Live Auctions

Original 425: 1966 Buick Wildcat Hardtop

Some cars blend into the background like an automotive chameleon, while others make a bold statement that is impossible to ignore. As you look at the photos of this 1966 Buick Wildcat Hardtop, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that I feel it falls into the second category. The seller claims that it is completely original and unrestored. If this proves true, the Wildcat represents a stunning survivor guaranteed to turn heads wherever it goes. Where it is set to go soon is to a new home. The Wildcat is located in Sioux City, Iowa, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. It can be yours by handing the owner $16,500. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L. for spotting this stunning survivor for us.

If this Wildcat is unrestored, its level of preservation is impressive. Its original Flame Red paint shines magnificently, with no flaws worthy of mention. The panels are as straight as an arrow, but the lack of visible rust catches my eye. There is nothing evident in the supplied photos, with the lower extremities looking particularly clean. The seller doesn’t mention hidden problems in their listing, and with the summary describing the condition as “excellent,” it looks encouraging for potential buyers. The chrome is spotless, as is the tinted glass. It would look nice if this classic rolled on a set of steel wheels with hubcaps. However, the chrome factory Rallye wheels and whitewall tires lift the presentation and visual impact to a higher level. When examining the supplied photos, it becomes impossible to describe this Wildcat as a chameleon.

When a car tips the scales at 4,300lbs, it requires something special to occupy the engine bay if it is to offer its driver respectable performance. Fortunately, Buick shared that belief, which is why lifting the hood of this Wildcat reveals a 425ci Nailhead V8 producing 340hp. The power gets to the rear wheels via a three-speed Super Turbine 400 automatic transmission. Considering the weight it is dragging, the Nailhead’s ability to launch the Wildcat through the ¼ mile in 15.7 seconds looks impressive. Just because a classic is genuinely fast, there’s no reason why the driving experience should cause hardships. Therefore, power steering and power brakes are welcome inclusions. The seller indicates that this Buick is numbers-matching, and while the engine bay isn’t spotless, I prefer it looking this way than covered in detailing spray that leaves every surface looking like they are dripping wet. We receive no information on how well this classic runs or drives, nor whether the seller holds evidence verifying the originality of the 52,800-mile odometer reading. However, the overall condition of this classic justifies cautious optimism.

I’ve previously discussed the perils of White vinyl upholstery, and how age and abuse can leave it looking dirty and yellow. However, when it is treated with care and respect, it can still knock your sox off more than five decades after it rolled off the production line. That is the case with this Wildcat because its upholstery is virtually impossible to fault. I’m sure an in-person inspection would reveal flaws, but there are none visible in the supplied photos. There are no aftermarket additions, and the interior features a few desirable optional extras. The buyer receives air conditioning, a rear window defogger, an AM radio, a tilt wheel, and a chrome under dash tissue dispenser.

When I look at cars like this 1966 Buick Wildcat, they cause me to sit back and reflect on a few things. The first is that it seems an eternity since a manufacturer released a new model with a genuine sense of presence. Manufacturers regularly release new models, but apart from some retro offerings, few have the ability to capture our attention and imagination. They may look good, and they may be competent. But do they inevitably turn heads wherever they go? That ability is rare today. Secondly, current offerings generally roll off the line with pretty boring badges. We have become used to short and sharp handles on everything from electronic equipment to cars. In fifty years from now, who will be able to differentiate between an iPad and an i30? If new cars have lost their sense of presence, manufacturers have lost the ability to apply badges that evoke an emotional response deep within our souls. Buick currently offers a model called the Encore, and while it is undoubtedly a good vehicle, its name doesn’t set your pulse racing in the same way as Wildcat does. Buick produced 9,774 examples of the Wildcat Hardtop in 1966, and the low production figure in the grand scheme of things would seem to justify its preservation. However, it is a car with an appearance that commands your attention and a name that helps your imagination run free. Most new cars fail to achieve that, and that’s why I’d preserve this classic.

Comments

  1. Harvey Member

    Two thumbs up:-)

    Like 34
  2. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Sacrilegious to say, but if this beauty only had a white vinyl top it would be a) a rusty mess underneath or b) phenomenal, like I recall a neighbor had…

    Like 9
  3. Moparman Member

    Simply BEAUTIFUL!!! :-)

    Like 23
  4. misterlou Member

    “In fifty years from now, who will be able to differentiate between an iPad and an i30? If new cars have lost their sense of presence, manufacturers have lost the ability to apply badges that evoke an emotional response deep within our souls.”

