“Drives Like A Lazy-Boy Couch”: 1979 Buick LeSabre Limited

LeSabre. What an evocative name for a car. From the original 1951 concept car all the way up to its demise in 2005, the name meant something special. Of course, it could be argued that some of the cars didn’t deliver on that promise, but I’ll leave that decision up to you. This particular car happens to be the same color as a 1978 LeSabre that belonged to my college employer; I spent a lot of time driving that car, and it always started and was incredibly comfortable. This 1979 model is listed for sale here on craigslist, with an asking price of $7,995 or best offer. It’s located in Indian River, Michigan. Thanks to Clarke B. for this cushy find!

We’re told the car has 23,500 miles on it. It does look the part in the closeups, but I’d want to take a look to be sure. It has new tires, a new muffler and battery and benefits from having just been serviced. That makes it sound like it’s been off the road for a while. We are also told that it’s been kept inside its whole life. If that really is the original paint, and it’s as rust-free as it looks, this must be a real rarity in Michigan!

A close up of the Landau vinyl top shows no bubbling that I can see on the edges, either. And is that a red interior I spy? It is!

Would you believe eye-searing, dipped in blood red? Wow! The 1978 I drove had a velour interior, so I don’t have any experience with this vinyl or leather (I’m guessing vinyl). Apart from being sticky on hot days, I think it would be pretty neat to have an interior that I couldn’t possibly fall asleep in!

I was expecting a small V8, but instead we have a 231 cubic inch V6, which the seller says gets 30 miles per gallon. I’m questioning that a little bit because the EPA ratings for the car are 25 highway, 17 city, and were known to be optimistic at the time. However, it seems to me we got 24 on the highway out of the 1978 with a small V8, so perhaps they are correct. I’ll bet you won’t see many others that look this nice! Would you drive this “Lazy-Boy couch?”

Fast Finds


  1. ulm210

    Growing up my Mom drove the Olds version of this, the 98. Midnight Blue Coupe with a light blue pillow top velour interior. It had a Moonroof that, I swear, was only a couple inches shy of being the entire width of the roof… it was glorious. A deer ran out (wink wink) one night when they were on their way home from a party. Mom never found another car she liked as much… I guess we all have that one car we wish we had kept or, in my case, taken better care of.

    Like 1
    • nessy

      The Olds version of this car would have been the Delta 88, not the 98 like your mom’s car. This is a LaSabre and although it has the nice Limited interior, this car is a basic one with crank windows and the V6. The 98s and Electras were loaded up cars with a V8. The Electra was Buick’s version of the Olds 98. So you mom had a 98 Regency coupe with a moonroof? Your parents sure had good taste in cars. Oldsmobiles are my the top of my list. Here is a photo of my 79 Electra Limited just for kicks. I have a few 98 Regencys similar to this car.

      Like 1
      • doug6423

        LOVE the wire wheels on it!!

        Like 1
      • DrinkinGasoline

        Easy there Grasshopper. In 1979, all Buick C and B Body’s, whether Custom, Electra, Park Avenue or Limited could be ordered with a myriad of deletions or add-ons as well as engine options. And while we’re in it for kicks, here’s a few. The LeSabre is an ’85 Collector’s Edition.

      • DrinkinGasoline

        And another.

      • nessy

        No, you have been drinking too much gasoline again and misread what I said. All Electras and 98s came with a V8 during this time as well as power windows, seats and a host of other features. Although the B and C body cars looked close, there were very different cars. That 85 Collector Edition LaSabre was still just a LaSabre with Electra Park Ave seats since the big Electra was dumped in 84. Oldsmobile did the same thing with the Delta 88 LS for 85. It was still just a Delta 88 but had 98 Regency Brougham seats.

        Like 2
      • nessy

        Although Oldsmobiles are the car for me, I have some Buicks too. Here is a photo of my 84 Park Ave with 32k original miles.

        Like 1
  2. Ben T. Spanner

    My Father had a new light blue with velour version. His was a V8I thought it had a lot of room for a coupe.

    He and my Mom visited me from 2 plus hours away and parked in front of my house. They left and I noticed a puddle of clean oil where they had parked. I was ready to chase them down on the interstate when they appeared at the curb. They had forgotton to leave something with me. The Buick had just had its first oil change and the drain plug was loose. I drove it up on the curb, tightened the plug and added one quart. All was well.

    Like 1
  3. edh

    231 V6, nope!

    Total crap.

    Like 1
    • duaney

      Agreed! No wonder they never drove the car.

      Like 1
    • DrinkinGasoline

      Funny you should say that….The 231 had multiple code versions which obviously evades some folks.
      It ended up being turbo charged and made it’s way into the Riviera T-Type, Regal T-Type, Regal Turbo Coupe and Grand National through development. I guess it helps to know which engine code 231 that you actually have experience with :)

      Like 1
  4. Sam

    Neat car. The ask is probably very close to original msrp. Didn’t know you could get a 6.

