Worth Saving? 1959 Buick 2-Door LeSabre

It’s hard to imagine how it is that for some reason a car is parked after only 4 years and 35,000 miles and never driven again but that’s what happened with this Buick listed on eBay. Bidding hasn’t hit $2500 yet and hasn’t hit reserve, but is it worth much more than that? A “fair” car is only worth $5,100 according to Hagerty and this is a long way from a daily driver.

It’s going to take a lot of work on the the interior. It’s definitely going to take more than throwing a blanket on the seat to make it usable.

The dash is all there but it’s looking really sad. Even the steering wheel is in sad shape.

The seller was able to get the engine to turn over a year ago, so it’s likely free. It looks complete under the hood, just dirty and neglected. It looks like it will take a lot of work to get this 364 cui V8 back to 250 HP.

The post describes the floors as having “some rust”. It appears there is also some daylight and not much else, just rust and daylight. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma isn’t in heavy snow country, so could the floors really gotten this bad from driving or was it from storage. The wheels don’t appear original, so perhaps it was sitting on the ground.

It is amazing to think, or even to remember for us old folks, that fins like these were once common. The body on this looks solid. If the rust was from sitting on the ground, could the body be solid? Is there any way this is worth restoring or is it a parts car?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    What,,,a,,,mess. Spiral shocks? Pretty rough representation of a ’59 Buick I’ve seen in a long time. I guess it’s savable, it’s all there. Maybe it’s my age, but I just couldn’t see myself jumping into this thing. I don’t understand how the outside looks somewhat decent,( and not the freshly painted rims, either) and the rest is deplorable.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Painted the tires right along with the rims. All black, so who’d notice?

  2. rmward194 Member

    Same car was featured here back on November 15th: http://barnfinds.com/original-paint-1959-buick-lesabre/

    Buyer must have flaked on them.

  3. JamestownMike

    Definately worth saving being a 59′ and a 2 door coupe! COOL CAR! LOVE those fins! Other than a some rust in the package tray (rear window channel rusted out?), the rear trunk lip and the really rusty floors (including the trunk floor) it actually looks like a really straight and solid car. Do they make replacement floors for this car?

    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      Agree that this was an era in auto design that needs to be saved. Not sure if this is the one, but still…winged cars were part of the space age late 50’s style and it sure didn’t last very long when you think about it. But boy is it an iconic brief snapshot in time. Space travel, weird sci-fi films, atomic everything…NO one looks at a car with fins and wonders when it was built.

      • wuzjeepnowsaab

        lol down-voters

  4. 68 custom

    cool winged car not sure whats its worth and rust makes it a iffy proposition, be kinda acool ride with an LS swap and some 20s!

  5. Mr. Bond

    It’s a good story, isn’t it. Parked after 3 – 5 years, only 20-40 k miles. Reality is, it was driven until it stopped, and it has 120 – 140 k miles on it. Surprisingly, people believe no-one drove their cars in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. They were a means to an end, and a status symbol. People usually only had one car. They got driven! This one did too.

    It is a neat car though. I hope someone has heart to bring it back.

  6. Wayne

    Not enough doors.

  7. DanaPointJohn

    Brad’s car from “last Times At Ridgemont High!”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHQ5lm8LcKc

    • DanaPointJohn

      Obviously my fingers meant to type, “Fast Times At Ridgemont High.”

    • JamestownMike

      Nope, that’s a 60 Buick LeSabre 4 door sedan flat top car!

      • DanaPointJohn

        Good eyes! Similar vibe though…cool car.

  8. Brad

    “I shall serve no fries before their time…”

  9. Paul

    I’ve got a ’59 Buick Electra coupe so I hope that this car is at least saved for parts if not completely restored. It still amazes me that ’59 Buicks are going to the crusher that can either be salvaged for parts or restored – several can be found online that have met this fate in recent years. If this one looks bad in the photos it would be much worse in reality. No doubt it could be saved if someone is prepared to spend the time and a lot of money. Re-doing the interior would be the biggest challenge and one of the major expenses. It’s likely the buyer wants much more than it is really worth and should be prepared to accept what the market considers it is worth, which is always the ultimate determinant of anything’s value.

