Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 36

Thread: Getting to be about that time again...need another A-body

  1. #1
    Senior Member occupant's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Westerville, OH
    Vehicle
    none
    Posts
    979

    Default Getting to be about that time again...need another A-body

    I'm having the best May of my life Ubering. Trying to hold back about $1200 to buy a project car. Here's what I'm looking for:

    I live in Columbus, Ohio and I'd like to buy something in or near the state. IN, MI, KY, WV, PA, maybe IL or TN or VA or NY.

    I have yet to own a wagon A-body. But I'm OK with a sedan. Not interested in any fastback coupes but 84-88 Celebrity (non-Eurosport) or 86-88 Century or 85-86 Ciera would do nicely.

    I prefer the 2.5 Iron Duke engine and 3-speed automatic over all other powertrain combinations. But if it has to be a V6, I'd prefer the 2.8 or 3.1 60 degree engine, and I would want overdrive in the automatic transmission.

    It would be nice to have working AC. Absolutely mandatory to have working heat, wipers, horn, electric defroster. I'd prefer a stock GM radio, with tape so I can play music from my phone through an adapter, or else I'm adding an AUX port.

    I would be happiest with a tan interior, but blue and gray are fine. Trying not to go for the reds and maroons. Fern green would be an exception.

    Outside color doesn't really matter, but again I'm trying to avoid reds and maroons.

    I prefer squared off rooflines (85-88 Ciera, 84-89 Celebrity, 84-88 Century, 84-88 6000) to rounded ones (89-96 Ciera, 89-96 Century, 89-92 6000) on the sedans. None of this matters for a wagon. I don't like the early 82-83 models or the 84 Ciera.

    Finally, price, I would prefer to spend $400-$800 on the car so I can have some money left over to go junkyarding and spruce the car up and get better wheels or hubcaps, radio, maybe seats, get a headliner installed if needed, do brakes and belts and hoses, that kind of thing. The car will be used for work purposes and it will get driven quite a bit, probably 2000-2500 miles a month. It'll get used for everything I do (market research, data collection, medical deliveries, food deliveries) that is not rideshare, and I'll Uber in the Corolla only and get rid of the Malibu. If I'm going to get 18mpg it needs to be in something I ENJOY. Hate this Malibu. Wife stole the Corolla from me but she only drives days. So I'm going to make the most of it.
    Alan Moore - TOAD Roadside - Worthington, OH

    08 Cobalt LT sedan, black, 209K, Doordash and UberEATS beater



  2. #2
    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Sugar Land, TX
    Vehicle
    1996 Buick Century Limited 3100 V6 / 1995 Buick Century Special 3100 V6 / 2001 Chevy S-10 LS 2.2L
    Posts
    4,071

    Default

    The Duke?? I'll never understand the fascination with that motor. I think the 2.2 in the later a-body cars was superior in just about every way: power, durability, and fuel economy. Easy to work on too. I have one with nearly 200k on it now; all original. You can boost a 2.2, but I've never seen the Duke boosted (David, if you are out there, that's a DARE! ).

    Of course, you'll never find one in a square tail, and the 4-cyl was rarer in the later a-cars.

    Ken T.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CorvairGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    The Gem State
    Vehicle
    1992 Century Special 1996 Century Custom
    Posts
    778

    Default

    [QUOTE=Century7667;164571]The Duke?? I'll never understand the fascination with that motor. I think the 2.2 in the later a-body cars was superior in just about every way: power, durability, and fuel economy. Easy to work on too. I have one with nearly 200k on it now; all original. You can boost a 2.2, but I've never seen the Duke boosted .

    +1
    Jerry

  4. #4
    Senior Member occupant's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Westerville, OH
    Vehicle
    none
    Posts
    979

    Default

    I have always liked the simplicity, durability, and predictability of the Duke. It has a unique sound at idle, when pushed, and while cruising. It's just a nostalgic thing for me. If I'm going to own a mediocre 80s-90s vehicle why not have the base engine?

    So far, darn near everything local I've found is a 91-96 Ciera or Century. They are all rough, have 3.3 or 3.1 engines, and the owners are very proud of them. There is a cheap 1995 Century for $650 but it'll need exhaust work and basically a complete header panel. But it's NOT rusted out in the rockers or quarters. This is my pick so far and if it's still available Wednesday I expect to buy it barring anything else popping up.



    There is a 59K mile purplish gray 1994 Century for $1300 as well as a very clean maroon 118K 1995 Century for $1200. They are clean, but not perfect by any means. Probably worth the cost over the $650 one but I'm always intrigued by the Cheap Ass Carâ„¢ when I can find them. Closer to it is this 1994 Ciera for $900.

