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'Letter of Recommendation: Buicks'

That’s a pretty interesting article

Thanks for posting it


I’m at almost exactly the same age as the writer, and I’ve also LONG ago given up trying to be cool.

I’m more interested in having decent things, versus trying to cultivate a cool image. It’s simply not very important for me

I’d rather have my decidedly boring and uncool Camry, versus a Fiat 500, Mini, New Beetle, or some other such cool car, which is probably going to spend FAR more time being repaired, versus my car

I’m not sure if a Camry is considered an old man’s car, but if it is, so be it

Some relatives of mine bought a very nice 1997 Buick Park Avenue a few years ago. I think it might be one of those cars that has the “old man” image, but it’s very nicely equipped and has good power. They love the car. As a matter of fact, my relative IS a grandfather, and he doesn’t care that his car is seen as a “grandpa car” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I know what kind of person he is, I know his house, how he dresses, etc. He’s not trying to be cool. He’s just living his life. And he’s actually got a very nice lifestyle. A house in an enviable part of town, his wife’s also got a good job, his kids are doing great, he’s got a guaranteed pension, when he’s ready, etc. The Buick just goes along with all of that

I don’t know where to start. I’ve always liked Olds more than Buicks but ended up with Buicks more by default. My first was a 67 mid sized Wagon. I wanted a wagon for hauling while building a house. Looked for an Olds Vista Cruiser but found a Buick Vista for $250. Then in 86 we looked at Olds but can’t remember exactly why, if it was the upholstery or something, ended up ordering a Park Avenue. It was now the smaller version started in 85 with the V6 and OD transmission. We put 100K on it and it was a good car.

When I started thinking my Olds diesel was going to give out, I looked for a Toronado for both a back up and one the kid could use. Couldn’t find a decent one but ended up with a nice 86 Riviera. Then bought an 89 Riviera. I put 250K on one and 400K on the other. I really enjoyed them. When we bought our Olds Aurora, I ordered the service manual and it covered both the Aurora and the Riviera. Pretty much same car except for the body panels and engine.

Really I think the Olds styling was better but they really were comparable cars. I still think it was a mistake to eliminate Olds and keep Buick and I definately think it was a mistake to eliminate the Riviera. It was the only car that you could point to that wasn’t an old man car. I really hate those snorkels though.

Since about 1956, my FIL always bought Buicks, as did many of the folks living in the rural areas. It was a decent practical car that held 6 people and a little cut above a run of the mill Chev.

My 81 Buick Regal Limited I bought in 87 for $4500 was the most reliable vehicle I’ve owned for 10 years at the expense of 14mpg on average with a V6. Only had to change oil, tires, spark plugs & wires, PCV valve and change out brakes. Biggest job was replacing the shocks in all the years I owned it.

Correction, bought for $1600 at an insurance auction yard, but was blue book valued at $4500. Only had to replace the seats and fix the broken steering column since it was stolen.

So the author is a sucker for velour and floaty-boat handling. I remain unimpressed.
For the record, some years back I rode in my brother’s brand new Buick sedan. I sat in the back, and the damned suspension bottomed out a number of times. Nothing about the car impressed me.

What would impress me? A story from an owner that their Buick was still running great after 300,000 miles with no major repairs. I drive my Toyota farther than that.

I do, however, respect his affinity for velour and floaty-boat handling. Me, I prefer reliability and longevity. And a more firm feel on the road. To each his own.

My dad bought a 1954 Buick in 1955 from a friend who was going overseas. I bought that Buick from him in 1963 when I was in graduate school. The Buick had 120,000 miles at the time. I drove the Buick until 1965 and it had 160000 miles on the odometer. It was still on the streets 2 years later. In the whole time that Buick was in our family, the heads and pan were never off the engine. This was great durability back in that time period. I still believe that “nail head” V8 was one of the best engines made.

We had a well used 41 Buick Century club coupe. Boy was that car fast. It had the 322 cubic inch straight eight with twin two barrel carbs. Everyone raved about the performance of the 49 Olds and Cadillac V8s when they came out but he 41 Buick was faster. Look it up. They discontinued the compound carbs after the war, probably because they would not have made the GM V8s look good.
I have never been a GM guy but I do have a soft spot for old Buicks. I don’t think the 40s Buicks handled as bad as the 50s. The 50s were so soft that they would bottom against the bump stops when you tried any spirited driving even with only one person in the car.

I liked Buicks when they were different than other GM cars. Before 1949, Buick had an OHV V8. The Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles had flathead 8s as well as flathead 6s. The Cadillac had a flathead V8. The Chevrolet had an OHV 6 but it was splash lubricated. When the 1950s came along, each division of GM had its own V8 engine. I have always been partial to the Buick ‘nail head’ V8. I really didn’t care for the Buick Dynaflow, but fortunately my1954 Buick had a manual transmission. Buick also had an enclosed driveshaft which added to the unsprung weight. Buicks were also softly sprung which didn’t help the handling.

Maybe I wasn’t clear. My 86 Riviera had 350K on it when I put it out to pasture. The only major engine work was a timing chain. My 89 Riviera had 520K and no major engine work. These were not the standard boats but sporty, bucket seats, leather, sound systems, crt display, etc. Too late now though, they’re not made any more.

Bing, those are the stories that impress me.
The article in the OP’s link was about velour, pizazz, and floaty-boat rides. My reply was to the article.

My 1998 Regal LS ran well for 160,000 miles and 14 years until my youngest daughter wrecked it. I drove it until 2005 when my oldest daughter wanted a car to drive to school and I bought a new car. It served all three children well up to the wreck. At that point, it wasn’t worth fixing. My daughter was fine, BTW, and that is all I cared about.

Even back in the day, the late 60s Rivieras with the 430 and dual 4 barrel carbs also suffered from the misplaced stigma of being an uncool old folks car. They were full on muscle but try to convince anyone of that. The word “Buick” usually brought laughs from the Mustang/Chevelle/Camaro crowd.

Personally, I kind of like the old land yacht cars with bench seats and a floaty ride. I drove a 1960 Chrysler New Yorker from Los Angeles to northern Oklahoma many years ago and that car was a land yacht with a very floaty ride and bench seats.
Drove it straight through for 1500 miles and wasn’t crying in agony when I reached my destination after 28 hours behind the wheel.