The recently unveiled Buick Avista Concept has sparked a lot of buzz over the evolving brand, and rightfully so. With that said, this isn’t the first milestone for Buick. To make the point, Buick pointed out 10 vehicles that have lead up to the unveiling of the Avista.
Below are the 10 said cars along with a discription of each, including the iconic 1987 Buick GNX.
1. 1909 Buick racecar
Up first is the 1909 Buick racecar used to compete for the Prest-O-Lite Trophy back before the first Indianapolis 500. Of the nine cars to finish the race, three were Buick models. The 250-mile race was won by Bob Burman, in a Buick racecar of course.
2. 1910 Buick 60 Special “Bug”
The Buick 60 Special, other wise known as the “Bug,” which features a unique nosecone, used more for form than function. The Bug was powered by a massive 10.2L (622 cubic inches) four-banger that allowed it to reach speeds of 110 mph. There were only two samples ever built, one for the aforementioned Bob Burman, and another for then-racer (the) Louis Chevrolet.
3. 1938 Buick Century
While Buick had introduced straight-eight engines back in 1931, the 1938 Century was what established the new performance benchmark of the time. It was very different than your grandma’s Century, powered by the 5.2L Dynaflash 8 inline engine which featured more modern, domed pistons that yielded an 11-hp increase over the previous model year. The updated powertrain allowed for the passing of the “century mark” with a top speed of 103 mph, putting the Century near the top of the list for fastest cars during its time.
4. 1954 Buick Wildcat II concept
Nailhead V8 fanatics can appreciate this next car, the Wildcat II concept. While it showed off one of the sportiest designs of its time, the Wildcat II was admired for its souped up powerhouse as well. It had a higher output than the production models, though it would have been even neater if Buick had utilized the experimental turbo 425 V8.
5. 1963 Buick Special
1963 was the year that the lightweight all aluminum V8 reached its peak, with a 200-hp output from its 3.5 liters. The engines were used in Buick’s new midsize Special model line, as well as Indy racing cars.
6. 1970 Buick GSX
Known to many as the “velvet hammer,” the Buick GSX was the torque king during the muscle car wars, producing a neck-breaking 510 lb-ft of torque courtesy of its 455 Stage I V8. During a road test in 1970, Motor Trend managed to net a 0 to 60 time of 5.5 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 13.4 seconds. Not to shabby for a 46-year-old car.
7. 1976 Buick Century Indianapolis 500 Pace Car
Taking the more-efficient 3.8L V6 and turbocharging it with 22 psi afforded Buick a 306 horsepower pace car that raised the bar for the brand’s performance.
8. 1984 Buick/March IndyCar
From pacing the Indy 500 to racing it – Buick’s boosted engineering (lol get it?) resulted in the use of its turbo V6 in a record-breaking performance. Scott Brayton drove his Buick-powered March racecar to a top speed of 204.638 mph, with a 203.637 four-lap average. Almost a decade later Eddie Cheever ran the fastest race lap ever at Brickyard, netting a 236.103 top speed courtesy of a more powerful version of Buick’s turbo V6. The impressive record still holds to this day.
9. 1987 Buick GNX
Ah, the 1987 Buick GNX, only 547 of these unicorn-like cars were made, unfortunately. For high-performance during the ’80s, Buick opted to not go with the conventional V8 and stuck with a turbo V6 engine. This resulted in a Grand National dressed in all black with a bigger turbocharger, and an increased power output of 276 hp. These are still highly-coveted vehicles, and for good reason. It’s appearance in the Fast and the Furious movie series has made it even more popular.
10. 2012 Regal GS
In 2012 the GS was reinstated in Buick’s lineup. It brought back with it the manual transmission, matted to the most power-dense engine in its segment, a 270-hp 2.0L four-cylinder. The more modern vehicle was also fitted with newer technology, such as the Interactive Drive Control system. If you’re wondering about the cars exclusivity, well, it’s exclusive enough to make Hagerty’s list of the 10 most collectible Buick models of all time.
After going through Buick’s bigger achievements, it’s clear to see why the Avista is fitted with a twin-turbo V6 rather than, say, the LT4 (which would have still been pretty cool). And as the performance evolves, as do the other features and technology, including a 3D printed interior.