  10. Tom Member

    2 door, 59, solid body, save it. It will require a lot of time and money and whoever restores it will be upside down for a long time unless you resto-mod it…..then maybe you will break even….maybe. Lie it or not, resto mods are bringing the money. I am generally a “restore it to stock” guy but this car is not important enough to do that. I am sure this is someone’s “always wanted one” car. I can see 5K for a solid body and fairly complete car. Just like that brown 73 Camaro earlier, it is solid, clone it, resto mod it…most cars after 1971 had no performance so make it cool….it will be a better investment in the long run.

  11. Ralph

    Just from the way it looks, this could be Christine’s stepsister.

  12. Joe Howell

    Throw the body as is on a pickup chassis and have a redneck crossover. Would also make a great rat rod since it’s a two door.

  13. CaCarDude

    Sure would like to see this one saved, true late 50’s styling with the vertical angled fins. Buick only made 13,492 of these 2dr post La Sabre cars. I venture to say out of that number there may only be 1000 or less still out there? I have my finned jet age car already (’59 El Camino) or I would sure be looking at adding this to my stable..

  14. Mike H. Mike H

    An acquaintance of mine was trying to sell his father’s 1959 Buick. Pretty much the same colour, but his car was all original with excellent paint and body; a very well cared for original. I was surprised that he couldn’t get any interest in the car at $12,500, and he eventually parted with it for $9,000, which was very disappointing for him.

    He did, however, parley that cash (and many, many dollars more) into a well restored 1955 Thunderbird, which was more to his taste. It’s always funny to me the difference in value between a restored or well cared for original versus a basket case project. . . Often one is so much better off waiting to find a better example.

    Of course, there are plenty in the marketplace who think that “old” equals “valuable”. I miss the days of finding viable projects like this for <$1,000 where they've sat.

    • Tom Member

      I agree. good thing the 59 Buick in your story was not a 4 door, probably would have to take a zero off that $9,000 to have sold it. I have been restoring cars for 35 years and I have learned it is well worth finding a better more solid fairly complete car to restore. it is worth spending, in my opinion, more up front because you WILL spend far more time (time is money) and more money as well as more frustration trying to bring a basket case back to life and in my opinion, in the end not have as nice a restoration “behind the scenes”. I have a 64 Olds 98 4 door, 58K original miles that my dad bought when it was 9 months old. all original. not perfect but very nice. it is worth very little in the market. 2 door would bring some money but not nearly what a 64 impala 2 door would bring.

      • Mike H. Mike H

        Tom, I really should have been clearer; it was, in fact, a 4-door. Beautiful car, very well cared for and nearly pristine. He inherited the car from his father who was the original owner, which made it as close to a one-owner 1959 anything as you’ll likely find anymore. I felt bad for him that there wasn’t any “real” value in the car after all those years of care, but what can you do?

        Sales value is driven by desirability, and evidently the 1959 Buick isn’t as desirable as a 1959 Cadillac or a 1959 Impala.

  15. Eric 10Cars

    It’s been said many times on BF and elsewhere, buy as much car as you can possibly afford (when buying a ‘classic’ or ‘your collector’ car). Rust is anathema unless you’re very well-versed with a MIG or TIG, and even if you are spend the money to avoid rust if you can. With the floors in such sorry state, the frame and inner stuff we can’t see from these pictures are the hell yet to come. The trim, lens, grill, bumpers, and glass make this a worthwhile parts car. The fact that it’s a basic LeSabre adds to that. If you only want to make it a driver (if there’s a title) and have fun, okay, but don’t look for any serious appreciation on it for the next 30 years.

    • Mike H. Mike H

      Excellent use of the word “anathema”! After reading so many illegible comments here this morning you’ve brought some joy to my day.

      Thank you.

