Skip to comments.Who Says A 1980 Buick LeSabre Isn't A Performance Car?
Posted on 04/28/2014 11:10:31 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Conventional wisdom goes that you get the most performance potential out of a sports car. Yes, but what about a 1980 Buick LeSabre?P
A sports car is a car you want to preserve, appreciate, enjoy. A car for solitary and thoughtful dries on empty roads. A somewhat serious vehicle for a somewhat serious endeavor of driving quickly.P
A 1980 LeSabre, however, is a car that you use to rip donuts in a quarry. A car for jumping into. A car for running into joyous destruction.P
So who says it's not a performance car?1
P’s on it.
Power & Torque The LeSabre has a peak horsepower output of 104 HP @ 3,400 RPM. Maximum torque available is 185 ft-lbs @ 2,000 RPM.
Engine This car has a front-engine layout. It is a 3.8L 6-cylinder.
Impressive fuel mileage for 1980, however, at 16 mpg city, 22 mpg hwy.
Granpa, can I borrow your car?
In 1980 I had a LeSabre just like the one in your photo except that it was the two-door coupe. Much sportier, eh?
The 231 V6 was barely strong enough to get out of its own way, much less pass anything.
On top of that, at 63,000 miles it holed two pistons clean through. (I had taken it to the dealer numerous times complaining of the pinging, even on premium gas. They assured me there was nothing wrong. They were incorrect. The manifold gasket was sucking air and caused pre-ignition on the whole right cylinder bank. The third piston was just about to go.)
So I had a rebuilt engine installed (GM agreed to pay for half) and traded the car in the next day.
The 80s Buick Grand National turbo V6 outran the stock Corvette in published automotive magazine tests when it came out.
I have seen the regular turbo “T” types modified with larger turbos run extremely fast 10 -11 second 1/4 mile times.
I had a buddy who had one of those Grand Nationals.
I recall it was black, had a cool orange logo and was very fast, as you say.
I’m pretty sure it was based on a Buick Regal
I also remember being behind him on the expressway when he decided to nail it and got himself a huge POP! with some multi-colored smoke for his trouble.
IMO, if it was designed and built in the ‘80’s with a catalytic converter, it’s not a performance car.
“I also remember being behind him on the expressway when he decided to nail it and got himself a huge POP! with some multi-colored smoke for his trouble.”
Most forced-inductions have some sort of pressure relief systems to prevent damaging explosions.
There was a very limited special version of the Grand National called the GNX that had a lighter, ceramic impeller in the turbo.
“and traded the car in the next day.”
I’m curious as to which brand you traded it for. GM dealers of the seventies were astonishingly hostile to their customers. I haven’t owned or driven a GM vehicle since 1977. Now that they’re Government Motors I never will. Once a company has soured a relationship, at least in my case, it’s a permanent divorce.
Foreign car dealerships treat me like I’m visiting royalty. I feel almost guilty drinking their free gourmet coffee. I get asked if they can drop me someplace and pick me up. Heck no. I’m going to sit in the leather chair and sip coffee.
Had a Caprice with a 6 in it and slow. Turn on the AC and it got worse.
It was a real lead sled.
Good question yields an interesting story.
At the time I owned he Buick I was managing a sales office for a (now defunct) domestic manufacturer of computer peripherals. The office was in Dearborn Michigan and my personal accounts included GM and Ford. So needless to say, I drove Detroit Iron.
At the time the engine blew, I had just been hired as Regional Sales Manager for a Japanese company that was breaking into the market for printers (Canon.)
I traded the Buick for a brand new Toyota. The experience I had, both with the product and dealer was so great that I bought another one from them the following year.
That first Toyota was retired about ten years later, with 367,000 miles. The only work done to the motor (other than regular tune ups) was a timing belt at 180,000.
The second Toyota had its service life cut short by an accident at 195,000 miles. Again, with no major engine work. Just tune ups, batteries, tires, brakes etc.
My boss got a regular Regal with the turbo V6, last year that engine was available.
Very nice car, I was not around to find out what happened to the car at 60,000 miles
Interesting story. I have adored my Toyota truck, my Honda Accord and my current VW TDI. And, with the exception of the Honda dealer, liked the way I was treated at the dealerships.
I don’t know if American manufacturers have caught up or not in terms of product reliability and dealer service, but why would I go back now and take the chance that they haven’t with a $30,000-40,000 “investment?”
And don’t forget the Stage 1, Stage 2, and the Stage III.
That thing was the biggest, boatiest car I had ever driven. It was a beater, no doubt, but that was the one car I felt obliged at that age to purchase a cigar just to smoke while I drove it! (with the left elbow hanging out the window, of course!)
It doesn't look big in the picture, but that car was huge. I recall we could easily put four in front and four in back.
As it drove down the highway, the car would slowly go up and down, as if it were floating on air currents.
The body got so ratty looking (originally a custardy-yellow color) that my friends and I went to hardware store and picked up a whole bunch of spray-cans of gray primer and we painted it.
We wanted to get some big cleats and attach them to the car's body fore and aft on both sides, but we didn't even have enough money for cheap ones!
Lastly, we wanted to paint a navy-style "68" on the bow on either side. I think my dad would have laughed if we had...:)
There’s an Impala hidden in the middle of this Buick.
I’d like to see ya hang the right elbow out of the window!
“Impressive fuel mileage for 1980, however, at 16 mpg city, 22 mpg hwy.”
Actually, only liberals tend to think cars never had good gas mileage. The fact is they had as good as today’s vehicles. Liberals tend to think everything in the 1980’s and before only got 1 mpg when many had 30+ mpg.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.