The Holden That Almost Became A Buick

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
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the holden that almost became a buick

The most famous Holden product to ever wear a Buick badge is the Chinese-market Park Avenue, a car that Buick dealers inexplicably rejected. But back in the mid-1990s, GM apparently planned to use the VT Commodore architecture as the basis for a new Buick sedan, previewed in the XP2000 concept above.

Squint really hard and you can see a resemblance in the basic shapes of the two cars. Since the XP2000 was a concept, it’s likely that the Buick production version would have stuck closer to the Holden design, hardpoints and all. The concept used a 5.0L small-block V8 and GM’s 4-speed transmission, but a smaller displacement V8 was rumored at the time.

The XP2000 had a lot of features that were considering cutting edge for its 1995 debut but are relatively mundane today; a crude version of a lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control as well as a vehicle key that could automatically adjust things like seat position, mirrors and climate control based on driver preferences. None of these would be earth-shattering today but they were pie-in-the-sky ideas nearly 20 years ago.

The biggest payoff may have been the readiness of the VT chassis to adapt left-hand drive. Without it, we would never have gotten the Pontiac GTO, and other export markets would have missed out on the Chevrolet Lumina. If anything, the XP2000 is another footnote in the stilted story of GM’s attempts to bring the Holden Commodore to North America.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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4 of 26 comments
  • Athos Nobile Athos Nobile on Jun 01, 2013

    Well Derek, I drive a VT Calais. The key (or BCM) seems to remember which radio stations I like, because when I swapped keys, I had to reprogram the radio. So they weren't that far off. The BCM has plenty of (advanced) functions, I'd have to dig in the service manual to find out. The greenhouse of that car is certainly VT, and the 5.0 V8 is quite likely the old Holden V8, which sounds absolutely bada$$ with a proper exhaust and purrs like a kitten with the OEM setup.

  • Ron B. Ron B. on Jun 01, 2013

    I thought it was a pimped Ford Taurus.

  • Willbodine Willbodine on Jun 01, 2013

    Strange looking. I see a cross between a Riviera and a Daewoo Eleganza.

  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Jun 02, 2013

    Looks like a four-door version of what was our Poncho GTO (Holden Monaro, am I correct, B&B?) crossed with a last-gen Riv. Good look, better than that of the 88-9?-vintage Regal of the similar look (the one before the A-body Century was dropped, and the W(?)-body Regal and Century were identical except for engine and grille--3.1L Century, 3800-series Regal). I agree with general consensus that the Chebby SS should have been or should also have a Buick or should have gone full-zoot Caddy cousin. Unfortunately, I'm sure that volume wouldn't justify it.