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Turbo LeSabre

This page mainly address the car model that featured the Buick Turbo V6. For a more complete listing of power ratings and mechanical changes made to the Turbo V6 engine each year, please see the "Evolution of the Buick Turbo V6" page. For a semi-complete production figures listing, see the "Turbo V6 Production Figures" page.

A 1979 LeSabre Sport Coupe and Jeff Rufenacht's 1978 LSC (the pumpkin).

1978 LeSabre Sport Coupe

The LeSabre seems to be an unlikely candidate for turbocharged power, but that's exactly what Buick did in 1978. Along with the Regal Sport Coupe, the pair was touted as the "only two turbocharged production cars made in America". The LeSabre had gone through a downsizing the previous year. In '77, the LeSabre Sport Coupe came standard with a 301 cubic inch V8 built by Pontiac. But for '78, the V8 was replaced by the Turbo V6. The LeSabre did not need the bulged hood to clear the Turbo engine like the Regal. It did come with black trim around the windows and grille, special emblems, 15" x 7" chrome road wheels, and a firmer suspension package. As with the Regal Sport Coupe, the Turbo V6 was available in either 2 and 4 barrel carburetor versions.

In February, 1978 Road and Track magazine published an article about the LeSabre Sport Coupe. Buick had supplied R&T with two LeSabres, one with a 350 V8 and the other with the 231 Turbo V6 (4 barrel). "We measured the acceleration of both Buicks and found that, as expected, the V-8 was quicker off the line with it's superior low-end torque characteristics, but once the V-6's turbocharger came into play, the smaller engine quickly made up the difference and then some."

Acceleration (mph) LeSabre 350 V8 (sec) LeSabre Turbo V6 (sec)
0-30 3.5 3.6
0-40 5.2 5.2
0-50 7.7 7.2
0-60 11.0 10.0
0-90 28.5 26.0
Quarter Mile 18.2 @ 76 mph 18.2 @ 79 mph
Results read from graphs published in Road & Track, 2/78

"The other half of the turbocharging equation is improved fuel economy and Buick has satisfied that demand too. We were able to log more than 4000 miles on each of the Buicks and found a significant difference in fuel consumption: 13.5 mpg for the V-8 and 16.5 for the V-6." R&T concluded by saying "Overall, the turbocharged Buick V-6 engine works quite well, providing acceptable performance with improved fuel economy."

1978 Buick Sales Literature
"Turbocharged V-6 Buick LeSabre Sport Coupe" Road & Track; February, 1978.

1979 LeSabre Sport Coupe


1980 LeSabre Sport Coupe

Though not obvious, the LeSabre was completely reshaped for 1980. The front end was longer and lower, while the rear end was higher. The new design helped reduce aerodynamics. A new 4.1 litre V6 was introduced and Buick produced it's last V8 in 1980. The Turbo 3.8 V6 was still standard on the Sport Coupe.

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