Mileage Confusion: 1979 Buick Regal Turbo

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So this is a listing where it definitely pays to read the fine print. The words “19K Miles” are mentioned fairly predominantly in the headline, and this Turbo Regal’s condition is such that it looks like a pretty clean car. However, there’s a reason why the first two buyers may have flaked on this guy: it’s a 19K mile title, and the seller thinks this car has higher miles than advertised. Confused? Check out the Buick here on eBay and let’s get to the bottom of this. 

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According to the seller, he bought this car from an auction as a genuine, low-mileage survivor. Now, he does claim the cosmetics and running condition are those of a well-maintained car, but he doesn’t believe that is has only 19,000 miles. That’s why you’re buying a car with an “original miles title” that cannot be disputed, in the words of the seller. But he doesn’t believe that those claims are correct.

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The interior looks quite good, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I were looking at an actual sub-20,000 mile example vehicle. And I suppose it’s to the seller’s credit that he discloses his misgivings. But when I read this ad, I can’t say I’m surprised that other buyers haven’t followed through, as you might believe you were buying a mint-condition survivor if you let the pictures do the talking.

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Regardless, this is an interesting car from an era when turbocharging began to become more widely acceptable in lieu of outright displacement. This Buick is selling with no reserve, so there’s a chance to come home with a clean project for not much money, and I suppose a title that could fool a few people if you’re the shady type. Overall, I suppose the seller is the one who got duped – what do you think?

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Comments

  1. Matt

    Looking at those pictures the oil pan may have been off from the orange sealer all over the gasket

  2. sparkster

    It looks pretty damn clean underneath. Could be true miles. Not sure about the shocks if they’re stock.

  3. Rustowner

    Odd to have a seller dispute the odometer and the title info. It is a very clean, mostly original car, right down to the production line markers and writing. I would highly doubt its 119k miles, given it’s condition, but 19k does seem a little low given the overall condition. Nice to see that there are a few nice pre T-type cars out there.

    Like 1
  4. Bingo

    Everything underneath looks too glossy and wet looking. No LIKEY!

    Also, I think sellers should be objective about their listed items. “The facts ma’am and nothing but the facts”. When people get too personal it can turn a potential buyer off. I particularly don’t enjoy reading about his multiple non-paying buyers, especially first thing in the add. Give me your rules and list the item please.

  5. Old man

    Although a fan I’m concerned about the Mileage claims. At all the large collector auctions I attend at least one per month, you need serious documentation to claim actual miles. I will travel anywhere in the country after a lengthy in depth conversation with the seller. The pictures rarely tell the whole story hence buying sight unseen is a big no no for me. Plus factor in that your bidding against a plague of non paying bidders and you get a potential recipe for disaster. Anyone heading to Arizona?

    Like 1
    • Todd Zuercher

      Plenty of us already here in AZ!

  6. JW454

    This car looks as if it was steam cleaned underneath and in the engine compartment. It’s a decent old car but, I think it has more than 19K on it.

  7. ccrvtt

    Umm… It’s not a GN. It’s clean & rust free, but it’s not a GN. It’s sort of like the kind of car someone’s spinster aunt would have bought new and it got saved after she stopped driving. Did I say it’s not a GN?

    • Rustowner

      It’s not a GN. Or a T-type. Or a GNX. No one said it was a GN. What’s your point? It’s a very clean example of the predesesor to the T-type and the GN packages however. Does that not make it cool? I haven’t met too many spinster aunts that had boosted V6’s back in the day.

      • ccrvtt

        Look at it. It’s just a dumb looking car in comparison to a Grand National. I can understand why there are 3 dislikes (so far) because a lot of people like these cars. I don’t. All that turbo technology in 1979 deserved a flashier wrapper.

        I work in parts and I am constantly dumbfounded by the number of people who have no idea what year their car is, let alone the engine size, or worst of all, “I think it’s a Hyundai, or maybe a Honda…” and it turns out to be a Subaru. “Spinster aunts” are those sweet but clueless drivers who have no clue and change the oil every 16,000 miles whether it needs it or not.

        You’re right, and so am I.

  8. Bobsmyuncle

    I don’t understand is the title not for this car?

  9. RicK

    What’s the main difference between this model and the GN or GNX?

    • Poppy

      For one thing it’s carbureted instead of fuel injected, but I’m not sure what the power difference was. Probably only a 3 speed auto also. It has a posi rear and I would assume a reasonably sporty ride for a Buick, but probably not nearly as firmly sprung as the later cars. Lastly the “cat-house red” velour interior never made the transition to the GNs and GNXs!

