By on November 20, 2018

A few months ago we selected a General Motors C-body from the three on offer in the mid-1990s, right at the end of the front-drive platform’s lifespan. Today’s trio is a variation on that theme, as suggested long ago by commenter Sgeffe.

He wanted to talk about rear-drive C-platform offerings — the full-size GMs available shortly before everything started going awry for the large sedan customer. Let’s go.

Buick Electra

Before the Roadmaster was recognized as Buick’s largest offering in the 1990s, the Electra held the banner as the company’s flagship. In its fifth generation for the 1977 model year, Electra and the other C-body offerings shrunk around 10 inches in length. Malaise and downsizing had taken hold! The 1980 model year saw a diesel engine added to the options list, as well as the availability of the Oldsmobile 307 V8 (today’s selection). 1980 was also the last year for the three-speed TH350 transmission; GM switched to a four-speed THM200 in 1981. Other changes this year included a grille with vertical slats and the deletion of “225” from the Electra’s badging. 1980 would also be the last year the Electra wore ventiports along its fenders. Length: 220.9″

Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight

Oldsmobile’s flagship Ninety-Eight model entered its 10th generation in 1977, increasing interior head and legroom even as exterior dimensions shrank. The Ninety-Eight realized some extensive exterior renovations for the 1980 model year. Aerodynamics and fuel economy required a more downward-sloped hood and a higher trunk. The overall effect was a chunkier, heavy-looking car. Ninety-Eight customers could select from LS or Regency trims on their sedan; today we’ve selected the Regency with a 307 V8. Vinyl roofs and opera lamps are good things. Length: 221.4″

Cadillac Sedan de Ville

The DeVille played the entry-level role to the smaller Seville and larger Fleetwood Brougham sedan (and limousine) in Cadillac’s lineup. 1977 happened to be the 75th anniversary of the Cadillac brand, and the Detroit company celebrated by downsizing everything. The new DeVille lost nine inches in length and about 1,000 pounds over the outgoing model. Like the Oldsmobile, interior dimensions increased. Customers in 1977 saw a DeVille which had to forego the formality of fender skirts for the first time. Rakish! Grille changes for 1978 accompanied slimmer tail lamp designs. An aluminum hood arrived in 1979, along with another new grille. For 1980 the DeVille received the same aerodynamic treatment as the Oldsmobile at the front and rear. Customers could also select a (4.1L) V6 engine — the first time the company dipped below eight cylinders since 1914. Most customers opted for the new 368 CID V8 engine, with its six-liter displacement. It was selected here, as well. Length: 221″

Traditional, restrained, or festooned — which one gets the Buy?

[Images: General Motors]

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90 Comments on “Buy/Drive/Burn: A Rear-drive C-body Showdown in 1980...”


  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    As long as the DeVille has the 368 that would be my choice, navy blue, navy leather, red pinstripe, Astroroof.

    I have never been a fan of the styled steel wheels on the big Buicks…too sporty for a big luxury car.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Buy and drive em’ all. I couldn’t bring myself to burn any of these.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Worth noting: all of these cars STILL look good today. Having said that:

    1) Buy the Caddy. It’s the best looking and has the biggest engine.
    2) Drive the Buick.
    3) Put the diesel in the Olds and burn it. Why? Because something has to burn.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hall

      It would be more accurate to say they look good again today.

      For most of the 90s and 00s, these were awful, huge floaty barges that got lousy gas mileage, were unbelievably slow for a V8, and generally represented everything wrong with domestic cars.

      Now the survivors benefit from the hipster fascination with “vintage”, and other cars have gotten bigger to the point that the Bs don’t look so cartoonishly huge in comparison (to see what I mean, look at a BMW 2-series next to an E30.)

      Buy: Cadillac
      Drive: either of the others
      Burn: none

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “The DeVille resided above the entry-level Seville, and beneath the Fleetwood Brougham sedan and limousine in Cadillac’s lineup.”

    The DeVille was entry-level, the Seville was always the premium, but eventually went pretty much equal to the Fleetwood.

    Buy: Cadillac
    Drive: Buick or Olds
    Burn: Buick or Olds

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “The Cadillac Seville is a luxury car that was manufactured by Cadillac from 1975 to 2004, as a smaller-sized premium Cadillac. Despite its smaller size, the Seville typically carried the highest price tag among Cadillac’s sedan models. It was replaced by the Cadillac STS in 2005.”

