Buick Cars established its position in the American market as soon as it started its journey in 1903. You will surely have a soft spot for at least one Buick car as the creator of some best performing cars of the 20th Century or the first car you wish to have your hands on.
Buick’s position as a small-to-midsize player in the market is a significant balancing act. From the performance era to the present time, Buick has always struck the right balance between value, performance, and luxury.
A perfect game player, indeed! Well, all of these things are just a part of the obsession with cars.
Without further ado, let’s know about old Buick Cars to quest your interest level.
1. Centurion (1971-1973)
Buick’s Centurion replaced the popular and exciting Wildcat. It was made of a fantastic fiberglass concept from the 1950s. You can easily trace Centurion’s origins from a mid-’50s concept, which is exactly like the Buick Wildcat.
This time, the 1956 Centurion concept car decided the future as they brought the first-ever rear view camera in the new model.
Still, Buick Centurion could not stay in the market for a very long time. It had dropped because of LeSabre as this car was a little more expensive than LeSabre. LeSabre was surely one of the most significant Buicks in history, but Centurion deserved much more; its sales numbers prove the authenticity.
The primary issue, one of the models genuinely resembled the other. Even though there was a change in the front part and interiors, it was the same automobile. The tri-shield badge is also not included. Instead, Centurion wore a badge with a Roman centurion profile.
Centurion was advertised as a more upscale full-size, unlike the sporty Wildcat. Still, the car’s first two years of operation were powered by a 455 cu in V8. In 1971, it produced 315 horsepower, and in 1972, the number 250.
The result of changing the horsepower was rated from gross to net. In 1973, when the 175-horsepower, 350-cubic-inch V8 engine became the average, new rules also started to take a toll. However, there was still the choice of the 455 big blocks.
Except for the convertible, all Centurions were hardtops. But the good part is that models with both two-doors and four-doors were available in the market then.
2. Century Turbo Coupe (1979-1980)
In 1978, Buick reduced the size of its middle offering. They also reduced the size of the engines, which caused big-block to vanish virtually. In 1979, Regal received a turbocharged 231 cubic inch V6 engine.
But unlike the Regal, the Century needed to wait another year. Less than 3,000 vehicles were built in the next two years as Century Turbo Coupe lacked popularity compared to the turbo Regal.
However, the turbocharger on the Century Coupe filled up the need of the customers that the Buick mid-size car was unable of. 175 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of power were the new additions to the engine’s overall output. The 105 horsepower and 160 ft-lbs of the standard model increased noticeably.
Perhaps you don’t think it’s a lot, but the Chevrolet Corvette with a V8 that same year only had 20 horsepower and ten ft-lbs more. In addition, the Buick Century Turbo Coupe included power brakes, attractive turbine wheels, and other amazing aesthetic features as its standard quality.
Despite popular belief, Buick’s Century Turbo Coupe was never a financial failure. Though the final number of sales was very high, Buick needed this vehicle.
You may know GNX,which was released by Buick a few years later. It helped launch the second generation of American muscle cars in the late seventies; this car got the inspiration for its turbocharged V6 engine from Century Turbo Coupe.
3. Skyhawk Nighthawk (1977) and Skyhawk Roadhawk (1979-1980)
The original Skyhawk was simply a badge attached to Chevrolet Monza, which was based on the renowned Chevy Vega.
However, Oldsmobile and Buick only succeeded in selling nearly 125,000 Starfires and Skyhawks, which is far different from Chevrolet’s sales of over 700,000 Monzas and Pontiac’s sales of roughly 400,000 Sunbirds.
So, both of them turned to limited-edition models so sales could increase. The Oldsmobile Starfire received the Firenza package, while Buick Skyhawk received two unique version models.
After just 1,383 units were manufactured, the first one came to light in 1977 and vanished suddenly. Sadly, Skyhawk Nighthawk’s performance wasn’t all that impressive. Actually, it was almost identical to the old Skyhawk. It provided reflective side tape striping, which was its main feature. It flashes golden when you would expose the headlights to light.
The Roadhawk could not enhance its performance like the Nighthawk did. It provided the same 3.8L V6 engine for two years, but this time the power level was 115 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque, resulting from a new camshaft and new cylinder heads.
