When my grandfather retired from the Erie-Lackawanna railroad, he purchased a new 1985 Buick Park Avenue. It was a nice vehicle with a clam shell hood hinged at the front much like the Classic SAAB 900. I always thought it was a neat vehicle just because of that. Apparently the hood was designed to push back and cover the windshield in the event of a head on collision. Grandpa wasn’t the typical Buick owner though. He kept the car for almost twenty years and knew it inside and out. He bought the shop manuals so he could tell the mechanics what to do instead of asking what the problems were. At one point he diagnosed a faulty fuel injector and told the mechanics which one to replace. Knowledge is power.
Grandpa’s Park Avenue was the 6th generation of the Buick Electra Park Avenue which was built from 1985 to 1990. As you might expect, grandpa opted for the fuel-injected 3.8L V6. According to one reference, it came with 140 hp and 200 lb ft of torque. At optimal performance, it could get 27 mpg on the highway. That’s where the sequential fuel-injection made a big difference as a carbureted Fiero 4-cylinder was rated at only 29 mpg. That’s pretty good for a V6 of that era.
Better than the car are my memories of grandpa. He was always trying to teach us how things worked or was showing us something in his basement workshop. Now that was one of my childhood wonders of the world! Grandpa had sectioned off the basement into four rooms. The first was a storage area with a refrigerator. The second was a place for bonsai plants, exercise machine, and the Magnavox Odyssey game system (with speech cartridge!) for us kids. The third was the laundry room. And the forth was his workshop. The workshop was always in perfect order, as I recall. He had a little of everything including a switch on the door that turned on the light when you walked in.
It has been a while since my last visit to Grandpa’s house in Meadville PA. He has since passed on to Jesus. But I will always have good memories of visiting with him and his ability to fix anything.