Turbocharged V6: 1978 Buick Lesabre Sport Coupe

When Buick downsized the Lesabre in 1977, they were available in a Sport Coupe to bring back the feeling of performance which had a 301 cubic inch V-8 standard. For 1978, The Lesabre Sport Coupe, along with the Regal Sport Coupe, was powered by a 231 cubic inch (3.8 liter) turbocharged V-6 instead. Here is a 1978 Buick Lesabre Sport Coupe for sale here on eBay or here on RoverClassic in Cream Ridge, New Jersey.

The Lesabre Sport Coupe is from Nebraska with red paint that looks absolutely original with no rust anywhere on the car. Some exterior items that set it apart from the standard Lesabre 2 door coupe were flat black trim on the windows, grille and rocker moldings along with Buick road wheels. Instead of the three hole emblem simulating portholes on the front fenders, it had a distinctive “Turbo 3.8 Litre’ badging.

This is one of those interiors that look like no one has ever sat in the car. The Sport Coupe includes the same nicer seat pattern that was found in the Lesabre Custom models, which featured fold-down center armrest on the front bench seat. Although the seller describes them as leather, leather seats were not available in the 1978 Lesabre. These seats are white vinyl but look like someone must have had a cover or sat on a towel everytime they drove the car. Have you ever seen a 41-year-old white vinyl interior this clean? The white leather steering wheel cover is not original but is one of the more tasteful aftermarket ones I’ve seen.

Here is a picture of the 231 cubic inch (3.8 liter) turbocharged V-6 engine. The turbocharged engine was designed to provide additional power on demand. Under normal conditions, the car performed like a regular V-6, but as speed and load increased, the turbocharger cut in to supply additional power. The car has 38,386 miles on the odometer.

Underneath the car looks just as clean as the rest. The Lesabre Sport Coupe also added a suspension package with front and rear stabilizer bars, firm springs, and shock valving. The sales brochure described the Lesabre Sport Coupe as “a performer with a remarkable affinity for winding roads.”

This car has a Buy it Now price of $8,300. Would you like to buy it and take it out on some winding roads anytime you wanted?

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  1. poseur Member

    Buick Haiku:

    Solid time capsule.
    Early 3.8 Turbo.
    Great colors in/out.

    Like 17
  2. sparkster

    Worked at a Buick dealer back when these were new.” Fast boat ” was their nickname. The Regals were much better to hot rod around in. (Joy ride)

    Like 5
  3. Daved

    You had me at white interior 😍

    Like 13
  4. Superdessucke

    Love the “Turbo Controller!” What’s in there? Probably two or three screw in fuses.

    Like 2
    • Ralph

      It actually had a quartz crystal of some sort that served as a knock sensor that would back down the timing when it sensed detonation believe it….or not!.

      Like 5
  5. Daved

    Sonething tells me that unless an enthusiast buys it soon, it’s going to end up in Lakeland, FL on that one particular dealer’s lot for twice the eBay price 😒

    Like 13
  6. Rhett

    Worked at a dealer from 81-84 and we had sold quite a few of these. Great riding and handling car, really loved them.The hot air turbos felt a lot like a healthy stock 350, and it made one of these LeSabres scoot right along. But, for whatever reason the weight of these cars seemed to be too much for a stock 3.8 because these motors burned out at twice the rate of the Regals. Common swap at that point was a used 350: Buicks as first choice, but an Oldsmobile would work with a minimum of screwing around.

    Like 6
    • scottymac

      Were the Pontiac 301s any better?

      • ACZ

        Anemic engine.

        Like 3
  7. Keith

    These types of Buicks were big back in 1978, seemed like everyone in my neighborhood had one. Don’t remember seeing any turbo V6s back then. Seems to me to be a too heavy of a car for a little carbureted turbo V6 to push. Nice car though considering it’s age.

    Like 2
  8. Andre

    What an odd duck. I like it.

    Anyone know if that red charge pipe is stock? Seems out of place.. but I guess in fairness so is the whole concept of this car.

    Like 4
    • Rhett

      yeah – that’s all stock.

      Like 3
    • Eric

      I had a 79 and it did not have the red tubing. The only issue with the earlier turbo was the lack of proper cooling. 79 turbo was oil cooled which often led to bearing burn out. In 80, they the changed extending the engine cooling system to include the turbo. In any event, the car was a really screamer.

