Buick Wildcat Concept

From GM Heritage Center: The 1985 Buick Wildcat concept car made its first public appearance at the 1985 Specialty Equipment Manufactures Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Though the original car wasn’t capable of driving anywhere, a functional version was already under development. It was to be used for engineering tests, as well as touring the nation alongside a CART Indy racer. A handful of lucky outsiders even got a chance to take a limited test drive. Though not a pace car, both examples were built with support from the PPG Company, which funded the authentic pace vehicles. Wildcat was created not only as a show attraction, but to serve as a test platform for Buick ideas and as a tool to gather data.

To enter the car, the driver had to push on a solenoid in the left rocker panel, which raised the canopy. At the same time, the steering wheel tilted upward to let the driver slide downward to the driver’s seat, allowing the canopy to drop down into the drive-away position. Projected on the windshield, ahead of the driver, was a "head-up" display, which showed speed and odometer readings, along with the shift quadrant display. Mounted in the center of the Wildcat’s instrument panel was a flat video screen showing everything from oil temperature, engine torque, and compass points; to the engine’s spark curve and tire slippage. The "g" forces that emerged when the driver cornered, stomped on the gas, or braked hard were displayed. Essential gauges, including the tachometer, resided in the steering wheel hub. The body structure was a composite carbon fiber and glass.

The Wildcat incorporated four-wheel drive and a McLaren engine, based on a Buick 3.8 liter V6 block, mounted just behind the seats. The engine had 24 valves, dual overhead camshafts, sequential port fuel injection and produces 360 horsepower.

Buick has used the name Wildcat for five concept vehicles, three in the early 1950s, one in 1985 and another in 1997. The 1953 Wildcat I, 1954 Wildcat II and 1955 Wildcat III were all designed under the guidance of Harley Earl.

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