Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1986 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon
From surveying the automotive landscape circa 1986 especially concerning GM's product lines it would seem that every automobile faced the same inevitability of downsizing and switching to front-wheel drive. Real bumpers, full frames and V8 engines were going the way of the dodo. There were exceptions, however, and Buick's full-size station wagons were two of them. Though not the last of the great rear-drive station wagons, and certainly not as popular as the later Roadmaster wagons, the Estate Wagons still deserve a mention for soldiering on in a time of much change. That said, would you make room in your garage dedicated to 1986-only vehicles for an Estate Wagon? Or would you pass for something a little less Griswold-ish?
For consignment a 1986 Buick Estate Wagon come hearse, come advertising car. Transformed and used for many years as a working funeral parlor hearse, it was then retired and made into a promotional car for a haunted house. With all the interior made to accommodate and transfer a casket and its occupant, and underpinnings to handle the extra weight, a perfect promotional vehicle use, if I say so myself. A car like this with the graphics and trimmings certainly kept business lively I bet?!
The Griswold's are not dead, although that was a Ford Country Squire, and this is all class in the form of an Estate Wagon fitted with Hearse trimmings. Bathed in dark blue, and all the chrome trimmings of the day, a vinyl top, and its glowing square and rectangle design, this car is looking much alive. Chrome trimmings are all there, although some have moved offline just a bit. Plastic inserts for the crash bumper fills are cracked and missing. Chrome remains shiny, with areas of slight dulling and water staining. The rear of the car has been modified to now utilize a swinging rear door for easy slide in and out of the deceased and their respective box. Large landau bars are noted which were iconic for the hearse and still are in use today. Painted graphics adorn the car advertising the haunted house. Chromed spoked wheel covers are all around and noted is peeling paint on the top front of this car just aft of the grille area. Time to bury the hatchet and move on to the interior...(queue the wolf howl!)
Modified on the hunch that one's last ride should be second to none in the luxury department, we see a large raised platform area on the rear with a wood appliqu surface and plenty of small ball bearing roller bars and wheel bars, for that smooth insertion of the recently departed and their eternal casket. Maroon crushed velour abounds on all rear panels which have been customized onto padded and buttoned panels. All rear windows have the pleated curtains for even more privacy for your short trip. Water (or otherwise) damage is present on the very back part of the casket decking. A swing of the front doors and we see plenty more of maroon crushed padded velour on the door panels, along with a power lock and window toggles, and a joystick for the side view mirror. A split bench front seat covered in more maroon crushed velour broadcloth with a central armrest is fronted by an original wood appliqu dash. Maroon carpet is lining the floors and a tight headliner looks down on the front compartment.
Under the hood is the 307ci V8 Oldsmobile engine with a single 4-barrel Rochester carburetor on top. A 200R4 4-speed transmission is on the back, which can whisk our dearly departed quickly to their eternal resting place to depart in peace.
Patches of surface rust are seen throughout, and some invasive rust is noted on the seams of the floorpans as one moves rearward. Some rust is noted on the bottom of the rear door at the rear thresh hold. Independent coil springs for the front, and 4 link with coil springs for the rear suspensions, and power disc brakes for the front and power drums for the rear are noted.
This car started easily and ran quietly. All functions were working inside. It exhibited fine acceleration, and handling, although we kept our speed low in respect for the potential passengers we may have. As we went along the car definitely attracted attention because we noticed a line of traffic behind us all with their headlights on in respect for our drive...not sure why?! Overall, we felt this drive could go on for eternity, but sadly we had to bring ourselves back to the Classic Auto Mall.
This large wagon, now hearse with advertising emblazoned on its exterior is open to all potential. It drives well and is certainly an eye catcher. The creative spirit, as well as the inner drive to do what we do with cars is not dead on this example.
35-4 Door Station Wagon
Y-307ci V8 4bbl Oldsmobile Engine
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