By on October 23, 2013

88 Buick Mke Show_0006

Please welcome Jeff Stork, who comes to us from The Brougham Society with this story of an auto show and a young GM district manager, along with some great pictures. Check out his blog and Facebook page! — JB

In January of 1988, I was in my first year as the Buick Milwaukee District Sales Manager, aka “Factory Rep,” a job that entailed many tasks. Although it was primarily about obtaining enough orders to keep the factory churning- which could be a real task in a Wisconsin winter- there were numerous special assignments, one being the Milwaukee Auto Show.

88 Buick Mke Show

Today, GM Auto Shows are handled by a team out of Detroit, but back then the responsibility fell to the sales and service reps. My sales counterpart and I (who had the other half of the state) scheduled a meeting with the Milwaukee Sales Managers we and ordered the cars — looking for the right balance of models, equipment, and colors to highlight the new 1988 Buicks. We sought input from the dealers but edited some of their ideas. The service reps supervised the preparation of the show cars and then when it came time to move in, we all worked side by side.

The manager of Rank and Son Buick, a large downtown dealer, insisted that we order a Park Avenue in Platinum Beige with a red leather interior and a dark maroon top. We were skeptical, so we also ordered a back-up car in tone-on-tone Rosewood. When finally saw the car, it looked pink- there was some red in the Platinum Beige paint formula that the red leather picked up and accentuated. We were pretty shocked and ended up using the back-up car, so the pink one became the property of the dealer who suggested it.

And it’s worth remembering at the line itself had undergone a massive transition in a few short years. In 1981, there was only one Buick with front wheel drive- the Riviera luxury coupe, but by 1988 only the Estate Wagon was RWD — and the balance of the entire line were unibody FWD offerings.

It’s a great snapshot of the 1988 Buick line- a sporty Skyhawk coupe, a sensible Skylark sedan and a Quad 4 Skylark Limited coupe with composite headlamps, a two-tone Century Limited sedan and a price leader four-cylinder Custom, the all new W-Body Regal coupe was represented by a black Custom, a ruby red Limited and a white Z-13 Sport Coupe which was rechristened Gran Sport about the same time as the show opening. Leather had just been released for the Le Sabre Limited so we showed one, we put cloth in a tone-on-tone Rosewood Park Avenue and displayed a Platinum Beige Riviera with the new factory Landau top.

There were two brand new Reattas in the display- the turntable car was shipped in from Flint and the floor car was being used by the zone for sales training, so I drove it around the week before the show and the week after. I literally drove it to the Convention Center for set-up day, and then drove it right on in to the Buick exhibit. I was detailing the wheel wells when I looked over my shoulder and there was a Channel 5 cameraman. I immediately turned back to detailing.

These pictures were taken on set-up day, about two hours before the black tie charity reception that takes place the night before the show opens- that’s why there aren’t any people in the exhibit. My boss, the Assistant Zone Manager, asked me to document the exhibit for the Zone Manager who was traveling. All of the reps a great deal of pride in the exhibit. We were pretty much allowed to create and staff it on our own, so I made sure we all got a set of the prints. It’s hard for me to believe that this was twenty-five years ago.

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120 Comments on “Where Are The Buicks Of Yesteryear? They’re Here — With Pictures...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    First of all, welcome! Second, yaaaaay nostalgic American car pics. Third, most rubbish Park Avenue ever, and didn’t deserve to wear the badge, even the Ultra with 4500 seat buttons.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Is this when the Park Ave was still the top trim Electra? I always liked the late 90s to mid 2000s Park Avenues.

      Is it wrong that I want a Reatta or Riviera?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Third, most rubbish Park Avenue ever”.

      I disagree. While the style is meh, they seem to be some of the most reliable cars on the road, and they were comfy.

      • 0 avatar
        Hank

        I disagree, too. The exterior was overly conservative for a Buick, but nicely done. And the levels of airiness and visibility, and space utilization and efficiency are luxuries you find in no car from any company today.

        • 0 avatar
          The Soul of Wit

          “Overly conservative for a Buick.” Isn’t that a bit like being “Overly sporty for a Corvette?”

