The Buick Regal was mid sized car produced by General Motors form 1973 through 2004. The car was a personal luxury vehicle created for Buick to compete against the Cutlassas Supreme, the Grand Prix and the Monte Carlo.
The Buick Regal shared many features with its predecessor and parent car the Buick Century. The Regal was coupe that carried over many stylings of the Century, the biggest differences in the look of the two cars involved different grilles and taillights. The Regal not only shared looks with the Century, it was also very similar in looks to the Cutlass, the Grand Prix and the Monte Carlo. All three vehicles had colonnade hardtop rooflines, window areas and the new opera window for the back seating.
. The Buick Regal engines were shared between several divisions of General Motors. From 1973 through 1977 only three were offered which included the 231 cubic inch 3.8 Liter V6, the 350 cubic inch 5.7 Liter V8 and the 455 cubic inch 7.5 Liter V8. These first four years the vehicle was offered with only one transmission: the three speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic. With the Buick 350 in V8 being offered as standard equipment on the 1973 and 1974 models.
Once General Motors knew that the Buick Regal could hold its own in sales, the design team made several more engines available for the coming year designs. From 1978 through 1987, no less than seven different engines were marketed with the Buick Regal. These included engines from other lines with the General Motors stable including Pontiac, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile. Buick had developed a new engine and this was the one initially offered for the second generation development of the Regal. A standard transmission was also offered in the early years of this generation but was eventually dropped in favor of all automatic transmissions.
When the eighties arrived, the Regal received another body redesign. This one was much more aerodynamic which allowed the Buick Regal to make its NASCAR debut. The new performance based Regal that was introduced in 1982 would incluld a 4.1 L V6 engine.
The Regal maintained its popularity throughout the last portion of the twentieth century, however declining sales forced General Motors to withdraw the car in 2004. There has been some talk of bringing the name back for 2011 however that remains to be seen.
The Buick Reatta was produced by General Motors from 1988 through 1991. The car was actually intended to be a sports car for the Buick line up however its actually classification was a sports compact car. Made at the Lansing Craft Center in Lansing, Michigan, the car was a hand made production and had lots of luxury appointments.
The Buick Reatta shared several things with other General Motors produced vehicles. It was a shortened version of the E platform. This feature it shared with the Cadillac Allante. It also shared electronic features and interior design with the Buick Riviera. Though the car was advertised as a sports car, the on transmission to ever be offered with the car was an automatic, although there were three to choose from. The only engine offered with the Buick Reatta was the 3.8 Liter Buick V6. The transmissions offered over its three year life span include the four speed 4T60 automatic, the four speed 4T60-E automatic and the four speed 440T-4 automatic.
One of the more unusual aspects of this particular vehicle was Buick’s marketing approach to it. Buick played up the hand made aspect. Even go as far as included a “craftman log” with each car. The “craftman log” was a leather bound journal that included the signatures of the supervisors for the cars assembly. For the various systems of the car, there would be included a signature for each department head. This was attempt to impart a feeling of individual hand craftsmanship in a mass produced automobile.
Another unique feature for the day time was a touchscreen that was included as standard equipment. This touchscreen was an interface with a computer called the Electronic Control Center. With the touchscreen one could control the radio and climate control functions. Unfortunately this was a little too ahead of its time and proved intimidating to many owners at the time.
General Motors introduced a new mid size SUV for 2004. It was the Buick Rainier. Actually, the Rainier was the first truck to be introduced under the name Buick since the 1920′s.
Since Oldsmobile had discontinued the Bravada, the Buick Rainier was the intended replacement in this particular slot for General Motors. The Rainier was built on a body on frame style and had a V8 engine. The vehicle’s designer was Rainier Rodriguez from California.
The Rainier had rear wheel drive, which was a first for Buick in a long while. The last vehicle to be produced by Buick with a rear wheel drive was the Roadmaster. Designed as a five passenger SUV, the Rainier was one of four SUV’s in the General Motors stable to be offered with a V8 engine.