      Like 1
      • ACZ

        Wrong. Buick never used an engine coolant cooled center rotating assembly. That was Mustang, but you could modify one to work on a Buick. 1979 Buick turbos used a center housing with heat sink fins to help dissipate the high temps and reduce coking.
        The turbo LeSabre was really a well balanced vehicle. Light (with the V6) and close ratio power steering and fat stabilizer bars. Fun car.

        Like 2
  9. 433jeff


  10. Maestro1

    Buick went through a sort of bizarre period building various combinations of driveline/body styles and this is one of them. I think the price is right and the car looks clean without being up close. Looks like a good buy. And if there is an engine problem at some point, putting a generic V-8 in it is a good idea. They are very comfortable (I’m a little paranoid about white interiors showing dirt) so someone jump on this.

    Like 1
  11. Daved

    There was one of these LeSabras (isn’t what what the old ladies call them? LoL) on Hemmings last year starting around $14k, then dropped to around $10k before what I presume was it selling. It was an pale yellow/green shade which was an odd paring with the 3.8L Turbo. Then again, that certainly made it all the more unique. The red metallic on white that this coupe is sporting is soooo tempting…..

    Like 4
    • Ralph

      I think that car was on ebay for a while too, it was that unique pale green pastel color and it was a Sport Coupe with the Limited trim interior, nicer that this one and rarer, thought the color wasn’t for anyone, it was a cool car, but still a bit too much for one of these.

      Like 1
      • Daved

        Yessir Ralph! That’s the one. That color was a love it or leave it for most people. I never could decide for myself 🤔

        Like 2
      • poseur Member

        Ha! We had a Lesabre sedan that color.
        I was about 8 ish & called it out Lime-ousine.
        Thanks for reminding me!
        My Parents will get a kick out of it I think

        Like 2
  12. Daved

    Most definitely! That run of Malibu is such an uninspiring design

    Like 2
  13. Rusty

    These were wonderful cars. Attractive, nice handling, comfortable. V8 would probably be sturdier, but the V6 cars had better balance. I’m not much of a GM fan after a few 1970s lemons, but I really like this!

    Like 1
  14. Ken

    Buick called the portholes “VentiPorts.”

    Like 3
  15. Ben T. Spanner

    Cruiseline ventiports. In the 1960’s Roadmasters got four per side and lesser Buicks got 3. My Father had a 1979 Coupe, with a V8. Nice ride. I had a supercharged 3.8 in a 2000 Regal. Nice engine.

    Like 2
  16. Will Fox

    If there is one interior color I just love, it’s white!! Sure wish automakers offered it again. This car’s mileage is probably correct. Interior looks like someone only wore fleece jammies when driving the thing!! SPOTLESS!

    Like 3
  17. ACZ

    Same platform as the Chevrolet Impala and Olds 88.

    Like 1
  18. Santo Lumby Sheilds

    Hey Billy, it looks like the color of your dad’s Cadillac. That is a nice car with a 3.8 nice color combination.

  19. Troy s

    That ain’t a bad looking car at all, I remember one just like this in a Hemmngs muscle car magazine some years ago, even the same color. Nice to see something from Buick other than the low to no mileage GN’s for a change…although performance wise they’re light years apart.

  20. jpb

    My 1st new car when I graduated in 1977. Same color—gold interior. Great car till 30k miles and I took it in [ reluctantly ] for scheduled service at the dealer. As I feared—-the techs had no idea what they were doing and car pinged for the rest of the time I had it after MANY visits to the shop. Bought an Audi. Bummed ! LOVED the car prior.

  21. Ralph

    The main problem with these is that you get a lot of unrealistic owners that think these cars have a “Grand National motor” or a “GNX motor” and you have to tell them that this has a “Grand National motor” in the same way a human and a monkey are basically the same too……..

  22. ACZ

    A lot of folks are making remarks about this car not comparing to the GN. Remember where performance was in 1978. Last of the big-blocks was in 1976. Nothing was made that was faster than a turtle. One of these felt pretty good to drive at that time.

  23. George Morrison

    I remember working on those, I also remember the even and odd firing 231v-6 Buick’s. Blahhhhhh!!!!!! That odd firing engine there just wasn’t a whole lot of things one could do to make the owners of them things happy, drilling out the carb jets helped a little but they still idled as rough as a Cobb

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