Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1970 Buick LeSabre – Another Barge At The Canal In Amsterdam

Here’s another one of Corey Behrens’ finds in Amsterdam, and it’s another big American. The burble coming out of those twin exhausts probably sounds not unlike some of the boats that ply these canals. Or are they electric already?

I’m not sure why I threw in that line about electric canal boats, but it’s not just a pipe dream; electric boats and ships of many sizes are the hot new thing, especially ferry boats, like this one in Norway, which was the biggest at the time (2018). But bigger ships are in the pipeline. Electric propulsion actually makes a lot of sense for certain shipping applications like ferries, since they’re not out on long distance trips, and are back at their docks to recharge every night.

Back to this…barge. Can you blame me for having a nautical theme in my head? We’re looking at a LeSabre Custom Sport Coupe. Anecdotally-speaking, these were not all that common at the time, as two door coupe sales were quickly migrating from full-size platforms to mid-sized ones. Who would want this when there was a stunning Grand Prix or Monte Carlo to be had, or even just a Skylark coupe? The four door sedans outsold these by a hefty margin, as they were still in demand by a certain conservative Buick clientele.

It’s hard to know exactly which version of the Buick 350 (5.7L) V8 is under the hood, as there were three available: the base version had 260 (gross) hp, and had a two barrel carb and a 9.0:1 compression ratio. The next step up was a four barrel carb version rated at 285 hp, still with the 9.0:1 CR and also using regular gas. The top dog 350 had a 10.25:1 CR and used premium. There was also a LeSabre 455 trim version that obviously came with the 455 (7.4L) V8, and rated at 370 gross hp. But they had a “455” badge on their rear flanks that this doesn’t.

Even rarer in 1970 was the Wildcat; same body, but a bit more trim. The Wildcat’s days were numbered, due to the image now being all wrong; what had been…wild in 1962, was now irrelevant. In 1971, the Centurion would replace the Wildcat. The end of a short era.

The LeSabre nameplate would of course soldier along for quite a while yet, all the way through 2005. It had become the essence of the affordable Buick, essentially taking over the role the Special once had before it became a compact in 1961. The Special name took a hiatus in 1959, the year the LeSabre took its role. The Special name was first used in 1936, so just two names for the same basic concept for almost 70 years, now that’s some kind of record.