The Buick Rainier engines offered during its production included the 4.2 Liter Vortec I6, the 5.3 Liter Vortec V8 and the 6.0 Liter LS2 V8. All models were offered with a four speed automatic transmission.
General specifications of the Buick Rainer include the following:Production 2004 through 2007, Assembled at Moraine Assembly, the United States, Class was mid size SUV, Layout included Front engine, rear wheel drive/four wheel drive, Platform was the GMT360.
Although designed to be a new SUV, many of the characteristics of the Rainier were a carry over of the SUV’s predecessor the Oldsmobile Bravada. Buick debuted a new feature with the Buick Rainier, the QuietTuning sound insulation which minimizes outside road noise. The vehicle came with sound dampening features such as triple door seals, acoustic laminate glass, and thicker sound-absorbing pads on the hood and firewall. While welcome feature on the vehicle, it certainly did not generate a tremendous amount of interest in the vehicle. Sales were sluggesh for the Rainier from the outset. General Motors replaced the Buick Rainier and the Terraza minivan with the Crossover SUV, the Enclave for the 2008 model year.
The Buick Park Avenue was a full size luxury type vehicle produced by General Motors starting in 1975. However the Park Avenue was not originally a separate model. The Park Avenue was actually a trim level offered as part of the Buick Electra package. The Park Avenue name would not see its own model until the Electra was retired. 1991 was the first year that Buick offered this model separate from the Electra model.
The first Park Avenue’s utilized the C platform until 1997 and had a 3.8L 3800 series IV6 engine. The transmission on these early Park Avenues was the four speed 4T60-E automatic. It had a 110.8 inch wheelbase and the overall length of the car was 205.2 inches. The width was 74.9 inches and it had a height of 55.3 inches. By 1992, General Motors began using a supercharged engine that had exceptional acceleration given it’s large size.
In keeping with it’s luxury billing, the Park Avenue had sleek silhouette reminiscent of a Jaguar. The hood had a large grille and the car had rounded lines and the taillights ran the full width of the car. These features were so popular with Park Avenue customers that General Motors eventually incorporated them into most of the automobiles in the Buick division. Although the largest car in the Buick lineup was the Roadmaster, the Park Avenue held the top spot for being Buick’s most luxurious car.
Unfortunately, as most of these things go, designers began to tinker with the body style of the Park Avenue and the next generation of this vehicle was not nearly as popular as the older model had been. The sleek style lines that had been so popular were replaced with boxier angles and many felt that the car had lost the elegant look of the earlier versions.
Although not as popular as the earlier models had been, Buick left the body style largely untouched from 1997 until 2003 when minor cosmetic changes were made. The Park Avenue’s final production year was 2007.
The Buicke LeSabre was first introduced to the public in 1959 by General Motors. The first Buick LeSabre’s were full size vehicles and it was considered for a long time as the entry model in Buick’s luxury line of cars. It had the lowest base price of all of the Buick models. Before its arrival on the scene, the Buick Special occupied this position. When the Buick special was discontinued the LeSabre was the replacement. The Special name however would see a comeback in 1961.
Between 1959 and 1971 Buick LeSabres were offered with a manual transmission as well as an automatic one. The three speed manual transmission was very rarely ever sold on the car however. People were just beginning to experience automatic transmissions and the LeSabre came with the Turbine Drive automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes so this was this package of choice for most consumers.
In the late 1960′s Buick introduced a new Buick LeSabre 400 package. This was upgraded trim version of the LeSabre that included the Super Turbine 400 three speed automatic transmission married to a four barrel high compression version of a smaller V8 engine. The displacement for this particular engine was 300 cubic inches. For the same time period Buick also offered the the standard two barrel low compression v8 only with the Super Turbine two speed automatic transmission.
Throughout the seventies General Motors made quite a few changes to the LeSabre. These changes began as early as 1970 when the LeSabre 400 trim model was discontinued and was replaced by the three speed Turbo Hydra-Matic 350 transmission for cars equipped with the 350 cubic inch V8 engine. This new addition was known as the LeSabre Custom 455 and replaced a base model known as the wildcat.