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            When did Buick become *so* conservative? They were always gentlemanly, but at one point they were also stunning vehicles, almost having the same relationship to Cadillac as Bentley did to Rolls-Royce…

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          “And the levels of airiness and visibility, and space utilization and efficiency are luxuries you find in no car from any company today.” +1. Make mine a T-Type or a GS, please.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’m sure they were reliable with the 3.6! It just isn’t Buick-enough for me. That being said, I never see this version of the Park Ave, only the one starting in ~92, the larger one – which I approve of heartily. ;)

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      With all due respect you really got stuck polishing some turds. Dark days, not even a GN to break the FWD bland styling monotony. Remember seeing a lot of these dead on the road with a busted tie rod and front wheel in a disgustingly unnatural position in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I do still see a few in the ghetto from time to time so they were reliable I guess.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    As a member of the Brougham Society on Facebook, I was hoping TTAC would pick this up! My dad had an X-body Skylark that I hated, but I liked the looks of the N-body shown above.

    Is being a Brougham society member in good standing worth a TTAC shirt???

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Very cool picutres. At about this time, my dad had an ’88 or ’89 LeSabre as a company car. Dark blue on dark blue cloth interior. I remember it as a really nice and classy car for it’s day and was sad when it was replaced by a LeBaron. Two cars with francisized names in a row.

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    Your description of the bad color combo Park Avenue, reminds me of a Buick my father looked at in 1988, Teal over Silver. Terrible color combination. (I can’t remember if it was a Park Avenue or a Lesabre)

    He ended up buying an Oldsmobile Delta 88 because the dealer couldn’t get a Buick in normal color combination in the time frame he needed.

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    I’d love to see a close-up of that Lesabre T-Type that’s lurking in the background. I always liked those for some reason.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim_Turbo

      Me too. And when they came out I wasn’t even a teenager yet. Kind of a weird car for a kid to like, but my Dad was a Buick guy.

    • 0 avatar
      Pinzgauer

      My buddy had a mint black 87 or 88 LeSabre T-Type in the late 90′s. I really liked driving that car. He didn’t own it long before totaling it as he couldn’t drive whatsoever. Oh well atleast I got to drive it before he wrecked it.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Beautiful cars!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice Buick porn.

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    Nice pictures. I noticed in the background the Ford Probe all covered up, so that must have been before they had been released.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Thanks for sharing!

    The Regal has aged well, they were attractive cars.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    They look so nice when they’re new and shiny! Great photos. Speaking of Buicks, I remember going to BJ’s Wholesale Club with my folks and being met by a bright red, brand-new 1992 Skylark coupe – the one with the radical pointy schnoz and rear skirts. Being eight years old, I thought that was just the coolest-looking car. Obviously, it didn’t age well, and such a design would never pass ped safety regs today. But because it was new and shiny and I was young and easily-impressed, it looked the business.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Cool pictures! Wow look at all the whitewalls and wire wheel covers. I wouldn’t mind having that Sierra regular cap stepside Z71 in the background.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    Jeff,

    Congratulations on making it to the TTAC Big Time!

    You know I love these pics, and the stories behind them. No doubt I’ll be thinking about them when I attend NAIAS in a few months.

    For those of you that aren’t familiar with our little group, come check us out…https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheBroughamSociety/

    This week we are celebrating Broughamy Station Wagons…

  • avatar
    Silvy_nonsense

    I forget there was a time when cars were available in colors other than white, silver and black. I also wouldn’t mind seeing two tone paint again.

  • avatar
    pietalian

    It’s almost jarring to see these cars in mint condition – they’re a long way from the sagging suspensions, plastic wheel covers and stick-on chrome the survivors are plagued with today.

  • avatar
    Numbers_Matching

    ‘Where Are the Buicks of Yesteryear?’
    Why there also here – in the upper mid-west, being used by third or fourth generation owners: rural-based college co-eds intensely focused on texting while driving (and some kind of brightly colored soap/grease pen inscription indicating support for a team or birthday on the windows – yes they do that here allot), the usual meth-influenced-tattoo-inspired-f**k-you-lifestyle crowd, migrant families from the southwest/single moms with at least 5 kids in the back seat – basically any demographic the relies on a glowing red light on the dash for maintenance. And I know to stay to stay well clear of them when passing.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      A Buick Century Custom rear-ended me this morning on I-75 this morning. It was under 5 MPH, because its f’ing I-75, and there was no damage. Appearently the girl driving to Wayne State University for class was busy “itching her face” and her foot slipped off the brake pedal and on to the gas.

