1971 Buick LeSabre - Daddy Sang Bass.

The Magazine Scouring Squad found this ad for the 1971 Buick LeSabre this morning and handed it to me. "We're sorry, sir. It's not very funny, but folks like car ads, right?" I snatched it from the MSS captain. "Let me see that!" I snapped. "Eleanor Roosevelt!" I swore. "Electronic Traction control in Nineteen Hundred and Seventy One?!? Get me my horseless typewriter! The people must know!"
The first thing I thought of when I looked at this ad was a song by They Might be Giants called "Boat of Car".

This car looks especially naval in that the rear of the car looks like it's carrying six bodies in the trunk. Why else are the young couple visiting a New Mexico ghost town? They're disposing of some witnesses. who just couldn't keep their mouths shut.

On the infrequent occasion when I see an old land yacht like this one still moving under its own power, I'm used to seeing the car dragging its butt around due to a wrecked rear suspension. Looks like the Riv came from the factory with a sort of droopy butt. Maybe the car's parked on an incline or something? Maybe you could have it shipped from the factory with a couple of ex-stool pigeons in the trunk?

Anyway, the real eye-opener is this: you could get this car in 1971 with electronic traction control as a $100 option. Huh? I had no idea. Modern cars have sensors all over them, measuring temperatures, and rotations and stuff, and reporting the data to the car's ECU (Engine Control Unit) or "computer", whose job it is to look after the car, and to a lesser extent, the car's driver.
In the '71 LeSabre, if you had the Max Trac option, there was a special disc mounted on the left front wheel hub and a sensor mounted to that, measuring the rotation of the wheel. The car already knew the rotation of the rear wheels because of the speedometer, of course. Using these two speeds, the computer could tell if the rear wheels were spinning, and decrease power to the rear wheels by diddling with the ignition. From the sound of the article at the Hemmings link above, the computer that did all this thinking was the only one in the car. Without the"Max Trac" option, I don't think you had any computer in the car at all. What a lot of work that was, just to control wheel spin.

Now, just about every car has a better, cleverer traction control, or Electronic Slip Protection or some other acronym to keep you from having any fun. I tend to turn it off, as it dilutes the throttle response.You push the "go" pedal and the car jumps a little, realizes what you're trying to do, and cuts power to the wheels. Sure, it's trying to save my life, but mostly it's just bumming me out. Sometimes, it's also leaving me with 10% throttle in a busy intersection, and I sometimes don't care for that.

From the sound of things, few people did in the early Seventies, either. GM discontinued Max Trac after 1973.

Anyway, who wants a '71 LeSabre in their PNG mutli-car pileup? Get your rude finger ready then. Big and small, left and right.


Craig F. said...

That's a LeSabre.

The Riviera for '71 was Bill Mitchell's wet dream.

The 1971 Riviera. Something to believe in. Like Zoloft.


PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Jeez jeez jeez. Craigf, whatever I'm paying you, I should double it! Fortunately, you're probably the first to view this post, so I was alerted to the problem early.

I think the mistake snuck in when I google searched on Max Trac and the first hit was the Riviera with Max Trac. From then on, I had Riviera in my head. Not LeSabre.

It takes a big man to admit when he's wrong, and I am enormous.

Thanks for the heads up, Craigf!


PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Funnier still. All the images for this post were correctly titled "BuickLeSabre_1971_1" etc. etc. while all references to the car in the body of the post said "Riviera". Wow!

MrsBug said...

The Magazine Souring Squad? Do they squirt lemon juice on them?

That car is so big you probably need an intercom to talk to someone in the back seat.

Mom: *squawk* If you kids don't keep it down back there, I'll stop this car! *squawk*
Kid 1: *squawk* But Billy's on my side! *squawk*

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Alert reader Mrs. Bug alertly alerted me to the "souring" instead of "scouring" typo. Apologies to all who thought there was a fruit-oriented team working at Go! Plaza.

Thanks to Mrs. Bug for alerting to alertfully!


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