Buick Wildcat – When we talk about Muscle Cars, Buick is not often regarded as one. The 1960 was the key time for Buick because during the 1963 model year, the division presented two breakthrough cars, the fabulous Buick Riviera, and the Muscular Buick Wildcat.
The Origin Of The “Wildcat” Name
The Buick Wildcat was often considered as Buick’s first performance car despite the fact that there was already a Buick Century ahead of it. Actually, it was more of a luxury sports coupe than a performance machine. As the Wildcat started to long for power, its nameplate was also borrowed by various Buick engines of the early ’60s. The origin of the name “Wildcat” came from the name for a fiberglass-bodies 1953 concept car that took part in the General Motors Motorama display that toured throughout the country.
The Launch of the Buick Invicta Line
The Buick Invicta line was launched in 1962 and the first Wildcat was a sub-series of it. This car also had the long wheelbase of the Invicta 2-door sport coupe with a 325HP version of the 402 CID Nailhead V-8 known as the Wildcat 425 because of the torque that this engine generated back at that time. To create this model, further parts were engineered using Electra rear tail lamps, a Bucket Seat interior with a full length console that housed a tachometer in front of the floor shifter. The tried and tested Buick Dynaflow Automatic was used for the transmission. Other features were a standard Vinyl Roof Treatment, special side trim, and stylized Wildcat Emblems. Approximately 2,000 InvictaWildcar Hardtops were manufactured.
The Rise of the Wildcat Series Of Buicks (1963)
The actual Wildcat Series of Buicks rose during 1963. When the wildcat came, the Invicta was removed from the lineup except for a lone Station Wagon Series for 1963. The Wildcat had some new styling, but the carry-over 401 CID Nailhead V-8 still generated 325HP. The Wildcat was available in three body styles: a Two-Door Hardtop Coupe, a Two-Door Convertible, and a Four-Door Hardtop Sedan (with no center pillar). The Four-Door model outsold the other two models by a great number. The total Wildcat Production sales for 1963 were 6,021 Convertibles, 12,185 Two-Door Hardtop Coupes, and 17,519 Four-Door Hardtop Sedans.
The 1964 Super Wildcat
The 1964 Wildcat was even called as “The next best thing to owning a Riviera.” There were options offered for its engine. It could be available in a carryover standard 401 cid V8 producing 325 HP, a 425 cid V8 generating 340 HP, and a top-of-the-line 425 cid V8 rated at 360 HP. The 340 HP was produced by a factory four-barrel carburetor. Meanwhile, the 360 HP was made possible by a pair of four-barrel carburetors (“dual quads”) from the 425. It was named as the Super Wildcat.
The suspension had an upgrade that included link stabilizer bar and a semi floating rear axle making using of a three-bar link with a track bar. There was also an optional posi-track rear axle. Buick also introduced a Wildcat four-door Pillared Sedan this year.
The All-New Look For The Wildcat In 1965
The Wildcat for 1965 had an all new styling, and had a similar chassis and body lines to the LeSabre line. The look was all new, but the engines were hugely a carry-over. This was after adopting the TurboHydramatic Automatic Transmissions instead of the Buick Dynaflow. The said transmission was equipped to all divisions of the General and was found durable and reliable. The total count for the Wildcat models was 10, evenly numbered between two-Door Coupe/Convertible models and the four-Door Sedan/Hardtop models.
The Introduction To The Wildcat Custom And The Wildcat GS
Wildcat Custom and the Wildcat GS (Gran Sport) were introduced by 1966 and this resulted to few changes to the Wildcat lineup. It was a distinct performance option that was presented this year and placed the Wildcat under the Muscle Car Category. If you opted for the option code Y48, you would have the Wildcat Gran Sport Performance Group.
For a tag price of $381.01, the package included a high performance 425 cid V8 with a pair of four barrel carbs, a chrome-plated air cleaner, cast aluminum rocker arm covers, dual exhaust, heavy-duty suspension, Posi-Traction rear end, and 8.45×15 inch whitewall tires. This engine was also known as the A8 or the Wildcat 465 and only 21 (out of 1,244) Wildcat GS models included this option package.
A Look-Alike Of The Buick Lesabre
A new engine was equipped in the 1967 and 1968 Wildcat Lineup. It was in the form of 430 cubic inch V8 with four-barrel carburetor and produced a considerable 360 HP rating. It boasted large valves for better breathing compared to the former 401/425 nailhead design from Buick’s first V8 in 1953. It had a massive torque amount of 475 lf-ft @ 3200 rpm. But then, these cars began to be larger that’s why they were starting to be like the Buick Lesabre in terms of the looks, and only a difference in the trim. The 1969 model differed to the Lesabre such that the other one had a distinct grill texture and several rocker panel molding.
The Last Model Of The Buick Lineup
The 1970 model year had the last Wildcat model in the lineup. This was also powered by the largest engine offered in a Buick. The standard engine was Buick’s all new 455 cid V8 which could generate 370 HP and 510 lb-ft of torque output. This new engine had a 10:1 compression ratio, a cast iron block, hydraulic lifters, five main bearings, and a four barrel carburetor but the Wildcat was only offered in Custom Trim. A brand new Buick Full-Sized lineup came in 1971 while the new model Centurion had taken the place of the Wildcat. It was also found to be short-lived.
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