Junkyard Find: 1979 Buick LeSabre Limited

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Last week, we admired this fine slab of Oldsmobile Broughamitude, and the very same Denver wrecking yard also boasts the 88’s Buick B-Body sibling. It’s no Brougham, but it is a Limited!

The LeSabre got smaller in 1977, but it was still quite a substantial machine.

I didn’t shoot many engine photos, and LeSabres came with a mix-and-match assortment of Buick, Olds, and Pontiac engines during the Malaise Era, but the front-mounted distributor seems to indicate that this car has Buick 350 power. 150 horses of Buick 350 power.

The ’79 LeSabre may have been a bit underpowered (especially if it came with the base V6 engine), but observe the luxury!

Silver-faced gauges. Actually, these look pretty good.

I might have to come back with a source of 12 volts and test this clock, because it would be a nice addition to my collection. There’s about a 3% chance that it will work, but I’m willing to take a shot.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Biggreencar Biggreencar on Sep 04, 2012

    ...i still drive one of these, it's sort of a light green color, and the clock still works. it has almost 300,000 miles on the mostly original motor/trans./diff. the motor is the 350 buick engine, maybe they did have bad oiling, carb. troubles etc. but mine is running fine. i put an auburn true track 3.23 posi. diff in it and it gets up to 80 mph pretty fast. the fuel economy is about the same as most SUV's, and it will haul around whatever i want. i bought it from the first owner who drove it for 24 years, then i took over. it has the 15X7 chrome wheels and the limited pkg. it didn't come with power windows or door locks, it does have tilt, cruise and 60/40, well maybe 55/45 dual control power front seats. mice ate the bottom out of the passenger side when i was living in it up in idaho, so i put the seat bottom/foam/pans from a '77 delta 88 royale, matchs pretty good, and i kinda' like the drivers side seat belt coming out of the seat cusion instead of between the seats. also put what olds. called the FE2 rally suspension in it, with some big a** rear sway bar from a caprice taxi cab. recently i had someone put a AGR 12:1 steering box in it and someone may be surprised how well one of the road couch's will handle, it's basically the same chassis as the early 70's "a" body olds/buicks/chevys. then i pieced together the 4-core rad./7 blade fan/air seal kit. i've driven this car all over the west in all sorts of temps. without any problems. also has some big coil overs i pulled out of a 79' pontiac catalina i have parts on this car from all the GM divisions .for durability/dependability/economy and availability of parts these tanks are hard to beat. i paid $900.00 for mine and it had over 200,000 miles when i got it. i hope to get another one, if someones interested i'd suggest getting one with the standard front disc breaks not the HD 5 on 5 wheels. it makes using stuff off my 76' cutlass simpler, bye.

  • Moparman426W Moparman426W on Sep 09, 2012

    Anyone with the slightest amount of knowledge on buick engines knows that one could never make it to 300k with the crummy oiling system that they came from the factory with. Many didn't even make it to 100k. If one was rebuilt properly and one of the redesigned oil pumps/timing covers made by poston or T/A performance was installed then you just may get 300k out of one if it was babied and well maintained.

  • Kosmo Love it. Can I get one with something other than Subaru's flat four?
  • M B When the NorthStar happened, it was a part of GM's "rebuilding" of the Cadillac brand. Money to finance it was shuffled from Oldsmobile, which resulted in Olds having to only facelift its products, which BEGAN its slide down the mountain. Olds stagnated in product and appearances.First time I looked at the GM Parts illustration of a NorthStar V-8, I was impressed AND immediately saw the many things that were expensive, costly to produce, and could have been done less expensively. I saw it as an expensive disaster getting ready to happen. Way too much over-kill for the typical Cadillac owner of the time.Even so, there were a few areas where cost-cutting seemed to exist. The production gasket/seal between the main bearing plate and the block was not substantial enough to prevent seeps. At the time, about $1500.00 to fix.In many ways, the NS engine was designed to make far more power than it did. I ran across an article on a man who was building kits to put the NS in Chevy S-10 pickups. With his home-built 4bbl intake and a 600cfm Holley 4bbl, suddenly . . . 400 horsepower resulted. Seems the low hood line resulted in manifolding compromises which decreased the production power levels.GM was seeking to out-do its foreign competitors with the NS design and execution. In many ways they did, just that FEW people noticed.
  • Redapple2 Do Hybrids and be done with it.
  • Redapple2 Panamera = road porn.
  • Akear What an absurd strategy. They are basically giving up after all these years. When a company drinks the EV hemlock failure is just around the corner.