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My 2019 Buick Regal GS sport wagon conversion

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It's a Buick (Opel, actually) and it's about to be modified, so I figured this would be a good place to put it. It's not an antique, but it's a kind of cool car. My wife, Melanie, bought this 2019 Buick Regal TourX for me a few years ago and while it took me quite a while to warm up to it, I have grown to really like it. It's easily the best highway car I've ever owned--it just eats up pavement at ludicrous speeds. Big, comfortable, and even does reasonably well on gas with the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. 



The day Melanie gave it to me. Note my '41

Buick limousine in the background, which

was my daily driver at the time.

The one thing I never liked about it? All that black plastic cladding. Other enterprising TourX owners have devised ways of removing it and giving the car a cleaner look, which is what I decided to do with mine. Basically you order a bunch of parts from GM, get them painted, peel off the black plastic, and put it all back together. A few years ago, I bought everything I needed except the left side skirt (from a Regal GS, like the nose), which it turns out was no longer available from GM. Why just the left one? I don't know.



Used the Audi Ute to collect all the parts from

a local Buick dealer, from whom I ordered



I hunted for that side skirt for more than two years without any luck. Even a used part was impossible to find. I was about to give up and sell all the parts I'd bought at a big loss. Then a few months ago, GM released a new part number, so I ordered one. The order was cancelled because the part was not available. Frustrating. So I ordered that same part from another dealer and after a few weeks of expecting that order to be cancelled as well, the part finally showed up. I took all the parts to the paint shop and spent another few thousand bucks having them paint everything to match the car (which is a special tri-coat paint job, kind of a sparkly white). 


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New parts, freshly painted to match the car.


Today I decided to get started on this long-overdue project. I put the TourX on the lift to give me better access to the underside of the nose, and started taking things apart.


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Before. Note the chip in the front bumper from 

two winters ago when I slid into my garage.

I knew I was doing this conversion so I never

bothered to get it fixed. It just took longer than

I expected.


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Nose was pretty easy to remove. About 20 fasteners

and one wiring harness connector, and it came

right off.


I have decided to replace the standard TourX nose with one from the Regal GS. It's a slightly different design, more aggressive and without any black cladding at all. I'd lose my fog lights, but I never use them anyway, and I like the cleaner look. Here's a car that has already been converted using the GS nose:




Once I had the old bumper off, I started assembling the new one. The new GS grille snapped into place, along with the two outer "scoops" which were two-piece assemblies. That all went smoothly and without much difficulty. I also transferred the side marker light housings, the wiring harness for the front impact sensor and side marker lights, and a Styrofoam reinforcing piece that helps the bumper hold its shape. For the most part, it all fit even though the shape of the bumper cover was slightly different.


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I started assembling the new bumper.


While I was working on all that, I had my son, Riley, pull off the plastic cladding on the rest of the car. It's just held on with double-sided tape, no holes or clips, so it was easy to remove and doesn't require any paint or bodywork. He used a heat gun to soften up the glue and then just yanked the cladding off. No going back now!


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Riley was in charge of removing all the black plastic

cladding. We'll use Goo-Gone to remove the 

residue from the double-sided tape.


Eventually, however, I was stymied by the lower splash pan. Technically, I'm supposed to be able to remove it from my old bumper and install it on the new one. I even looked it up--the TourX and the Regal GS use the same part number. It SHOULD fit. It does not. The mounting holes and tabs are pretty far off and the outer ends are the wrong shape.


I'm struggling with part #6.


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Mounting areas are pretty far off.


I stopped there pending some additional information. I can surely modify it and MAKE it fit, but I don't really want to do that. It should just snap together using the original hardware and mounting holes. The fact that both the TourX and the Regal GS use the same part number suggests that maybe I'm doing something wrong. Or perhaps my car is a freak of some kind; unlikely, but why else would the parts be so different?


Anyway, I hope I'll be able to figure out what's going on there, then get busy installing the side skirts, which are likely an equally challenging job. I was hoping to knock it out in a weekend, but we'll see if I get lucky tomorrow...


Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Spent about two hours wrestling with the part that doesn't fit and ultimately just got the cut-off wheel out and MADE it fit. All good, the nose went back on the front of the car without issues.



Some careful trimming with the cut-off wheel

and the parts fit like they should. I suspect that

the air dam under the car is a different piece

for the GS vs. the TourX.


