Cheap Grandma Car: 1979 Buick Lesabre

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The downsized General Motors B body cars were everywhere in the late seventies and eighties. There were many of them that were driven for many years by people unwilling to go to the front wheel drive GM full-size cars of the mid-eighties. This 1979 Buick Lesabre 4 door sedan is for sale here on Craigslist in Tujunga, California. Barn Finds reader Pat L. found this car and brought it to our attention.

This car was bought new by the seller’s grandmother who said she took care of her baby. The grandmother passed away a year ago, and they have nowhere to store it. While grandmother took care of her car, there are a few things that need attention. The paint has seen better days and seems quite faded on the hood and trunk. The vinyl roof actually looks pretty good, so with the paint faded as much as it is, it’s possible the top has been replaced at some point, but the seller doesn’t say. The front bumper has a bit of a crinkle in it and the rear bumper filler is broken and partially missing.

There’s not a good picture of the interior, but a picture of it peering through the closed windows. The seats are covered with most likely bedsheets. I’m wondering if grandma put those there to keep the California sun from fading the seats or if they are put there to cover up the fading and tears that could possibly be there.

There are no pictures of the engine and no word of which engine it is. The available engines in 1979 included the standard 3.8 liter (231 CID) V6, or optional V8s in either 4.9 liter (301 CID) or 5.7 liter (350 CID). I think if I were to buy this Lesabre, I would have to get rid of the aftermarket wheel covers and find either some period correct wheel covers or the famous Buick road wheels. The seller says the car has 29,000 miles, but I’m wondering if that isn’t 129,000. The best part about this car is the price. The seller is asking only $700, a pretty good price for a car in this condition and that we know was running as recently as eight months ago. I don’t care how hard you search, you probably won’t find another car on the internet in the condition this one is for this price. So is this something you would want? Hurry before a flipper gets it.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Todd FitchStaff

    Nice one Bill! I had one of these, a ’78. Bought it for $250, drove it for about five or six winters (keeping my Mustang off the salty roads) and sold it for $200. Once I put a six-foot Christmas tree diagonally in the trunk and closed the lid. I loved the little pod of status lights on top of the dash. When you engaged the Cruise control you’d get the word “CRUISE” in green. Now that’s class.

    Like 5
  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    At that price one of you guys, stateside, should snap it up.

    That’s an excellent entry-level collectable. Take Bill’s advice and put the correct Buick ‘Artillery’ wheels or the correct factory wire wheel covers and enjoy the ride…

    Like 1
    • Eliot T

      Collectible, not by a long shot but what a cool sleeper it would bbe with an LS swap and open headers

      Like 0
      • McMotorhead

        Give it 10 more years, and it’ll surely be ‘collectible’. For the same reason you can’t purchase a 1967 Buick in the same condition today for anywhere NEAR $750.00. Timing is everything.

        Like 0
  3. John M.

    It’s quite a steal. It shouldn’t take much time and money to make it a safe daily driver again.

    Like 2
  4. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972Member

    The price aside, this car has zero appeal and practically defines the word “Bland.” The styling is from the “box on a box” school of design and the powerplants offered don’t deserve to be called powerplants. It’s an oversized barge with poor handling and questionable build quality. I love American cars but most of the crap offered from about 1974 to the early 1980’s are forgettable and deservedly so. I’m sure some folks like these cars (though I couldn’t name even one) and it’s certainly a cheap entry into the collector car world but who ever buys it shouldn’t put money into it. You’ll never get your $700 back, even 40 years from now. To me, after the incredible cars we could buy in the ’60’s, the ’70’s offerings were America’s low point in car design and performance.

    Like 2
    • Chuckie

      Ah, go take a spin around the block in your Granada and try to cheer up. ;)

      Like 9
      • FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972Member

        I don’t have a Granada, I have a Dodge Magnum. Don’t worry, I know how to cheer up and it’s not by driving your Granada.

        It’s my opinion, you don’t have to like it.

        Like 2
    • duaney

      Hey, it’s survivor beige!!! Guaranteed that no kid hot rodded it

      Like 3
  5. Kenneth Carney

    Still brainstorming how to get this car
    from California to Florida on the cheap.
    Beats paying $33K for a ’98 Malibu
    sedan on a car lot in Tampa screwed
    together by some shade tree mechanics
    that don’t have the proper training to do the job right in the first place. This car
    checks off all the boxes to make a great
    starter car for Sis–big, safe, and cheap!
    Car dealers here in Florida are financial
    predators when it comes to newly
    divorced women with no real credit
    history other than their husbands. Oh
    sure, by the time I get done with the
    purchase price, state and local fees,
    taxes, and transport costs, I’ll be in the
    hole at least $5K but at least those
    vultures won’t get to take advantage of
    my SIL when it comes to buying her first
    car. Great find, but probably gone already.

    Like 2
    • Gary

      A 98 Malibu for 33,000? How many you want? For 33k I’ll sell ya 20 of them. You’ll have enough of them to last you forever.

      Like 0
  6. Blueprint

    Bought a ’78 sedan, base with zero frills, as a summer job beater in ’89. Had the 350, barely managed to crack 10 mpg!

    Like 0
  7. Pete Phillips

    These are good cars. I had a ’79 LeSabre Palm Beach edition coupe for 13 years. Quietest most comfortable car I’ve ever owned. Had the 301 V8 which was good for 17-20 mpg consistently on the highway. Had to replace the starter motor every 3-4 years due to a design flaw in which the exhaust pipe’s heat was too close to the starter. Other than that, no complaints at all.

    Like 2
    • Steven L Noren

      We had a Palm Beach, too. Fabulous cruiser, and you’re very right about the quiet and mileage. We wore it out and sold to 3 teenage brothers who brought it back to life.

      Like 0
  8. PRA4SNW

    Price is now up to $1200.

    Like 1

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