The 1970 Buick Gran Sport 455 was one of the most ridiculously overpowered, tire-frying machines of the Golden Age of Muscle Cars, and GM also slapped GS badging on some fairly muscular — or at least muscular-looking — Wildcats and Rivieras back then. Fast forward a decade or so, and you had W-body (think Lumina) third-gen Buick Regals with Gran Sport option packages.
Here’s one that I shot in Denver while scouting for the All You Can Carry For $59.99 Junkyard Sale last month. (Read More…)
In my mind, Volkswagens used to be the “Euro Buick.” Positioned one note above the mass market rabble, VW’s Passat shared parts with Audi’s A4, while the Touareg and Phaeton were luxury cars with a mass market logo on the hood. Then Volkswagen decided this was the wrong strategy for them, so they repositioned VW as the German alternative to Toyota and Chevrolet. This left a gaping hole in the market for shoppers looking to step into a European near-luxury vehicle that flew under the radar. And then Buick stepped in.Buick’s Opel-based product offensive has transformed the brand from Barcalounger wheels for the octogenarian, to a window into the soul of GM’s German brand. This transformation isn’t an easy one as Buick’s problem wasn’t just blue-haired buyers and slinky-soft springs. Buick is the penultimate middle child. Jammed between Chevrolet and Cadillac, brand B’s mission is to give Chevy buyers something to aspire to and Cadillac buyers something to graduate from.
The General giveth and The General Taketh Away. The 2014 Buick Regal Turbo and Regal GS will now get all-wheel drive as an option, with the ability to send up to 90 percent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels. But both the Turbo and the GS will get the same engine, a 259 horsepower, 295 lb-ft 2.0T 4-cylinder. Only the GS model will get a 6-speed manual.
During the short life of the Chevrolet Cobalt SS, the car unfairly became the butt of jokes for my friends and me. Even though we all knew that it was capable of laying waste to whatever we were driving at the time, it was hard not to mock the seemingly endless yellow examples, driven by an anabolic-addled young construction worker, with his right hand at 12 o’clock, and a bumper sticker professing ancestry from one of the PIGS.
The official reasoning behind GM failing to bring the Opel Insignia OPC, according to Buick PR staff, is that the all-wheel drive, twin-turbo V6 powered sedan with 321 horsepower “didn’t fit with the brand image”. Right. The real reason is likely that a Buick Regal GS outfitted like this would cost far more than the already expensive $35,310 that GM wants for a car. And if the market for a $35,000 manual transmission Buick is limited, well – imagine who would buy a $45,000-$50,000 AWD Regal.
Are more losses showing up on your post-bankruptcy financial statement? Are uptight Europeans and Republicans making your overseas division rescue harder than it needs to be? Is the thought of another year defined by Consumer Reports mediocrity getting you down? Good news! GM’s court jester Bob Lutz hasn’t been shipped off to chair Opel just yet, and he’s been sprinkling the autoblogosphere with his patented enthusiast-baiting niche product hints.