CC Outtake: 1996 Buick Regal GS – Trying To Wear Too Many Hats


(First posted September 28, 2014; now with some revisions)  While the 1990s were not the most exciting times for Buick, they were nonetheless good years to Buick from a sales and profitability standpoint. Unlike other GM brands, Buick had a clear focus and brand image as the traditional American premium car, but the 1987-1996 Regal is a Buick that has always baffled me as I’ve never been able to figure out who Buick saw as it’s intended buyer.

Was it supposed to be sporty? Comfortable? Luxurious? Affordable? Family-oriented? Personal? Youthful? Mature? In many ways, Buick tried to market it as all of the above, and no Regal model better represented these multiple dichotomies than the Gran Sport sedan.


Unlike past or future Gran Sports, this generation Regal GS received no performance upgrades. Differentiating it from lesser Custom and Limited trims, Gran Sports did receive two-tone paint with a lower gray accent, 16-inch aluminum wheels, bucket seats, and a standard gran touring suspension. It also appears that most GS sedans received the available trunk-mounted luggage rack – the closest thing one could get to a spoiler on a Buick from this era.


Inside, leather bucket seats were optional to give a hint of sportiness, though broad, flat cushions and sew style made this was a very faint hint. As a ’96, this example features the more ergonomic dashboard than the original, one that accompanied the addition of a passenger’s side airbag in 1995. Although a welcomed update, the more modern interior came at the expense of downgraded material quality, looking shockingly cheap just to muddle the car’s image even further.

Photographed in Hanover, MA – September 2014

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