This was so not what I was looking for.
After selling the HHR and planning on driving the Mystique (recent My CC here) (and we all know how that turned out), I was yet again in need of a set of wheels. Sure, I could afford something newer, but I decided that this time around I was going to be thrifty and look for a cheap econobox. As long as it had cold AC, cruise and a radio, and didn’t cost more than $6k I didn’t much care what it was. Or so I thought.
I had narrowed my search down to a rusty Ford Escort wagon for $2200, or a Chrysler PT Cruiser for $8000. Neither car was doing it for me. Out of frustration I decided to stop in at a large Chevrolet-Toyota dealer in Saginaw, MI. Turns out they had a “budget” lot out back. The salesman asked me what I was looking for. I replied, “I’m looking for a good travel car that’s cheap…” He then turned and pointed and said, “This is the best car I have on the lot for that.”
And there it was, a beautiful, one owner (little old lady, documentation proved it) LeSabre. My first thought was “I don’t need a car that big and fancy”, but after sitting in that lavish interior that really is a throwback to the Great Brougham Epoch, and taking it for a ride, I was hooked! $4700 and she was mine!
A little about GM’s H-car program…
After GM’s first round of downsizing in the 1970’s, it was time for round two, because CAFE was mandating higher MPG numbers by 1985, and the only way it seemed at the time was to keep downsizing. The H-body is just a slightly shorter C-body, much in the same way the old B-body was a shorter version of the old C. At first, the 1986 H-bodies were quite a shock on the buying public. How could something this small be considered full-size and upscale? The car was marked as new and contemporary yet the interiors seemed to come from right out of 1979. Concerning the exterior, the proportions seemed off, as the designers concentrated mainly on maximizing interior space and cutting down on unnecessary bulk. Kind of like how Honda once did business…
In true GM fashion, the first couple of years were stinkers from a quality standpoint, but by 1989, GM seemed to finally wake up and the H-bodies, in particular the LeSabre and Eighty-Eight, were scooping up quality awards.
By 1992 it was time for round two for the H-body. Rounder sheet metal and somewhat better proportions came into the mix, and for once, a first year GM car did not have to be avoided, they got it right from the start. The 3.8 V6 that all these cars came with was fast becoming a benchmark for reliability, it’s not at all uncommon to see these cars with well over 200k on the clocks and still run well.
Sadly, the H-body bowed out after 1999, replaced by the G-body, which the Olds Aurora came from. That in and of itself was not a bad thing by any means, but the H-body versions helped to cause many people to hold the LeSabre in the same high regard as some Honda and Toyota models.
But back to my car.
First of all, I am thirty-six years old, single and have no kids. A car like this seems like the last thing I would pick to suit my transportation needs. But every time I slip in behind the wheel, and settle in to the rather high quality leather seats, a smile comes to my face. The car runs like new.
All the electrical doo dads work like they are supposed to. It easily hits 30 mpg on the highway. Everyone that has ridden in it, from teenagers to my grandfather, has given it their approval. But right now the one thing that makes me happiest is knowing that my father LOVES this car!!!
When I told him I had bought an old Buick, at first he wasn’t sure I had made a wise choice, but then he said, “well, Buicks are good cars, I’ve always liked them”. When I got it, he wanted to drive it, so I let him. He couldn’t say enough good things about it.
This was just a couple of months ago. My father has been ill for some time, and was just last week officially diagnosed as having advanced Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and his health is fading fast. Over the years he and I never really saw eye to eye on a lot, but when we did, it was a wonderful thing.
I’m so thankful that he and I have grown a lot closer this past year. And I’m thankful that after twenty years and eleven different cars, I finally brought one home that my dad approved of. He says he’s proud of me.
What more could I ask for???