This ’81-83 Buick Regal had resided in the front yard of a local home for some time, but a car cover masked its condition. I was under the impression it was a complete and running car- I saw the owner working on it, and he occasionally left it parked with one of the fenders pointing skyward lifted by the (aftermarket) suspension hydraulics.
However, every car has a story, and with the cover off this story is much clearer. Unfortunately, I’m afraid this car’s tale has reached the end. On Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, someone stripped the license plates, and moved it onto the street. The house in question appears to be a rental occupied by multiple roommates, and I suspect both the owner and his car wore out their welcome, and were tossed to the curb (perhaps by the landlord).
With the cover off we see issues, some relatively minor (missing tail lights), some much more concerning (that sag at the B-pillar). The graffiti is a very recent addition- I spotted the car on Wednesday, and the tagging appeared over night before this photo shoot.
Being a Buick Regal, I assume this car spent its first ten or fifteen years transporting an upstanding citizen around Southern California. The ensuing twenty five years are a bit less clear, but somewhere in this car’s history, it received some solid love in the form of this very intricate paint job. I picture a transition period where this car rocked the new paint job and worked as a daily driver for its proud second or third owner for several years.
This picture indicates the daily driving days ended some time ago. I’m not sure what’s up with the roof modification- Perhaps it had a T-Top, and someone filled the gap with sheet metal before cutting off the drip rails and laying fill around the window opening.
Inside, things are equally messy and incomplete. This rear seat shot shows the equipment used to operate the hydraulic lift cylinders tucked back in the trunk. The quality of this work helps explain the kink at the B-Pillar- While you can just add lift cylinders to the suspension, owners should also reinforce the body and suspension to survive the twisting forces they’ve created. Not so much in this case, but the hardware will enhance the impound auction bidding.
This is probably the last we’ll see of our Regal- As of Friday morning it was gone, likely headed to a brief junkyard career, and then on to the crusher. While the owner may have reclaimed it, that kink looks terminal, and a junkyard trip inevitable.
Looks a lot like the customized Regal in Mariah Carey’s “Loverboy” video from 2001… Sad end to this car.
Good find. Thanks for shooting and sharing. And very àpropos for the Buick discussions recently.
This is the definition of a hooptie! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a car with that kind of sagging before, even with the rusted out colonnade chevys that the buy here, pay here lots sold 30 years ago in my area.
I think a very brief junkyard career. If I owned a Regal and saw this car in the pick-and-pay, I’d be afraid to trust any part taken from it.
Sad end to a car that someone put a lot of work and passion into.
It deserves a Viking funeral. Kill it with fire – lots of it!
Missing windshield and ripped open upper dash = VIN tag removed. I have to agree, it was probably was a T top body in its prime, and a good slam by the hydraulics buckled it. Perhaps the roof mod was the an attempt to reenforce after the fact to keep it at least competition worthy but it was just too far gone and fell into disrepair. G bodies were very common lowriders for a while, but most I recall had steel roofs, now I know why!
Anyone else have this image pop in their head?
I think Pinkman had a Monte Carlo (lic plate: THE CAPN), but it still fits.
He had a Monte Carlo and some kinda Japanese subcompact, then the el Camino at the end when he escaped
This car’s last owner obviously isn’t a very practical person. I would have at a minimum kept some of the remaining good parts to sell – wheels, rear bumper, grille, headlight bezels, some of the hydraulics, etc. And then called one of a zillion of those “scrap cars wanted” ads to have it hauled away.
That is what I did when my mom wrecked my Integra – I made a few hundred bucks running a one-car junkyard on Craigslist for three weeks, then got another $100 for someone to haul away what was left. Then again, anyone who keeps a car like this under covers for an extended period of time would not be thinking clearly to begin with.
A shame, because I’m partial to G-bodies myself, and this one was clearly somebody’s pride and joy once.
Yeah I think that they would have at least kept the wheels and hydraulics since those can be used on many vehicles. Trim items maybe not so much since the demand for those has got to be getting near nil.
My thinking is that the person who actually owned it isn’t the one that put it out on the street. I’m thinking it was left at a relative or friends place and the person who’s property it was left on either finally got fed up or is moving. That is why it got the VIN tag removed and pushed out into the street.
Nor the vandal who tagged the thing. You’d think in the time spent on that they could have had it up on blocks and sold the wheels for a few bucks.
You thought you had a Curbside Classic in the bag on Wednesday, then when you came back for the shots on Thursday you now either have an Art Car or a Junkyard Classic, or perhaps even the Trifecta depending on how you play it. Skinner has all the luck…
WALK outside for the shots- LA living, baby!
I’ve looked at these photos a couple times today. I find the severe bend(s) in this Regal, especially in the rear quarter and trunk area, gives this Buick a stronger family resemblance to the early 80s Buick Skylark.
The Skylark having a similar unattractive trailing off downward slope to its trunk profile. The rear of this Regal having a new found Skylark feel to its appearance. Aided by the undersized wheels/tires on this example.
I was 13 when these became available and I recall them being much more attractive than they actually are when I look at them now. There’s something toylike about their proportions, especially forward of the A pillar.
At the time I thought GMs attempt to make the Omega and Skylark look like mini Sevilles looked very gimmicky on a small car. Like how some of the English automakers in the 1950s attempted to apply large and luxury car styling details to small cars. It often looked silly and caricature-like. Of course GM went hog wild with the design language through the decade. IMO the more upright C pillars and more horizontal trunk lid profile on the ’82 Century (for example) at least looked more original and more attractive in application.
The Regal coupe pulled off this design language far better than the Skylark. As you pointed out, helped by greater hood, mid-section, and trunk length.
The only early 80s X-cars I found reasonably attractive were the X-11 hatchback and the five door Phoenix. Only because they appeared original in their design. I thought the J-cars, and the A bodies looked significantly better. Though badge engineering was becoming a big turnoff.
I still see a few of this era Buick Regals and corresponding Oldsmobile Cutlasses plying the streets of the South Bay. They are usually dressed out as classic LowRiders with perfect paint and bodywork. It seems to me that these appeal to a younger enthusiast, maybe in their late Twenties or Thirties. Whenever I see an immaculate 1960s Chevy it usually is piloted by someone more my age, mid Sixties. I liked these Regals, Cutlasses’ and Grand Prix when they first came out, but I found the Cougar and Thunderbird even more attractive.
Thank you for sharing these photos and providing some insight on a car near the end of its lifecycle. I found a vehicle in similar condition in Portland recently.