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Wildcats are among my favorite Buicks. I have owned a 1964 convertible, and a 1970 bucket seat console hardtop.  

 

I considered a Wildcat only collection at one time.  If I could, I would own a 62, a 63, a 64, a 65, and a 1970.  I like the 66s but they are similar to the 65s. 

 

For me the styling of the 67s and 68s don't wow me.  Plus this was definitely a bench seat period.  In my opinion, Buick should have stuck with the bucket seat console Wildcat. No bench seats. 

Edited by B Jake Moran (see edit history)
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I completely agree with Jake.  The name Wildcat is meant to be wild and sporty.  Nothing puts out that fire more than a bench seat, column shifter, and 4-doors. I think they should have stuck with the sport coupes, convertibles, bucket seats, and console shifters for all Wildcats.

 

Try to imagine a 4-door Riviera, GS or GN........

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I had a friend who was the original owner of a 67 Wildcat 2 door hardtop, with bucket seats, console and fender skirts - man, that was a sharp car with loads of style and presence. She drove that 'cat into the early 1980s at which point she traded it on a 2 door Regal. I didn't like the 68 as much because it lost the Wildcat trademark grille. I think I've seen a few 4-door hardtop Wildcats that had bucket seats and at least a consolette - that set up was also quite nice IMO.

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On 1/6/2021 at 8:10 AM, TxBuicks said:

I completely agree with Jake.  The name Wildcat is meant to be wild and sporty.  Nothing puts out that fire more than a bench seat, column shifter, and 4-doors. I think they should have stuck with the sport coupes, convertibles, bucket seats, and console shifters for all Wildcats.

 

Try to imagine a 4-door Riviera, GS or GN........

Do you think the Riviera kinda put a damper on sporty versions of Wildcats, especially since it had a considerably smaller platform? Love them both, but just throwing the question out there.

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7 hours ago, jframe said:

Do you think the Riviera kinda put a damper on sporty versions of Wildcats, especially since it had a considerably smaller platform? Love them both, but just throwing the question out there.

Rivs were not much smaller in 67-68.  May have been a tad bigger.  And likely more expensive.  I am sure the Riv did not put a damper on the sporty Wildcats.  Of note is in 1969 the GS400 came standard with a bench seat too.  I am pretty sure the Buick program just was thinking there were already sporty GM's in the Pontiac, Olds and Chevy versions and that if the Buick folks were that interested they would order the sporty stuff at extra costs. 

 

Kinda bites.  My 69 GS has a bench seat.  Would have liked bucket seats. 

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I think the Wildcat was built on the 126 inch Electra wheelbase in 67 and 68, even though it shared its roofline and body contouring with the smaller LeSabre. The Riviera was on a 119 inch wheelbase. So there was a size difference, and the Wildcat was somewhat positioned as a sporty and more youthful alternative to the Electra 225. Equipped correctly, it could be quite stunning.

 

As the personal luxury market was heating up it would make sense that Buick push the Riviera as its "sport/luxury" champion. In general, though, the market was moving away from their full size sporty entries and repositioning those that remained more as luxury cruisers with a somewhat sporty twist, and the Wildcat got caught up in that trend. The 'cat went back on the smaller LeSabre wheelbase for 69 and 70. 

 

I kind of find it surprising though that buyers of the sporty models seemed to be content with bench seats rather than the buckets/console. Buick began putting the bench in Riviera in 66 in response to customers who did not want the buckets. I think base model Rivs had a straight bench starting in 66 rather than the split back "strato" bench with a center armrest - not very desirable IMHO. As John D notes above, it wasn't uncommon for the GS to be equipped with a bench seat. 

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Among my biggest lapses in judgement was that of thinking I didn't have the available space, and they recommending that a friend jump on a 1964 Wildcat convertible. He loves it, and is doing a great job of correcting the paint and minimal body work, and he's a great caretaker for this Buick,

but I woulda', Coulda', Shoulda' done it myself !!!

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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In 1964, my grandparents, who were in their late 40’s at the time, bought a new 64 Wildcat.  It was a chocolate brown color with tan vinyl interior.  Bucket seats with center console.  Under the hood the breather cover read Wildcat 445.  Man that car was big and fast.  They kept it for five years and traded for a 69 Olds 98 Coupe. 