      – Wikipedia

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Had we gone to the bustleback Seville yet or was this model year still a Nova with extra spot welds?

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Depends on which gen Seville. 1st gen was Nova based and the most exclusive/expensive, but as typical of GM as time went on the Seville became more diluted, but was always above the DeVille

      • 0 avatar

        I has already revised the language’s.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The first year of the bustleback Seville was 1980.

        Buy: one of each, the nicest ones to be found! Drive ‘em all, sparingly, in spring or summer, to car shows! Burn: none, unless something happens to one of them, then find the nicest example of the LAST production year for it! (No Diesels, unless the car had all work done to mitigate the problems: good head bolts and a water-separating fuel filter, otherwise, just the V8! The Seville actually came standard with the Diesel in 1980, BTW!)

        My idea, so my rules, Corey?! :-D

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I’ve owned both the 1st gen (1978) and 2nd gen (1981) Seville and although the 1st gen is by far the classier looking Seville, the front drive 1981 was a superior automobile in every respect. They were only 3 years apart in age, but the 1st gen felt 20 years older with it’s ancient Nova platform

  • avatar
    redapple

    I love the Olds.

    Black.
    Slow roll thru downtown.
    Tunes on loud.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Your info on engines in incorrect. In 1980, you could still get a 350 CI gas V-8 in both the Electra and the 98. The 307 did not replace it until the following year.

    The Buick with the 350 is the one to buy, with a better dash and nicer interior than the 98. Get the color-keyed wheel covers if you don’t like the Buick road wheels. Drive the 98 with the 350. The Caddy had utterly numb overassisted steering and basically the same interior as the top-line Buick for a lot more money, too much for Caddy in that era of plastic wood and plastichrome interiors. Burn it.

  • avatar
    Vanillasludge

    The years to get were 77-79. The Olds could be had with the excellent 403. The Caddy with the v8/6/4 is a disaster but the 425 from 77-79 was a gem. The Buick was for geezers even then.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    I always liked the styling on that era Olds. The Buick didn’t evolve as well.

    Buy: Olds
    Drive: Cadillac
    Burn: Buick

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Tough decisions for me – since I’ve driven 2/3 of these, I’ll have to –

    Buy: the Oldsmobile – first car I ever drove was a 1984 Olds 98 (diesel!) that eventually got a gas engine. And then the transmission fragged.

    Drive: Cadillac – Had time behind my dad’s ’77 and ’81 Cadillac Fleetwood. A big yellow (!) with gold (!) leather interior, and the big 425 engine (if I remember correctly), and then the 8-6-4 engine that came in brown.

    Burn: with much sadness the Buick. I’ve owned it’s successor, the Roadmaster, which is one of my favorite cars of all time.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Hey a car I actual drove in my youth, we had a 79 Buick w spoke wheels, silver w black interior so that will get my vote to drive since I did

    Buy – the caddy w the v8
    Drive the buick bc I did and the caddy is to showing for me
    Burn the Olds, the looks just do not do it for me, neither now or back in 1980

  • avatar
    Dan C

    i love all of these, takes me back to my childhood. I was fascinated the first time i sat in a cadillac Sedan DeVille at Kurland Cadillac/Olds in Nanuet NY, with power everything, having grown up with hand cranked windows and vinyl seats in what my parents could afford.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    They are all the same car with slightly different details – what’s the point?

    Burn them all, I don’t get the appeal of these arks AT ALL, and I am old enough to have driven them when they were almost new. Anyone who thinks they ride well has never been in a car that actually does. Nauseatingly nautical ride unless you are on perfectly smooth straight highways.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      If you want a car that rides well try a 1976 Cadillac, the last biggin before the first round of downsizing

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      What non-European cars do you actually like?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      If you want a modern car that rides like that, drive the 2014-2017 Kia K900. It harkens back to the American luxury barges of the 80s and before.

      Kia slipped the 2018 K900 entirely and is introducing a new model for 2019. I suspect it will drive far better.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Alex on Autos has driven the new K900 and actually bemoaned that it didn’t have a real “Sport” package because he felt that the chassis was very willing but things like tires and springs were letting it down.

        As Kyree says I have heard the 1st gen K900 favorably compared to the old Town Car as far as ride quality is concerned.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      I agree they all are same car

      While GM’s slide was principally due to reliability/value issues (call it perceived if you like) I also think that platform sharing contributed to the decline. It took perhaps a generation for the rubes to catch on but by the 80s the GM auto line was pure badge engineering.

