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Old 06-23-2015, 02:36 PM   #1
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Default 80s 90s GM Car. What to get?

I am from Belgium and have a '95 Buick Park Avenue.
The Park Ave is in storage for now, until it'* considered a classic here, otherwise the taxes and insurance over here are making me bankrupt...

Next to my 'modern european' daily I plan on getting an 25y or older GM car.
I just love the smooth ride and look of US cars. I have a preference for the 80s & 90s cars I know from TV and movies growing up.

I find a couple in good condition (according to the seller) here in Europe in my price range that I like:

1988 Buick LeSabre Limited Coupe
1985 Buick Park Avenue
1988 Oldsmobile Ciera V6 3.8
1990 Cadillac Seville V8

I like to test drive them all, but the problem is they are all located in different areas and all about a 3 hour or more drive from my home. So I better limited myself to go see two...

I am looking for the smooth riding experience and a car that will 'hopefully' have as little issues as possible, as it'* harder and expensiver to get parts here.

So maybe if someone could tell me which car they think is a great ride and the most reliable, that would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Neil

Last edited by NeilB; 06-23-2015 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:41 PM   #2
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Anything that is rust free, well maintained, with the 3800 is the way to go.
Very efficient & reliable engine as long as you look at replacing the Upper / Lower intake manifold into the steel gaskets, if they still have the original gaskets.
I have the '97 park ave (newer style to 2005) and like the Lesabre as well.
Full inspection is highly recommended for these older cars.
They can be parts hungry when it comes to suspension, brakes, cooling etc.
Considered looking at any lower mile 97-2005 and above styles?
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilB View Post
I am from Belgium and have a '95 Buick Park Avenue.
The Park Ave is in storage for now, until it'* considered a classic here, otherwise the taxes and insurance over here are making me bankrupt...

Next to my 'modern european' daily I plan on getting an 25y or older GM car.
I just love the smooth ride and look of US cars. I have a preference for the 80s & 90s cars I know from TV and movies growing up.

I find a couple in good condition (according to the seller) here in Europe in my price range that I like:

1988 Buick LeSabre Limited Coupe
1985 Buick Park Avenue
1988 Oldsmobile Ciera V6 3.8
1990 Cadillac Seville V8

I like to test drive them all, but the problem is they are all located in different areas and all about a 3 hour or more drive from my home. So I better limited myself to go see two...

I am looking for the smooth riding experience and a car that will 'hopefully' have as little issues as possible, as it'* harder and expensiver to get parts here.

So maybe if someone could tell me which car they think is a great ride and the most reliable, that would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Neil
All things being equal meaning condition, mileage, price, etc. I would go with the Caddy. I believe the 1990 caddy had a 4.5L V-8, I had a 1991 Sedan deVille when they bumped up the displacement to 4.9L but they were the same basic engine. The fuel mileage on those small V-8'* are within a camel'* hair of the 3800, I racked up 100,000 miles on mine with no expenses other than oil and filters, only drawback to that engine that I can remember is that the oil filter placement was awkward. Also from what I've seen Caddy'* are held in even higher esteem in europe than in the states, so it shouldn't be a problem to flip if you so choose. Also the Caddy is a year or two newer than the other cars mentioned. Just my 2 cents worth, good luck on whatever you decide on.

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Old 06-24-2015, 01:34 AM   #4
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I would look at the 88 LeSabre and Caddy. The Cutlass ciera and PA will have the old lg3 engine, which is the predecessor to the ln3 of the LeSabre. The reign of the '3800' started with the ln3. The lg3 isn't bad, but it doesn't carry the same track record of the ln3 and beyond, and doesn't have as much power.
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:02 PM   #5
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Thanks guys!
I plan on going to see the Caddy first and maybe try to also check the LeSabre on the way as it is in more or less the same direction.
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Old 07-01-2015, 07:22 AM   #6
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I requested some more pictures of the LeSabre because they mentioned some rust on the bodywork and seeing the detailed pictures it was definitely too much.

I did went to see the Cadillac which had a rust free body, but one small dent and a scratch over two doors, which was poorly fixed. Otherwise the paint was in good condition, also the leather interior was still nice. I did a test drive but the car was running very sluggish, nothing like the Park Ave. But then they mentioned the car haven't been in traffic for 7 years! When taking a look under the car there was some rust and there was a lot of oil pan sweat. I walked away from it, so the search continues...
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:40 PM   #7
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I also found a white 1988 Pontiac Grand Prix 2.8L V6 for sale.
Mint condition, leather interior, 2 owners, 88.250 miles

I haven't really been looking at Pontiac and it'* a different look, but I kind of like the 80s vibe it has. How are these engines? I never driven a Pontiac, but I guess they probably don't have have that cushy/smooth/soft ride like the Caddy/Buick/Lincoln/Olsmobiles.
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:54 PM   #8
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I've never owned a GM car with the 2.8 L V-6 engine, but have driven one. Think they're probably ok on reliability, but they're very anemic power-wise, not really much more pep than the 2.5 L 4 cylinder of the same era. As far as ride quality, it'* not there in the GP compared to the cars you've mentioned, wheelbase to short.

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Old 07-02-2015, 09:07 PM   #9
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For some reason I remember something about the bottom end being weak because of an odd crank angle on the 2.8, but it was underpowered.
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Old 08-01-2015, 06:00 AM   #10
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thanks.
the pontiac was sold before I was able to go check it out, but it actually wasn't really the type I wanted.

now there is a 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera SL with a 3.3L engine for sale, asking $1550.
77.000 miles, looks in good condition...
might go check that out.
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