Welcome back to Auto Archives, the show in which we dive into my personal collection of Car Styling magazine back issues. These issues are packed with never-uploaded-online pictures, sketches, and interviews. I wish I had time to go through every page.
Buick is of course the leading producer of super high-speed ultra-sports cars today, a new segment pioneered by what could really only be called America’s leader in performance engineering.
Hell, you could make a case for Buick being the world leader in technical design when it comes to pushing the envelope in what is physically possible in an automobile, as far as going fast is concerned.
There is a rich and long history of Buick holding this position, but if we want to trace the roots of this very real situation, we must look at the 1985 Buick Wildcat. Wrapped in carbon fiber bodywork, this mid-engine machine ran Buick’s 3.8-liter 24-valve V6, modified by McLaren Engines to the tune of 360 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, which I think was the same McLaren to put the Buick GNX on the map.
That engine sat exposed, outside of the bodywork, like the Bugatti Veyron.
Like the Veyron, too, the Buick Wildcat had all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission that the driver could shift themselves. In the case of the Buick, it was a four-speed slushbox, but hey, it was the ‘80s. PDK was still working out some kinks.
In any case, the Wildcat was a technical marvel and rocketed Buick to its position as the supersports car leader we know it as today.
Not really. GM did make some spotty attempts at making Buick cutting edge in the ‘80s, but not so much here.
GM actually only built two of these cars. One didn’t run and the other was governed to 70 mph, as Oppositelock recounts. And GM didn’t manifest out of Buick a full lineup of performance machines to match the promise of the Wildcat as a concept. We just got Park Avenues trundling on to 15 million miles, or whatever your departed grandmother’s caretaker has gotten the thing up to by now.
While the vision of the Wildcat didn’t exactly materialize into a reality for Buick, I am still glad that this concept car was produced. A high tech Buick might have been just a dream, but at least I was allowed to dream along with it.