      When did platform sharing start at GM?
      My guess would be the early to mid 60s.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “When did platform sharing start at GM?”

        50s

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @Lie2Me

          Yes I believe that is when the common “B-body” shell became shared among the divisions.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No that was body sharing that started in the 50’s The A, B, C bodies were bodies, not platforms and there were distinct differences in some of the chassis. It wasn’t until the late 60’s that they started sharing chassis and a floor pan in the body shell.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            It would seem we’re all wrong…

            “Platform sharing among brands

            One of the first car companies to use this product development approach was General Motors for in 1908. General Motors used a single chassis for certain class of model across most of its brands like Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac and Oldsmobile. Later Chrysler Corporation would use the same for Plymouth and DeSoto and Dodge cars. Ford followed the same principle for Ford and Mercury in US markets. The chassis unit was common with many shared mechanical components while the Exterior styling and Interior trims were designed according to its individual brand and category.”

            -Wikipedia

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No that Wikipedia article is not correct.

            Here is a good article that actually shows how the GM cars did indeed have significantly different chassis even though they carried the same basic body shell designation.

            Yes there are some cases where two different brands did use the same basic frame in the same years, but other brands had their own.

            Even crazier is the fact that in the early 60’s the US Pontiacs were on the new “Wide Track” chassis while the same body in Canada got the Chevy Floor pan so it could be plopped on the Chevy X frame.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Guess I should have included the link http://www.curbsideclassic.com/automotive-histories/automotive-history-an-x-ray-look-at-gms-x-frame-1957-1970/

        • 0 avatar
          road_pizza

          ’40s.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Per Wikipedia (grain of salt), the C-body platform dates to 1936 and the B-body to 1926. Scoutdude is right to point out that we run into a semantic issue as to what exactly constitutes a platform, as the various divisions often had significant differences. (I feel like Buicks, e.g., had torque tube and rear coil springs for many years whereas analogous Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs didn’t.)

        Ate Up With Motor refers to the B- and C-bodies as “body shells,” which is not one and the same as the sheet metal.

        – – –

        Re: buy, drive, burn, it’d be really tough for me to spend my own money on any of these versus a (B-body) Caprice Classic optioned to my liking. Cadillac had been chasing volume for a decade and a half by this point; and a/c, cruise control, power windows, and power locks had long since become available on Chevrolets.

        That said . . .
        – buy Olds. I think it has the cleanest styling, and you probably could get one for the lowest out-the-door price (though Buick and Olds long had significant overlap in price and prestige, IMO). If you’re looking for a depressing but good movie, I think this was the car Jarretts had in ORDINARY PEOPLE.
        – drive Cadillac. The non-8-6-4 368 is appealing as the last traditional Cadillac engine.
        – burn Buick, but mostly because I prefer the Olds’ front clip.

        It would have been interesting to drive these back to back to back to see how the division-specific engines performed and if there were any differences in steering and suspension tuning.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Agreed. If you like bloated, underbuilt, thirsty land yachts, go ahead, to each his own. Cadillac, specifically, has been a joke for decades.
      Buy: Any of them. They come very cheap these days, if you can still find one.
      Drive: None of them. I’d rather take an Uber. Give me a clutch and a 5-speed, or give me death.
      Burn: None of them. Air quality is bad enough. Tow them to the crusher.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Buy: Cadillac Sedan de Ville

    The other two entrants would’ve been horrendously slow with that Oldsmobile 307, which was by no means a performance engine.

    So…burn them both.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Dad had a Cadillac of this generation, the only one he ever owned. His lifelong dream, mom finally talked (more like browbeat – after all, both kids were finally married off) him into getting an ’84. And then she died a little over a year later. That killed the car for him, within a year he had sold it. And never looked at another, just went right back to Chevrolet.

    For me, buy the Cadillac, it’s far and away the best the best of the three, even though the times I drove it left me very unimpressed. And I’d want mine without the damned vinyl roof, if that’s possible.

    Drive? Flip a coin, hope it lands on the Buick – because of past history with the marque.

    Burn the Oldsmobile, because the rules say I have to burn something. Quite honestly, once the Caddy is picked, it’s flip a coin between the other two.

  • avatar

    The Buick wears the new slope-nosed styling the best. Buy and drive the Buick, burn the rest.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “Electra” – as well as the availability of the Oldsmobile 307 V8 (today’s selection).

