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Check this out: 1981 Park Avenue Diesel

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Cleanest, newest looking diesel Buick I have ever seen. $14800 with only 9486 miles.

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It's a beautiful car... if only it weren't the diesel:

Automotive News / April 11, 2005

When an automaker develops an engine with huge flaws, the consequences can be severe. Many consumers still think poorly of diesel techology because engines designed by General Motors from 1978 to 1985 clattered and belched smoke.

More stringent durability testing and improved design technology now make such instances rare.

But that didn't stop Staff Reporter Richard Truett from putting together his eight picks for the poorest car engines of the last 50 years.

1. GM's diesels - Responding to the fuel crisis of the late 1970s, GM rolled out a 5.7-liter diesel engine designed by Oldsmobile. The V-8, produced from 1978 to 1985, was based on a gasoline engine. That was a terrible miscalculation.

The block, though beefed up, could not stand the stress and strain of the high-compression diesel pistons. Cylinder-head bolts broke. Gaskets blew. Crankshafts failed. Engines overheated.

The fuel system may have been the source of many of the problems. A poorly designed fuel pump, combined with a poor filtration system, let water into the fuel and left many diesel-powered cars limping and spewing smoke. Or worse, they croaked - a big embarrassment for GM. Disgusted owners yanked out the diesels and replaced them with gasoline engines.

GM had two other diesel engines, a 4.3-liter V-8 and 4.3-liter V-6. Neither fared much better than the 5.7-liter V-8. By 1985, GM's engineers had solved most of the problems. The 5.7-liter diesel was reasonably reliable, and it delivered fuel economy of about 30 mpg in GM's large cars. But by then the damage had been done.

Not only were GM's diesels out of production, but sales of diesel-powered cars from every automaker, especially Mercedes-Benz, which built the best diesels in the world, also were in major decline. It would be 20 years before another automaker, Chrysler, would launch a diesel engine in a small vehicle. The Jeep Liberty diesel went on sale in January.

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I've read both good and bad things about the old GM diesels, but regardless, that is one heck of a stunning car!

Not exactly good looking from a design perspective, but the condition is A+++ :thumbsup:

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Sweet...always nice to see an '80s B- or C- in pristine condition...I've always liked that style Buick, esp. the grille and taillight treatment. I remember riding in one similar to that (not a diesel) when they were new (an aunt and uncle had one).

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Interesting that someone would store a diesel Buick for 25 years, but why on earth would someone do that? That diesel engine is wretched. Way back when, my parents' '79 Seville went through two of them, and then they put in a rebuilt gasoline Oldsmobile 350 engine in it. This Buick would make a nice project car.

Edited by bobo

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Interesting that someone would store a diesel Buick for 25 years, but why on earth would someone do that?  That diesel engine is wretched.  Way back when, my parents' '79 Seville went through two of them, and then they put in a rebuilt Oldsmobile 350 engine in it.  This Buick would make a nice project car.

It was probably an elderly driver that drove it very little and recently passed away...anytime I see a car like this on ebay, I assume that is the most likely scenario..

Edited by moltar

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oh man...look at that interior....i'd rather have that interior over some of the interiors in cars today...

Agreed..it has COLOR .,texture, lots of faux wood..a much more pleasant place to spend time than the depressing shades-of-gray interiors far too many cars (not only GM) have today...

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God that's a beautiful car. I would LOVE to own something like that!

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reminds me of our 81 Electra diesel. AWESOME car. 30+ mpg, ran all day. UNTIL the inevitable. My dad was a diesel implement mechanic so he had a love for diesels, but for all the GM engines he rebuilt (there were many :P ), he had someone else fix ours when it went KER-POP. He always wanted a Mercedes diesel or a small VW diesel.

It was likely the best car he's owned aside from the KER-POP and the Seville he's got now. The Electra was not as TACO inside as the PA.....the seats were attractive with grippy cloth and lacked the pillowy look of the barcaloungers in the Park Avenue.

Honestly, one of the niches that could make GM a leader again is to revive the big powerful v8 RWD diesel sedan. Think S-Class at a middle class price. The press would rehash old history but honestly, GM would have a lot of fans who would love a nationwide cruiser that would sip fuel at 80+ mph all day. Give it a 10/100 powertrain warranty to back it up. And this is one area where Buick could recarve a niche in the US. Imagine an S-class sized multi-displacement diesel large challenger that can exceed 35 mpg on a trip?

there was a sense of 'event' riding in the Electra/Park Avenue and Ninety Eight of this body style and era.....likewise with the concurrent Riv/Eldo/Toro triplets of this year. This was GM at the top of its game in terms of luxury cars. NO ONE wanted a Ford or Chrysler. These cars were what folks aspired to.

(Barbara Streisand singing 'Memories' in the background.......)

Man, I SOOOO want that car.......that and my 77 Century/Regal

Edited by regfootball

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Wow, that car is beautiful. But did I read the price right? $15,000???????

Could be an interesting project to convert to 100% Biodiesel. Upgrading the fuel system would be necessary anyway. :)

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Does anyone know how long this car is? And what the specs are of the engine? (like hp and torque)

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That is a positively gorgeous Park Ave! Not big on the fact that it's a diesel, but it is nice otherwise. That interior looks so inviting. The seats just seem to say "Come on in". Like having a personal limousine. This is one of the cars that expressed the statement "I've arrived" back in the day. A very classy beauty inside & out. GM needs to start making vehicles like this again.