  10. Tom Driscoll

    Here in Michigan, you were always able to state any mileage you choose, and check the “actual mileage” box to boot. As long as the reading didn’t exceed any earlier title recording, you were good to go. Ez to misrepresent, especially if the car didn’t change hands often, or if no mileage was previously represented.I give little credence to actual mileage on title claims for this reason. New titles will not let you promote actual mileage certification on cars older than 10 yrs I believe…

    • Vince Habel

      In PA we have to state mileage every year when we renew our plates.

  11. Mark S Member

    One way to tell if this is a high or low miler. Pull some spark plugs and scope the cylinder walls if there is cross hatching present that has little wear on it it is likely a 19k mile car. If there is vertical scratching and little or no sign of cross hatching present then it is likely a 119k mile car. There are other mechanical wear an tear places you can look but the cylinder wear won’t lie to you. Unless the seller goes to a great deal of effort. Most sellers won’t even know what cross hatching is.

    Like 1
  12. Joe Haska

    If it has in fact been cleaned up, under-carriage etc., They did a hell of a job, I would let them detail my car. I would think a detail like that could be $2500. Will return to Arizona in a few weeks, for the winter, I would like to look at this car, and see what I would think in person.

  13. John b

    How does this model differ from the GN performance wise?

    • John b

      Its a simple question….or us it 2 thumbs down because the’ performance is not near a GN?

  14. Joe M

    I do not think these were built as performance cars. I’ve come across many of these with a similar spot package, bulge hood, V8, console shift, buckets. The V8 versions were floaty and luxurious in ride. I think the turbo, was just to boost the Hp and provide better fuel efficiency. Hence the crushed red velvet and vinyl roof, doesn’t really project performance.

  15. Tre Deuce

    I bought one of these Buick Turbo Coupes, new, for my wife, it was a very good car, and stock, handled decently. I added KYB gas shocks and heavier front and rear sway bars with adjustable links and got the understeer and roll under control. Though, I rarely drove it, and it was no SVO(my ride) I loved to take round-about off and on ramps with that Buick. Dial in the steering angle, set the roll, add power and induce a little hint of drift, and she would perform a clean sweep of an increasing or diminishing radius corner.

  16. flmikey

    mileage never scared me much…condition is everything…if the turbo spools up and the tranny shifts, this car is a bargain….

  17. Rando

    A fine looking car. But with all that velour, and bench seat, I doubt it has any sporting pretensions. If I recall, in 79, the mfrs were looking for ways to get V8 power and better ecoomy from lesser engines that were severely choked from smog afterthough equipment. Buick put a LOT of time and energy into enineering the V6, especially in NASCAR racing. At the time, the Grand National Series was using the V6 I think. If not then, a little later. Buick had their stylized 6 so you’d know it was a 6.

    Not sure what is up with teh seller wanting to dispute the 19K claim, but looks like a lot of factory paint dabs are in teh pictures and it looks good. As flmikey said, if the turbo spools up and tranny shifts, someone is getting a bargain. And the seller has it at no resever, so must be into it for too much. Of couorse, it did come from an auction house, so may be some hidden something there.

    • Poppy

      If it’s the guy I’m thinking of, this seller lists a lot of cream puff 1-owner cars on ebay. He used to include videos of each with very detailed walkarounds & test drives. He’s generally a conscientious seller with a reputation to protect, so he doesn’t want to oversell something that he’s not personally convinced of himself. I think what he’s really saying is, “Don’t bid on this and then walk away because you think it has more than 19K miles on it.”

  18. araknid

    I had nearly the same identical car I bought brand new. It was also white, but it had the optional ‘turbine’ wheels, a t-roof and tan interior. And it was also a 1980 (with the quad headlights.)

    It drove very nice, was quiet and very comfortable. But the turbo lag was excruciating. To pass on two-lane roads, I learned to back off a little from the vehicle I was to pass, wait until the on-coming car was about 100 feet away then punch it. By the time the transmission down-shifted and the turbo had finally spun up, the oncoming car was past and I could move out into the other lane and sling-shot pas the vehicle in front. Kind of hair raising for my poor passengers, but it was the best way to get the job done otherwise you better have a long straight stretch.

    Every gauge in the instrument cluster had to be replaced (the speedo twice) and when they had to fix a leak in the windshield gasket, they found a chicken bone behind the kick panel. the fit of the body panels was very poor as well. But, I never had any issues with the drive train

    Finally traded it for a 1982 Celica and was very happy I did.

  19. Jimmy Member

    Why dosen’t jeff ever tell where the car is located?

    Every other writer here does.

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