    “today we’ve selected the Regency with a 307 V8.”

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! BOO at this MAN!

    If I could get a gasoline engine in excess of 301-307 cubic inches any of these cars would be a great choice.

    SO THEREFORE my gut tells me.

    BURN the Oldsmobile and Buick for having their best engines behind them.

    Buy and Drive the Cadillac for having a decent engine before V4-6-8 debacle and glass transmissions were introduced.

    PLAYING BY THE RULES…

    Burn the Buick but wish that the current Lacrosse had a better name than “Lacrosse” like Electra or Park Avenue.

    Buy the Oldsmobile: My Grandmother had a 79 model (with the 403 V8 thank you very much.)

    Drive the Cadillac for being one of the last stately Cadillac sedans.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    One of my high school chums had a 1979 Oldsmobile 98 Regency that had been his father’s company car. The paint fell off when it was almost new. The high quality repaint held up better. Like every other B or C body of this generation I ever encountered, it ran hot in the hands of teenagers. I can smell the coolant of those Buicks, Cadillacs, Chevrolets, and Oldsmobiles all these years later. I don’t recall ever riding in any of the Pontiacs based on this platform, although I drove plenty of other Pontiacs during the ’80s.

    One time when the 98 was overheating, we lifted the hood. I was shocked to read on the emissions tag that it was equipped with a 6.6 liter engine. This surprised be for two reasons. The first was that every other similar car I’d seen with the hood up had 5.0 liter or 5.7 liter V8, or even a Buick V6. I’d become convinced that the big engines went out with the big cars in 1976. Second, the Oldsmobile was remarkably slow for something with four times the displacement of a Scirocco.

    The party was over in 1980. A 1979 Cadillac with a 425 is mildly interesting. The 368 was a shockingly underwhelming engine, slowing the 1980 Eldorado by whole chunks compared to the Rocket 350 powered 1979. I shudder to think what it did to the DeVille that was coming down from a 7 liter. 1980 just isn’t a model year that GM produced anything I find desirable, except maybe a properly optioned Blazer or Jimmy.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The Catalina and Bonneville were both on the B-body platform, at least after 1977. I like the crisper looks of these after the 1980 refresh, but any of these big GM cars from 1977 to the last of the whales in 1996, assuming I could find a near-mint example with all the bells and whistles working, wouldn’t be thrown out of my garage or storage unit.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      I never owned a 98, but I did have a 1975 Pontiac Grand Prix with the 403 CI (6.6 liter) engine and a 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass with the 350 CI (5.7 liter) engine. Surprisingly, the Olds felt way more agile than the Pontiac. Perhaps the 403 was a much-heavier engine, or maybe the gearing wasn’t right (the wrong axle ratio can truly ruin a car’s performance).

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        The last of the 403s were built during the last years of GM’s three speed, non-OD automatics, so maybe you’re right that they were getting stuffed by super tall final drive ratios.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    Even though I’m a Buick fan, it goes like this…

    Buy the Olds. Looks much more stately than the Buick and even the Cadillac.
    Drive the Caddy. You gotta drive one.
    Burn the Buick. Buick had started to lose it’s near-luxury cache and wouldn’t regain it for a number of years

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I love that Olds – hits all the right cues for broughmy luxury and yet a contemporary appearance.

    The Buick was best as the wagon.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I am biased to the Buick as an ’81 Regal was my first car (in 1994). My folks had an Electra of around an ’82 vintage that I very vaguely remember. It was black with a red interior (I think) because my folks traded it on an 84 Econoline 150 conversion van which we kept until the mid-90’s.

    I do remember it stalling a lot. My young mind didn’t know much, but I found humor in the “idiot” lights. “Check engine” “Oil/ Choke” appeared so often my Mom and I made a game from it.

    I’ve never cared for the big Olds in any form, especially the half wheel arches: Burn it.

    Drive the Buick

    Buy the Caddy

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The “Oil/Choke” light was a weird one! IIRC, if the heater failed on the automatic choke, on came the light! (So some obscure part on the carburetor is having problems, or the engine’s about to grenade itself! Which is it?!)

      Now I’m trying to remember if the light had a dual purpose in 1981 and later, after the Computer Command-Control carbs debuted. (::Trying to remember the startup warning-light sequence on an ‘83 Regal, and failing!::)

      B&B, any clues?

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The info I see shows the Buick still available with their own 350 and that is the way to go with the buy.