Paulie, to answer your question regarding specs:

Dimensions

Length-220.9"

Width-74.7"

Height-55.6"

Mechanical specs (1981 Olds 350 diesel)

Horsepower-125hp@3600rpm

Torque-225ft.lbs@1600rpm

Bore X Stroke-4.057" X 3.385"

Compression Ratio-22.5:1

Oil Pressure-40psi@1500rpm

VIN code-N

Thanks GM1! Now, that's the kinda car I'd like to drive--large, and in charge :)

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I was looking around on Ebay a lot yesterday at the big C and B bodies of the late 70s and early 80s and it brought back vague memories of me riding around in GM's when I was little where there was so much luxury inside. You went from almost excess padding and bright colors in the 80s to gray plastic and ill-fitting, monotone interiors in the 90s....what happened, GM?

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Edited by mustang84

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I'm getting 'Big 80s' flashbacks to high school looking at these interior pics..

I rode around in and drove occasionally a lot of cars like that back in the day (high school from '84-88)...one friend had an '84 Parisienne, my g/f drove her dad's '85 Caprice wagon, another friend had an '81 Olds 88 diesel, another had a '81 Fleetwood Brougham diesel, another had a '76 Electra 225 coupe, another an '80 Riviera...good stuff..

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Cleanest, newest looking diesel Buick I have ever seen.  $14800 with only 9486 miles.

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Hot damn. That is gorgeous. They even got the right number of ventiports! And look, its grille, is a mini-replica of the Parthenon!

We can all dog the mechanical problems of the 80's day in and day out, and with good cause, but there is no arguing that opulent interiors probably were at their peak between 80 and 87. Not only that, it was nice to see the color choices inside - that tasteful shade of green, burgundy and royal blue. Obviously, I appreciate what's new, but if you've ever piloted something with an interior like that, it was extremely comfortable and serene...you'd almost want to sleep in your garage! Having been the owner of an 84 Supreme in Brougham form, all I can say is that I loved the tufted/pleated interior and would drive it from Nor Cal to Portland to see my parents without getting tired.

That being said, I know 1 person who purchased a GM diesel. It was an 81 or 82 Century Limited and this man was constantly cursing that car. Like the posted stats indicate, the not "from scratch" design couldn't handle the jump in compression from 8:1+/- to 22.5:1.

Sidebar:

Mustang, where is this car? I'm (sort of ) digging the house in the background. I think it's a stock design where you can almost read the floor plan from the outside. It screams Atlanta suburb except that the color of brick is NEVER used in the Southeast, so I say upper Midwest. I think the corner quoins and dressed up oval window are a bit much, but I'll take it! More so than the car!

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>>"The block, though beefed up, could not stand the stress and strain of the high-compression diesel pistons. Cylinder-head bolts broke. Gaskets blew. Crankshafts failed. Engines overheated. "<<

The piece says the block 'couldn't handle the stress' then proceeds to call out non-block problem areas. I think that's called slander.

Fact is, the diesel 350 blocks are strong as holy hell and make excellent candidates for a performance gas build. How's 500 HP sound?

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Sidebar:

Mustang, where is this car?  I'm (sort of ) digging the house in the background.  I think it's a stock design where you can almost read the floor plan from the outside.  It screams Atlanta suburb except that the color of brick is NEVER used in the Southeast, so I say upper Midwest.  I think the corner quoins and dressed up oval window are a bit much, but I'll take it!  More so than the car!

According to the Ebay site, it looks like it's in Saddle River, NJ.

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Sidebar:

Mustang, where is this car?  I'm (sort of ) digging the house in the background.  I think it's a stock design where you can almost read the floor plan from the outside.  It screams Atlanta suburb except that the color of brick is NEVER used in the Southeast, so I say upper Midwest.  I think the corner quoins and dressed up oval window are a bit much, but I'll take it!  More so than the car!

Saddle River, NJ according to the ebaY auction. With the blue sky and winter yard, it could have been the Denver suburbs as well (very similar houses around here).

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Sweet car,great for a Buick 350 or 455 conversion . I wish we could buy cars styled just like that new. Those were the days when GM still had it .

think a Z06 motor would fit in there?

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mustang, car style, like fashion, goes in trends and cycles....building do also by the way. anyways, perhaps the acceptance of the 300 chrysler and recent rejection of aero maybe signifies this sort of thing is coming around the horn again. with much better build quality I hope! LOL.

I was looking around on Ebay a lot yesterday at the big C and B bodies of the late 70s and early 80s and it brought back vague memories of me riding around in GM's when I was little where there was so much luxury inside.  You went from almost excess padding and bright colors in the 80s to gray plastic and ill-fitting, monotone interiors in the 90s....what happened, GM?

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>>"The block, though beefed up, could not stand the stress and strain of the high-compression diesel pistons. Cylinder-head bolts broke. Gaskets blew. Crankshafts failed. Engines overheated. "<<

The piece says the block 'couldn't handle the stress' then proceeds to call out non-block problem areas. I think that's called slander.

Fact is, the diesel 350 blocks are strong as holy hell and make excellent candidates for a performance gas build. How's 500 HP sound?

from what I recall my dad always saying about the GM diesels was that the head bolts were not capable of handling the strain of the diesel motor and that mostly it was the headbolts that went on them.

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