    The only older model within a reasonable distance is this $1500 two tone gray 1986 Celebrity sedan. One owner, low miles, plain and basic, with a Duke. But that's over budget so unless I have a couple good weekends driving in a row and they want to come down to 1200 or maybe a thousand, this one is just outside where I'd like to be. It's also 90 minutes away. I would worry about spending all my money on the car and then have it break on the way home and I can't afford the tow. If it's close I can at least afford to have it hauled back here so I can fix it.



    There's also this poor 1987 Celebrity up in Cleveland. Maaco paint job, not hiding the rust too well, I don't like body color stuff that shouldn't be body color on a Celebrity. It's also a Eurosport with a maroon interior. But it is a thousand bucks, good miles, supposedly mechanically sound.

    There's a couple oddities though, and I'm drawn to them because they are different. I like different.

    This is a 1983 Celebrity sedan with the Duke, it's clean, it needs a weld done on the exhaust (darned PA inspections) but it is $700 and it's not too bad. What I don't like about 82-83 models is that console in the front bench seat. This has that. I can deal, because for the price and the general condition in the pictures, this is a solid enough car, a cheap enough car, and although it is further away, it's probably worth it. It has minor issues. Dash cut for a DIN radio. Silly digital clock on passenger dash. A little rust on the rear wheel wells. Tiny 13 inch rallys likely on JA1 brakes. I'm sure someone here would love them while I upgrade to something else. Aren't those 5x100? Same bolt pattern as my Corolla, but I bet they won't fit around the brakes. Does mean I could use tons of different wheels from later GM's and Chryslers and others. Maybe some Subaru wheels would look OK too. This car looks good:



    Another one in the realm of too expensive but I'd love it is this 1989 Celebrity wagon with a fresh engine rebuild and a fresh PA inspection so I know it's gotta be roadworthy enough to make it home. Also $1500. Also blue. Definitely not perfect of course but it's nice for the price I think. Just can't afford it.



    This isn't an A body but it's in line with what I'd consider, a 1996 Corsica with a new fuel pump and remote starter for $600. It even has more than half of its original paint. Another non A body but always talked about here is this $700 Buick Reatta. Says it's solid but brake lines are done for. Uh, Indy Beretta in Bright Yellow, anyone? It's expensive but might be fun. I'd rather have this land yacht 1989 Caprice wagon for $800, white with no woodgrain, even if it does need a complete exhaust system.

    There are non GM's but not many I'd consider. Have I ever told you guys about my Van Of Questionable Mechanical Integrity? Here's a 1996 shorty version for $700 with plenty of rocker rust and a PS leak.

    This is way too far out in Tennessee but it came up on the Eastern KY CL...and I love Geo Metros. This is a basic 3 cylinder 5 speed 1995 model for $750 in blue. Not easy to find these anymore people are hoarding them. But if I'm going THAT far to get a car for THAT price, I'd rather have this white rust free 1990 Ciera with the full gauge cluster. And for a little more money, square roof 1987 Century, but don't know what motor.

    I'm finding stuff. It's just taking awhile. The $650 Century might be the pick locally, but the 1983 Celebrity will get the nod if the seller can meet me at a nearby Greyhound stop, give me the VIN so I can bring my own paper tag, and it's still around when I'm ready.
    Alan Moore - TOAD Roadside - Worthington, OH

    08 Cobalt LT sedan, black, 209K, Doordash and UberEATS beater

  5. #5
    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Sugar Land, TX
    Vehicle
    1996 Buick Century Limited 3100 V6 / 1995 Buick Century Special 3100 V6 / 2001 Chevy S-10 LS 2.2L
    Posts
    4,071

    Default

    Believe it or not, I understand your nostalgia with the Duke-- it just gets under your skin. I feel the same way about my 2.2 in my S10. She's a dog, but a good dog. I think Keith will agree with me when I say the '95 is a good year. The late a-bodys were more or less perfect with most of the bugs worked out. Too bad no sweet Buick mills though.

    I like the '94 Buick.

    Ken T.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Keiths1976's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Florida
    Vehicle
    1995 buick century custom
    Posts
    1,340

    Default

    1995 Buick Century rocks for sure but needed some refinement and she rides really good then .

  7. #7
    Senior Member Zaloryan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Vehicle
    Multiple Alfa Romeos
    Posts
    1,326

    Default

    [QUOTE=CorvairGeek;164573]
    Quote Originally Posted by Century7667 View Post
    The Duke?? I'll never understand the fascination with that motor. I think the 2.2 in the later a-body cars was superior in just about every way: power, durability, and fuel economy. Easy to work on too. I have one with nearly 200k on it now; all original. You can boost a 2.2, but I've never seen the Duke boosted .

