Anyone thinking a 1973 Buick LeSabre is a small car needs to have their temperature checked. At 18.7′ in length, it’s nearly one-sixth the length of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk.
Will you ever be able to see a GM B-body of this vintage the same again?
But that first picture makes the Buick Lucerne parked next to it look stubby. So let’s swap angles.
Did you know the Lucerne is only 20 inches shorter in length? The Lucerne is also one-third foot taller than the LeSabre. But the LeSabre is so gargantuan…..
Seeing these two together near the front gate of Ft. Leonard Wood created just enough dissonance, so spreading the joy seemed like the thing to do.
If Buickieness were a word, the LeSabre’s got it. The Lucerne? Even with portholes and the tri-shield, it lacks the Buickieness of the LeSabre. OK, it doesn’t make sense, but that was how the photo struck me. Honest, I’m not on anything…
I agree. When I first saw the Lucerne, my thought was that GM styling had parked a VW Passat in the design studio for the designers to use as a guide.
My parents have a Lucerne, and it’s an entirely forgettable car. Whatever one thinks of crossovers, their Buick Enclave somehow is a much better 21-st century Buick.
I always thought these Lucernes looked a bit too much like a 2000-2005 Mercury Sable.
Buicks of this time period looked ok, but even before then ok was not distinctively Buick, it looked ” phoned in “.
The Lucerne is 1000 pounds lighter, has more interior space, and rides like a sports car, compared to the LeSabre. Gas mileage? Lucerne gets about 15 mph MORE than the LeSabre.
As to Buickness, the LeSabre has it all over the Lucerne. The Lucerne with that passive whiney front end, the head lights curved around and over the fenders, that embarrassed grille, needed a psychiatrist to get over its refusal to be what its great grandfather Buick was. The LeSabre takes one look at its Lucerne descendant and wonder aloud why it thinks it needs to cater to female geriatrics when it has all that performance, power and ability.
The Buick LeSabre was made for folks who strove for more – more kids and more money. Back in Chicago, they were everywhere, in factory parking lots, in shopping plazas, on the Dan Ryan rolling out of the Calumet, on the Skyway above the steel mills, and in the nearest parish parking lots on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. It wore its parking bench front bumper like a WWF wrestler wore a champion belt. It wasn’t a fancy car. That interior isn’t luxurious. But it was a Buick and no one forgot what that meant in 1973.
Is “rides like a sports car” supposed to be a virtue?
Methinks a Lucerne that “handles like a sports car” might be more desirable.
Happy Motoring, Mark
That LeSabre looks quite plain for its time. In apparent original condition, it bears no side mouldings, wheel well chrome trim, or vinyl roof. It still wears its whitewalls though, but is otherwise plain looking for a Buick. Nice to see a ’73 still doing driver duties. Without rust too.
Conjecture: perhaps the LeSabre is owned by a millennial in getting a tattoo, while the Lucerne’s owner works in the real estate office.
Buick had been doing this for at least a couple of decades, starting with the Special. Base trim on a near-luxury brand was considered American value. I’ll take a guess that these sold much better in the Midwest than the coasts. Here is the equivalent Chrysler Newport, that started as the Windsor model.
Isn’t Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri (“Fort Loneliness and Misery”) a major training hub/frequent first posting? Pretty safe bet it’s a young owner and one who’ll finish his hitch in much less debt than if he’d splurged on the stereotypical new Mustang or Ram pickup. Same could be the case for the Lucerne which is old enough to be a hand-me-down these days.
As for the LeSabre and Newport, it’d make an interesting sales comparison. My gut tells me any Buick probably outsold any Chrysler, but also the standardized Chrysler-Plymouth pairing meant a lot of would-be high-trim Fury buyers being upsold into Newports while Chevy Caprice intenders would either be sold exactly that or if anything steered to a Delta 88 since the vast majority of Chevy dealers were freestanding and among those with another division Chevrolet-Oldsmobile was fairly common and Chevrolet-Buick much, much rarer.
Yes, Ft. Leonard Wood (which I’ve heard called “Fort Lost In The Woods”) is a prime basic training center. Last I heard the population on base is around 40,000. The last time I drove around the base (likely 5 years ago) there were recruits being trained all over the place.
Interestingly, the number of used car dealers on the approach to the Fort has dwindled in the last 20 or so years. However, the number of new car dealers has remained steady and they’ve all grown considerably.