      • 0 avatar
        Numbers_Matching

        I was backed into at a Costco about a month ago by a late 80′s Park Ave with all the usual visual cues of dilapidation and neglect. The ‘driver’, who would fit squarely in the ‘woke up to go get me a cold pop’ demographic apologized, after which I gave her the ‘no problem’ shrug, and she was on her way – despite some newly formed scuff marks on *my* bumper. What’s the point I thought…

    • 0 avatar
      gessvt

      Spot on, with the addition of: newspaper delivery chariot, complete with worn out exhaust and hair trigger throttle that GM employed to provide the illusion of “peppy”. Give these drivers *lots* of room. Driving is usually the last thing on their minds.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    I always thought the Reatta was one of the most under-appreciated cars of the time (and perhaps today). Nobody understood what it really was. Hand-built personal luxury coupe. I thought it was a bold move for Buick; especially since GM Badge engineering was in full swing. However, nobody could get past the price – I think around 25k to start – and its small size for what you paid for.
    The only downside to the car in my mind was that they didn’t give it an exclusive enough drivetrain. If they could have made it RWD or perhaps the turbo V6 which were in the Grand Nationals.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I recently got passed down several boxes worth of Car & Drivers and Road & Tracks from the past 40 years, and one had an article on several cars Buick’s engineers were toying with – they definitely had a couple boosted Reattas in there, and may have even had one RWD one. Unfortunately, I’m sure the presence of the Allante held the Reatta back, just as no GM can be faster than the Corvette.

      On the other hand, it’s a damn shame the GN-powered Electra Estate Wagon they showed off never got produced.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “I always thought the Reatta was one of the most under-appreciated cars of the time (and perhaps today). Nobody understood what it really was.”

      I do! My father has a malibu blue ’91 convertible with about 25k miles. He bought it for the original owner and delivered it to their condo in Naples, FL. When they were done with it, he bought it from them. It’s actually a really nice car to drive.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    V6 3800 in the downsized Park Ave was a beast. My mom had one and that thing was a rocket. Though the tranny/power steering and AC head gave up the ghost early, the engine logged nearly 200K before it was put to pasture. My dad had the Regal with the 2.8. That one too, went well over 200k but without the typical GM trans replacement etc. I would say 88 was a good year for Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The Series I/4T60 cars seemed to run forever and ever without any trouble. Around here the bodies rotted away until their owners could no longer stand to look at them.

      I always wondered how GM could have screwed up such a good thing with the various design changes to their 60 and 90 degree V6s that made them LESS reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      tooloud10

      Nah, they just seemed fast because of the floaty suspension and the aggressive throttle tip-in that GM gave all of its cars of that era. My mom’s old ’94 Regal GS felt the same way, but 0-60 was somewhere in the upper 8-9 second range.

      The cars did run forever, though–I’ll give them that.

  • avatar
    david42

    Is it just me, or did GM cars have a glossier finish back in the day? Compared to new GM products, these seem to have much more sheen.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Maybe they predated the switch to water-based paints?

      It’s 1988, and only the Reatta has been sucked into the jellybean whirlpool created by the success of the Taurus/Sable. Still resolutely square, except for the rounded nose caps with the composite headlights; can’t tell if they even have flush fitting glass yet.

      It was an exciting time; you could tell Detriot was slowly climbing out of the Malaise Era. I too liked the Reatta; though the Chrysler Maserati was my personal favorite.

      Great time capsule piece, thank you very much for sharing.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The auto show cars typically get a full detail treatment that your average new GM vehicle with 100 day lot-rot doesn’t have.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Multiple light sources in a filtered environment. The outside is full of crap and the sun is a surprisingly bad light source in many situations. If anything you get a metallic paint job next to these 1988s and you’ll see thr new cars are far more reflective.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Congrats on making in getting article onto TTAC!

