In-Motion Classic: 1977 Buick Regal – Nice Blue Jeans

1977 Buick Regal coupe. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, February 19, 2023.

You’re looking at the individual sales leader of Buick’s 1977 lineup, the Regal coupe.  Buick sold over 845,000 cars that year, which was good for fifth place in the industry.  Of that number, over 20% of them were of this singular model and body style.  Between the coupe and sedan versions of Buick’s top-tier midsizer, the sales race wasn’t even close: About 174,600 coupes against 18,000 sedans (which had completely different styling), for a total of about 192,600.  Combined sales of all midsized Buicks, also including the Century in Special, base, and Custom trim levels, reached 328,200 units.  The intermediate was far and away the most popular choice at Buick dealerships in ’77, outselling even the newly right-sized LeSabre, which moved 190,700 units.

1977 Buick Regal coupe. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, February 19, 2023.

I like the color of this example, which looks to be factory Light Blue, paint code 22.  It’s entirely possible that this Regal has seen a respray at some point, but the color of its exterior finish looks very much like what was available for purchase when these cars were new.  I look at any 1976 or ’77 two-door Buick A-body with great fondness, as I remember them being everywhere when I was growing up in Flint, Michigan.  My hometown was synonymous with Buick for decades.  Even if the Chevelle / Malibu was the most affordable Colonnade, being a Chevrolet, and the Oldsmobile Cutlass was slightly less expensive (and much more popular), the Buick versions are what I remember seeing around the most.

1977 Buick Regal coupe. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, February 19, 2023.

The entry-level ’77 Cutlass Supreme coupe far outsold the Regal that year by over 68,300 units or close to 40%.  That Oldsmobile’s base price was only $43 less than that of the comparable Buick.  By this point in the ’70s, though, the Cutlass was to Oldsmobile like a TV spinoff that had almost completely eclipsed the popularity of the original program, like The Bionic Woman to The Six Million Dollar Man.  The Regal could be had in plain and Landau flavors, much like one could order an Olds Cutlass Supreme or a Supreme Brougham, in addition to an ostensibly Euro-themed Cutlass Salon.  Over 632,700 Cutlasses of all shapes and sizes were sold for ’77, which was almost twice as many midsized Buicks.  Cutlasses comprised over half of Oldsmobile’s total ’77 output of 1,135,800 cars in what became the first of six nonconsecutive model years in which Lansing would sell over a million cars.

1977 Buick Regal coupe. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, February 19, 2023.

When I was in elementary school in the mid-1980s, there were only two brands of basic jeans that were acceptably cool: Levi’s and Lee.  I remember having a distinct preference for Lee as a brand in the fifth and sixth grades for no specific reasons that I can remember at this writing.  Maybe I liked the lettering on the label.  There were also some Wranglers in my dresser drawers along with whatever Sears Surplus had on sale, but by the time I got to middle school, I was #TeamLevis all the way.

I honestly don’t know what happened with the popularity of Lees, but I can’t remember seeing them around past a certain point in the ’80s.  It was like the cool kids just stopped wearing them, whereas only a few years before, Lee jeans had seemed like a fashion-forward choice.  The ’70s Regal was a little like the “Lee jeans” of personal luxury coupes: nice cars with great style and functionality, but ultimately lacking the magic of a brand name like “Cutlass” or “Levi’s”.

1977 Buick Century and Regal factory brochure photo, as sourced from

It would have been frustrating to Buick dealers at the time if their Regal was seen by some as sort of an off-brand Cutlass.  After all, Buick had a history of being known as the second-most prestigious General Motors brand after Cadillac, regardless of the validity of the Sloanian, hierarchical “ladder” by that stage.  Buick’s restyled and smooth-sided ’76 midsize coupes even featured rear styling that was very Cadill-esque.  As for my own personal preference, I find the original ’73 Century and Regal coupes to be the best-looking of the Buick Colonnades, and really attractive cars in their own right.  Maybe it’s because I remember seeing so many of them around as a kid, but I also like the ’76 and ’77 models, with their smooth bodysides and compound taillamp elements, even if I don’t like them quite as much as the ’73s.

1977 Buick Regal coupe. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, February 19, 2023.

The chromed dual exhaust tips on this one were a nice touch and made me think this car has what was probably the 155-horsepower version of the Buick 350 V8 under the hood.  I’d guess that the engine has had some modifications, if the custom American Racing rims are any clue.  It looks to have been a really nice car at some point in the not-too-distant past, even sporting a telltale round mark on the front fender that indicated it had a car alarm (or a dummy stick-on to make people think it did).  These cars rusted like most other cars of that era.  I didn’t see any rust on this one, and this is Chicago.  The disheartening body damage on the driver’s side still looked fixable, and much more so than if there was rust rot.  This Regal still has presence, and I hope to see it on the road again soon as we sit on the cusp of spring.

Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois.
Sunday, February 19, 2023.

Click here for Brendan Saur’s great writeup of a beautiful ’77 Regal Landau.

Brochure photo sourced from