1959 Buick LeSabre Hardtop Coupe / Photos, Model History, Specs

Featured in this article is a real Buick classic, the 1959 Buick LeSabre Hardtop Coupe.

The New LeSabre

The LeSabre is a full size automobile produced by General Motors from 1959 to 2005. The Buick LeSabre model replaced the full size Buick Special. The Special had been a part of Buick for many years, The LeSabre, was positioned as the lowest priced Buick series. The Buick nameplate as a whole is positioned above the Chevrolet within the stable of GM brands.

buick lesabre
1959 Buick LeSabre Hardtop Coupe

The LeSabre name actually originated with the 1951 GM Le Sabre show car. The show car was designed by well known GM designer Harley Earl. Interesting enough, this LeSabre show car was not attributed to any GM brand but was simply called the General Motors LeSabre.

Designed by Harley Earl; that one off 1951 car is mistakenly attributed to the Buick division but in fact it was presented as a GM vehicle without reference to a specific GM division. As it turned out, when the Buick LeSabre was introduced in 1956 they utilized the top section of the rear wing into their 1956-57 design.

1959 Buick LeSabre Styling

1959 Buick styling was popular with buyers. Buick had a big styling upgrade for their entire line for 1959. George H. Dammann, in his book “Seventy Years of Buick, said, “The new Buicks were completely new cars, resembling nothing that ever rolled out of Flint before, and having no common ties with other General Motors styles.”

Features for 1959 included the new panoramic windshield, air vent windows on the front doors, a wrap around rear window, and a tail fin design unlike any seen during the 50’s.

Buick’s LeSabre, the entry level Buick, was consistently Buick’s best selling full-size automobile. There were four new nameplates that came out in 1959 and of these four the LeSabre lasted longest.

Buick also had a new advertising agency beginning in 1959 that created a new marketing phrase for the 59 models…“Whatever car you have in mind you’re better off with a Buick”.

1959 buick lesabre

1959 Buick LeSabre Specifications

The 1959 Buick LeSabre was produced with a 364 cubic inch V-8. Three different versions of the Nailhead V-8 were offered in 1959. Various configurations had the V-8 delivering from 225 to 250 HP.

Buick officially called this 364 cubic inch V8 the “Fireball V-8” but enthusiasts referred to this engine as the “Nailhead V-8“. The Nailhead name had to do with the small valve covers mounted on top of the heads, The first generation Nailhead V-8’s was quite a departure from Buick’s longstanding straight eight engines. The postwar Nailhead achieved a very good reputation and Buick would continue with these with much more horsepower in future years.

Transmissions available were a three speed manual, a two speed automatic and a three speed automatic.

Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drums. Power brakes were an option for about $150 which included power steering. The only Buick model where the power brakes were standard was the Electra Series. Both power brakes and power steering were standard on the top of the line Electra Series,

Total Buick 1959 production came in at 285,750 units. Total 1959 Buick LeSabre production was 91,740 units.

Related Auto Museum Online articles include…

1954 Buick Skylark Convertible

1955 Buick Special Two Door Sedan

1960 Buick Invicta Wagon

Reference material used for this article includes…Buick : The Complete History by Automobile Quarterly…Seventy Years of Buick by author George H. Dammann…Standard Catalog of Buick, 1903-2000 : Wouldn’t  You Really Rather Have a Buick by author Ron Kowalke.

buick lesabre

The Buick LeSabre Collector Car

As mentioned, the Buick LeSabfe was a success for General Motors with very good sales and a relatively long production run. The entry level LeSabre was year after year Buick’s best selling car.

The styling was unique and had positive reviews from the automotive media journals.

Current auction and sale prices for the 1959 Buick LeSabre in excellent condition and highly original are found in a range of from $60,000 to $90,000 with rare highly original convertibles priced the highest. Examples in good condition are priced considerably less than this and collectors can often find very good buys on classic LeSabres.

buick lesabre

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)