Clean Wagon: 1987 Buick LeSabre Estate

We will probably never see the likes of this 1987 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon again. It seems that the era of the family station wagon is over, and there are no plans by any manufacturers to reintroduce one to their product range in the foreseeable future. That makes this an attractive proposition to any buyers who feel that an SUV won’t cut the mustard. It presents exceptionally well, and it is loaded with creature comforts. The owner has decided to part with the LeSabre, so he has listed it for sale here on eBay. It is located in Amenia, New York, and the bidding has reached $4,550 in a No Reserve auction.

While the 6th Generation LeSabre moved onto a front-wheel-drive platform in 1986, the company chose to retain the Estate on the previous model’s rear-wheel-drive B Platform. It also meant that at over 18′ in total length, the Estate could accommodate an entire family with ease. This LeSabre presents exceptionally well for its age. The Silver paint appears to be consistent, with no evidence of the patchiness or matte appearance that can affect this shade as it ages. The panels are as straight as you could hope to find, while there is neither a mention nor evidence of rust in the listing or photos. The trim and chrome are in excellent order, as is the glass. The windows in the rear doors and rear cargo area have been treated with aftermarket tint film, which should help to keep things cool on warmer days. The listing suggests that the Buick may have spent the early part of its life as a flower car for a funeral director, and that would help to explain why it has remained so nicely preserved.

If this Buick was a flower car, it was a well-equipped one. As well as air conditioning, it comes with power windows, power front seats, cruise, a factory CB radio, an AM/FM radio/cassette player, and a tilt wheel. When you look beyond the trinkets and consider the wagon’s interior, you find that it is well-preserved for a vehicle of this age. The seats are upholstered in dark blue cloth, and this shows no wear or problems. The carpet is equally impressive, while the dash and plastic are free from cracks or deterioration. The only flaw that the owner identifies is the headliner. He feels that it needs to be replaced, which is a common problem with these wagons. They can sag badly over time, and while it is possible to reglue them in situ, it isn’t easy. It is possible for a patient owner to remove the headliner and undertake the repairs themselves, but they need to be prepared because it is a time-consuming task. In a case like this, I would be inclined to save myself some heartache by handing it to an upholsterer. It should cost less than $300, and their extensive experience with cloth and glues should produce a pleasing result.

The owner doesn’t supply any engine photos, but we know that the LeSabre’s drivetrain features a 307ci V8 engine and a 4-speed automatic transmission. Combine 140hp with a vehicle weight of 4,160lbs, and you don’t need to be Einstein to conclude that this is no muscle wagon. The journey through the ¼ mile would take 19.4 seconds, while it would struggle to hit 102mph. However, on the open road, it is a family wagon that can top 20mpg, making it the perfect wagon for long-distance journeys. The owner doesn’t make outrageous claims about low odometer readings, as it is set to roll over soon. He says that the Estate runs and drives very well, which means that the open road would seem to be beckoning you and your family.

When they were readily available, it seemed that many owners purchased a station wagon out of a matter of necessity. Often it was due to families growing beyond the seating capacity of most sedans or because they found that they had loads to carry that wouldn’t fit in a trunk. People carriers and SUVs have supplanted the wagon’s place, and manufacturers found that there weren’t the sales volumes available to make the ongoing development and manufacturing of station wagons financially viable. Classic wagons have developed their own strong following in the market, and tidy examples can achieve surprising sale prices. One thing that I’ve learned through decades of involvement in the classic car scene is never to say “never.” Certain trends and styles might at some point seem dead and buried, only to re-emerge decades later. I don’t know whether that will happen with the station wagon because there are no indications that any manufacturer is considering adding one to their model range in the foreseeable future. I wouldn’t rule it out at some point, but buyers will need to compromise with older examples in the meantime. When I look at vehicles like this ’87 LeSabre, that seems like a compromise that I would be prepared to live with. Would you?

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Comments

  1. Greg

    Drop a GNX engine and drivetrain into it. Then it would be perfect.

    Like 3
    • Engident

      276 hp at 4160lbs? Those are almost exactly the same specs as my Nissan Xterra, except it doesn’t have turbo lag. And even if the GNX hp spec was truly underrated, many 5.3 LS’s could do better.

      Like 4
    • Jim

      Please. I hope someone doesn’t ruin this car by doing something like that.

      Like 5
  2. Steve Clinton

    I am a pushover for vintage wagons.
    I’d buy this in an instant, if only I was 30 years younger, had the cash, had a place to store it, and had an understanding wife!

    Like 6
    • Bill Hall

      Ditto!

      Like 1
  3. Maestro1 Member

    I advise someone to buy this car. I would, but I have no room, but negotiations for more space are proceeding.
    Adam, excellent writing. Frankly, I can afford several SUVs currently in the market and I won’t go near them. Most of them are meaningless.
    Thank you for this.

    Like 3
  4. Pookie Jamie

    Slap a vinyl roof on it and you have an instant hearse.

  5. Kevin

    I grew up around these,and owned a few,just not a Buick, this is a nice car,that should be kept that way,and original, hopefully it will go to someone who doesn’t want to mess with it.

    • Jack M.

      Messing around is what makes it a fun hobby. Drop a warmed over 455 Buick under the hood and have some fun at the stoplights.

      Like 1
  6. Kevin

    That was me 10 years ago….lol,ok less,it would be a hoot with a 455,no doubt, but then you’ve got to strengthen the entire drive train also,don’t get me wrong, I love power, and fun as much as anybody, but have had my share of headaches, and wallet emptying from “messing “with the stock set-up.

  7. george mattar

    Have had four GM wagons in my life, the last being an 87 Caprice Estate with a roof rack and the anemic 307. The 307 was totally gutless, burned oil, but never broke down. We hauled our three daughters and all their stuff on vacation in that car 500 miles each way in total comfort. They hold far more than any overpriced stupid SUV. I grew up in wagons, beginning with our brand new 1962 Pontiac. I wish I never sold that Caprice. I think I got $500 for it in 1999. As two of you guys say here, if I had a place to put it without the wife knowing, I would. It is cheap enough. I have the cash, but she would tell me to sell my prized Corvette and Mercury Marauder. Ain’t happening. Someone is gonna get a beauty. These cars ride like you in your living room, when GM was still building cars I want. And Buick had the best looking wagons in 87, especially with those awesome aluminum wheels.

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