I just returned from a whirlwind vacation with friends in Las Vegas, Nevada which included Superbowl Sunday festivities. I won’t even pretend to be a serious sports fan or that I had any investment (financial, emotional, or otherwise) in either the Carolina Panthers or Denver Broncos. I’ll also state with 100% clarity that watching sports is not beneath me even if it’s not a priority, and I thoroughly enjoy watching the commercials as much as watching the game with friends who actually do care about the teams and outcome. This was the case last week. As per my normal practice, though – once the din of cheering, hooting, booing, and the clinking of bottles had subsided – I found time to branch out on my own the following Monday with my Canon, away from my friends and the tourist traps, to see what I could could find…or what would find me.
I’ve covered a ’74 Regal before in a CC Capsule post from last year. I don’t know if I have a heightened awareness of vintage Buicks just because I hail from the city of its former headquarters – Flint, Michigan. Or perhaps I’m always on the lookout for Colonnades, as I owned one for about five minutes when I was in high school. But this beauty combined so many elements that were too good to pass up and not photograph. Part of what I enjoy about Las Vegas is how areas and aspects of it just seem so frozen in time, especially in the downtown area. Whereas “The Strip” district of Las Vegas Boulevard seems to change significantly from year-to-year and seems up-to-the-minute modern and chic, Fremont Street and the downtown area in general feel like somebody just pressed “pause” some time around 1981 and forgot to un-pause…in the best way.
As for this Regal, I was over by the White Cross Market not far from the Stratosphere tower when this thing came barreling up the street. I’ve already written about how unsubtle the lines of these mid-70’s Regals are. While a contrasting, burgundy color spear probably wasn’t needed on this one in order to emphasize the highly-sculpted, “pontoon” front fenders and character lines, it somehow just worked. This thing is a rolling leisure suit, and while I wouldn’t necessarily wear it, I respect it. Nineteen seventy-four was the first year for the Regal sedan, with roughly 9,300 sold that year, starting at $4,004 (roughly $20,500 in 2016). The coupe far outsold the sedan, moving about 57,500 units for ’74, and listing for just $20 less from the factory. Still, $20,500 for this Regal sedan seems like a lot of car for the money compared to cars of today.
The entire package seemed to fit the vibe of its driver – who looked like a cool cat and someone with whom I would have enjoyed striking up a conversation. “So, if you don’t mind my asking, when did you buy this car?” “I bought it new for my wife as a birthday present, years ago. She didn’t like it, though…said it handled like a boat, so she got a Toyota instead. I kept it, though, because I liked it. It’s got the Buick Three-Fifty four-barrel and the three-speed Turbo HydraMatic. It’s got plenty of get-up-and-go, and rides like a dream. These days, you can’t even tell me what a Buick looks like. One look at this baby, and there’s not a person out there that can tell you it doesn’t look like a Buick.”
Pride of ownership is so apparent with a car like this, and specifically with this car. There’s not a shred of doubt in my mind that the gentleman behind the wheel of this dessert-hued sedan has taken only the very best care of what is surely his baby. She ain’t the best looker on The Strip. She drinks too much (at the gas pump). All the same, this full-figured beauty is robust, loyal, and has probably stuck by her owner during what I’d like to imagine has been through thick, thin, and there and back again. Here’s to a fine piece of Colonnade representation and an ode to 70’s fashion – all rolled up into one proudly all-American package.
As photographed downtown Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday, February 8, 2016.