Last of the Dinosaurs: 1988 Buick LeSabre

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

It’s not long ago that station wagons of this vintage were among the furthest things from what could be considered a desirable car. Yet here we are, smack between Gen X’ers who want to relive their high school days and Baby Boomers who want to capture that nostalgic feeling of hauling the family on vacation. Whatever it is, there’s definitely renewed interest in vehicles like this 1988 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon here on eBay and showing just 28,919 miles.

In some ways, it’s not surprising that this LeSabre is already approaching a $10,000 bid with just over a day left in the auction. There are common threads between most of the more popular enthusiast cars, which are: easy to work on; cheap / easy to find parts for; enables you to enjoy something you haven’t previously (i.e., load up the back with four friends AND your new couch); and stirs up good vibes from passengers and passers-by alike. At least that’s my formula, and it works well for vehicles like this LeSabre.

You are never too far from a woodgrain finish of some kind in an estate wagon like this Buick. The low mileage seems to be a big reason as to why the fake wood both inside the car and out still looks as good as it does, along with the rest of the interior. Blue cloth is used liberally throughout but still appears to be in great condition. The seller emphasizes  that the overall cosmetic condition is indicative of a low mileage car, and I don’t have any reason to doubt him; however, a test drive will reveal whether the suspension and transmission components are operating as well as the seller lets on.

Wow – practically acres of space in back, and the front bench still makes it possible for three people to ride up front. Utility and comfort! And what you don’t see is the rear-facing third row that rises up out of the cargo bay. When you look at the ferrying and carrying capacity of this LeSabre, it’s no wonder they were a namesake for many years for family travel. For someone looking for an emerging classic that still offers plenty of practicality, a vintage wagon in many forms will work – but make sure it has woodgrain trim and whitewall tires.

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  1. Bingo

    I think this is the “Norway Pine” edition. Not a rare option, very common. Someone has oiled that wood religiously. Most likely a very proud owner.

  2. Wayne Moyer

    One of the reasons I bought my ’87 Ford Country Squire last year is because I am expecting it to move out of used car territory and into the classic car one. It’s not perfect and will need some work on the trim but the mechanicals are good. The fact that it’s a Ford means it’s rarer than a GM which is one of the reasons I chose that path. This article kind of gives me a bit of the old warm and fuzzies about my decision. That and how I got it cheap enough to just drive it and enjoy it if I am wrong.

    • Bill

      Indeed it does Wayne. I bought an 87 Country Squire last summer and it gets way more attention than my 63 Beetle did. Love my wagon. She purrssss.

  3. David Zornig

    Nice wagon.
    But the `91-`96 Roadmaster’s would technically be the last of the dinosaurs.
    These Lesabre & Electra wagon’s carried on through 1990.

  4. Tony S

    Gorgeous car – I WANT!
    FYI big Buick wagons with woodgrain were made for another 8 years.

  5. Bruce Fischer

    I bought 1 from my old boss back up in N.J. His son took it out when he had too much too drink and squeezed it in to a small path loaded with trees on each side, crushed both front fenders and then hit a raised man hole bending the lower a frame. The boss told me the insurance co. was going to total it. It still had a clear title so I bought it from him for $500. I replaced the lower a frame and put a used front clip on it, painted it to match and then had the front end alined.It rode like floating on a cloud. Never had a problem with it.When I moved to Flordia I took it with me. Drove it for about 4 yeas before selling it to one of my co-workers there in Flordia. It was a very nice station wagon. Bruce F.

  6. Jeffro

    I like it…alot!

  7. XMA0891

    My best friend had the Chevy’s edition in college. These are fantastic cars. Never understood why the wagon fell out of favor in th U.S.

  8. David Miraglia

    Good classy all around wagon. Always favored wagons over the minivan successors.

    • CapNemo

      Me too. The minivan kinda says My Life is Over.

      • Rando

        I thought that as well about minivans, but really thought it was the most practical vehicle I ever owned. Take off trash, go get a couple sheets of plywood and pick up breakfast all before 10 am. Then take the whole dang family of five for dinner with Nana all in one vehicle. Then take the pa and drums and guitar rig to play a couple nights later. Heck yeah. But this wagon would be even better to me.

      • Jay

        It wasn’t that long ago that the large wagon said the same thing.

  9. RoughDiamond

    That is awesome. Save shipping cost and drive it home staying in official State (whichever one you happen to be in) Welcome Centers and sleeping in the back. Most large truck stops will let anyone take a hot shower for a price.

  10. PaulieB
  11. irocrob

    Its as clean as kleenex. Good for yard sailing…

  12. Tracy

    We just got our 1994 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon back on the road after sitting for almost a year with the main brake line rusted out. Now we are replacing and repairing the little parts, ie getting the rear hatch to open both ways, finding the little trim pieces that are missing,etc.. The stock LT1 has 200k miles and purrs like a lion.

  13. leiniedude

    Sold for $10,001, with 31 bids. Nice ride!

  14. HeadMaster1

    Nice wagon, the LeSabre was the lower level Buick, the Electra being the top model……If only somebody had a good supply of these to keep the market going for years to come…….Oh Yeah, I bought those 5 Electra Wagons featured here the end of last year 😀

  15. Nova Scotian

    ..and to think as teenagers we razor bladed the mac tac off the slab sides of one of these machines. ‘Cause you know,.. it was so out of style.!…maybe it was the AC/DC blasting over shirtless kids in the summer sun pounding back beer like water, wasting an entire week readying the car for its “unveiling”….yea’ we got some comments….lol.

  16. Larry Smith

    I am proud to say I’m an owner of a 1994 Buick Roadmaster Estate wagon. These came with stainless steel dule exhaust and the LT-1 motor. I have the original​ window sticker and the original dealership key in case you locked yourself out. That LT-1 makes it turn heads when I get on it. The owner had gotten I think every available option on it including the tow package. Everything the dealer handed him he put in the glove box and that’s where it stayed. I will try and post pic of it but it says the pic is two large.

  17. Larry Smith

    I forgot to mention that I read this but really have not searched to find out if this is fact or fiction? But they say that the Corvette, Camaro, Impala SS and Buick Roadmaster were considered muscle cars because of the LT-1 motor? They also said the Buick did this LT-1 and stainless duel exhaust because they wanted the name to stay out there. The desission was fine on propose?

  18. mars2878

    my mom had exact same 88. when I say the exact same, I mean it could’ve the same car. yr, color, options, all the same. I only know that it’s not is because my sister wreaked it.

    i’d buy one, wife wont let me


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