eBay Find: 1988 Buick Regal Custom – The California Transplant

GM’s W Platform has a storied history. The lineup failed to truly compete with the first generation Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. Nor could it claim any sort of parity with its Japanese competitors. Sadly, that was the case for the entire run of the series, right up until the last Impala rolled out of the factory in 2016. But I still like the Regal coupe. And this one is noteworthy because its probably one of the last remaining examples in showroom condition.


My affinity for this generation of Regal stems from the 1990 Buick Regal Limited coupe that dad owned from 2003-2010.

He really loved that car. And for good reason: the 3.8 liter V6 paired well with the four speed automatic and consistently delivered about 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

It’s entirely possible that he would have kept the car up to present day but a deer collision knocked out the air conditioning and messed up a whole bunch of stuff around the hood and front bumper.

This particular Regal appears to have avoided any sort of deer or roadside animal over its thirty plus year lifespan.

It also survived its journey from California to New York. I’d be curious if the owner drove it cross country or had it shipped.

And here we have irrefutable proof that this car hails from a state that doesn’t need to salt its roads in the winter. Could that under carriage be any more clean than it already is? Probably not.

Ok, its not flawless, but what little rust is there is completely negligible.

How would the Regal have looked underneath if it lived in New York this whole time? No idea, but here is a shot of my Sable in 2013, when it had been through 16 New York winters.

And here is a shot I took last year of my 2013 Focus, which at this point is a little over six years old.

Here’s a similar area on the Regal. Salt really does eat cars, but it clearly didn’t get to this one.

The interior is in even better shape.

Seriously, this thing is in showroom condition.

Every early iteration of the W Platform Regal got a digital dash, and this one is no exception. Fortunately, it lacks power windows and locks, which are options you really don’t want on a thirty year old car, even if it has just 14,000 miles on it.

Looks like its closer to 15,000 miles. Oh well. This is still a pristine historical artifact.

I decided to save the worst for last. Until 1990, the Regal was saddled with GM’s 2.8 liter V6, which had an output of 125 horsepower and 160 Ib-ft of torque. I highly doubt that is enough power to adequately move the Regal. Why else would GM almost immediately replace the engine with a 3.1 liter variant?

Of course, its easy to say something like this doesn’t come around too often. Which is fair. And even if it is a bit weak in the knees its still rare enough that it’d be cool to own one. If I had the spare cash available I’d seriously consider buying it, especially because it currently lives very close to my house.

As of 1/22/2019 at 9AM, bidding is up to $3,750, with the reserve not being met. I would hope that the owner’s price isn’t above $4,500 because I’m not sure its worth more than that. And $4,500 is already stretching it. Hopefully the car goes to someone who plans to preserve it.

The auction ends 1/22/2019 at 11PM EST.

Related Reading:

Curbside Classic: 1988-1996 GM-10 Buick Regal – Right Car, Wrong Time by William Stopford

Curbside Classic: 1995 Buick Regal GS – Is It Worthy? by Paul Niedermeyer