Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1961-64 Buick Show Cars

Obscure, One-Off, Full-Sized Buick Convertibles
Text by David W. Temple
Photos from author’s collection
1961 Buick Flamingo with swiveling passenger seat
After General Motors terminated building dream cars for the auto show circuit in the 1950s, they continued to dress-up production cars for various exhibitions across the country. Among them, of course, were Buicks.
Presented here are photos of virtually forgotten Buick show cars from 1961-64 with the omission of 1962; nothing from ’62 has yet been found by the author though undoubtedly something unique was shown for this year.
The most well-known from this group of years is the 1961 Buick Flamingo, a car shown on the final tour of the GM Motorama hence the reason it is the most well-known of the era. It was a modified Electra 225 convertible featuring pearlescent orange paint (probably made by DuPont) and paisley upholstered bucket seats. Its passenger side front seat could be swiveled to face the rear bench seat. Pearlescent paints at that time were quite impractical for production cars as they were subject to rapid oxidation and yellowing. Consequently, about three decades would pass before the paint industry perfected this pigment to the point that GM would offer such a finish.
Flamingo at the 1961 GM Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria
The Flamingo was probably crushed after the show circuit due to its special features, though perhaps it could have somehow escaped that fate.
1963 Buick Wildcat show car
For 1963, a Wildcat convertible received a makeover featuring pearlescent white paint and a special interior with red, white, and blue accents.
A popular display in the 1963 Buick exhibit was the full-size four-door hardtop that automatically split itself down the middle, exposing the inner components of the engine bay, drivetrain, six-passenger interior and large trunk.
Another big Buick drop-top was altered into the Wildcat Sprint for ’64. It, too, was equipped with rectangular headlights. What other modifications the Sprint had are unknown to the author at this time, though undoubtedly it was given a special paint color and interior upgrades.
1964 Buick Wildcat Sprint show car
Can any reader offer anything further on these unique cars? If so, use the “comments” option at the end of this posting to do so.


  1. 1964 Buick Wildcat Sprint was red with red interior custom parade boot, and red inlay bright work. It can be seen here in color.