"Starter" car.

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1,784
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Bonnyville, AB
Younger brother is starting to drive, and I found a 1988 Buick Electra with 97,000 km/60,000 miles for $1500. Looked like some little old lady's last ride from the showroom to her grave. No rust, tune up and service just done, valve cover gaskets replaced due to a minor weep, only about 3,000 miles per year put on and good tires/body/glass. It's a 3800 with a 440T4 behind it. Good deal?
 
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36,003
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ME
None better. I take it the 3.8 has FI? The original RWD 3.8s were dogs, not the 205 hp FWD 30 MPG wonders we see in modern lesabres. They've been through a couple generations of redesigns. But it's a big, hulking metal car, the likes of which are getting rare.
 

MGregoir

Thread starter
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1,784
Location
Bonnyville, AB
Yup, it's the pre-Series I LN3. 165 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. I had a Regal with the Series I at 170 hp and 225 lb-ft with the same transmission and it was a joy to drive because of the torque. No top end, redline at 4500 rpm, but it got you there and never hesitated on climbs or leaving lights.
 
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11,459
Location
Illinois
About the only problem with that vintage of 3.8L (I don't think it was the 3800 until later, I could be wrong) was the tendency to chew up the timing set. The timing gears on my '87 LeSabre turned back into powder and had to be replaced at around 116K miles. I think this is due to a substandard cam button and spring that would wear and damage the timing set. This link describes pretty well what I experienced at 116K http://www.misterfixit.com/gears1.htm From what I understand, a 1988 can have either this engine, or the newer LN3 version of the 3800.
 
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25,046
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ON, Canada eh?
 Originally Posted By: MGregoir
Younger brother is starting to drive, and I found a 1988 Buick Electra with 97,000 km/60,000 miles for $1500. Looked like some little old lady's last ride from the showroom to her grave. No rust, tune up and service just done, valve cover gaskets replaced due to a minor weep, only about 3,000 miles per year put on and good tires/body/glass. It's a 3800 with a 440T4 behind it. Good deal?
It's a terrible choice... You should tell me where this lady lives so I can buy it! Good deal, great engine... Drive happy!
 
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2,698
Location
Silicon Valley
I don't think a 22 year old car for $1500 is a good deal. I would suggest something from 97 or later, as the crash standards took a major jump that year. (right?) Either way, make your brother mostly research and pick (and pay for) his own car (under your guidance of course), so he feels invested in the process and has some pride of ownership.
 

MGregoir

Thread starter
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1,784
Location
Bonnyville, AB
I drove with the most care and attention in the most dangerous vehicle I ever drove because I knew if I got in an accident, I would be making a long-term hospital stay with leg and chest injuries. 1994 is when side-impact standards jumped once, and again in 1997. It's what "retired" Ford Tempos and Chevrolet Berettas among others.
 

Kestas

Staff member
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13,826
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The Motor City
When I was younger, there was an unwritten rule among my peers that you get into an accident in your first year of driving. It happened to most of my peers, myself included. To the chagrin of young guys who like cool cars, driving somebody's old, worn-out family sedan is usually the best choice for a rookie.
 
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3,735
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Miami-Dade County
 Originally Posted By: Kestas
When I was younger, there was an unwritten rule among my peers that you get into an accident in your first year of driving. It happened to most of my peers, myself included. To the chagrin of young guys who like cool cars, driving somebody's old, worn-out family sedan is usually the best choice for a rookie.
+1
 
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