    +1
    +2

    My experience with the Duke is that it sounds like a bunch of rocks are stuck in a blender whenever the engine is running, but I certainly won't fault you for desiring something that suits your requirements. Good luck on your search, please keep us posted!
    What is this & what does pulling it out do?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Keiths1976's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Florida
    Vehicle
    1995 buick century custom
    Posts
    1,340

    Default

    Always though it sounded like a old 1960 singer sewing machine lol .

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Chicago, Illinois
    Vehicle
    1993 Buick Century 3300 V6
    Posts
    607

    Default

    I had a 1990 Grand Am with a Duke. I didn't have it long. I hated that engine. Loud and vibrated a lot. I think it was shaking itself to death. My neighbors complained that I kept waking them up in the mornings with it. ROFLMAO. Mine was really loud and it was a dog. I got rid of it with only 25,000 miles and it already had oil leaks. For some reason I think mine was louder than most.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Sugar Land, TX
    Vehicle
    1996 Buick Century Limited 3100 V6 / 1995 Buick Century Special 3100 V6 / 2001 Chevy S-10 LS 2.2L
    Posts
    4,071

    Default

    I had one too, an early one, a '77. From the factory with Pontiac hammered blue paint and chrome valve cover. Had a "staged" Holley 2-barrell carb and a 5-spd stick. By the time I got the car, the Duke was very tired at 108,000 miles. It leaked 1 qt. of oil every 100 miles (real main was shot). I one day I drove it at a steady 65 mph for about 20 minutes one day, and that blew the head gasket. This was a Pontiac Ventura with the Iron Duke-- very rare configuration. Saw an article about it one day cruising the web thinking "I had one of those!"

    I ended up pulling the motor and building a Chevy Inline 6 with a Sag 4-spd to take it's place. Night and day, let me tell ya...

    Ken T.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Chicago, Illinois
    Vehicle
    1993 Buick Century 3300 V6
    Posts
    607

    Default

    Oh man, that Chevy inline must have been nice.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Sugar Land, TX
    Vehicle
    1996 Buick Century Limited 3100 V6 / 1995 Buick Century Special 3100 V6 / 2001 Chevy S-10 LS 2.2L
    Posts
    4,071

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip View Post
    Oh man, that Chevy inline must have been nice.
    I got it out of a '75 Nova and did a complete overhaul on it. .030 over, with a Competition Cams 252H ( just a bit hotter than stock with out the pollution timings), and about 9.0:1 compression Hays clutch and flywheel, Saginaw 4-spd. w/ a Hurst Shifter. That inline ran real sweet. You just kiss the starter and it jumped to life. Gobs of torque down low. No problems laying a scratch in 1st. Just let the clutch out and step on it. Since it replaced the Duke, I had to have an entire exhaust system built for it....and I had no money for a cat. It really had too much torque for the close ratio 4-spd. What is really needed was a 4-spd overdrive. But, the close ratio made for some easy kills in urban driving. Got rear ended by a Mustang once, but it had USA made chrome STEEL bumpers. "Hmmm, looks like you've got some damage there, but I'm OK....... Bye."

    Miss that car. Looked like hell. Sounded mean. People got out my way when it was coming their way.

    Ken T.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Chicago, Illinois
    Vehicle
    1993 Buick Century 3300 V6
    Posts
    607

    Default

    Awesome. I'm sure you miss the heck out of it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Sugar Land, TX
    Vehicle
    1996 Buick Century Limited 3100 V6 / 1995 Buick Century Special 3100 V6 / 2001 Chevy S-10 LS 2.2L
    Posts
    4,071

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip View Post
    Awesome. I'm sure you miss the heck out of it.
    I told myself, "never again." For this reason, my 1996 Century has sat in my garage patiently waiting for a transmission. It will happen; just need to get my act together.

    The a-body car was really a bridge between automotive Americana and the modern era because its production run was so long. The cars in 1996 were so different than what was available in 1982. The a-car just rides like a real American car....with FWD.

    Ken T.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Chicago, Illinois
    Vehicle
    1993 Buick Century 3300 V6
    Posts
    607

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Century7667 View Post
    The a-body car was really a bridge between automotive Americana and the modern era because its production run was so long. The cars in 1996 were so different than what was available in 1982. The a-car just rides like a real American car....with FWD.

    Ken T.
    Very well said. I agree totally.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
VigLink badge