Edited by 50ChevyFrank
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In college in 1968, my (now ex) wife and I had a 1964 Wildcat Sport Coupe, white with black buckets, floor shift console. A lot different than our friends with Mustangs, etc.  Kept it for a few years, brought our first child home in it.  Traded it for a 1968 Dodge Charger - yellow, black vinyl top, black buckets, console. I'd take either back in a heartbeat.

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On 1/6/2021 at 9:10 AM, TxBuicks said:

I completely agree with Jake.  The name Wildcat is meant to be wild and sporty.  Nothing puts out that fire more than a bench seat, column shifter, and 4-doors. I think they should have stuck with the sport coupes, convertibles, bucket seats, and console shifters for all Wildcats.

 

Try to imagine a 4-door Riviera, GS or GN........

I think it was a brilliant move on Buick's part to have the 4 door.  Let's not forget the Wildcats heritage which was the Century, then Invicta both offered in 4 door.  People that need more car than a coupe with buckets but still want something with a sporty image and performance.  Now I am not sold on the 4 door sedan Wildcats being necessary, I think they could have kept it to convertibles, 2 door hardtops and 4 door hardtops to better define the sporty styling.  Let's face it, even the sportiest car Buick sold (GS) had a bench seat standard most years.  I also feel the Riviera and Wildcat fed off each other with sales, I imagine there were a good number of buyers that couldn't get into a Riv and choose a Wildcat and the same where some buyers bumped up into a Riv.  Back to the 4 door sedan Wildcats, most of these were probably bought by buyers wanting the bigger engine than the LeSabre offered, Buick addressed this when the Wildcats replacement came in 71 (Centurion) by only offering it in 4 door hardtop and no sedan but they made the 455 available in the LeSabre so made those 4 door Wildcat sedan buyers happy 

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On 1/6/2021 at 9:10 AM, TxBuicks said:

I completely agree with Jake.  The name Wildcat is meant to be wild and sporty.  Nothing puts out that fire more than a bench seat, column shifter, and 4-doors. I think they should have stuck with the sport coupes, convertibles, bucket seats, and console shifters for all Wildcats.

 

Try to imagine a 4-door Riviera, GS or GN........

I think it was a brilliant move on Buick's part to have the 4 door.  Let's not forget the Wildcats heritage which was the Century, then Invicta both offered in 4 door.  People that need more car than a coupe with buckets but still want something with a sporty image and performance.  Now I am not sold on the 4 door sedan Wildcats being necessary, I think they could have kept it to convertibles, 2 door hardtops and 4 door hardtops to better define the sporty styling.  Let's face it, even the sportiest car Buick sold (GS) had a bench seat standard most years.  I also feel the Riviera and Wildcat fed off each other with sales, I imagine there were a good number of buyers that couldn't get into a Riv and choose a Wildcat and the same where some buyers bumped up into a Riv.  

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On 3/11/2021 at 5:35 PM, drhach said:

How do the 66 and under Wildcats compare size wise to the Electras? I know he 62's were effectively Lesabres. 

The Wildcat's wheelbase and size was always based on the LeSabre.  This tradition started in 1936 I believe with the Century, which was based on the Lesabre B body but had a longer front owing to the larger straight 8.  

 

The Century went out of the lineup as you may recall in 1958, replaced by the Invicta.  As Dave Holls once said (Dave Holls designed the 62 Wildcat) "nobody knew what the hell Invicta meant! What is it?"  Therefore, Wildcat was a good name choice and the personal luxury race was on as most of us know by 1962.  

 

EDITED

 

I specifically sought out my 1970 Wildcat 2 door hardtop because it has bucket seats and console (and a posi to match to the 455).  The racy upholstery along with the shell buckets and horseshow shifter made the car in my opinion.  

 

A bucket seat console 1963 Wildcat 4 door hardtop is a nice looking car which I would be glad to own.  But with a bench seat, meh, not so much.  

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On 3/14/2021 at 4:59 PM, Ted "Wildcat65" Nagel said:

in 65, 66, 67 and 68 the WIldcat and ELectra shared the 126" wheelbase.  The LeSabre was on a 123" wheelbase.

I'm working on and Electra now and the trunk is bigger. 

Here’s a man that knows his facts 

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