    Nice writing @adamclarke

    Like 37
    • Gerard Frederick

      We live in a world of sameness. EVERYTHING is equally boring. Look at Formula One Racing. There are no discernible differences between the different makes, some of which aren´t even manufacturers but rather conglomerates of some sort. They all look alike, sound alike and have alike mechanicals. They all represent rolling bill boards, their colors are meaningless since they do not represent their specific countries – it is a mind deadening sameness which smacks of medocrity. The race tracks are artficial and it matters not whether a race is held in Timbuktu or in Europe somewhere. No more Nürburgring, Monza or Spa or Goodwood with their individualistic countryside settings amongst beautiful wods and hills. All drivers dress alike, speak alike and behave like infantile children on the winners podium, not to forget their respective teams which are equally childish and preposterous in their behavior. The same applies to motorcycle racing, pop music (where is the music?, where are the Ella Fitzgeralds? where are the real, actual musicians? hell, where are the manners?), ditto with the mindless cities lacking all beauty such as Norwalk Ca or such like. And it will get even worse what with the electrification of everything. Wow, I better stop before getting depressed.

      Like 17
    • 67Firebird_Cvt Member

      Car manufacturers need to resurrect “____ O-Matic”.

      Like 1
      • GitterDunn

        Yes! And “____-O-Rama”, too. Maybe “____-A-Tron”, as well.

        Like 2
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        You mean like my 1955 and 56 Packards with the new wrap-around windshields that used the new Trico “Cam-O-Matic” windshield wiper bases?

        Yeah, that’s what Trico really called them!

        Like 1
  5. GitterDunn

    WOW! That is one gorgeous ride!!! It’s a bargain too, at the asking price. Back in the day, my very cool Uncle Barry, who always used to say he was wearing his Burger King pants (Home of the Whopper!), drove one exactly like it – same color etc., but with a vinyl top.

    Like 21
  6. Grog

    Remenisant of a ’64 Wildcat I used in a demolition derby. It was my sister’s car and after a few years of Pennsylvania rust, it ended heroically!

    Like 3
  7. Raoul-F Raoul-F Member

    The car has undergone at least a partial repaint. I guess it’s completely repainted.

    Like 2
  8. Raoul-F Raoul-F Member

    Seems repainted..

    Like 3
    • johnny

      Don’t think so, looks more like engine compartment detailing wasn’t finished. Check out the right side same area. Probably was working on it when the camera person interrupted, or detailer was on lunch break.

      Like 1
  9. Mark Plunkett

    This seems like a great deal!

    Like 8
  10. Walter

    Ad is down. Unless the pictures are hiding major flaws someone got a real nice car for, in today’s market, a real nice price.

    Like 7
  11. John

    In January 1966 my dad bought the convertible version of this car, maroon and black with black Naugahide buckets and a shift console. It was spectacular. The 425 would howl like a werewolf and smoke the skinny rear tires like a top-fuel dragster. Once the tires hooked up, you were outta there.
    Sadly, Buicks went from awesome to anodyne in the span of one decade — 1970-1980— and never really recovered.

    Like 6
    • Nick 8778

      I think the last “real” Buicks disappeared with the last ones to have the 3800 engine, which I believe was 2009. It was a long slow decline from this magnificent ’66 Wildcat to there, with some fine moments on the way down, like the T-types and Turbo Regals, Grand Nationals and supercharged Rivieras, etc. But Buick today is a faint and fading shadow of a memory of what it was in the ’60s. As a member of the Buick Club of America and someone whose very first memory of a car is my dad’s 1953 Special, it breaks my heart that the only new vehicles you can buy in America with a Buick nameplate are SUVs. Buick today seems relevant only in China, where 80% of the production is now sold (and where you can actually still buy a Buick CAR. I a afraid that all that is left is to keep these beauties form the glory days alive and running, so that people can realize what once was but is no more.

      Like 2
  12. Kevin Leary

    A fine car indeed.

