Land Yacht: 1976 Buick LeSabre Landau

Cars from the 1970s are beginning to gain some traction in the classics market. A large part of this growth in popularity has come from the relative rarity of these vehicles on our roads today. They were primarily treated as disposable items, with the majority ending their days in the scrapyard or the crusher. This 1976 Buick LeSabre Hardtop has not only avoided that fate but has survived in remarkably good condition. This is an original and unmolested survivor that is searching for a new home. It is located in Spokane, Washington, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $3,000, but the reserve hasn’t been met. However, the owner indicates that bidding is getting close to the mark.

The Mount Vernon Cream Buick can best be described as a giant of a car. At close to 19-feet in overall length, it is a vehicle that has a presence. It generally presents quite well, with no signs of any significant issues with the paint. I have been trying to determine whether there is a minor dent in the passenger-side front fender, or whether it is a trick of the light. The rest of the panels appear to be straight, while the trim and chrome seem to be in good condition. The owner indicates that the vinyl landau-style top is showing some age, but it doesn’t look like it is beyond help. A deep clean and the application of some vinyl polish could work wonders. Rust appears to be confined to a small spot in the window channel. However, if the buyer jumps on this quickly, then it should be easy to address. The underside is said to be dry and clean, while the alloy wheels and tinted glass look to be free from any problems or issues.

When you lift the hood, I’m sure that more than a few people will be glad to spot a V8. The 3.8-liter V6 was the standard engine at this point, but its lack of power, allied to high vehicle weight, made it a feeble performer. The 350ci V8 helped things along, and this one is backed by a 3-speed automatic transmission. As befits a car of this size and stature, the Buick is also fitted with power steering and power brakes. The 350 should be pumping out around 165hp. That isn’t going to make the 4,170lb Buick lightning-fast. However, at least it should have no problems improving on the V6’s pitiful 21.8-second ¼ mile ET. The owner states that the LeSabre had been sitting for some time, but has now been revived and returned to a roadworthy state. It still requires some tinkering with the carburetor, but it does generally run and drive well. It has recently been treated to all new vacuum lines and an oil change, and there are no signs of any fluid leaks.

The interior of the LeSabre is tidy and original, but it isn’t perfect. The upholstered surfaces present well, as does the carpet. The owner claims that the Buick has managed to retain that distinctive new car smell, which is quite an achievement for a 44-year-old classic! The biggest issue is the dash pad, which has a significant crack in the center. Locating a replacement pad might be a difficult task, so there might only be a couple of alternatives open to the buyer. One would be to have the pad restored by a professional. The other could be to take on the repair themselves using a product like Polyvance. Failing that, throwing a cover over it would hide the crack from view. The air conditioning was blowing cold, but the clutch on the compressor has recently failed. This might mean that a compressor rebuild is on the cards. Alternatively, NOS compressors can be found for $350, so that might be a better option. For your driving comfort, the LeSabre is equipped with power windows, cruise, an AM radio, and a tilt wheel.

For many years, cars from the “Malaise Era” remained largely ignored. That wasn’t the most glorious time in American automotive history, with reduced engine power resulting in sluggish vehicle performance. As technology began to claw back this lost performance slowly, Malaise Era cars became automotive orphans. With a few exceptions, these cars were driven into the ground and then driven to the nearest scrapyard. Finding clean examples like this 1976 LeSabre Hardtop is becoming quite difficult. This is because while there was no shortage of these (45,670) that rolled off the production line, relatively few survive today. This one appears to be a tidy example that is being offered with a potentially modest reserve price. That could make it worth consideration for the person who is searching for a luxurious classic on a budget.

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Comments

  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I don’t think those Buick Rally wheels have ever looked bad. The cream color is sharp too.

    Like 8
  2. Krindall

    Great interior. Dashboard looks ahead of its time

    Like 3
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Curious. What, on that dashboard qualifies it as looking ahead of its time?

      Certainly not the 18 inch horizontal speedo…

      Like 1
      • Matt in L.A. Member

        I thought the dash looks like a 90’s Buick dash. I had a ’93 Roadmaster and it reminded me of that. So I was thinking it was ahead of it’s time (not modern of course but 90’s was ahead of it’s time)

        Like 1
  3. Bryan

    The eBay listing shows the limited rear legroom. It’s remarkable how tight these cars are in the back seat given their exterior size. We had a similar car when I was a kid and I remember being shocked at how relatively roomy the newer compacts were by comparison (Accord, Omni/Horizon, etc.)

    Like 3
  4. Troy s

    Low blow, cheap shot using the gas station for photography, that’s too funny.
    We made it, livin’ in the life of luxury, these don’t roll they float down the road, big and quiet, any discussion of power had to do with the windows and door locks….not ever intended in any way to be a quarter mile hero. Nice ride from the spirit of ’76!

    Like 7
  5. Bob C.

    Didn’t know you could get a v6 with this vintage full size. I knew they were available with the downsized 1977 generation. A friend of mine had a 1984 LeSabre a v6 four barrel. It moved OK, but not great.

    Like 2
    • Will Fox

      If your friend had a V6 with a four barrel, that is not factory. This was the end of the carb. era, when things went to fuel injection.

      Like 1
      • Bob C.

        I always thought that combo seemed a little strange. However, a lot of cars during that time were still using carbs. Another friend had a 1985 Grand Prix with a v6 two barrel.

      • Ralph

        There were some 4.1 V6’s with a 4bbl carburator.