  16. Bill McCoskey

    Over the last 50 years I’ve figured out which cars are usually the low mileage ones: the cars with few options on the order sheet. Like this Buick. It’s the cheapest Buick one could buy in 1959. 2-door sedan. No power brakes or steering. Base radio and no clock [Dynaflow was standard on all Buicks by 59.]

    People who bought the “stripper” cars often had a limited amount of $ to spend or finance, and they were often “thrifty”. This often meant they were careful with the cars, took better care of them, and drove them less.

    Think about it; When was the last time BF featured a loaded, fully optioned low mileage vehicle?

    As for the severe floor rust, I believe that this car, being the base line stripper model, had rubber mats instead of carpeting. Rubber mats with nice thick jute padding underneath, perfect to store plenty of water that seeped in from leaking door weather seals. And the jute kept holding water under the rubber sheeting even after the floors had newly created drain holes!

  17. Ck

    If the frame is good and you can buy it cheap ,it would make a kool hot rod.Totaly strip it ,motor ,trans ,interior everything . Then start over maybe a 455 and a 4spd trans,with a 9″ford rear.Paint it black with some fat steel wheels and doggy dish hubcaps and finish it off with a red gut .Ohh Yaa thats what I’m talkin aboot.

    • mike d

      if you hadn’t said it first , I would have said pretty much the same thing! big block, side pipes ( gotta be retro!) spinners.. good to go! would def change the color to some thing dark, black, midnight blue, something of that order

  18. ACZ

    So many ideas, so few old cars.

  19. GaryC Gary charlton

    There was a ’60 Buick LeSabre for sale on Craigslist in Elreno, Oklahoma 2 years ago that had less than 60,000 miles, was all original. A very nice driver, the guy couldn’t get $12,000.00 for it.
    It is a shame that something so cool and rare is worth so little. As a retro-mod they will bring more money but not nearly what it costs to build one.
    I have a ’60 LeSabre 2 dr. Hardtop in a little better shape than this one and a 4 dr. parts car that I will never have time to get to. So if anyone is looking I got a buyers price on them. Plus 7 or 8 more little heart throb projects.

  20. John Taggart Member

    My Uncle had a 59 Buick believe it was an Invicta or maybe electra gray rag top what a beautiful car it was My very first car in first year of college was a 60 Buick LeSabre my dad bought from a friend It was a 4 door and I drove hell out of it for near three years till getting a newer LeSabre I grew up on Buicks mostly and have loved them forever owning a 69 GS since 71 I love big room comfy cars and just bought a 93 Cadillac Fleetwood for a Florida driver when I fly down instead of renting I had a 96 back in the day one comfy fantastic driver Wish Buick would come back into the market with a big cruiser again

  21. Rustytech Member

    This car is toasted. If it were a high end http. or conv it might be worth saving, but being a low end sedan any restoration is going to be a labor of love as your going to be upside down on your first call to the parts house.

  22. The One

    It is’t that bad.

  23. Righteous Bob

    Had a 59 2 door sedan 50 years ago with a 3 spd on the column, what a great car, sure wish I could find like it!

  24. 64 bonneville

    A lot of the red on the underside is from the red dirt in the Oklahoma City area. Having lived in Oklahoma for about the last 43 years, and traveled the state in my job, I have seen all kinds of cars and cretins. I do know that the red dirt will ruin clothes, and it sure doesn’t want to get washed out.
    If able to buy at a low enough price to fix it to your enjoyment, the red dirt will come off with a strong pressure washer, just not all of it. I think this is a car worth building, possibly mild semi-custom like the late 50s’ or early 60s. Nose, and deck it, slight drop, wide whites with chrome reversed and baby moons , “Tijuana tuck and roll” interior, maybe a tube grill. flat red lenses in the tail lights, to be different. The 301 under the hood is nice, but I would do the basic 350/700R4 swap and a set of disc on the front. Doing just about everything your self, you might get in and out around $15-18K. WAIT!!!! I forgot paint, go with a factory pak of a firemist color from Cadillac, which would be similar to the “Kustom Kandy” paints of the very early 60s’. (just my old f*rt opinion)

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