One Elderly Owner: 1981 Buick Regal

I really love finding cars like this 1981 Buick Regal. Having personally owned a car that previously had only one elderly owner, they generally seem to be good cars that are well maintained. Most seem to only require cosmetic work to bring them back to their best. That appears to be the case with the Regal, which is located in Huntingtown, Maryland. The general overall condition looks quite promising, and it is the sort of car that will require more time and effort than money to return it to its best. The Regal is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding has reached $1,125. The reserve has now been met, which means that someone is about to land themselves a promising project car.

The Regal is said to be completely original, and the Light Jadestone paint is beginning to show its age. There is noticeable fading in patches around the car, along with a few areas of surface corrosion. This corrosion and discoloring are mainly confined to the horizontal surface, although the owner does admit to there being surface corrosion visible on the wheels as well. It is hard to be certain, but there may also be some rust appearing in the lower fender on the passenger side, but it really isn’t completely clear from the photos. Some of the external trim is also looking pretty tired, while there is a noticeable dent in the right-rear quarter panel. None of this is really deal-breaking, but it is going to take mainly time and patience to address them.

The interiors of cars that have had elderly owners generally tend to be quite good, and this one is no real exception. The owner says that the headliner is sagging, and this may be able to be addressed without resorting to replacement. Similarly, the carpet looks quite dirty on the driver’s side. I don’t think that this is stained, and it might come up okay with a good clean. The Regal remains unmodified and is equipped with power windows and air conditioning. This doesn’t currently blow cold, so will need some attention.

Opening the hood is where it usually pays dividends for anyone considering buying a car that has had an elderly owner. The drive-train may not be the most exciting on the planet, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. What you get are a 3.8-liter V6 engine and 3-speed automatic transmission. This results in a car that is no jet, so it isn’t going to threaten much at the drag strip. It is also pretty dirty under there, but it should clean up okay. However, there is certainly a plus side. The owner of the car has been pretty meticulous with their record keeping, and the car comes with service records that date all the way back to 1981. These should help to verify the claimed 55,000 original miles on the odometer. Finding information like this is akin to striking automotive gold, and gives the next owner plenty of confidence that the car has been properly maintained. The owner does say that the car runs and drives nicely, but that it has only had limited use over the past 2-years.

This Regal is by no means perfect, and it is also not the most exciting car on the planet. What it appears to be is an honest, low-mileage car that is 38-years-old. It might not be the most collectible or desirable car, but ask yourself this question: When was the last time that you saw a nice one of these in your travels? Cars that were common in the late 1970s and early 1980s are becoming more scarce today, simply because they were treated as disposable items. Grabbing a car like this and returning it to its best is worth the effort because most people haven’t bothered in the past, which means that nice examples will be harder to find in the future.


  1. Rosko

    Stunning. Love this design and color.

    Like 5
  2. Dave

    Good to go as a daily driver!

    Like 4
  3. Joe

    I had same exact color only I had wire hubcaps. Nice car but couldn’t get out of its own way.

    • Jeff S.

      85 mph speedo the biggest clue of these low performance cars.

      • Capriest

        That was government mandated from 79-82. They also had to highlight 55mph on them in a bright color. The big 3 kept using the 85mph units throughout the 80’s generally until a model was updated enough to require a redesign of the gauge cluster. My brothers 83 5.0 4speed capri would bury the 85 speedo in 2nd gear. A girl in his class kept bragging that her 89 Excel was faster because of the 140mph speedo. We tried explaining it to her, but ended up taking $20 from her in the end. We had some good laughs over a free 30 pack of MGD that night.

        Like 1
  4. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Refreshingly honest seller.

    Like 2
  5. Superdessucke

    Nice example. 1 million times better looking than the T-Bird of the same vintage. Unfortunately, the 3.8 is very slow. You can get a few extra ponies out of it with some mods but it’ll never get near an SBC.

    • Steven Douglass

      Seriously folks not every car needs to be a racer. Had one, very comfortable dependable highway cruiser. Kept it for years. Sold it to a younger family member who also drove it for years.

      Like 3
  6. JD

    Had one. A real dog.

    Like 1
    • edh

      Exactly my feelings after owning one.

  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    When I was young I thought I had to have a fast car, I wanted to be the first out from a red light, on the interstate I would zig zag around traffic to get to the front of the pack; and to what end was all that? I still lived from pay check to pay check, now I’m 72 years old and realize there was no advantage to all that. You’re better off slowing down relax and enjoy life, if your lucky you might live to 72 or beyond.
    God bless America

    Like 5
  8. DKW

    About an hour to an hour-and-a-half from my home… son turns 16 this summer. Would be a great “starter” car, but he has his hopes and dreams on an older truck. He will be contributing his own money to the deal, so I can’t make him get this… plus we’re still a few months from him getting his full driver’s license. Sure wish I could influence him a bit more, but at his age, I’m uncool and don’t know or understand anything (until he needs something).

    Like 2
    • Frank Y

      We were all there at one point in time. We try our best but they have to learn for themselves. But good for him in contributing to his first ride. I am sure gas money will be coming his way though.

      Like 1
  9. RobB

    That V6 was one of the better and faster V6’s of that era. Stop comparing it to the V8’s, which were really dogs in that era. Can you say GNX? That got banned out of Pro Stock because it started out running with and faster than the a lot of the V8’s.

    Like 1
    • Joe

      I had an iron duke that had more guts

      Like 1
  10. Maestro1

    Another member of the Ultimate Driver Class. Give it what it needs and enjoy it.

    Like 1
  11. rmward Member

    I’m just going to go ahead and say it. This could very well be a one-of-one car.

    Base model Regal Custom with power windows, no power locks, no power seat, no tilt wheel and no cruise control. Really odd combination. It’s amazing the number of options you could pick and choose from back in the 80’s.

  12. Capriest

    I would love to have this beauty! Too bad I recently broke my knee so I’m in no position to be buying. I wonder how much of a PITA it would be to put the 3.8 and tranny from a 4th gen base f-body in it? Wouldn’t be a screamer, but would certainly make it more lively with better mpg.

    Like 1
  13. Brian B

    I had new 82 Cutlass with the same power train which was beyond awful. Every hill meant some quality time with 18 wheelers. The transmission refused to kick-down which the dealer said was meant to save fuel. The result was you couldn’t pass anything. At 19,000 miles I traded it on new Accord 4dr.

  14. Stevieg Member

    I too had a G-body car with that v-6, (actually a few of them). They were decent enough in the city but on the open road, especially with a hill coming up, could be scary. That was when speed limits were 55 mph. On today’s highways, they could be lethal lol. Nonetheless, I like this car & I think it is a great deal for the price. If it stays bellow $2,500, it is a great deal.

    Like 1
  15. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Bid to $2600, but apparently not sold.

    Relisted with a $3200 BIN

    A lot of low/no feedback bidders?

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