1980's GM Wagon??

JOD

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OK, so just for laughs, I'd like some input from anyone with experience with 1980's GM stuff. Would this thing be able to do some occasional hardware store and dump runs without breaking down on a guy? Will it get 4 mpg while doing so? It this way too much money for this thing (or a great deal??). It sure looks clean, and weirdly interesting to me. Any thoughts? I know absolutely zero about Detroit iron from this era: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/4198321136.html
 
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Too much money and the guy's likely flipping it. The V6 is the weird 4.1 that I think is based on the legendary 3.8, but in wheezy carbureted low power form. Should just have a 307 but not available for GM's internal political reasons. Rear windows don't roll down, but the vents open. Was a interior space saving thing-- they downsized the outside and wanted to keep the inside the same. This car represents the tail end of what Jalopnik refers to as the "malaise era" of mediocrity in engineering. Something about the dash layout screams "parts bin" where they didn't know what was going where and had to scramble for filler panels and a place to put the vents they were obligated to use. However, they kept their looks and will be pretty cool and car show worthy in just a few short years.
 

JHZR2

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not sure if it was the same one, but a friends parents ran their caprice wagon until just last year. Had a few hundred thousand miles on it and was their family transport all through when they grew up. Finally was sold because of lack of use and poor MPGs, not because it didnt run well. Wasnt rusty either, as I recall. Think it had the 305 V8 in it...
 
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With the V6 you won't be winning any drag races even if you're up against a three-legged turtle; but if the car is in decent shape it should be pretty reliable and not too bad on gas. Keep in mind that doing a tune-up every 30k miles really isn't overkill for something of that era. As far as hauling goes, it should be able to handle about as much as a compact pickup but will ride smoother doing it.
 
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Originally Posted By: JHZR2
not sure if it was the same one, but a friends parents ran their caprice wagon
Nope, the caprice is fullsize, this is a midsize a-body. They stopped making these when the front wheel drive ciera wagon came out... also an a-body.
 
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Has some advantages-RWD and full frame (believe it or not!), but likely has an emission carb with a rat's nest of vacuum lines, AIR pump and tubes, fun to keep running right-especially with the alcohol laden gas of today. For instance, I had an '85 van for a while with the 305 & feedback Quadrajet 4 barrel-as long as I put a rebuilt carb on it once a year or so, it ran great!
 
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I dunno, I'd think it'd be a cool project car to repower. Maybe not $2400 cool, but still 80's cool. Any EFI motor, although I'm guessing a 4.3TBI/700R4 would work good, albeit with a rear end gearing fix too (might have less than 3:1 in the rear, certainly would if it was a V8, not sure what V6's got--and I'm sure any decent motor would do a number on it). More modern EFI is better but I'm guessing a TBI setup would meet whatever your emissions laws are for you state and be much easier to pull off. Of course, handling and braking are 80's vintage too.
 
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That's a nice wagon. It will meet your needs with the bonus of being a collectible as wagons are hot in the market now.
 

JOD

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Thanks for the responses! Yes, I'm thinking this will be ironic before it turns to cool... One weird advantage to a big wagon is that it makes dump runs easier and cheaper (since you're charged by the vehicle vs. the truck, and the line is shorter). I'm going to be gutting a house soon and I'd like to drive to the dump in style! I also like the idea of a longish wagon to haul sheet goods. Much easier to toss them up there with the relatively low roof height. I'm selling my Transit Connect to a guy who does some work for me, so I'd like to pick up an errand beater. Cars really don't rust around here, so that's not a concern (as long as it's from around here). I can fill it up w/real gas, to avoid any ethanol headaches given its age (didn't even think about that one--thanks!). Lots of vacuum lines scares me a bit, but it doesn't really need to run perfectly, just run "well enough". I could see me driving it to the occasional mountain bike ride though, just for laughs. It looks spacious! Neither Wikipedia nor Rock Auto even list a 6 cylinder engine for this vehicle? So, I have to sort out which engine it actually has in it. I think I'm going to contact the owner tomorrow. Anyone have any thoughts on what questions I should ask, and how much cash I should put in my pocket for an offer?
 