    The Caddy is worth a drive.

    The Olds should burn as it is the worst looking one of the bunch by a long shot.

  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    I would drive the Caddy on weekends, drive the Buick 2 days a week and drive the 98 3 days a week. Id rather watch a new BMW and a new Mercedes and a new Audi burn to nothing than destroy any of these true luxo mobiles.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Buy the Cadillac. It is very not fast, but I’ve generally heard good things about the longevity of the 368 and you still got the THM400. Corey didn’t specify a rear end so I can get one with a 3.08 which will hopefully make me not hate life. I also think it looks the best.

    Drive the Olds. It seems more culturally significant and they don’t make Oldsmobiles anymore.

    Burn the Buick. A victim of option selection.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I always loved these 98s, even if it would be slow, and although the Caddy is the better car. Preteen aged me had family friends who had these (we were not as well off) and riding in them was like a limousine ride. I agree with Kyree on most things, but the slowness of these is besides the point. These are admittedly not good cars if you are in a hurry, but to me a trip in one leaves me relaxed and refreshed. Like a spa vacation!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      When I was a kid (early 1990s when this takes place), our neighbors across the street were an elderly retired couple, and they had a Ninety-Eight sedan of this body style.

      I always thought it looked so stately, especially compared to their other car, a mid-80s LTD Crown Vic (despite being a Ford guy, I never liked those) (they also had a Toyota Chevy Nova, which I disliked). I loved the tail lights on the Olds especially. Still do.

  • avatar
    someoldfool

    We decided we needed a larger car and bought a 77 Electra 225. The most comfortable car I ever owned. I’m 6’5″ and was 230# then and could sit in back with my legs crossed with the front bench (!) all the way back. But, there’s always a but, Olds 403 or not, it was a slug. And there was always something wrong with it. Nothing major, just minor aggravations, one after another until I sold it in 1985. Like one of the door locks, the clock, the upholstery, power seat cable, a/c vent grill thing, paint, vinyl roof issues, etc. etc. But man was it comfortable!

    So I guess drive the Buick. Buy the Cadillac, burn the Olds.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Buy the Oldsmobile. No contest. Later, swap in some other Rocket V-8 from the past, and find a V-6 Cutlass Supreme to stick the 307 in. Find a first gen S-15 to stick the Cutlass’ 3.8L in. Recycle the trucks 2.8L. I absolutely plan to own a Ninety-Eight from this generation at some point, preferably a coupe.

    Drive the Caddy. To be brutally honest, this and the next selection could go either way, but I’ll slightly favor the Cadillac due to a more powerful factory engine.

    Burn the Buick. Inferior styling to the Olds IMO, plus something’s gotta burn.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I posted this the other day, but figured I’d do it again since it pertains to the subject.

      https://mobile.craigslist.org/cto/d/1983-oldsmobile-ninety-eight/6726889466.html

      I would absolutely love to make that mine. Beautiful car.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Buy: Oldsmobile-I have a soft spot for these since an uncle of mine used to buy a new 98 every few years. Either the 307 or 403 are fine motors.

    Drive: Cadillac-The 368 is the good old Cadillac engine. Plus the floaty ride.

    Burn: Buick-Still ok but the dash is not as nice with the overly silver gauges. The 4.1 V6 is a nice motor also available in the Cadillac but not enough grunt. It was also available in E-body models as a reliable option instead of the diesel or the Cadillac 8-6-4.

    Honorable mention: The coupe versions or a Delta 88 Holiday coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      In 2005, while in Oslo, Norway, I’ll never forget the absolute mint-condition 1979 88 Holiday Coupe I saw: black over tan with a tan landau roof. Perhaps the bumper sticker displayed in the car’s windshield had something to do with it:

      “Touch this car, and I’ll [have “relations” with, rhyming with “duck”] your dog!”

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I knew someone who owned a 78-88 Holiday Coupe in powder blue with a blue interior, rally wheels and the F-41 suspension package. The better of the B-bodies that showed downsizing can be sporty.

        Another honorable mention is the LeSabre sport coupe with the 3.8 fuel injection turbo. Far from a Grand National but a Euro inspired coupe that showcased emerging technology.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I remember seeing ads for those in National Geographic. Not bad looking for a FWD ’80s GM.

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            That was the FWD H-body T-type built from 86-90. There was also a very rare Gran Sport version with side louvers on the quarter windows.