    I’m just curious to know what customers thought of Buicks touchcreens at the time, did anyone try one out and say “All cars should have these in the future”?

    Otherwise these cars just looked a bit weird to me as with many early jellybean-styled cars, the Reattas were pretty neat though if a bit odd compared to the other Buicks.

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      All fwd GMs looked odd during this period IMHO. Looooong front overhangs and shortened rear decks..very poor proportions for both aesthetics and handling. These cars almost sunk both Buick and Olds – maybe not commercially, but certainly in reputation as a premium choice offered by the General.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “These cars almost sunk both Buick and Olds ”

        That was my contemporary impression; pathetically half-hearted attempts to compete with Toyonda and Volvo.

        The ’80s were when Detroit permanently lost graduate-degreed America.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “I’m just curious to know what customers thought of Buicks touchcreens at the time, did anyone try one out and say “All cars should have these in the future”?”

      I did, I had a Riviera with the touch screen and it was cool beyond words. You must remember this was before home computers, tablets or phones that were the least bit smart or portable. That touch screen was easy to work (DOS on a CRT) You could control a lot of the same functions then as now. The only thing was it was fraught with problems. I didn’t have any, but a lot of people did. Yeah I expected it on future cars, tech at the time was more like science fiction, there was a lot of crazy stuff pipeline, so a computer control center in your car seemed like a natural

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        And those old touchscreens, if not buggy, lasted for as long as the cars usually, they also didn’t need constant patching.

        I say they should’ve stuck with the old touchscreen layout and just mended the bugs, todays touchscreens are hard to read half the time and don’t even work in some cases (Fisker comes to mind).

  • avatar
    ktm_525

    This was the Buick line up when I was working as a lot boy at a local Pontiac/Buick dealer. 18 year old me loved when I could slide behind the wheel of a Grand National for some back lot antics but the rest of the lineup was meh. In fact it was worse than meh. Even then I could see the cars were crap, the interiors were awful and the exterior trim was misaligned and falling off. It didn’t help that I worked on the service side so I saw all those shiny new Buicks coming in for warranty and build issues over and over and over. I was comparing them to my parent’s rides at the time (Volvo 760 GLE and a Toyota Supra). Even an 18 year old punk could see the quality was nowhere near the Toyota and the Volvo..

    The Reatta’s were cool but the touch screen seemed to have a functional life of about 6 months…. The Pontiacs? All I remember is all those buttons. Buttons and switches everywhere. Especially the Bonneville…

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Great pics! I have a fat stack of photos from when I attended the 1989 Chicago Auto Show. Gotta scan those sometime.

    Unveiled at that show were the Miata, the Viper, the curvy Impala and the Geo Storm Coupe.

    I collected 20 pounds of brochures from that show and hung them ALL on my bedroom walls.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Since most of these cars are long since dead or are in terrible shape, it’s nice to see them in their prime as new cars. Skylark coupe is particularly handsome in that trim/color. A bit boring but decent style for GM of the period. Better than the overly clad Pontiacs of the time, a little more shiny bits than the Olds counterpart.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The seventh-gen pre-facelift Riviera (1986-89) had to be one of the worst. They made a nice comeback with the eighth-generation (1995-99), but by then it was too late. Personal-luxury coupes in general were becoming rather scarce.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      8th gen is sweet. Make mine supercharged.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I’m on the lookout for a reasonably-priced 1999 Riviera “Silver Arrow” (the last 200 that were manufactured)…

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          There had better be two of them :)

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          You won’t find one, because owners of those are akin to those having a 96 purple Impala.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I doubt most of their owners even know what they have. Impala SS has a huge following, Riviera not so much.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            But what DO they have – a rattly, cheap plastic and poorly trimmed Buick, with a couple different logos and embroidery on the seats.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve never driven a 99 but several 95s, I wouldn’t say the trim was that cheap they were well appointed for what they were.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Really? They were a luxury coupe, supposedly on par with the Lincoln Mark VIII, which was better trimmed and overall looked better. With a bigger engine and proper RWD.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            No arguments vs Mark VIII, but in theory the Riv wasn’t top brand it would have been Eldo vs MarK VIII. Riviera then didn’t really have any direct competition at the time and now it would be the model you could buy and still run, unlike an engine exploding Eldo.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Mark VIII is beautiful. Now I need a bigger garage for mutilple personal luxury coupes.

