When my friend sent me the link to this eBay listing during an online chat, I knew I had to share it with everyone. Naturally, it’s been found in Oregon and if one is in the market for a well preserved rear-drive H-body, they would have to look pretty hard to find any in better condition. There can’t be many left around with this car’s two-year-only twin sealed beam nose.
These were still common on the road back when I was young enough to believe cars–and other objects–had living spirits, and when I saw a Monza hatchback knock into a Rabbit while parking (I remember the moment during a pre-K field trip quite well), I decided they were evil. I’m reminded of that moment whenever I see these cars, though I’ll confess to never having seen a Buick version. They must have been rare and if I had the option to buy a small “Buick” in 1979, it would’ve been the even less common Opel by Isuzu. Today, though, this looks like the better car.
For one thing, it’s pretty well trimmed, as befits a corporate platform in spiffy Buick garb. The seller’s taken good pictures of the color-keyed interior, nicely showing off the fake wood, chrome plated crotch vent and immaculate moquette seating surfaces. A full console and three-spoke wheel add nicely to the mini pony car theme of this old-guard domestic compact.
Being so inefficient in terms of passenger space, having to scrap the rotary engine planned for the platform was no sweat, as a wide variety of more traditional powertrains, including small-block V8s, could easily fit in the engine bay. This car, as you see here, got the then-gutless 231 Buick V6, making 110 horsepower. You could’ve done worse in 1979, but what’s much more interesting is the potential this block provides for a restomod. Would a turbocharged unit from the GNX or the ’89 Firebird fit?
Would any psychotic person sacrifice their classic car’s powertrain to find to stuffed in this forgotten corporate compact? Or would swapping in the reciprocating parts and engine management out of a Supercharged variant from the front-drive H-body work with a proper fuel delivery system? Our bigger GM powertrain nerds can probably tell us.
A lot of us here at CC don’t care for restomods and would prefer that this car, whose current bid is set at $5,600, remain untouched. The auction is ending at about the same time this goes to print today, and for this much money, I’d be surprised if someone were to plan to simply drive this into the ground. I hope that if the buyer does, in fact, have a desire to somehow alter this powder blue hatchback, he or she keep it looking stock. Given how some GM efforts from this era are discussed, this serves as a nice reminder of what buyers saw when the products were new. As always, the last versions of their famously-botched platforms often turned out quite nicely and I’m actually surprised by how much I like this car. Would a Fox Mustang with a 3.3 six or an Accord with a two-speed Hondamatic have been that much nicer?