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New nose is installed and fits well. No other issues

beyond trimming that lower air dam.


Once the nose was back on, I removed the black cladding attached to the bottom of the rear bumper. More double-sided tape and three screws hold it in place. I had to remove the parking sensors and reflectors (they'll be re-used on the replacement piece), but it wasn't a terrible job. I transferred the reflectors and exhaust trim to the new piece, but did not install it because I want to clean everything and get rid of the tape first.


Finally, I had to figure out the rocker panels. There's no real mention anywhere of how they are attached and how to remove them, other than warnings from other TourX owners that "all the clips will break when you pull it off." I started pulling it off gently, but when stuff started cracking and breaking, I just pulled it and let the clips get broken. The new rockers have fresh clips anyway, so it appears they were single use only. The rockers are held onto the car using these little nubs welded to the rocker panel, similar to what GM was doing to hold rub strips on the sides of cars in the '70s. 



Rocker panel trim is held in place by these

 little nubs and single-use clips. Fortunately,

the new rockers have fresh clips.


Before I install the rocker trim, I want to get things cleaned up--there's a lot of dirt built up under and behind all these parts I'm removing. But before I can give it a bath, I want to get all the double-sided tape off. Well, that turned out to be easier said than done. First I tried one of those adhesive erasers, but since the tape is foam-based, it just kind of shredded it without removing the adhesive. It just made a mess. Then I soaked it in Goo-Gone which kind of worked but will probably take five or six applications with some scraping using a plastic razor blade in-between. So I scraped that crap for another three or four hours until I gave up for the day. I think I got about 50% of it, but there's still a lot to do. I left it soaking in Goo-Gone and will try again later.


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This industrial double-sided tape is extraordinarily

difficult to remove. It will just take time.


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And finished!




Our detailer came in this morning and saw my adhesive mess and said, "I can get that off in like 20 minutes." So I bade him good luck and he set to removing it. Using a heat gun and some concoction of mineral spirits and other stuff, he did indeed get all the tape goop off the car. It took him about an hour, but that was far faster than I could have done it. I'm calling that a win.


After work, I spent another hour doing final assembly. I snapped the rear bumper insert into place and secured it with two clips on the ends and two screws in the center, both left over from the original bumper. I reinstalled the back-up sensors and reflectors, and it was good to go.



Rear bumper insert installed.  You can still

see some remnants of the double-sided 

tape, which shows where the old cladding

was located. I'll give the car a deep detail

this weekend and erase the last remnants.



Then I installed the new rocker panel covers, which just snapped into place. It requires a piece of double-sided tape just ahead of the rear wheel arch, so I sent Melanie to the auto parts store to get some tape. Turns out, I didn't need it--these rockers are so complete that they come with all the clips AND a piece of tape already in place. Nice!


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New rocker panel trim pieces are remarkably complete, right

down to a piece of double-sided tape where needed.

Clips just snap into place.


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Rockers snapped into place easily.


The last step was to run a few screws into the rocker panel trim from the wheel wells to secure the ends. Easy. I cleaned up and took it outside to take a few photos. Here's a before and after:


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I guess I need to find another project--this took less time than I expected. I suppose I could install that new fuel gauge in the '41 Buick...


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  • Matt Harwood changed the title to My 2019 Buick Regal GS sport wagon conversion

I like what you have done. You sent me the parts list a while back when I was considering the same thing. I revisited everything as I was about to finally purchase a Tourx this week but then a ‘20 GS popped up with the color and options that I have been looking for and I changed course. Thanks for sharing all of this with us. Most comprehensive look at what’s needed that I have seen.

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1 minute ago, NTX5467 said:

What about the badging?  To complete the "One Of" car the VIN does not support?


Looks great,



It has the GS emblem on the grille, which is part of the grille assembly and can't be removed. I removed all the other badging except the Buick emblems front and rear (I thought about installing Opel emblems to really confuse people). My aftermarket wheels have Buick emblems on the center caps as well, so it looks factory. I'm considering adding a small matching red GS emblem on the tailgate, but that's all I want for badging. The VIN still decodes as a Buick Regal TourX, but another small badge might make it look more OEM.


Interestingly enough, this is exactly how the car looks in Europe. It's only in the US that they added all that black plastic. Here's an unmodified Opel Insignia sports tourer (note the Opel lightning bolt badge on the grille):



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