            All these cars will get you car jacked in Detroit. Sought after iron indeed.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ah and I need a key to this new garage of personal luxury coupes.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            What was the difference in price between the Riviera and Mark at the time? I seem to recall someone comparing them directly in an old video on YouTube.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Other than the driveline FWD vs RWD, GM had always restrained Buick in favor of Cadillac whereas Lincoln was Ford’s top brand and could go all out with features and materials in comparison.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          What I really want is a 1963-65 Buick Riviera, GS if possible. I have a better chance of convincing the wife of purchasing a 2015 Mustang though.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Oh, those first-gen Rivieras were awesome. My ideal fleet of Rivieras would contain a ’63, a ’68, an ’85 and a ’99 Supercharged

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Define reasonably priced – on the Canadian Auto Trader, there’s #196 with 153k kms, for $15 grand (which, yes, is about 3 times what it’d go for if it weren’t a Silver Arrow). Thing’s in Whitby, ON.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            That owner falls into the purple ’96 Impala category CoreyDL mentioned. They’ll never find a buyer at half that price.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Love me a Regal coupe from the end of production. Make it a Grand Sport with leather and 3800V6. My 1987 Cutlass Supreme may have been more stylish but a 1996 Regal GS coupe would have run circles around it in every possible metric.

    • 0 avatar
      chevysrock39

      My current daily is a Medium Malachite(read: Blue-green) 95 Regal GS coupe with tan leather. The engine is lovely, especially as the last year of the Series 1 3.8. It has ridiculous amounts of midrange torque. It really is an awesome car, got 30MPG driving to Vegas last month (10 hours). Just turned over 100k miles which kinda stinks. I really need a bigger car so it’s probably going away soon, sadly..

      • 0 avatar
        RatherhaveaBuick

        My first and current car is a 93 GS coupe. I got it when I was 16 and don’t want to get rid of it. I’ve heard horror stories of people wishing they never sold their first ride so no matter what, I intend to keep it.

        I drive it daily but it goes through brakes like a motherfucker. 3800 is fantastic.

        Soon I guess it will fall under the “classic” category…

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Where Are the Buicks of Yesteryear?”

    Well, there’s one sitting in my garage right now.

  • avatar
    86er

    I probably already know the answer, but was the Estate Wagon brought to car shows or was Buick too embarrassed by it?

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      They weren’t embarrassed; just knew that their target audiance would not be attending the show; they were busying towing their camper and boat to the next family vacation spot. Back before family vacation became the name of a funny movie, and not something the family actually did.

    • 0 avatar

      You may not. We did indeed have a handsome Estate Wagon in Navy Blue with Saddle Tan leather, but the dealership had mistakenly fueled it and we had to send it back to the dealership to have the tank drained under the Fire Marshall’s orders. It joined the display prior to the public opening.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    That sports Skylark looks way better than my ’95…

    Also, still a shocking number of 1st gen FWD LeSabres around here.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’d get a new beater if I was you and do a 3800 conversion on your Skylark.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        If I’m gonna do that I might as well buy the ’89 Caprice Classic Brougham I looked at today with 305 TBI power…

        And after the Skylark had to go to the shop AGAIN because of the idle speed being too fast and not tripping the fan, as well as an unseen oil leak (leaked onto the motor, so there was no tell tale puddle) I just wish I could be out of this damned thing. But nobody wants it, not even for a thousand bucks.

        I need something old school dependable with a bit of cool, but G bodies aren’t cheap any more and Caprices are a little huge for just driving me around, especially with $3.30/gal gas.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Well if its beat to snot being a typical PA car I might understand no takers, but if the body, undercarriage, and brake/fuel lines are clean it sounds like a conversion candidate. Nobody would see an old N body coming as-it-were, great sleeper. I know its been done I just don’t know how difficult it would be.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I put it up on Craigslist for over a month at one grand and have had zero interest. I think 90s GM products have such a bad reputation that people avoid them like the plague, which is why Cavaliers can be obtained absurdly cheaply, usually for around 600 to 800 dollars.