The seventies also saw Buick add a convertible to the LeSabre lineup. By 1975, the LeSabre came as a coupe, two sedans and a convertible.
The Buick LaCrosse was a midsize vehicle that General Motors began to produce in 2004. It was created as a replacement when several other lines within the General Motors company were discontinued. The vehicles it replace were the Buick Century, Buick Regal and the Oldsmobile Intrigue.
Although the car was not available for sale to the general public until 2004. The original concept car was seen originally in 2000. The name LaCrosse was used as a reference to the sport of LaCrosse and was used in an attempt to make a connection with a young demographic sales base. Unfortunately the term LaCrosse cares a negative connotation in some slang dialects in Canada so the name of the vehicle on the Canadian market was the Buick Allure.
The first 2004 Buick LaCrosse engines offered were the 3.6 Liter HFV6 V6, the 3.8Liter 3800 V6 and the 5.3 Liter LS4 V8. The same tranmission was offered with all the engine types. This was the four speed 4T65-E automatic.
Having made its debut in 2004 to replace 3 different types of vehicles with just one model, General Motors was to find that many previous Buick Regal owners were unhappy because alot of popular features were not carried over.
In 2008, General Motors decided that the LaCrosse needed a facelift. The name would change slightly as well to the Buick LaCrosse Super. The newer, updated version of the vehicle has received a lot of upgrades to its physical appearance. The changes reflect Buick’s intention for this new version to be a higher performance model. Some of the cosmetic changes include, a rear spoiler, projector beam fog lights, Magnasteer, larger brakes and standard Stabilitrak. While the outside received and overhaul the inside did as well. These changes include a special badged cluster with blue face, wood grain shift knob,and dream weave leather seating. The LaCrosse is selling well and there are no plans to discontinue it to date.
The Buick Estate was a named used for Buick’s full size station wagons. The name was given to vehicles for the first time buy Buick back in 1940 on something called the Super model.
Interestingly enough the first bodies for these vehicles were wooden and was produced in the Special series offered by Buick for the 1941 and a942 model year. Buick also made this available on a larger C series model which included the Super and the Road Master. This would not change until 1970 when Buick decided to bring the name back and reintroduce on what Buick called there B Body. When it was brought back for 1970 it was referred to as the Estate Wagon.
When the car was reintroduced for the 1970′s, the B body was only used for the first year – 1970. After that Buick shifted over to using the C body. These station wagons would share a new design concept with other station wagons developed by General Motors known as the clam shell tailgate. The clam shell tail gate was an extremely popular concept with most american families. The 1974 and 1975 station wagons would become the biggest ever built by American auto manufacturers to date.
While enjoying tremendous popularity with the suburbanites of this time period, unfortunately the gas crisis would do serious damage to sales of this vehicle. General Motors began to downsize the vehicles in an effort to make them more fuel efficient. By 1977, General Motors was ready switch body size again for the station wagon. This time they would swap back to the B body style.
The Buick Estate Wagon Limited was smaller but had many for features as standard that had been only offered as options on the earlier versions of the vehicle.
The cars were manufactured up through the nineties with a name change to the Buick Electra Estate Wagon. As popularity of station wagons began to give way to minivans, the Estate Wagon sales continued to slide. 1990 would be the last production year for the Buick Estate.
The Buick Electra first appeared in the Buick division of General Motors in 1959. The name has been used no less than six different times throughout Buick’s history. The years that the Buick has used the Electra name are as follows: 1. 1959-1960 2. 1961-1964 3.1965-1970 4. 1971-1976 5. 1977-1984 6. 1985-1990.
The first time the Buick Electra was introduced it appeared as one model with two different versions. There was the Buick Electra and the Buick Electra 225. Before 1959, the Roadmaster and the Limited were the top of the line Buicks. In 1959, they were renamed and replaced with the Electra and the Electra 225. It was the actual length of the Electra 225 that earned its name. The car measured 225 inches.
