I'm going to look at a 1981 LeMans Wagon-Is this a good deal?

ck80

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 18, 2014
4,420
113
Definitely a hole in the outer quarter above tailpipe, or, some Dark smear.... but I'm voting rotted from inside out based on the amount of mud/dirt caked on the lower body and qtr. Probably packed full and held water.

Unfortunately, inflation pushed everything higher. Add-in the lack of used cars, and a running seats 8 with ac that has a bonus of keeps running when relatively broken instead of constant no starts and limp modes with cheap mechanical parts and.... well.... $3k doesn't buy much for used cars with a/c. Less so with lower operating costs and insurance.

Just food for thought.
 
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78Delta88

Master Mechanic
May 23, 2022
306
43
SW Arizona
Im thinking 600 max, but maybe around 1500 to be realistic. I just paid 800 for a 200 car, it is what it is.

Overall car looks sad, wet, cold, humidity...

I started out in Chicago suburbs, then later Indy, then out here Tucson & Phoenix area. This not a "West" car. I see humid forested heavy vegetation in its past. So maybe Midwest to Oklahoma, maybe Georgia area.

I would get that on a rack and check the frame.

Yet it has all its glass, panels are straight, so it's not what it is now, but what it can become.

As far as parts, like the others said, pretty much everything is interchangable. All the rims are 5 x 4.75 until you get to the bigger wagons, all the seats same bolt holes, all steering parts the same, visors, heater ducts, etc...

Other than certain nuances between car lines, GM sourced the tooling and sub assemblies across the Corporate Value Chain through the Common Vendor (ISO/QS 9000 Single Source) system. It was all part of the Toyota Manufacturing Pull System JIT (Just In Time) scheme.

I'm not a big fan of that nose, but as others said keep it for its rarity. You can swap noses, but I would still restore it and keep it. I have an 84 Delta 88 nose to go on my 89 Custom Cruiser Wagon, I like the look better.

If it has the TH200 trans don't junk it, McCreary is building 800+ HP units out of those. Great for 1/4 mile 3 speed only has 35 pound internal rotating mass.

The wagon definitely has promise.
 

G-Body NY

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Jan 17, 2022
18
3
Actually the more I look at these things, I am starting to like the front end even though I still prefer the Malibu and Cutlass. I agree and have always had preference for all original cars over a recently painted one. I'd rather know exactly what gremlins are involved rather than find out the hard way later on. I also thought the same about the lower right quarter. It's tough to tell by the pic but it could be a rot hole or a mark. I'll find out when I go see it. $3,500 doesn't seem too egregious for a solid running and driving car but just wanted to check the market with you guys. My thoughts were in the $2-2500 range from what I see around here in lower NY. Thanks for the info.
 
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CopperNick

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Feb 20, 2018
2,084
113
Canada
+1 on that right quarter behind the rear wheel. The exhaust dump comes right out in just the proper position to expel moisture laden fumes against the body metal.



Nick
 

CrammerGram69

Master Mechanic
Nov 15, 2019
337
43
SW, Michigan
About the only extremely hard-to-find things on that 81 is the complete front header panel. Since it is 1981 only. maybe some Misc wagon parts.
 

PBGBodyFan

G-Body Guru
Mar 3, 2009
724
93
Wisconsin
Im thinking 600 max, but maybe around 1500 to be realistic. I just paid 800 for a 200 car, it is what it is.

Overall car looks sad, wet, cold, humidity...

I started out in Chicago suburbs, then later Indy, then out here Tucson & Phoenix area. This not a "West" car. I see humid forested heavy vegetation in its past. So maybe Midwest to Oklahoma, maybe Georgia area.

I would get that on a rack and check the frame.

Yet it has all its glass, panels are straight, so it's not what it is now, but what it can become.

As far as parts, like the others said, pretty much everything is interchangable. All the rims are 5 x 4.75 until you get to the bigger wagons, all the seats same bolt holes, all steering parts the same, visors, heater ducts, etc...

Other than certain nuances between car lines, GM sourced the tooling and sub assemblies across the Corporate Value Chain through the Common Vendor (ISO/QS 9000 Single Source) system. It was all part of the Toyota Manufacturing Pull System JIT (Just In Time) scheme.

I'm not a big fan of that nose, but as others said keep it for its rarity. You can swap noses, but I would still restore it and keep it. I have an 84 Delta 88 nose to go on my 89 Custom Cruiser Wagon, I like the look better.

If it has the TH200 trans don't junk it, McCreary is building 800+ HP units out of those. Great for 1/4 mile 3 speed only has 35 pound internal rotating mass.

The wagon definitely has promise.

Interesting takes on it. Really hard to guess the history or even see rust on these pics to assess how clean or rusty it is. It appears solid.

The TH200 in it would be a BOP version, you’d probably have to give it away and a scrapper would be the one to take it. If it was a Chevy bolt pattern you might find a buyer for racing. I acquired a good working TH200 from a board member here for free, he couldn’t find a buyer. Mine that was bad I couldn’t find anyone to pay anything for it, so it was scrapped and so was the free one I got when that inevitably blew as well.

Wagon prices are hard to figure, people are seeking them out but not that many. But finding good clean projects isn’t that easy either it seems. 2-3k seems fair if one is complete, runs/drives. Higher than 3k for one in that shape might be high even with today’s prices. 1k or so for one like that isn’t too realistic or likely anymore. That would get you a non running basket case probably hacked up a bit.

I also vote to keep the front end and look, but I’m biased.

This wagon I believe was on a FB group or two a year ago or so, the owner just got it and had plans for it if I recall.
 
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Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
11,668
113
Gainesville, Fl
Naturally, prices would vary depending on what part of the country the car is located in. Although, condition would be the main determination.
Let us know how you make out. After your inspection of the car, if you have any concerns, by all means post them on the forum with pictures of the area(s) in question before making your purchase. Good luck...and don't pay too much for the car.
 
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64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
4,846
113
Upstate NY
Looks solid, if the frame is good (repeat IF), then I'd be interested. But.............I understand inflation and lack of cars around - $3500 is a crap ton IMO unless the interior is immaculate.
 

el camino ss 84

Master Mechanic
Oct 23, 2016
378
43
Nw okc
If you were local to Oklahoma. i would swap you straight across that pontiac front for a malibu front end if you buy that wagon.
 

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