            As for an engine swap, I’m not sure the 3800 would even fit when the poor underhood packaging makes the 3100 look strangled already. The stupid beak means that a good six inches of potential underhood space isn’t usable, because you would have to extend the whole front end and the front overhang is already bad enough. I scrape the underside of the bumper on curbs constantly because I can’t see where the beak is.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I scrape my GP and its an 08, its plastic no biggie.

            3800 can be done, as long as the donor car is worth it, why the hell not?

            http://www.3800pro.com/forum/fwd-3800-engine-swaps/9552-n-body-swap.html

  • avatar
    dolorean

    “In 1981, there was only one Buick with front wheel drive- the Riviera luxury coupe, but by 1988 only the Estate Wagon was RWD — and the balance of the entire line were unibody FWD offerings.”

    I’m fairly sure the first front-wheel drive Skylark was introduced in the spring of ’79 as an early ’80 model. You can see the *** end of an ’85 Boring-Beige Skylark in the second picture to the left and behind the Brown LeSabre. Must have been a trade-in.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, both the X and E went FWD during calendar 1979- the E-Body Riv at start of production and the X-Body Skylark as an ’80 in the spring. Sorry about the typo, that’s what the passage of nearly three decades will do for you. Hate that.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @28: Oh yeah, it doesn’t cause any real damage, it just annoys me because I can’t see where my damned car ends. Stupid beak is the worst part of the car.

    I’m tempted to try and adapt some first-gen N-body Skylark parts to make a beak-less Skylark, but it probably wouldn’t work because of how different they are.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Nice pix , thanx for sharing them .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “Although it was primarily about obtaining enough orders to keep the factory churning- which could be a real task in a Wisconsin winter”

    Oh, I don’t know, considering how many old Buicks I see in my daily travels around Wisconsin I’d say you had one of the best territories a Buick rep could have in 1988.

    Great addition to TTAC

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Truth. Even today pre-2005 Buicks are ubiquitous as Packer apparel throughout central and northern Wisconsin and are generally worn by the same people.

      Astonishing thing is how well taken care of they often are…so many hyper-clean ones are still cruising the rural and small-town roads. Older Wisconsites tend to revere and maintain their machinery. I love ‘em. Of course, that’s rapidly changing with the destruction of the middle-class and the declining health of boomers.

      The cars that seem to be inheriting what’s left of that demographic are Camrys and Optimas.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @28, Bball: Now I wish I knew how to use photoshop so I could see how that would look.

    The Achieva front and Buick rear would work well together, but then it would say Oldsmobile up front and Buick in the back. :P

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Honestly I just think the Olds clip looks nicer and if it were me I would remove the Olds Rocket and replace it with a modern trishield (ie the all chrome variety on the Enclave sail panel). Between the clip and emblem it would give it a very custom look.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        My car actually doesn’t have any tri-shields on it. If there was one on the grille, it’s long gone, and the center caps for the alloys vanished who knows how long ago so there are no tri-shields on the wheels either. All I have to say my car is a Buick is Buick script molded into the rear bumper.

  • avatar
    Buckwheat

    Great photos!!

    Those pics give me the warm fuzzies. I sold Lesabre, Park Ave, Century, Regal, and Skylark like crazy in those days. They were so easy to sell, I wondered why everyone didn’t want to sell Buicks. Not so much Skyhawk and Riv- and I only sold one Reatta. I hear tell that it’s not so easy to generate Buick volume nowadays, and looking at the current lineup I understand why.

  • avatar
    Joss

    The Camry ate Buick. Today the Camry has become Buick. We had 82 Regal the 6 ran rough & lumpy. It felt plush in a schmaltzy kind of way. The Chinese have nostalgia for Buick from pre-war – I guess, I suppose. The Long March and madam Mao’s red detachment of women did not extinguish the thirst.