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See if the seller can take a photo or two under the hood, you can sometimes ID better than they can. Probably won't matter though, if it stops running drop a different motor in--should just be an exerise in picking the right motor mounts. Although Chevy used different engine/transmission bolt patterns than Buick-Olds-Pontiac (BOP). I bet you could remove 3/4 of the vaccum hoses and you'd find it'd run better not worse. They seem proud of it. I wonder if they would take less than $2k.
 

JOD

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Originally Posted By: supton
More modern EFI is better but I'm guessing a TBI setup would meet whatever your emissions laws are for you state and be much easier to pull off.
One thing to note, this is exempt from emissions for me given the age. It' the Wild West out here. I believe OR is much more restrictive, but there's no emissions or inspections in WA for this baby. It also qualifies for "collector" plates! So, insurance would be next to nothing.
 
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That would make me want it just to have it. Something that won't rust away, won't cost but beans to have on the road legally, and could be sold quickly if need be. Who cares what it gets for mpg!?
 
Originally Posted By: eljefino
Too much money and the guy's likely flipping it. The V6 is the weird 4.1 that I think is based on the legendary 3.8, but in wheezy carbureted low power form. Should just have a 307 but not available for GM's internal political reasons. Rear windows don't roll down, but the vents open. Was a interior space saving thing-- they downsized the outside and wanted to keep the inside the same. This car represents the tail end of what Jalopnik refers to as the "malaise era" of mediocrity in engineering. Something about the dash layout screams "parts bin" where they didn't know what was going where and had to scramble for filler panels and a place to put the vents they were obligated to use. However, they kept their looks and will be pretty cool and car show worthy in just a few short years.
Actually, the 4.1 V6 wasn't available in this model, but it has the 3.8 Buick V6 that you mentioned. My first car in fact was an '82 Cutlass Supreme Coupe with the same 3.8 and I have to say it wasn't the most powerful thing in the world (more like a dog) with only 110 HP. Also, I realized from the picture that it's actually a Cutlass Cruiser as the Custom Cruiser was based on the full-sized models, not the Cutlass platform. I'm not sure if it justifies $2400 or not, but I'm sure it would serve anyone well.
 
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Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
You'd be better served with a Caprice wagon IMHO.
+1. The Caprice wagon should have the 305 as standard. Plus, I feel that it's much more responsive than either the 3.8 V6 or the 307 in the Cutlass wagon.
 
Originally Posted By: JOD
Thanks for the responses! Yes, I'm thinking this will be ironic before it turns to cool... One weird advantage to a big wagon is that it makes dump runs easier and cheaper (since you're charged by the vehicle vs. the truck, and the line is shorter). I'm going to be gutting a house soon and I'd like to drive to the dump in style! I also like the idea of a longish wagon to haul sheet goods. Much easier to toss them up there with the relatively low roof height. I'm selling my Transit Connect to a guy who does some work for me, so I'd like to pick up an errand beater. Cars really don't rust around here, so that's not a concern (as long as it's from around here). I can fill it up w/real gas, to avoid any ethanol headaches given its age (didn't even think about that one--thanks!). Lots of vacuum lines scares me a bit, but it doesn't really need to run perfectly, just run "well enough". I could see me driving it to the occasional mountain bike ride though, just for laughs. It looks spacious! Neither Wikipedia nor Rock Auto even list a 6 cylinder engine for this vehicle? So, I have to sort out which engine it actually has in it. I think I'm going to contact the owner tomorrow. Anyone have any thoughts on what questions I should ask, and how much cash I should put in my pocket for an offer?
Here's a page from the 1981 Olds mid-sized brochure. Since it's a V6, it would be the Buick 3.8 Liter. The 4.3 liter engines and larger are all V8s, with the 5.7 (350) being the infamous diesel. Hope this helps... http://www.oldcarbrochures.org/NA/Oldsmo...bile-Midsize-12
 
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