Buick Regal

The Buick Regal is a mid-size automobile in production since 1973.  Upon its debut, it was based on the Century, hence the initial naming “Century Regal” (but that name was dropped by the end of the first generation’s run).  Like the Century, the Regal rode on the same GM A-body platform and was assembled in Flint, Michigan.  Engine options ranged from a 231 CI (3.8L) V6, 350 CI (5.7L) V8, and a 455 CI (7.5L) V8.  Depending on the model, the car’s length was at 212 – 216 in (5400 – 5500 mm), and wheelbase between 112 – 116 in (2800 – 2900 mm).

General Motors downsized many of their vehicles in 1978.  Chief among these downsized vehicles were the two Buick models, the Century and the Regal, still riding on the A-body.  But by that time, the original A-body was well over 40 years old, and the lineup soon needed a new chassis to ride on.  From 1981, the Regal would ride on the G-body, shared with the Chevrolet El Camino, Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Pontiac Grand Prix, and other models.

1981/1982 saw an update to the Regal lineup.  The car was made to be slightly more aerodynamic, given Buick’s entry into NASCAR.  Celebrating Buick’s victories in the Daytona 500 and Winston Cup Grand National, Buick re-engineered the Regal into a lineup of street-legal high-performance variants called Grand National, Turbo-T, and T-Type.  Initially, 1982 Regals with the GN package came with a 4.1L V6, throwing 125 horsepower.  1982 saw very limited production of the Grand National, and this model was discontinued, with the 1983 high-performance variant being available only with the Regal T-Type.  The Grand National returned in 1984; this time with a turbocharged 3.8-liter producing 200 horsepower.  Of the 2,000 Grand National models produced in 1984, approximately only 200 were made with the “T-Top”, making them the rarest Grand Nationals.  1986 saw a power upgrade to the Grand National: 235 horsepower versus the previous gen’s 200.  The power was bumped up again in 1987, and that year, the T-Top was discontinued, leaving only the Grand National and the Turbo-T.

1987 Buick GNX

In 1987, GM partnered with McLaren and American Specialty Cars (ASC) to create the “GNX” (Grand National Experimental).  This very-limited high-performance mule was distinguished from other Grand Nationals by a special stealthy all-black with black trim look, and an upgraded version of Buick’s 3.8-liter.  This unit developed close to 280 horsepower at 4400 rpm.  This car was considered to be in supercar territory, facing off against the Porsche 911 Turbo at the drag strip.  At the quarter mile, it was faster than the Porsche (12.7 seconds at 113.1 mph vs. the ’86 Porsche Turbo’s 13.1 sec at 105 mph).

The third generation transitioned to the front-wheel-drive W-body platform in 1988.  This was the “first-generation” W-body which featured the same 107.5 inch wheelbase for the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Pontiac Grand Prix, and Chevrolet Lumina sedan.  Engine choices were a 2.8L V6 (developing 125 horsepower); 3.1L V6 (140 horsepower from 1989 to 1993; ’94-up threw 160 hp); and a 3.8L V6 (170 horsepower from 1990 to 1995; 200 hp for 1996).  Although the top of the line Regal was the Gran Sport (GS) model, there was no supercar-style high-performance variant like the previous generation had.  This generation would be strictly a practical executive mid-size vehicle.

The Regal was revamped for 1997, this time sharing a similar body with the Century.  Both it and the Century rode on the W-body platform.  These cars were the “second generation” W-body, an upgraded version of the automobile platform whose wheelbase was increased to 109 inches.  Starting in 1997, both the Regal and Century were available only as 4-door sedans, and retained this trend until the end of their production runs (the Regal discontinued in 2004, with a hiatus until it relaunched in 2011; the Century discontinued in 2005 with no successor, other than being replaced in the Buick lineup by its Regal sibling).  Although the Chinese-market Regal was available with inline-4 and V6 engines, the only engine option available for North America was the 3.8L “Series II” V6, available in two variations: L36, with 205 horsepower; and the supercharged L67 (developing 240 horsepower).  The L67 was employed in the top of the line GS.  After the Regal ended production in 2004, the LaCrosse/Allure replaced it in Buick’s mid-size lineup during the Regal’s hiatus.

In 2008, GM debuted the next iteration of their mid-size front-wheel-drive platform, dubbed Epsilon II.  This platform was the basis for the new Buick Regal sedan, which debuted in China in 2008.  Compared to the previous generation, this model had a shorter wheelbase sitting at 107.8 in (2738 mm).  This Regal was a rebadged version of Europe’s Opel Insignia executive car, and the Epsilon II platform was also shared with the LaCrosse/Allure, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet/Holden Malibu, Roewe 950, and Saab 9-5.  The newfangled Buick Regal made its world debut at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show in December that year, and began North American sales in February 2010.  Initially, the car came in two trims: CXL and CXL Turbo.

At the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, the Regal GS made its debut as a concept car.  This vehicle employed a turbocharged 2.0L inline-4, developing 270 horsepower, 50 more horses than the production CXL Turbo’s output.  The GS entered production as a 2011 model, and in 2014 it was detuned slightly.  This generation was produced until 2017.

For model year 2018, the Regal was redesigned.  The 4-door sedan was exclusive to China, while elsewhere two new body styles debuted: a raked 5-door fastback and a station wagon called TourX.  It was based on the “Epsilon” platform as before, but this time, was renamed E2XX, sharing this platform with the Cadillac XT4, Chevrolet Malibu, and Holden Commodore.

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