The Mysterious 1971 Buick “6 Wheel Factory Car”; Or Not So Mysterious At All

Buick 6 wheel

There’s been a bit of an internet firestorm over this car the past few days. It showed up at BringATrailer, and the initial response was “photoshop”! Then someone called the seller and got an explanation: This was “a factory job”, one of two or three made by Buick to test the concept of a hydraulically actuated tag axle in order to increase trailering capacity to 10,000 lbs. And just about everyone is buying that. Not me.

 Buick 6 wheel b

 There is NO WAY this abomination would have been designed and engineered at GM. You think Bill Mitchell would have let this go out the door? From the same company that engineered the superb GMC Motorhome with its air-spring twin axles?

What we are looking at is the work of some entrepreneur who came up with the hare-brained idea that it would really be wonderful if a big Buick had a second axle that could be lowered for extra weight capacity. American ingenuity at its finest; straight from the pages of Popular Mechanix. And he managed to build two or three in his shop to test the market, which obviously gave him a resounding answer: This is not what America had been waiting for.

Buick 6 wheel fender

I give him a wee bit of credit for at least covering it up with this, but he still went about it all wrong. IF GM had designed such a tag axle for the Buick, they would have used a little 12″ or 13″ wheel and tire, as a tag axle doesn’t need a giant 15″ wheel and tire to help support the rear end. And it would have been tucked up very discretely into the Buick’s bodywork.

But there’s no doubt that Buick would never have gone down this road anyway, as their cars were able to tow quite large trailers anyway, properly equipped. And the market for something like this was zilch, especially since the trailering market was moving to Suburbans and trucks. Nice try….

 Buick 6 wheel ad