Home Car Stories Alley Finds 1965 BUICK Wildcat convertible- Alameda, CA
1965 BUICK Wildcat convertible- Alameda, CA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Double Dragon
Tuesday, 10 February 2015 15:20

1965 BUICK Wildcat convertible- Alameda, CA


Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

1965 BUICK Wildcat convertible Alameda CA logo

The Buick Wildcat was introduced as Buick's 'Executive Hot Rod' in 1962. It was a nice car and a good idea but it had barely seen the light of day before it was squashed another Buick offering: The Buick Riviera.

65 buick wildcat conv alameda ca dr front

The Buick Riviera has often been cited as one of the most beautiful domestic designs of the 1960s. Sales supported this perception and relegated the Wildcat to the sidelines. Too bad, because the Wildcat seemed the right car for the times as well as an extension of something Buick was already famous for.

65 wildcat cvt alameda ps front

The Wildcat was a full sized car with a hot version of the 'nailhead' 401 engine dropped in it. This formula of peak engine in a big car began with the Buick Century. Buick revived the concept for the 1962 introduction of the Wildcat as an option on the Invicta. The Wildcat was set apart with a powerful engine, bucket seats and console. The Wildcat had 1 year on the market before Buick launched the Riviera as a 1963 model. The Wildcat was lost in the backwash of the explosive popularity of the Buick Riviera.

65 buick wildcat conv alameda ca int

The 1965 General Motors full size cars were redesigned with fastback styling cues that looked very sporty. Buick refined the new body by introducing the zigsaw shaped front and rear with cut outs matching front and rear. The 401 engine could be replaced with an optional 425 in either 4 barrel form or with dual quads (2 4 barrel carburetors).  This particular Wildcat shown here has an automatic transmission. The GM full size cars had a 3 speed automatic which provided decent performance when compared to the 4 speed manual which was formerly the only way to go in the days of 2 speed 'slushboxes'.

65 buick wildcat conv alameda ca pass rear

Eventually Buick decided to let the Wildcat nameplate die off in peace. As the 1960s played out animal names were 'out' at General Motors. Pontiac had been forced by GM head office to abandon their very successful 'Tiger' theme for the 1967 model year. When the Chevrolet 'Panther' was released it was renamed the Camaro. The Wildcat wasn't racking up massive sales anyways, so its days were numbered.

65 wildcat convertible alameda ca driver rear

By the start of the 1970s the musclecar mania was killed off through insurance rates, gasoline prices and government regulations that reduced the actual and perceived (net HP rating) performance of musclecars. The concept of a 'gentleman's musclecar wasn't quite dead though. Buick kept the Wildcat concept alive by naming it the Buick Centurion. The Centurion lasted through model years 1971, 1972 and 1973.

65 wildcat convertible alameda ca rear

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:08 )