Through the years the Electra name was used it under went several different body stylings. For 1961-1964, the car comes as a four door sedan, a two door coupe and a two door convertible. For these particular years it is powered by a 401 cu in Nailhead V8. engine.
For 1965 through 1970, the Electra received a complete makeover that included the now classic Coke bottle lines. In 1965 Buick began offering tow trim packages for the Electra. These were the base and Custom package and a new Electra Limited was offered as well.
The Electra would change radically again for the 70′s. Now the styling would be heavier and larger than ever before. The car would have a longer hood and wider expanses of glass as well. Airbags would make their debut in the Electra in 1974, however the technology was very primitive at the time and the feature was not popular due to the expense it added to the car.
The final years of the Electra would be 1985 through 1990. For these years, the car would be known as the Buick Electra Park Avenue. Three engines would be offered for these years including a 4.4 L Oldsmobile Diesel V6 engine. Another new feature for 1985 would be front wheel drive. For 1988, the Electra would receive what would become Buick’s main engine, the 3800 V6 engine. Several new trim lines would be included for 1989 and 1990 which would include the Electra Park Avenue Ultra. The Park Avenue Ultra would be the luxury model and included features such as leather interior and a padded vinyl top. 1990 would be the last year for Buick to use the name Electra. In 1991, the name Electra would be dropped and the car would be then known simply as the Buick Park Avenue.
The Buick Century is a full size performance vehicle that General Motors has introduced to the market on three separate occasions. The first time was from 1936 through 1942, the second time was 1954 through 1958 and the third and longest run for the Century was from 1973 throu 2005. However for the third time, Buick scaled the vehicle size back some and it was marketed as a midsize car for that run.
The first Century’s were full size four door sedans that came with a 320 cu in engine that produce 120 horsepower.
Buick was working with switching out some of the components of its Luxury models in 1935. Buick had three cars that were involved with this, the Buick Series to cars were changed to the Special, the series 80 cars became the Roadmaster and the series 90, which was the largest and most luxurious became the Limited. The series 60 was replaced by the Century. This involved shortening the wheel base of the Buick Special and adding the most powerful of Buick’s eigh cylinder engines. These were the fastest Buick’s out there and could go up to 95 miles per hour.Although it was fast, it did poorly in sales and was discontinued in 1942
The next time Buick would bring the Century back would be in 1954. This time it would be available in several body styles. These included a four door sedan, a tow door coupe, a tow door convertible and a four door hardtop station wagon. Buick stuck with the earlier plan of using a smaller lighter body with the largest and most powerful of its engines, the 322 cu in V8. This powerful light weight car could fly and prompted the California Highway Patrol to place a large fleet order for the two door sedan Century. This body style was only available as fleet vehicle. In 1959, although not officially discontinued the Buick Century was renamed the Invicta.
After a lengthy hiatus, Buick once again brought the Century name back. The Century became the anchor for the Buick line up and continued in this pivotal position until it was once again retired after an unprecedented run of 33 years.
The Dodge Ram 50 was introduced by Dodge in 1979. The vehicle itself went by several names throughout its life span including the name Dodge D50 for 1979 and 1986.
It was a compact pickup truck that was actually built by Mitsubishi Motors and sold by Chrysler Corporation as a captive import. The total lifespan of the Dodge marketed vehicle was fourteen years, beginning in 1979 and ending in 1993. Plymouth sold its own version of the vehicle however for Plymouth it was called the Arrow truck. Plymouth marketed the Arrow Truck from 1979 through 1982. Although Plymouth dropped the Arrow Truck from its line up. Mitsubishi beginning importing and selling the same truck under its own brand. At this point the truck would now be known as the Misubishi Mighty Max.
Changes were made to the Dodge version of the vehicle for 1982 when four wheel drive was added as an option. The four wheel drive version would be called the Power Ram 50.