        Like 1
      • Phil D

        Will Fox, the Regal, LeSabre and Electra models did offer a 4.1 liter four barrel V6 as optional equipment, between the base 3.8 liter two barrel V6 and 5.0 liter V8 offerings. As those models migrated to front wheel drive and the 3.8s became fuel injected, the 4.1 went away, so it was only offered as a four barrel, with no two barrel or fuel injection versions to be had.

    • Stevieg Member

      The V-6 in 1984, although basically the same general engine as the one in 1976, feels like a way different beast. In 1976 they were odd fire, by 1984 (I think 1978 was the changeover) they switched to even fire. The difference in performance, drivability, economy, was huge!
      The 350 would have been a big improvement over the odd fire 6 cylinder. A 455 would have been even better!
      Nice car. I would bot mind floating this around the beer city!
      The 4.1 was also offered by Cadillac. I thought it was a slightly better choice than the 4.1 V-8.

  6. Mike

    Those Buick wheels aren’t alloy’s, they’re steel and weigh a ton!

    Like 8
  7. Douglas Potts

    That is a dent in the passenger fender. I had the 4door LeSabre in high school. Wasn’t quick off the line but it did run well after about 100. Never did find out the top end.

  8. Jcs

    No manufacturer ever built a more comfortable highway road car at anywhere near the price point. Set the cruise, night night.

    Like 3
  9. Mike

    4,170 lbs. really isn’t too bad for a car this big.

  10. Geoff

    Its state of preservation is pretty impressive particularly in light of the spectacularly poor build quality and reliability of American cars of this era. In the end however the styling was bulbous and generally hideous, gas mileage awful and performance non existent. Add the thoroughly bland color scheme and its hard to imagine why anyone would want it. The seller should be thrilled to get 3K for it. Still there’s probably someone out there whose Mom had one or who took his girlfriend to the prom in one that will want for sentimental reasons.

    Like 1
  11. John Oliveri

    They rode beautiful, ran nice, especially the ones with 455s, rite color combo, and a moonroof, spokes and Vogues and you had a nightclub cruiser, throw Barry White tape into the 8 track, you arrived in style

    Like 6
    • Stevieg Member

      Heck yeah John Oliveri!

      Like 1
  12. J.

    Thanks Adam. I own this car. I took it on a trade for my triple black 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood. I’ve had over 500 70’s cars and I rescue them. I’m the Admin for the 40,000 member “1970’s Great American Land Yacht” page on Facebook. I’ve also had numerous cars I’ve saved on Hagerty and Riverside Green. I was on bestride.com about 5 years ago in article called “The Car Whisperer”. This Buick is nice and honestly-the pics do it no justice. yes-there is a small dent on that right fender. Thanks for sharing it on here.

    Like 7
  13. John DiPietro

    Author needs to get his facts straight. The massive, full-size 1976 Lesabre was V8 only. The 3.8 V6 made its appearance in the downsized and much lighter 1977 Lesabre.

    Like 3
    • Ralph H

      Incorrect…the V6 was used extensively in the 76 LeSabre, noted by a V6 insignia on the front fenders..

      Like 4
      • JOHN DIPIETRO

        Here is the actual 1976 Buick brochure spec page. It shows a 350 V8 as standard with the 455 V8 optional.

        http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/buick/76buk/bilder/15.jpg

      • Ralph

        I would not say extensively, it was added mid year, its not very common, I’ve only ever seen a few compared to regular V8 cars.

      • Ralph J Hayden

        I knew I would hear a comment in regard to using the word “extensively”..but in my own experience, I have seen many..Buick began a push with V6’s in their full-size and intermediates, probably more than the other divisions..nothing like lifting the hood of a beautiful 82 Park Avenue and seeing that little motor..arrgh!..but yeah, extensively was pushing it..

        Like 2
    • JOHN DIPIETRO

      My apologies; crazy as it sounds it looks like Buick did offer the 110-hp 3.8 V6 midway through the 1976 model year for the 1976, 4,400-pound LeSabre. As I’ve collected brochures since the ’70s and didn’t see it in the 1976 brochure (which are usually the best source for accurate information) I assumed they didn’t offer such a weak engine in such a heavy car. That said, I’ve never seen one of those rarities!

      Like 3
  14. Michael L Gregory

    I owned a ’76 LeSabre Estate Wagon I bought for a song when gas prices were insanely high. (If they only knew how high they could get) It was dark blue with the sport wheels. I added a chrome luggage rack I found in a salvage yard. Aside from the frequent quality issues I loved the car and it was gorgeous.

    I also had a ’74 Electra 225 Coupe tricked out with all the goodies and the 455. That car rode like a dream. I love cars from the 1970’s because they were available to me when I started driving and buying my own cars. It’s true that GM cars from the era were dreadful when it came to reliability, but at the time I was willing to trade comfort and beauty for some time spent working on them. My dad and I replaced pretty much every moving part on both of those Buicks other than the engines and transmissions. It doesn’t matter now because I learned a lot in the process.

    Sidenote: The ’76 wagon died one night when it was parked outside my house and a drunk guy driving nearly 100 mph hit the curb, flew into the air, and t-boned it at a 45-degree angle from above. Moved it almost 20 ft. sideways. The steering wheel was over the passenger seat. Had trouble getting the insurance guy to understand I couldn’t drive the car to the claim center. LOL

    Like 3
  15. davidricheh Member

    I love this car even though they’re generally not on my radar. Whomever got it for just over 3 grand is very luck. The wheels really look sharp and even the somewhat plain color suits it well.

    Like 1
  16. david uk

    hi all ive bought this car from mr bagge and it will be coming to england ive been brought up with american cars and i like buicks he done me a very good deal i would highly reccomend him if any ones looking for a car. really nice guy to talk to and very helpful

    Like 1

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