Oh, it'* a sweet ride alright. Tight in the corners, comfy in the stretch. Quick to speed, but quiet and economical.
I grew up in the 70'* and 80'* with Deltas/Caprices/etc., and this is easily the finest all-around family vehicle I've been in.
(If only it were supercharged...)
Got it for the wife in '01 w/30k miles for $8k from a little old lady who thought the ride was "a bit too harsh." It'* been the wife'* commuter car and our kids-to-school / driving-vacations car for the last 60k miles.
My commuter ('97 Altima w/140k) recently took a tranny crap not worth fixing, so I'm "inheriting" this LeSabre, and we're shopping around for a newer car for her, somewhere around $13-14k. We looked at '01-'02 Accord and Camry (overpriced, underwhelming), but she drove an '04 Regal GS and that'* now what she'* leaning toward.
Who am I to argue?
The LeSabre will now become my commuter car, but will still be used for the family vacations.
It'* been through almost 6 years of kids, so it needs some clean up inside. But it'* always been garaged, so all the leather, plastic, rubber, weather seals, and paint (except a few dings and light surface scratches) are good. Car has never seen road salt, so no corrosion at all. Never seen really bad roads either, so has all original suspension (except see below) and original struts, bushings, ball joints, rack, tie rod ends, etc. are all just fine.
(Stupid black-plastic-coated window switch bezels are peeling badly...don't know what to do about that except scour E-Bay :( )
The wife'* taken it in for service religiously. Most importantly, she'* been awesome with alerting me to small problems before they get big.
For instance, it suffered the UIM melt about a year ago. I was in Shanghai at the time, and my car was at the airport. She pulled the CEL codes at Autozone, looked them up online, connected the misfire codes and symptoms (loss of power, reduced coolant, smell from tailpipe) with the UIM issue, and decided to drive my crappy old beater truck until I got home instead of risking the Buick. Our mechanic told us about the widespread nature of the problem, showed us the melted intake, fabbed a metal-sleeved UIM and put the metal LIM gaskets and coolant neck on. BTW, my Mother-in-Law'* '98 Olds 88 is showing the UIM symptoms at 80k, so it'll need the works now. :(
Second instance; about two weeks ago, I come home from Mexico and she says, "Something fell off the car while I was driving..."
Before she can finish, I start ranting, "Something!, Whaddaya mean something...from where! What the..."
She says, "The passenger side front felt softer...so I got under the car and saw something missing in the right side of the suspension compared to the left."
Sure enough, front right endlink was missing. A pair of polyurethanes are on the way from Rock Auto...'cause this ride ain't stiff enough for me yet.
Right now the middle air vents won't blow, but reading these forums it sounds like a cracked vacuum line/nipple behind the dash. FSM'* are on the way (thanks, E-Bay!).
Additional upcoming "mods" include:
Switch from DexCool to Prestone Extended Life.
180 degree drilled thermostat.
Add TruCool tranny cooler.
Ceramic brakes/upgraded discs.
Switch to synthetic oil (I'm on the fence re: switching to synthetic ATF)
Mods that MAY happen include:
Install Alpine sound system salvaged from Nissan (may require upgraded alternator).
Shift kit (unlikely, unless I can be STRONGLY convinced it will increase tranny longevity).
I'll never get it back to showroom condition, but I fully expect to enjoy at least another 8-10 years/120k miles in this car.