For 1983, a turbo diesel engine would also be offered for trucks in the United States market. The turbo diesel engine would be offered from 1983 until 1985.
Starting in 1979, the base model for the Dodge D50 was the 2.0 L 4G52 I4 engine. It was a SOHC engine that produced 93 horsepower. This engine would be offered from 1979 through 1989. Other optional engines offered for the turck include the 2.6 Liter 4G54 I4 engine. This was also a SOHC engine but was more powerful that the base model and produced 105 horsepower. The diesel engine that was offered briefly from 1983 through 1985 was a 2.3 L 4D55T turbodiesel I4 engine that produced 84 horsepower.
In the latter years of production the engines became more powerful. For 1990 through 1993 the vehicles were offered with a 2.4 L 4G64 I4 and produced 116 horsepower. The upgrade engine for the 1990-1993 engine was the 3.0 L 6G72 V6 engine and it produced 142 horsepower.
The Dodge Ram 50 was sold side by side with its successor from 1987 until the Ram 50 was discontinued in 1993.
The Dodge Raider was a mini suv put out by Dodge from 1987 through 1990. It was actually a captive import and a twin to the Mitsubishi Montero. The differences in the Montero and the Raider were mainly in the body style. The Dodge Raider was offered as a mini SUV with three doors and the Mitsubishi Montero had both a five door version and a three door version.
For the short life of the Dodge Raider, no changes in body style, interior engine options were done. The only engine offered with it was a 2.6L (156 cid) I4 engine producing 109 horsepower. It did come with two types of transmissions however. These were the the four speed automatic transmission with rear wheel drive and four wheel drive and the five speed manual transmission also with rear wheel drive and four wheel drive.
Although the Raider did marginally well in the United States market, Chrysler made the decision to discontinue it after three short years. It was not replaced with another mini SUV, instead only Mitsubishi would continue to offer what had essentially been the Raiders twin, the Mitsubishi Montero. As previously noted, the Mitsubishi Montero was introduced by Mitsubishi at the same time that Dodge introduced the Raider. Although the Raider had been discontinued, the Mitsubishi continued to sell the Montero as both a three door version and a five door version. Shortly after the three door Raider was pulled from the market however, the Montero was redesigned and the three door version of the Montero was discontinued as well.
The Raider did live on in other markets however and continued to be produced and sold in places such as Australia and South America. In these markets it did very well and was even sold as a fleet vehicle for the police market in some of these countries.
The Dodge Omni which was release in 1978 was actually a life boat/life preserver for the Chrysler Corporation. Chrysler was experiencing severe to heavy financial problems and had gone to the United States congress seeking monetary help to stay a float. It was the popularity and sales of the Dodge Omni that persuaded the government that Chrysler was worth saving.
As for the car itslef it was one to the very first front wheel drive vehicles offered on a wide scale in the United States market. The Dodge Omni body style had been borrowed from the European Simca vehicle of the same name. Simca was the French division of Chrysler Europe.
The Dodge Omni and its near identical twin the Plymouth Horizon were built on the new L platform by Chrysler. They were the first subcompact cars with front wheel drive to be assembled in North America by Chrysler. Up until this time Chrysler had been content to use captive imports such as the Dodge Colt to feel the subcompact slot.
Because front wheel technology was already in use in Japanese and European imports, Chrysler was desperate to develop a vehicle that could compete. The Dodge Omni and the Plymouth Horizon were the answer to that need. In 1978 Chrysler was finally able to mount a challenge to the popular Volkswagen Rabbit and had beaten both Ford and General Motors in the race to get a front wheel vehicle onto the market. It has been theorized that because the Dodge Omni had done so well in its debut, actually capturing the title for Motor Trends Car of the Year for 1978, that congress was persuaded to step in and assist Chrysler.
Even though the Omni and the Horizon were similar in looks they shared very little in parts. However they did share an engine. Chrysler had gotten away from the Simca engine and began using the Volkswagen 1.7 L OHC engine.