Do you remember the original Buick Wildcat? It was a full-size model sold for two generations ending in 1970. The Wildcat was and is a performance model, offered in two- and four-door sedan styles as well as a two-door coupe and convertible. Similar in size to the LeSabre, only the Electra was larger.
Big engines defined the Buick Wildcat with none smaller than 401 cubic inches. That’s 6.6 liters with several models powered by a 7.5-liter V8. In those days, the Wildcat upheld the “there is no replacement for displacement” motto that advanced performance. Since after that, we have learned that various boosting methods are the replacement (e.g. turbocharging and supercharging), but the Wildcat of yore remains an impressive example of raw power.
Buick Wildcat Concept
Fast forward to the 2020s and the Buick Wildcat name is back. Well, at least it was resurrected to adorn a deliciously handsome concept model. We’ve been down this road before where Buick showcased an attractive concept, namely the Avenir, and never built it. The Wildcat concept is an attractively crafted coupe, a design so elegant that it seems a shame it won’t grace the style of future Buicks.
But wait…Buick is a much larger name in China where cars remain popular. In the U.S., Buick is now exclusively a crossover brand, but in China, GM delivers a family of sedans under the Verano, Regal, Excelle, and LaCrosse nameplates.
Moreover, the Avenir’s design elements, denied to American consumers, graces the LaCrosse. Occasionally concepts do become a reality or at least that is so outside of the domestic market.
Buick, particularly GM, is rather fuzzy in its plans for the Wildcat. On the one hand, we know it won’t be built as it is, at least not in the U.S. On the other hand, the forward-thinking design elements employed will influence the canvas of the Buick marque moving forward. Indeed, Motor Trends points to the 2024 model year when not one, but two new models arrive. What we do not know is if the vehicles will be new nameplates or replace current models.
Electra for Electric Vehicles
What we do know is that Buick recently trademarked its Electra name and will use it as a sub-brand of electric vehicles. In the short term, we are likely to find new Buicks with combustion engines. But we will also find fully electric vehicles arrive as the brand gradually becomes electrified. In China, five EV models are planned for 2025 across a variety of body styles. In the U.S. we will have full-electric crossovers in Buick showrooms.
Taking the Buick Wildcat concept styling and applying it to future models will be a challenge, but we like that direction. Most notably, the front end replaces the grille with sporty and futuristic design elements, including modern LED lighting. The tri-shield emblem, a common fixture on today’s grille changes and becomes three separate shields lined above the front fascia as the leading edge of the hood. It is a modern touch that aligns perfectly with the Wildcat concept.
Appealing to a New Generation
The remainder of the Wildcat’s body is a coupe with expressive lines, distinct body sculpting, massive wheels, and a pillarless roof. Elements of that design would give any crossover a muscular appearance, although we think a floating roof would dress these models.
Inside, the futuristic look includes a long and stylish instrument panel, sculpted seats, and aluminum trim pieces. The look is a far cry from the granny specials of the 1990s and that is the intention. Buick’s future rests upon appealing to young buyers and the Wildcat concept heralds that direction.
Priddle, A. (2022, June 1). Buick Wildcat Concept First Look: The Future of Buicks New Electra Line of EVs. Motor Trend.
Centeno, Deivis. (2020, April 21). Buick Completes Update Of Its Sedan Portfolio In China. GM Authority.
See Also — Buick’s Premium, Compact Envision SUV
Images courtesy of GM Corp.