Promising Project: 1985 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon

There have been some really promising classic station wagon project cars that have appeared here at Barn Finds in recent times, and this 1985 Buick LeSabre Estate is one that caught my eye. When it was new it would have been a pretty special looking car, and it doesn’t look like it will take a lot of work to return it to that state once again. If it appeals to you, it can be found in Fayetteville, New York, and listed for sale here on eBay. The BIN has been set at $2,500, but the option is available to make an offer.

Finished in Medium Blue Firemist, the LeSabre cuts a pretty dashing figure. Rust doesn’t appear to be an issue, but time and UV rays have inflicted some damage to the car. It is no surprise to learn the bumper filler panels at both ends of the car have disintegrated because this was a pretty common occurrence. Thankfully, replacement panels are readily available, and a full set can be had for well under $500. The panels and paint look quite decent, although the wood-grain has started to deteriorate. I wouldn’t be bothered trying to fix this, because I think that any results are likely to be a bit on the patchy side. Given the overall condition of the vehicle, I actually think that it would be worth the effort to replace the whole lot in one go. Once this work has been completed on the Buick, the exterior would look extremely nice.

The interior of the Buick is fairly tidy, and for added versatility, it does feature a reverse-facing third row. The carpet is looking a bit tired and worn, but if this is going to be a restoration on a budget, then maybe a good clean and a set of floor-mats would be the way to go. The headliner has a substantial sag in the rear, but it is possible that a good upholsterer might be able to reglue this at a reasonable price. There are a few other issues that will need to be attended to if the interior is to be brought up to scratch. The air conditioning doesn’t currently work, nor does the power seat. while the hinges on the second-row bench apparently require attention. Fix those things, and the interior will be looking pretty good once again.

Powering the Buick is a 307ci V8, while you also get a 4-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. It’s when we get to here that the news is really good. The owner says that the LeSabre runs and drives really well and that it has recently received an oil change and a New York inspection. If this is accurate, then it sounds like there isn’t going to be any work required on the mechanical side of the car. With 140hp on tap, the LeSabre is not a lightning performer, but the power should be adequate for a family wagon.

If you look this 1985 LeSabre Estate over with a critical eye, then you should find that its needs are quite minimal. The majority of them are cosmetic, and none would appear to be urgent. It would make a great Winter project car, and the majority of the required work could be completed in a home workshop. That makes it a pretty attractive prospect in my book.


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  1. Ken Carney

    I’d love to have this car for Mom to drive
    while we get her ’01 LeSabre sedan up
    to snuff again. I’ve always liked Buicks
    and this one would be great to have. If
    you get this one cheap enough, you could
    bypass the shipping costs, fly in and drive
    it home! Just check everything out really
    well before you leave. She’s even sittin’
    on 4 good tires too! As an old boss of mine would say, “Such a deal!”

    Like 4
    • David Ulrey

      Where have you been Ken? Was starting to get worried about you because I hadn’t seen any comments from you for awhile.

  2. ACZ

    Beautiful car, but NY means rusty. It would be nice to find a clean one. How about the one from FOX TV’s Prodigal Son?

    Like 1
  3. Pete Phillips

    I don’t see any rust on this one. It could have come from another part of the country, or could have been driven south in the winters or put away for the winter. Just because it is in upstate N.Y. now doesn’t automatically mean it is a rusty car.

    Like 3
  4. ccrvtt

    These giant Buicks remind me of Big Ten tailgating in places like Ann Arbor, East Lansing, West Lafayette, and others. I can just see 2 or 3 well-heeled couples floating over the grass in one of these, decked out in maize & blue or green & white or old gold & black. They’re so much classier than a Suburban or Tahoe and they let the world know you’ve arrived. Indeed it’s the only proper vehicle for a tailgate party. Nice find.

    Like 2
  5. Ed H. Lenheim

    You are absolutely correct, on the location, midwest , Manhatten KS. also had these vehicles with the same people driving them. These cars are the greatest road vehicles ever made ! They cruise effortlessly, carry 6 people with comfort and all the tailgating equipment anyone ever needed!

  6. TG

    Had a 77 Chevy Concourse St/Wg with the 307 engine mated to the same tranny as the one in the article, overall gutless, especially up hills, lousy fuel milage. Dumped it after about a year. Never considered Chevy or other GM product after that.

    • ACZ

      Your loss is our gain.

      Like 1
  7. Roseland Pete

    I’m amazed at seeing these large cars with a 302 or a 307 in them which I consider to be small engines. My first car was a 71 Camaro with a 307 and I thought that motor might have been just barely adequate for that car. I would have preferred a 350 but that was all the dealer had.

    • ACZ

      The Arab oil embargo and emissions were the biggest contributors. Other things, too, but then electronic engine management took a big leap. Fuel injection and other advancements made possible what we have today. Those 5.0L engines were not made for horsepower or rpm. Their purpose was low rpm torque. If the car turns you on, there are a lot of ways to make it perform better.

    • TG

      Auto manufacturers from what I can see are more capitalists than care enthusiasts so they’ll push to sell something they can make more money off of. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be something well engineered or well produced.

      To that, I say, screw ’em.

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