinion of this car which is just as valid as anybody else’s. You directed your comment to the wrong person.

        Like 1
      • Steve Clinton

        Obviously, he is NOT gonna let it go. (sigh)

        Like 7
  6. Steve Clinton

    I thought those were flame graphics on the hood. (The seller should just paint the hood and it will look much more appealing.)

    Like 2
  7. mike henry

    I like it. I had a ’71 Plymouth Satellite wagon with a 383 4 bbl., factory 4 speed, and woodgrain Contact paper on the sides, so it brings back some old street memories. Wish I still had that one.

    Like 4
    • Maverick

      That is a rare combo.

    • JCA Member

      I wish I had it too…

  8. Jack Mack

    None of these wagons came without A/C and I don’t see a compressor.

  9. JCA Member

    You almost built a sleeper… before the dual exhaust tips and especially the license plate

    Like 1
  10. Geoff

    Good on you Todd. You got through the entire piece without using the P” word. Admirable restraint. (:-)).

  11. Bruce Fischer

    I have had 2 of them over the years.1st 1 was great the 2nd not so great but they did ride nice!Bruce.

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