In the mid-1970s, car design went from curvy and flowing to upright and formal. And it got boxy, as this 1977 Regal shows.
The Regal was based on GM’s A-body mid-sized platform.
It’s quaint that it was called mid-sized; at just under 210 inches in length, the Regal outstretches the longest modern Buick, the 2017 LaCrosse, by more than a foot.
This despite the ’17 LaCrosse being longer, lower and wider than its predecessor.
The LaCrosse shows some of the voluptuous curves for which Buick was once known. Previous to this junked Regal were the 1973-75 Century and Regal, which served up those curves in long swoops.
(Note that the 1974 Regals pictured below were available with a 455-cubic-in V8, which is 7.5 liters of piston displacement. That’s more than double that of the 2017 LaCrosse’s 223-cubic-inch, 3.6-liter V6.)
Then in 1976, the Regal went under the clay modeler’s knife for a rigidly formal facelift. It had the same roof as the previous coupe with a boxier body.
This 1977 is the same as the ’76, except that it has a slightly different grille.
The Regal had joined the bandwagon that the Cadillac Seville started up for 1975. Suddenly, elegance was defined by sharp edges and stand-up grilles.
And Buick was not going to be left behind.
There was a commanding presence to this revised facade. It had a very American boldness, with a look that was crisp and forthright.
Shame they no longer make bumpers like this. With its standard rub strips and optional $149 (adjusted for 2016 dollars) bumper guards, this pusher is more than ready to protect the assets behind it.
Someone had made off with this Regal’s rear bumper, but its absence highlighted the edginess of the long rectangular tail lights, which emphasized the Regal’s width.
This Regal was powered by a V-8 engine, but concerns around mileage and exhaust emissions meant that by 1977, the maximum of 455 cubic inches had shrunk to 350.
This Regal was filled with junk, but its dashboard still showed the hallmarks of 1970s luxury, with a base of fake wood and shiny accents that were prone to being rubbed off.
The instrument panel eschewed the horizontal gauges of the day for these sportier circular jobs.
This mid-’70s fashion plate was popular, with about 180,000 of these Regal coupes built for 1977. Base price was $4,915, which is just less than $20K in 2016 dollars.
Sounds cheap, but the long-armed option list could quickly add up. For instance, air conditioning would be $1,952 today, and the half-vinyl roof would be $434.
The boxy look took GM all the way through the 1980s, and this ’77 Buick was one of its first recipients. Though it is very of-its-time, this damaged Regal has a plainly expressed elegance that lives up to its name.
Tell us in the comments – what do YOU think of this Regal’s boxiness?