    Our family had a very basic 77 Delta 88 sedan…350 v8, ac, crank windows, rear window defog…$7000.

    The Impala/Caprice 2 dr of that vintage had a unique rear window.

  5. jw454

    I had the same motor in my ’76 LeSabre. Although the ’76 was a bit bigger than the feature car, the performance would be about the same. Mine got about 20 M.P.G. on the highway and 15~16 in town. Great ride but, it was way under powered. The Buick 350 was a much better engine choice for these full size cars.

    Like 1
    • nessy

      I always wanted to own one of those big 76 LaSabres with the little V6. I still can’t understand the logic in this monster car with the V6. You can always tell a V6 LaSabre from the V6 badge above the side marker light on the 76. Today, they are very hard to find with the V6. 15mpg in town was no better than the 455 option. My 76 Electra Park Ave with the 455 will pull 17/18 in town and 21/22 on the highway if you are easy on the gas. I guess it’s because that V6 had so much weight to pull around.

      Like 1
  6. Will

    Would make for a great cross country vehicle, but I’d rather do it in one with more miles and at a cheaper price. Here’s the ad archive http://www.craigslistadsaver.com/view.php?name=1979BuickLeSabre

  7. John C Cargill

    The V6 is the turnoff. Dad bought a 76 Lesabre 4 door with a v6 and found it to be such a dog, he traded it for a 77 350 same body as this car. Having worked for Buick at that time, The 231 was fine for the Regal but not in a full sized car.

    Like 1
  8. David Miraglia

    always like the GMC B Body gang. Lesabres were cool back then

  9. Gary Evans

    While living in NJ, about 1985 I bought ($1500?) a 4 door sedan 78 Buick LeSabre (sight unseen) from a friend in CA and drove it with my wife and 3 kids to my in-law’s orchard in WA state with the intent of eventually driving it to NJ. The car was almost immediately stolen by migrant workers and ended up back in LA within a few miles of where my friend lived. I was contacted by police who told me that I wouldn’t want the car because it was so beat up. Another friend in LA who was an excellent auto body man, went to look at the car and said it was not bad at all. The insurance company totaled it and when my friend was done with repairs, it looked show room new, except for the carpet which I later replaced–and my wife’s parents flew from WA to CA and drove it to NJ. Several years later my wife was stopped at a rural intersection in NJ when a deer ran into the 78 Buick and onto the hood–and totaled the car again! After repairs I cancelled collision and comprehensive because I felt guilty taking money twice from the insurance company for the car… We drove that car well over 250,000 miles with only routine maintenance–although a couple of times a push rod wore through a rocker arm. The crushed velvet was getting ratty–and I finally gave the car to a graduate student in the late 90s. This LeSabre had the Oldsmobile (350?) engine while others had a Buick engine. Incidentally, the police told me that the guy(s)? that stole the car were involved in a triple homicide. When I got the car back, there were polaroid photos in the trunk showing the guys that stole the car (my father-in-law recognized them as workers in his orchard) sitting on the hood and otherwise posing with the car. My impression was that the LA police had little interest in car theft or even in the murders…

    Slightly related is that previous to me buying the 78, the same friend offered me a 70 Buick 4 door hardtop LeSabre in 1980 for free because he was told the transmission was shot and it would cost more than it was worth to fix. He said he would only get $25 from a wrecking yard. I told him that I didn’t want my wife driving a $25 car, so I gave him $250. It turned out that it was the air conditioner compressor that was freezing up and not the transmission. That LeSabre was also pretty much bullet proof. I left it in NJ when we moved to TX in 1992.
    Both were highly reliable cars, but I never was overly attached to either. But we had many cross country family vacations in both–especially about 1982 from LA to WA via the grand canyon and yellowstone in the 70 “Starship LeSabre.”
    PS: my friend’s parents bought both LeSabres new and they both were very nice inside and out when I got them.

    • Bill Owens BillO Staff

      My dad bought a 1973 Buick LeSabre about a year before he died. It had a 350 4 barrel; at the time I had a 1971 Ford LTD with a 390 2 barrel and my mom had a 1972 Chevrolet Caprice with a 400 2 barrel. That LeSabre had absolutely no power compared to the other two cars, which were probably lighter. I can’t imagine driving that size car with a 231 V6. I often wondered back then, why Buick and Olds didn’t offer an “in between” engine like a 400, like Pontiac and Chevrolet did. For Buick and Olds, it was either a 350 or a 455.

  10. Chris In Australia

    i love it. A set of Buick chrome wheels, a Buick 455 and a 4 speed automatic
    and some handling upgrades.

  11. Tom Hall

    The 231 V-6 is a lesson in progress.
    If you would have told me in 1980 that they’d be getting 400-ish stock HP and 30-ish MPG out of ANY V-6 during man’s tenure on earth, I’d have thought you were absolutely nuts.

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