The last Buick Wildcats are bargain muscle cruisers
Earlier this year, we mentioned that the collector car market had finally caught on to the boattail Buick Riviera. Today, we’re highlighting another big, bad Buick, but this time it’s one we feel is underrated, the 1969–70 Buick Wildcat.
Built on GM’s full-size B-body architecture along with the Chevy Impala, Pontiac Catalina, and Oldsmobile Delta 88, the Wildcat was Buick’s sportier full-size model, designed to take on competition from GM’s own Impala SS, Ford’s Thunderbird, and Mopar’s 426- and 440-powered C-bodies.
In 1969, the Wildcat coupe ditched the fastback roofline it had worn the previous four years in favor of an equally-good-looking formal roof with vinyl top. Signature Buick sweep spear styling flowed from each wheel opening, reminiscent of the 1969 Camaro, making even the pillarless four-door hardtops look sleek. Powered by a 430-cubic-inch, 360-horsepower Buick big-block V-8 in 1969 and a 370-hp 455 Buick for 1970, these cars offered spirited performance, upscale looks, and luxurious amenities.
Like the boattail Rivieras that followed, the Buick Wildcat—especially the last two years of production—offered a roomier alternative to a muscle car with the only performance penalty coming from added curb weight as a result of the increased opulence.
We asked Hagerty Vehicle Data Specialist Greg Ingold what he had seen regarding Wildcat sales, and he agrees that they’re underrated. “We recently reviewed this Buick for the next Hagerty Price Guide update and found little evidence that the market is moving on these,” he says. “I honestly think they might actually be the best deal for a higher-horsepower, full-size car right now. The problem is that we do not see many come to market all that often.”
The good news is that when they do come up for sale, average prices tend to be in the $8000–$14,000 range. Rarely do they bring more. Ingold brought up a nice example that sold for $11000 at a Mecum auction in Dallas earlier this year. “For comparison, you’re getting close to Impala SS 427 power, with better creature comforts, for a fraction of the price.”
Buick didn’t build GS versions of the Wildcat in its final year, but nothing’s stopping you from adding a little Stage 1 magic to your Buick V-8. The money saved on the purchase price might just be well spent on some cylinder head work, a camshaft, an intake manifold.