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Piston Slap: Because You Don’t Sell Your First!

92-95_Buick_LeSabre

TTAC Commentator Matador writes:

Dear Sajeev/Sanjeev,

I own two cars (and two older pickup trucks): a 1995 LeSabre with 223,000 miles and a 2001 Audi A6 Avant with 165,000 miles on the clock. I drive 80-100 miles per day for work. Between work and personal miles, I drive about 45,000 miles per year. The trucks aren’t daily driven too often and are only used when I need to move something that won’t fit in the wagon. Gas isn’t that cheap!

The Buick isn’t going anywhere. It was my first car and I am a firm believer that you don’t sell your first. I would like to drive it a little less, though, keeping it for special occasions. Since the Audi is my main car, the Buick only receives about 35 percent of my overall miles. I love the way that the Buick handles and I am a huge fan of the 3800’s reliability.

I would really like a Buick wagon, but the Century wagon doesn’t appeal to me at all and the Roadmaster is out of my price range (I could have two Rivieras for the price of a decent Roadmaster wagon). I’m not partial to any brand, or against any brand, though I do find Hondas kind of boring.

The easy choice would be to get another A6 Avant, but maintaining one Audi is a bit of a task. I absolutely love that car. But as a second car, I don’t know …

We’ll say that the budget is $5,000. I prefer luxury/brougham over sportiness and the car can’t be from before the 1998 model year.

So, BB (and Sajeev), what would you go with?

Sajeev answers:

Paint yourself in a corner much? I say stuff like this and wonder why as I dig myself out of five cars stuck in project car hell. But I digress …

I recommend the last Ford Taurus Mercury Sable wagon as it fits the need and I’m a raging Ford Lincoln-Mercury fanboi. Here’s my road test of the sedan: The ride is brougham-esque and the Sable is a durable, easy to repair and practical wagon.

The Vulcan V-6 is a cast-iron vest of bullet proofness, though later models had a cylinder-head defect that showed up years and 100,000+ miles later. Who knows how common this was, but there it is.

I’d opt for the Duratec V-6: They are easy to work on (just remove the wiper/cowl assembly) and the extra power and efficiency is welcome. Think of this mill as an Audi with none of the classiness, none of the repair bills and far more NVH control and performance than a (non-supercharged) 3800.

But you love that Buick, and I appreciate sentimentality. Since the right wagon doesn’t exist for $5,000, given what you like (brougham-like ride, 3800 V-6), just buy the cleanest GM W-body you can find that has the nicest interior and the fattest stack of service receipts. It’s no Roadmaster or Audi Wagon, but it’s right up your alley. My favorite out of the later W-body gang is the Oldsmobile Intrigue. It felt the least beancounted and even looks kinda modern to this day.

I’d start my search with the Intrigue. But if a Taurus Sable grabs your attention, make it happen … for me!

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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