Sold as of January 2, 2017
This car has served me quite well for years working in tandem with my heavy duty pickup truck to do the things I need. The Buick was great for hauling various loads including full 4×8 sheet goods – plywood, drywall, whatever. The truck handled that stuff better but wasn’t nearly as comfortable. Sadly my truck died and I decided to replace it with a Chevy Tahoe that also takes the place of this car.
This car is designed for up to 8 passengers and has the suspension to handle the weight. I rebuilt the suspension in 2012 with all new springs, shocks, tie rod ends, center link, bushings, bearings, the works. I replaced the springs with stock length springs that were heavier to improve towing. I replaced the shocks with Bilstein heavy duty shocks. Since the original shocks in the rear were air shocks to work with the car’s self-leveling I put Airlift 1000 air bags in the rear springs and used the rest of the stock leveling system. It works quite well.
This car came with the towing package. I put on a heavy class III hitch from U-Haul and added wiring for a brake controller (never installed). I replaced the factory towing package mechanical fan with the non-towing dual electric fan setup.
In the years I’ve owned this car it’s been around. Phoenix Arizona and back, Daytona Beach numerous times, New Hampshire, and plenty of trips to Maryland and West Virginia. Two hot summers ago I drove it from Knoxville, TN to Denver, CO and around there for a while. From there I drove to Boston, MA for more work. I drove back to Knoxville from there all with no problems. Since this was our long range touring car I upgraded the stock stereo with a Kenwood DNX 890HD which gives full hands free through Bluetooth, built in Garmin navigation, and a large viewing touchscreen. I stream Pandora from my cell phone and the radio has an app for that.
I’ve put a clip-on cell phone holder onto the divider between the HVAC controls and the radio in that photo. The radio is a full double din unit that fit perfectly with just minor massaging of the dash internals. There’s a microphone above the rear view mirror and a GPS receiver in the sunroof.
The factory LT1 engine works quite well for moving you along. I did have a custom 4L60E transmission built for towing by Performabuilt. Sadly I’ve never towed anything significant though it’s ready.
In the cargo area is the parcel net on the tailgate and the parcel cover laying in the area. That is over 4 feet wide by a little and nearly 8 feet to the back of the front seats. If I really try hard I can move the front seats forward and carry full sheets of drywall or plywood with the tailgate shut. It’s much more comfortable to drop the rear gate and let the material hand out the back but with the tail window lowered. 8 foot studs fit easily at a diagonal with the tailgate closed. Speaking of the tailgate this is a two way tailgate that opens like a door or drops like a tailgate. It makes a comfy bench when dropped.
When you’re carrying a crowd the very back has a rear facing seat with seat belts for two.
From this perspective on the left is a cavernous lockable bin for storage and on the right is a full sized spare on matching wheel with a jack. The rear footwell serves as storage as well as you can see in the photo. It too is lockable.
Some of the rubber side molding has come off. I have the molding and it can be mounted using 3M red mounting tape but requires a lot of cleaning first to stay on for a while.
This car was designed to tow your boat and haul your stuff. I use a Thule Rocket Box on top with the stock Buick cross-members to carry a lot of stuff with a lot of people. Since this is a car height the contents are easy to access. I’ve carried 16′ lumber up there as well as a 24′ ladder. It helps with longer stuff to put a block of foam rubber on the roof ahead of the skylight.
Lightly loaded I get around 20 mpg on the road. Less around town. I’m told it can get around 22 on the highway but I can never resist kicking that LT1 to feel the surge.
For most of the time I’ve owned this car it has rested in my garage. Before I bought it I think it spent time of a driveway and shows a little sun wear. The dash is still in good shape thanks to the Low-E glass in the windshield. That same glass blocks toll transponder signals so I’ve put that in the skylight with normal glass. Works quite well there. It’s so unobtrusive there I need to go out and make sure I’m not including one with the car!
I’ve had some requests for some specific pictures. I’m adding those here for anyone to see.
First the engine.
I was asked about rust and this was all I could find.
A closer look at that spot;
I realized when I posted this that there appears to be a lot going on. I took a fresh picture after brushing off that stuff. That’s ash from the fires in Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
Also, when I bought the car it had suffered a cut in the left rear quarter panel. I put some metal duct tape on the inside to keep the wheel well dry inside thinking to repair it later. 5 plus years later no repair.
I’ll try to keep updating this page to respond to requests for pictures.
Ah, the front seats. The worst part of this car IMO. I used a beaded seat cover for years in part because I hate sitting on leather – too hot – and in part to keep from making the seat bottom worse.
Later I tried these “fitted” seat covers. I’m not sure what they’re fitted to but the fit on my car was terrible. I never finished putting them on the passenger side.
This shows the fit on the driver’s side. Some of the straps popped loose but I already knew I didn’t like them. That’s an elbow dent in the center console from moving the car on this cold morning.
Forgot to lift that mat. The carpet is pretty decent with minor stains underneath. There are some wires laying down there for a trailer brake controller I never installed. Visible on the hump is my power “spider” to let me plug in more than one thing.
Passenger side seat is of course much less worn.
Center console flipped up and drink holders stowed inside.
Console open with drink holders flipped out. Performabuilt catalog still with the car, and various papers strewn on the seat from inside.
The bad. Driver seat bottom. Note that the covers have had everything compressed a bit so the creases will flatten out some. Also the heated seat switches and the lumbar switch – missing its chrome cover.
The backrest of the driver’s seat isn’t too bad. More of those creases from the covers visible.
Passenger seat looking perfect.
Console with drink holders stowed and deployed.
The back of the driver seat. Bad stain on that floor mat. I never tried to clean it.
The back of the passenger seat. It had been pulled loose when I got the car and I never worked on it.
Here’s the pocket from it. I’ve had it sitting flat for years so the warp is out of it now.
Here’s the flip side with a couple of the attaching holes broken.
I do have the cargo cover. I never used it.
I’ve been enjoying Pandora radio while I took the pictures. Streamed from my phone. I updated the software in the radio while I was looking for a good description of its features (link way up above) and see that it now has a few new streaming options. It’ll stream Sirius/XM from the internet but there’s no XM receiver with this radio.