    Like 7
  13. chrlsful

    thinking back I do not have a rememberance of these. Muscle began showing up in the early ’60s B4 it became the phoney cars almost exclusively (’64 or so: Lark R2, 442, sports fury, 409, etc). This 1 began in the era I believe but did not shine by the mid and late ’60s. Perhapse it was the style or the specific gm badge worn. (more “Pop’s car”, lux0barge, etc. Olds shed that w/the 442).

  14. J R Jones Member

    1966, Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick had the fastback. Olds and Cadilac had the “formal” notch back. The Buick is the best looking IMO.

    Like 3
  15. S

    There isn’t a single thing I don’t like about this car! It’s totally awesome! I love the W style front end Buick used then. I love the chrome accents on the fender. I love the road wheels. I love the white vinyl interior! Red is a perfect color for this! It has nice options. What a great find!

    Here’s a cool commercial for a 1967 model Wildcat!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmIqedVdNe4

    Like 9
  16. 19sixty5 Member

    This car is sweet! The only change I would make is when the tires need replacement, I’d go with a narrower whitewall, around 3/8″ I believe someone is a very happy buyer!

    Like 3
  17. Rusty Salmons

    I was 20 in 1983 and bought a 67 Buick Wildcat with the new 430 for $300 as a daily driver. No rust, no dents, just a steel blue hardtop, with side skirts, 5 spoke wheels, PS & PB as options. Flipped the air cleaner lid and listen to that quadrajet howl while smoking the single wheel burn out. On a roll at 20 mph used to surprise a lot of Camaro and Trans Am drivers. One day the engine locked up at a stop light, no oil psi? Sold it for scrap for $250. Just a old car back then, wish I had it back. Young and no real car repair knowledge to speak of. Moved on to a 73 split bumper, 350 4 spd Camaro for $500.

    Like 2
    • 19sixty5 Member

      I was 16 when my parents picked up a 67 LeSabre 400 with the 340 engine. When I was able to drive it I did the same thing, drove a block or two away and flipped the air cleaner lid. It was capable of a pretty decent burnout in the day. I was driving it when the engine mysteriously locked up, wouldn’t crank and after stopping, eventually saw some steam from under the hood. The coolant bypass hose blew. The engine was replaced under warranty as the temp sensor for the “hot” light was faulty.

  18. Tom

    My first car was a 1962 Wildcat which was the first one…bucket seats, console, white vinyl top. Great car !

  19. Russell Arsenault

    During Covid I started building car models again to keep my sanity. I just finished one like this with a duel quad 425 and a 4 speed. Love this one.

  20. fran

    scam cl ad! gone!

  21. John Oliveri

    I’m a big GM fan preferably 69 up, it this Buick is a sweet thing, killer color combo, I hate black interior, this car is a steal, even if it is a repaint,it’s gorgeous

    Like 2
    • John

      Yeah, I hate black interiors, too. Our ’66 Wildcat’s black Naugahyde melted my Jimi Hendrix “Are You Experienced” album and also a plastic Sony cube radio. The heat in there was seriously intense during a Texas summer.

      Like 1
  22. Chuck Dickinson

    Actually, the interior is not “white”. Buick didn’t offer white, but instead it was called “Dove”, a very light beige. I had two of these, a matched pair of a ht and a convert w/the dove int (which some may have called white, but it wasn’t). I also had a 65 WC which DID have a white interior, but there wasn’t one in 66.

    Like 3
    • John Anderson Member

      They called it Ivory, and the full size 65, 66 2 Drs had the same roofline on all but Cadillac. You had to step up to a 98 or an Electra to get the formal roof line. Dad’s 67 4 Dr custom hardtop had that same interior,same dash, any they want to a 3 spoke steering wheel and smooth radius edge in all control knobs

      Like 2
  23. Big C

    There is not a new car or SUV on the face of the planet, that has the soul of this Buick’s tail lamps. And that is sad.

    Like 4
  24. Paulcug

    How did you decide between a Wildcat, a Starfire or a Grand Prix and that’s just GM.

  25. MICHAEL LLOYD GREGORY

    I learned to drive in a ’65 LeSabre and later owned a ’66. The Wildcat was always my dream car, though. Never had one. I did eventually have an Electra coupe, though.

    The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture of this car was the styling cues of the boattail Rivieras that came later on.

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