Yet, the Roadhawk kit came with Goodyear BR70-13 radial tires with solid suspension, fast steering, and thicker sway bars. It was the only way to get a good performance package in 1979. Also, a unique silver interior for the Skyhawk Roadhawk was created.
However, even the H-body subcompact from Buick wasn’t enough. Before Buick discontinued the model in late December 1979, only 2,037 orders were placed. Unfortunately, they didn’t offer the Skyhawk in a turbocharged variant, especially when they already had the technology.
4. Estate Wagon (1970)
After 1964, full-size Buick wagons were discontinued and couldn’t return until 1970. These were only available for a year, and the Buick Estate Wagon had a B-body structure, 124-inch wheelbase, and 220-inch overall length resembling the Wildcat and LeSabre.
The next year, they planned to upgrade to the larger C-body Electra line that could receive a 127-inch wheelbase and a maximum of 232 inches in length from 1975 to 1976.However, in 1970 Estate Wagons had engines in C-body vehicles. The 455 cu in V8 was the largest Buick engine ever, which produced 375 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, powerful enough to weigh up to 4,762 pounds.
1970 was the last active year for vehicles in terms of power-to-weight ratio. The way these models expanded in size during the ensuing years but lost power as a result of new laws and the OPEC oil crisis.
In addition, the 1970 Buick Estate Wagon had many features as options or standard equipment. The package included disc brakes, electric windows, seats, and the exterior wood grain trim. The interior was entirely vinyl and had VentiPorts on the front fenders.
1970 Buick Estate Wagon managed to attract 28,306 buyers even though it was sold for only one year. Based on the Buick Electra, Wagons sold fewer units in 1971 before picking up steam in 1972, so this is a good number of sales. However, looking at the upcoming arrival of that time, Estate Wagon’s size perhaps was kept a little smaller.
5. Somerset (1985-1987)
In 1985, Somerset first made its appearance in the market. But during 1980 and 1981, Buick used the name to entitle a special edition package that sold under the Regal nameplate; well,Somerset actually began as Somerset Regal in 1985.
The small front-wheel-drive car was renamed exactly after Somerset after Buick quickly realized its mistake. GM’s absurd naming scheme occasionally gives me problems.
The smaller rear-wheel drive Buick Somerset was much different from, the larger Buick Regal. Along with the size, platform, and drivetrain configuration, they varied in each engine’s number of usable cylinders. The 92-horsepower Iron Duke four in Somerset was paired with a required 5-speed from Isuzu.
A 3.0L V6 engine with 125 horsepower was there as an option, but ordering a 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic 125 auto was also necessary. Even though Iron Duke was more effective, the Buick V6 worked pretty well. But the problem was they we reboth too weak and excessively noisy.
The Somerset’s all-digital dash was a key component. Besides, the uncomfortable radio pod couldn’t be upgraded with an aftermarket element. Somerset was a good car despite its numerous flaws.
It may not have been exactly what Buick buyers were used to, but that made it so appealing. It established Buick’s eagerness to try new things and update its image. They had to do something to survive three decades later.
6. Reatta (1988-1991)
Another short-lived Buick, Reatta, had the potential to accomplish much more. But Reatta never had much of a chance in the age of the Cadillac Alante, Pontiac Fiero, Ford EXP, and several imported 2-seaters. Especiallywhen people didn’t know Buick had such configurations in their vehicles.
At first, 2-seater was only available as a regular car. But in 1990, a convertible model was added to the lineup. Reatta was proud of its unusual method, which consisted of a network of stations by a bunch of specialists. Reatta had quite good fameeven though it had a 3.8L V6 engine.
The majority of models had 165 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque. All four corners had disk brakes, the suspension was completely independent, and the dash had a touchscreen interface that was absolutely new at the time.
Reatta, however, fell short of Buick’s absurdly high sales projections. The bean counters for the tri-shield badge wished for sales of up to 20,000 units annually. But, it took them four years to reach the desired milestone. Yet, more than 21,000 Reattas were sold overall by Buick finally.
Countless more vintage vehicles could be included in this list of old Buick models. But Buick is one of the top luxury vehicles of the decade. It can be considered merely unfortunate that people lost this gem over time. But car lovers still remember this model now. So many models have appeared and gone missing, but this one has its own place in people’s minds.