            From 78-81 or so there was a LeSabre sport coupe with the 3.8 carb I think 4bbl or fuel injection turbo, blacked out trim and color keyed bumpers.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Ahh okay, I gotcha.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    What GM did with those models beginning in 1984 should have been grounds for imprisonment, or banishment to a remote, desolate land.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    Buy – the Oldsmobile. I think it’s the best looking of the three plus it has an option that the others didn’t offer: analog temp, volt, and oil pressure gauges. Am I allowed to get an AstroRoof?

    Drive – the Cadillac. Best for arriving in style plus the 368 still has some oomph.

    Burn – the Buick is left so regrettably it has to die.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    This was a comparison that my father actually did, in the fall of 1976. We took home the Buick. Limited model, dark metallic gold with gold damask button-tucked upholstery. I was fifteen and was driving it within months. What I remember was some initial quality control problems and so-so build quality. It was smooth, quiet, and floaty, perfect for the 55mph interstates of the era. There were lots of these new downsized near-lux B-bodies in our neighborhood.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Meh, your best bets a true baby blue Continental

  • avatar
    relton

    The Cadillac was a D body, not a C body. It has more wheelbase than the Olds or the Buick.

    The THM200 was a 3 speed auto. The 4 speed autos were either a 700 R4 or a 200 4R. The 200 4R was based on the 200, and was not strong enough for these heavy cars. They were replaced by the score under warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      KevinB

      I would burn the Buick and Olds for the THM200 alone. This transmission was developed for Chevettes. What genius at GM thought it would work in a C-body.

      I assume the Cadillac still had the THM400. For that reason I will buy and drive it.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Well The Old Man opted for the ‘top of the line’ Fleetwood.

    In both of our estimations, it was a step down from the early to mid-70s Town Cars.

    Not as big, not as ‘brougham’, smaller engine,not as quiet on the inside, and most importantly not as intimidating when bearing down on a slower moving vehicle.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I’ve owned all of these at one point or another.

    So.. with a gun to my head I would buy the Caddy, drive the Olds and burn the Buick. The Olds has a more elegant look to it.

    The Olds and Buick are a wash to me as they were the same more or less under the skin. The Caddy however did have extras thrown in, some that were visible others not. As someone mentioned, longer wheelbase being one. The 368 was a gem of a motor for sure. They got that one right. I also noticed the Caddy had a double u-joint set up on each end for smoother shifting and going into gear. My 80 Buick/Olds did not.

    At 100k, with nearly every major system needing replacement (I am not exaggerating), the salvage yard drove my 80 Deville on to the truck… for 20 bucks. Yay… that was my last GM.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    Nostalgia can be quite a drug. Seeing the photos of these 3, you could easily think you had something of quality.

    Ownership of the ’84 98 Regency Brougham told otherwise. We bought one off a lot in 1991 and kept it until 1997. At that time we needed to take several trips to LA, about once every 2 months.

    In its defense, we were under the 55 limit in those years, and the Olds was constantly hunting between 3rd and 4th. If we could have opened it up to 70, even with the 307, it would have been a fine road car. As it was we could get an easy 23 mpg on those trips.

    Pluses…comfy seats, ice cold AC, fiber optic telltales for the turn signals and brights up front, and the ones above the rear window that kept you advised about your tail light conditions.

    Ah, but the minuses.

    During our ownership it needed a new AC compressor, blend door motor replacement, and carb overhaul.

    By then a spring was sticking out from the lower right lumbar area of the drivers seat so you had to stick a cushion behind your back, the top halves of the interior door cards had some sort of imitation plasticky wood that was starting to bake from the sun, and dealer costs were north of 500 bucks each, so that wasn’t going to happen.

    The final straw was when it wouldn’t pass smog, the computer controlled QJet didn’t respond anymore to tuning.

    We unloaded it and got a 1 yr old Crown Vic, which as a driving experience was better in every way….but had so many quality issues with weak brakes, door cards splitting near the arm rests, heater cores (2), Intake manifold splitting, that I C4Ced it in 2009 and don’t miss it at all.

    No more domestics after all that nonsense.

    But, if I was feeling charitable,

    For the 368 Caddy, buy.

    Olds.. drive, with something besides a carbureted 307.

    Buick, burn…to much of that plastic burl and chrome plating that wore off the Instrument panel.

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    Can’t I just buy all of them :)???

  • avatar
    amca

    Ah, the Malaise Days of Irv Rybicki.


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