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Spotted: a 1979 Buick Regal

April 28, 2023

Anyone who regularly attends a car event will recognize it: there is almost as much interesting stuff to see in the parking lot as there is at the event itself. The same goes for the North Holland Oldtimer Festival in Hem, which again traditionally took place last Easter weekend. Many special and rare classics and youngtimers were on display in the event halls (including motorcycles and trucks), but we also feasted our eyes in the visitor parking lot. Over the next few weeks, we’ll pick in
some favorites. This time: a Buick Regal Limited.

The Buick Regal

The Buick Regal is an upper-middle class model line. The first model came on the market for model year 1973 and the model line is still running. In the US, the model line did stop between model years 2004 and 2011. Also, the Regal has not been sold in the US since the 2020 model year. Since 1999, the Regal has also been sold in China and there the model was and is even more popular than in America. In China, the Regal model line also still exists. Originally, the Buick Regal was a truly American car, but the last two model generations (as of 2008) are Opel Insignias with Buick logos.

Second-generation Buick Regal

The Opel Insignia we know well here in Europe, of course. Perhaps the most familiar “real” Buick Regal generation to us is the second generation, which is the focus of today’s column. The second-generation Regal entered the market for the 1978 model year. Compared to the first Regal, the new model was downsized. In addition to its dimensions, this was also reflected in its engine lineup, which initially consisted exclusively of V6 engines. Buick did get there early with turbocharged engines. Also, the Regal was still there only as a coupe. The sedan and station wagon versions were positioned one step down the Century model line.

Buick Regal gets facelift

After some model year changes, there was bigger news again for the 1981 model year: the Buick Regal received a facelift. In particular, the car received a much more aerodynamic design at the front, which allowed Buick to use the Regal in the NASCAR Championship as well. For the 1982 model year, the Century was completely redesigned, but the sedan and station wagon remained in production and were still positioned under the Regal model line.

After the facelift, thanks in part to its (successful) participation in the NASCAR championship, the emphasis also came to be much more on sportsmanship. The highlight were the Grand National, Turbo-T, T-Type and GNX, which have achieved legendary status among muscle car enthusiasts. The second-generation Buick Regal remained in production through model year 1987, after which a completely new generation appeared for model year 1988. That was a front-wheel-drive model generation, though, where the emphasis was again more on luxury than sportiness.

The spotted specimen

The Buick Regal we spotted is an early one of this generation, from 1979 (still just from the same model year). Here we see the Limited edition, the more luxurious version. It featured the 4.9-liter V8, which had become optional by then. At the time, most American makes were simply still officially delivered in the Netherlands, and this Buick Regal is also originally Dutch. American cars are often “modified” by their owners, but this one fortunately remained completely original all this time. In other respects, too, it seems to have been well taken care of, as the Regal still looks like new.