Road Test Fun: You’ve Never Seen A 1974 Buick LeSabre Driven Like This! Definition Of A Barge


Road Test Fun: You’ve Never Seen A 1974 Buick LeSabre Driven Like This! Definition Of A Barge

This is so flipping awesome. We have not seen a 1974 Buick LeSabre in years and we have certainly never, ever conceived of one being driven in any sort of performance setting but the guys at Car and Track did. They road tested this Buick like the thing was a Jag and holy hell is it fun to watch. The car is a sad example of the wayward direction of Detroit in the middle 1970s. A direction that would bring them harm for years to come. A huge car with no horsepower, no mileage, and no real redeeming quality other than the fact you could fall asleep in the front bench seat and not have to curl up.

The 455 with a 2bbl on it is already going to be sad, you know that. How sad? over 19-seconds to get to 70mph! That’s glacial by any objective measurement and maybe that word is too kind. The weirdest comment in the whole video is when Bud Lindemann talks about the acceleration and mentions that the crew did not suffer from exhaustion and that they did not smell any emissions. We’re not sure what the hell that means but it is funny.

The car’s braking was impressive for the day, honestly. 151ft from speed was really good for the day, so the LeSabre impresses there. As far as running a slalom course, attacking a road course, or any course outside of a four course meal, this thing is hurting hard. Our man Bud mentions a stiffer spring package. What did they use before, marshmallows?

The handling thing can be forgiven because no one bought one of these to race it on a road course or carve canyons. The sadness of a big 455 making less horsepower, by about half of a modern Camry is tough to get around.

If only Detroit had gotten the message sooner.

Press play below to see this 1974 Buick LeSabre get the stuffing hammered out of it


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5 thoughts on “Road Test Fun: You’ve Never Seen A 1974 Buick LeSabre Driven Like This! Definition Of A Barge

  1. Anon.

    Back in the day a bud\’s dad was a humongo-Buick-like-that-one owner, very smart man generally, but horrific alcoholic. Yes I\’ve seen a Buick driven like that! He never dented it so I\’m guessing he didn\’t kill anyone.

  2. Bill Greenwood

    My folks owned a 75 Impala 350 that could not pull 100 mph on a flat road. It was so bad, that turning on the A/C at 65 mph caused a noticeably sudden loss of 2 mph. I’m thinking if you bracket raced it, your dial-in would be “Tuesday.”
    That car was the replacement for a 73 Fury 360 2v that was good for an honest 130 mph. Worse, the Impala struggled to get much over 12 mpg (big Imperial gallons, btw) when the Fury was good for better than 15.
    Amazingly, the Impala was replaced by a 76 Buick Roadmaster Estate wagon whose 455 4v was even more gutless AND thirsty than the lazy 350. The Buick weighed in at a svelte 5820 lbs, according to the scales at the local grain elevator. It was incapable of achieving 10 mpg. Pulling a 16ft holiday trailer, it got less than 6 mpg. That meant it could not go 100 miles on a tank, when pulling a small camper trailer. It was barely capable of traveling at 75 mph on the highway under any circumstance, and it was good for 60 pulling that little trailer.
    In comparison, my grandpa’s crew cab 454 dually weighed less, and got the same mileage pulling a 4-horse stock trailer. With 4.56 gears.
    Those were dark days.

  3. Philip Croff

    Being the owner of a ’74 LeSabre Luxus convertible, I’ve watched this video a few times before (and other Bud Lindemann tests). Fortunately mine is a code U engine (455, 4 barrel, dual exhaust). I’ve set it up for towing, most often my 19′ Bayliner Capri cuddy. Class III hitch, heavy duty rear springs and Monroe coil over load adjusting shocks. When towing I get around 7 mpg but no lack of power. I don’t tow too fast but I’m sure it could pull it 90 mph if I really wanted to.

    Empty, it’ll easily light up the rear tires and run 120 mph (GPS verified…maybe faster…ran out of room). It’s happiest cruising 75-80 mph with the top down though, returning around 15 mpg. Soft ride, spacious interior, soft seats (though a bit unsupportive). It’s a great highway car.

  4. Danyel Mills

    Well, it\’s February 2018 and I am hoping to buy a restored \’74 Le Sabre Luxus convertible with the numbers match 455-4 and Stage 1. When I get it to England, I intend to drive it like Bud!
    Reading all the comments above, it\’s interesting how history repeats itself. Manufacturers are now downsizing engines again, but if you spend a day high speed cruising in a 2 litre turbo four cylinder, you\’ll get worse mileage than a 3 litre turbo six cylinder! I compare my wife\’s Volvo V90 R design and my BMW 7 series (UK, so both diesel).
    Give me a 455 V8 any day!

  5. Danyel Mills

    Well, it’s February 2018 and I am hoping to buy a restored ’74 Le Sabre Luxus convertible with the numbers match 455-4 and Stage 1. When I get it to England, I intend to drive it like Bud!
    Reading all the comments above, it’s interesting how history repeats itself. Manufacturers are now downsizing engines again, but if you spend a day high speed cruising in a 2 litre turbo four cylinder, you’ll get worse mileage than a 3 litre turbo six cylinder! I compare my wife’s Volvo V90 R design and my BMW 7 series (UK, so both diesel).
    Give me a 455 V8 any day!

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