I owned a '78 and an '80. Both were good reliable cars and farley
comfortable. They lack the sophistication of pollution controls and
electronics, but that may not be a bad thing from a repair viewpoint.
Only real trouble issues were if you got the wrong transmission for the
engine you had. Plus they had a nasty habit of rotting out the frame
behind the rear axle. Repaired a LOT of those. Nothing like washing the
car and having the rear bumper fall on your feet!!!
I would go over it completely though because it is a 30 year old car.
Unless it was kept in a nice climate controlled location things like
brake lines/fuel lines/suspension items all rust.
Common engine was the 305 with the TH350 behind it. They also stuck the
TH200 in some, it was barely able to handle the engine though.
Of course if it was me I'd buy it for myself. Full frame, nice lines and
you can do a LOT with them. Cleaned up, put some handling parts in it
and toss a warm engine in there and you could have a nice show/go toy.
Lacks safety equipment (air-bags for example), and as such is probably
not appropriate for a younger driver. As well, items such as seat
belts, etc, could be compromised with age.
There are lot's of good, more recent cars available that would be a
IMHO that's probably a better car than GM is making today. Just make
sure that it's not rusty underneath. ex-GF had a Monte Carlo (I think
'82? about that time frame anyway) and the floor had rusted out around
all the body mounts, when I tried to lift the body off to replace a
broken body mount bolt I found that only a couple were doing anything in
the first place. Car was immediately sold, with disclosure of issues to
It'll probably drive like an old lady car, but suspension upgrades are
available and not that expensive and you can make them into nice
handling rides. If only they'd stuck with the RWD midsize platform...
really, this is an evolution of the old Chevelle/Cutlass/etc. Sure it
has a tacky crushed-velour interior and sedate styling, but underneath,
it's *better* than the oldies except for being down on power due to smog
restrictions and the lack of big-cube engine options due to the desire
for better fuel economy.
The only other issues I remember having with that old Monte were an AIR
pump that packed it in and locked up (replaced it with one from a
junkyard) and an alternator that wouldn't charge (this wasn't resolved;
it was the last straw that pushed her to sell it after it didn't pass
inspection due to the busted body mount bolt.)
Just MHO... but if it's a 2-door and in good shape, I'd buy it... for
myself. (and then warm it up a little.)
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
My 84 year old mother drives about 800 to 1000 miles a year.
My neighbor inherited a 78 Olds 88 in 1991 from an uncle that
died....the car had only 600 miles on it. That averaged out to only 50
miles a year over 13 years the uncle owned it.
91 Bonneville 320,260
05 Park Avenue 92,153
Harry--- another WebTver My 79 y/o
mother drives about 1000 mi/year also-- and has for decades. She has a
junky looking 96 Corsica that she bought about 5 years ago with around
60K. I guess it is ok mechanically-- I have never driven it and only
ridden it it once. I was down there to visit them over the weekend and
told her I wanted to get it painted for her, but she doesn't want that.
Eventually they will have to get down to one car when my dad-- nearly
88--- can no longer drive. He has an 03 Century they bought about 4
years ago w/ about 30K. Don't know what it has now, but now he probably
drives about the same as my mother, or maybe even less. (Which is
probably a good thing) Larry
I had the 1980 station wagon, 6 cylinder, automatic, a long time
ago. I had issues with the rear window above the tailgate. I could
not clean the steering wheel without melting the texture off of it. I
finally got rid of the car when the rear bumper fell off on Interstate
90, maybe it was the road salt used in the winter. Did not hit
anything, it just fell off. Basically it was a trouble free car.
GM steering wheels have not gotten any better over the years. I finally
wised up and bought a Wheelskins steering wheel cover for my new company
car as soon as I got it; my previous one was worn through to the foam
after three and a half years and 80K miles. yeah, that's $50 or
whatever that I'll never see again, but at least I won't be gripping
bare nasty foam every time I have to go somewhere.
I also bought good rubber floor mats (WeatherTech - despite the cheezy
looking advertising they're actually a decent product) at the same time,
for the same reason - and I took my carpet cleaner and cleaned and then
scotchgarded the front seats. Then I washed it well and rubbed in a
coat of Nu-Finish. Yeah, I kinda went over the top for a car that isn't
really mine, but I don't like driving around in a rolling junk heap.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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