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Friday, October 12, 2012

1985 Buick LeSabre Collector’s Edition

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This 1985 Buick LeSabre Collector’s Edition was purchased new by Glen Ryan of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. (photo courtesy of the owner)
Throughout automotive history only a handful of cars have earned the honour of serving royalty, prime ministers, movie stars, champions and captains of industry. For more than 100 years, the elegant and understated Buick has consistently gotten the nod from the world’s elite as their conveyance of choice.
King George VI and Queen Mary toured Canada in 1939 in a McLaughlin-Buick.

Buick had garnered countless accolades since it first appeared in 1899. It was first to bring the luxury of front parlour appointments to an automobile’s interior. It was first in the industry to boast a fully enclosed car. The marque held the distinction of being first to introduce drivers to the novel idea of electric turn signals, power windows and a power convertible top. Dyna-Flow automatic transmission was a first as was the honour of being first—co-shared with sister Oldsmobile—to offer hardtop sedans.

Buick’s Canadian legacy began in 1908 when the McLaughlin family of Oshawa, Ontario, long the largest carriage maker in the British Empire, struck a deal to use Buick engines in their new line of McLaughlin automobiles. The McLaughlin name disappeared in 1942 and Buick was neither assembled nor imported into Canada after World War Two until the 1951 season.

The 1942 McLaughlin-Buick.

The 1985 Buick LeSabre was a very special vehicle because this would be the last of the big, rear-wheel drive land yachts to be moored in Buick’s harbour. Management wanted to make sure that the classic LeSabre would never be forgotten.
The front track  of the 1985 Buick LeSabre  measured 1 570 millimetres (61.8 inches).

To that end, a special Collector’s Edition was created. It was tastefully laden with all the glitz and glamour that Buick was meant to have. The 3.8-litre V-8 engine was standard but one could order the 5-litre mill sourced from GM’s Oldsmobile division.

The car was graced with special badges and a stand-up hood ornament that read, “Collector’s Edition.” There was unique exterior trim including aluminum rocker moulding panels. One could order genuine mag wheels. After all, Buick was every bit as fleet as it was refined. 


Interior door pulls were kissed with gold-coloured inserts. Upholstery was posh, a sumptuously soft velour on ‘loose pillow’ seating arrangement, the perfect compliment to the six-way power seat.
Even the keys got special treatment as part of the Collector’s Edition.

The last of the big LeSabres came with plenty of swag. A brown, suede-look pouch held a decorative commemorative key fob, special key blanks and a limited edition, hardbound book that told the LeSabre’s legend. A set of beautiful colour prints--worthy of framing--showed off landmark LeSabres from 1959 to 1985.


There was more optional equipment for the last of the big LeSabres than there were codfish in the Atlantic Ocean. Power seats could recline, power windows and door locks and a tilt steering wheel were all electric servants. The cabin was heated and cooled with Electronic Tough Climate Control. Entertainment came from the Delco AM/FM stereo replete with a cassette tape player. Sound was orchestrated through the latest in audio technology, a graphic equalizer.

This 1985 Buick LeSabre belongs to A. Glen Ryan of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. He special ordered the car in November of 1984 from Terra Nova Motors in St. John’s. The base price for the Collector’s Edition was CAD $13,980 before Revenue Canada held its hand out. Glen ordered his LeSabre in Black with a Burgundy interior. He had selected every option possible except for the sunroof. The list price was $18,155 but Glen cut a deal for $17,000. With taxes the beautiful LeSabre came to a total of $19,088.

Today Glen still owns the Buick. His neighbours have nicknamed it “the sunshine car” because it only comes out to play in warm sunny weather. With only 77,000 kilometres on the odometer, Glen and his family will no doubt enjoy the car for many years to come.

The trunk capacity of the 1985 Buick LeSabre  was .589 cubic metres (20.8 cubic feet). That’s a lot of room for luggage or handsome bear cubs.


Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh!


Copyright James C. Mays 2012
 All rights reserved.

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