On a late winter day I saw this sweet cruiser poised and ready to pounce out between Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach. The lighting and lack of leaves really make this seem like a still shot from the French Connection. This is the sort of car that looks like it belongs on a stakeout!
This is a 4 door 1969 Buick Wildcat in Verde Green Poly. It is a full-size, very powerful sedan with almost no flash whatsoever.
Dating a Buick in this era is easy as the grill and taillights change at least subtley every year. This was the only year for the headlights to be tucked so far in from the outer edges of the car. Its sibling the Riviera had headlights even closer together to the point where it looked a bit ridiculous.
I totally dig the tops of the fenders becoming the leading edges of the front. The grill is nestled into a massive loop bumper.
Under the hood lies a 430 V8 good for 360 horsepower and a whopping 475 lbs of torque. This was exactly the sort of engine that could make a huge car like this scream off the line. The 430 was a blip in Buick history as it was introduced in '67 and was replaced in '70 by the 455.
Here we see the full scope of this monster. Can you imagine parallel parking this ride?
I think Buick had some of the most balanced designs for their full size cars. No doubt about it this beast is enormous but it manages to retain a bit of athleticism with its open rear wheel wells.
Buick had been known for its portholes for decades but the Wildcat got these faux gills. The writing on the emblem could not look cooler! It has its original set of hubcaps complete with a screaming wildcat head in the center.
Those swooping flares starting at the front of the wheel wells and continuing towards the rear help keep this design from seeming bloated. If this came with fender skirts and had flat sides it would seem like the laziest slab barely able to get up from its La-Z-Boy.
Buick was just beneath Cadillac in the General Motors hierarchy so quality details abound. The delicate chrome trim outlining the trunk lid and quarter panels all contribute to the sense of class.
Looks like this car was sold new in upstate Liberty, New York which makes its overall condition all the more remarkable. This also tells us that this Wildcat retains its original paint!
This thing looks ready to give the cops a run for their money. 6 adults would have no problem being comfortable in this beast.
The horn pad is kind of a strange shape on this ride, but then again so is the placement of the headlight switch up there with the gauges. That 120 mph speedometer is no joke; this 4,332lb car could get up to at least 125mph from the factory! There is something unique to being in an enormous car above 100mph. The sensation is one of floating, almost like riding low swells in a boat. The fact that you could hit triple digits in this thing with some passengers while listening to the radio in somewhat quiet luxury is even more impressive.
Well we'll leave this musclebound yacht to enjoy its golden years by the beach. One unfortunate yet small detail is the dent above the drivers window, almost like someone got one swing of the bat in before they made their escape!
The Wildcat came in 2 and 4 door hardtop as well as convertible so this is the least desirable body style. For this to survive it must've been a family car tucked away in a garage living a simple life. I'm happy it's still rolling the streets almost 50 years after it left the factory. Roll on Wildcat!