My late FIL from Springfield went through recruit training at Ft. Leonard Wood in ’63. He too referred to it as Lost in the Woods.
My father went through basic training there also. He broke his hip on Easter Sunday, 1969, after having fallen off the monkey bars and landing flat-footed. He still talks about his time there. I need to take him back down there again.
Wonder if that’s because it’s much harder (or, at it least it used to be, not sure now) to get financed on a used car than a new car.
“One-sixth the length of the Wright Brothers first flight” — now that’s quite a way to think about this car’s size!
I also see that this LeSabre has some more modern DNA, as it appears to be wearing 15″ wheel covers from a mid-90s base-model Regal.
Not even parking that 73 LeSabre next to the Lucerne gets my interest up all that much. But then there are fewer things lower in my pecking order than a low-trim car painted a washed-out pastel yellow. That it is a 71-76 GM B body doesn’t help. If someone were to offer one of the two to me, I don’t think I’d care which.
I will join in the lack of love for the Lucerne’s styling, though.
One is a Japanese Buick; one is an American Buick.
One is a Chinese Buick; one is an American Buick.
Not sure what you “fixed” there… the Lucerne was built off a modified G platform, just like the Park Avenue before it, was built in Hamtramck, and only sold in the US.
Not in the literal sense but in the figurative sense, if not for China the Lucerne wouldn’t exist because Buick wouldn’t exist.
The only Chinese Buick sold in the states is the Envision. Lucerne was hand crafted in Hamtramck MI at what was then known as DHam and is now known as Factory Zero.
I have many memories of St Robert MO. Mostly pawn shops, well used car lots, tat parlors, and Korean restaurants by the dozen.
I think I saw more Lucernes (or similar gen Regal/LaCrosse/whatever) on one or two short visits to China though, than I’ve seen in the US where I live. So I get the comment.
The LaCrosse, though, as sold in NA and (heavily revised) in China, was a W-body though. That’s like going to Australia and saying, “wow, Ford sure sells a lot of Tauruses down here!”
You are correct; I slurred the wrong nationality.
Not enough coffee in me when I posted that.
18′, 7″ is 223 inches, so this ’73 LeSabre is just two inches shy of the fabled Electra 225, memorialized in film, TV, song, and rap videos as the’Deuce and a Quarter’, named for its 225 glorious inches of eye-poppin’ American steel. It was introduced in 1959 on the Electra 225 models, and built from 1959 to 1990 over six generations, but it’s the big, rear-wheel-drive mid-’60s and early ’70s luxo-barges that we all identify with so strongly.
You would see a few of these LaSabres w/o side moldings. My father had a chocolate brown 73 LaSabre w/ Custom trim and tan padded roof. Buick/GM lost its way when they dropped the C body, B body distinction- folding everything into the Lucerne. That, combined with post- Bill Mitchell designs really sunk the ship.
I remember my dad’s car lot on Ventura Blvd ,LA county in 1973 when I was 9 years old. The lot was full of those Buicks,Cads,Olds and the rest.I loved and still do all of the cars we got to bring home as temporary drivers.I still think about it from time to time and I’m convinced that was really the beginning of the end of innocence and simplicity when the1973 oil embargo descended upon us.My poor dad and all the other dealers had all large cars on their lots valued at “half book value “.Large cars went out overnight when you couldn’t even get gas let alone a doubling in price.My brother and me with my dad would wait in gas lines for an hour or two,only to be able to get 10-15 gallons tops.I wonder what our lives would be like today,if we didn’t have either oil embargo.Think of what the cars would have looked like,how big the engines would be and the rest of how we live our lives are lived.Take care everyone,see you soon-Robert Levins
I grew up in a Buick Family. Into the late 1980’s a Family Reunion looked like a Buick Commercial.
There was my grandparents Electra Park Avenue, My Aunt’s Electra Estate Wagon, our LeSabre Estate Wagon. And Century’s, Regals, and the older Skylark’s that had been handed down.
These are not performance cars.
They are reliable, comfortable cars for good people.
I worked for GM in the late nineties. The most reliable and best built car we made, was the Buick LeSabre.
The elderly couple next door still have a ’90’s FWD LeSabre. It just runs seemingly forever without any trouble.
At least the Lucerne is a V8 (judged by the 4 portholes)
The Lucerne is only 500 lbs lighter than the LeSabre. The LeSabre weighs the same as a Buick Enclave