  • avatar

    fond memories here. my appreciation your way! thanks a bunch…

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Nice pics! Brought back memories of when a buddy was an intern at Oldsmobile in the mid 80′s. I went with him to some new model introduction of the class of 1983. The audience was factory guys and somewhat surly dealer guys. The funniest thing I remember was the head Olds factory guy telling everyone that they had done their research and the Cutlass name was what everyone knew. Therefore from now on all their cars would be called Cutlass Brougham, Cutlass Supreme, Cutlass Ciera, and Cutlass whatever. At least the food was good, and the bar was free and top shelf stuff.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Sigh…and now “Buick” shills a mostly Korean/Chinese mini-SUV…sad days. While my mother loves her Verano (assembled in Orion, MI…woot), I’m not really sure what Buick stands for any more. While the cars pictured certainly may not have been the pinnacle of design, they still sort of made sense as the conservative arm of GM.

    Now to go back through the pictures and “ooh and aah…”

  • avatar
    marlen

    My wife and I recently returned from our trip with a 1987 Buick Le Sabre.
    We left Aguilar CO with 212K on the odometer. Before we got to North Loup NE the odometer turned up 213K. We drove to Memphis, on to Nashville then into N. Caroline to visit an old Air Force buddy. Stopped in Myrtle Beach for a couple days and visited A cousin. Then on to North Charleston SC for my Air Force reunion. Returned via Florida and then into Texas finally back to Colorado. About the time we re-entered Colorado from New Mexico, the odometer turned up 216K. Car ran super good and is ready for the next big trip. Probably to Arizona in January.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    If you’re old enough, these ’80s cars just represent part of the decline. Don’t know the sales figures but I think the ’90s models provided a significant remission of Buick’s terminal disease, but the brand is back on the skids to the benefit of mostly the Koreans.

  • avatar
    mypoint02

    I saw the pictures and thought they looked familiar. I grew up in Milwaukee and we went to the show at the old MECCA convention center every year. I was 10 in ’88. What I remember most from that Buick display as a kid was trying to find the cars with the CRT touchscreens so I could mess around with it (they had it turned on). Looking back, I can only imagine living with it in real life – but it seemed really futuristic and cool to me at the time. Thanks for the memories!

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I know the author from a car club I used to belong. He is a GM lifer, if you couldn’t tell from the nostalgia for what most would call ‘forgotten’ products. He was always saying “Just wait and see what is coming!”, sound familiar?

    In 1988, Ford had Taurus, and GM was still pushing ‘disco’ coupes. The “sporty” Skyhawk was at death’s door, and “sensible” Skylark sedan was a fleet queen. The Quad 4? Was more like “return of the Vega motor” The poor quality made many GM lifers head to Asian makes.

    I look forward to more of these humorous Good old days” of GM under Roger Smith, and its meltdown. “Just wait, the new Reatta is going to be a huge hit”.

    NOTE: My avatar is a ’78 Cutlass, represents when GM knew its stuff, and I was a big fan. Bill Mitchell was in charge of styling. After Roger Smith, it went downhill fast.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Buicks today are may more competitive than the ‘good old’ 1988 line up.
    The H body LeSabre did sell well, but the ancient Century contributed to ‘old fogie’ image. Sure, easy sell to old timers, but then who replaced the buyers after they passed? Led to bankruptcy

    If it were not for China, Buick would be deader than Plymouth. Finally, the current Opel/China based cars appeal to younger buyers, aged around 40-50, not 80-85! Just kidding, after the new Lacrosse, Regal, and Enclave were brought out, the Buick exhibits had actual 30-40 year old people looking at the cars.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    Lotta bashing of the 80s/90s era Buicks on here but the fact is they were reliable cars.

    Comfortable and understated, dependable and clean looking. Good sleepers too.

    And nowadays the old ones make good beaters/daily drivers for college students.

    I’m 22 and plan on buying used cars that were previously owned by the elderly for as long as I can…they’re always taken care of the best.

    There is still life in Buick, still nice current products, but its just a different company now…its all global…can’t compare it to the “old days”.

    Regardless, my mom loves her Verano and she drove Volvos before it…


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