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Yes, It’s a Buick

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Yes, It’s a Buick

SEMA-tuned Lucerne turns heads in Manhattan



This is the photo. I did not know how to make it just appear here.

AutoWeek | Published 04/30/07, 1:52 pm et

Maneuvering the VIP-style custom Buick Lucerne westward across Manhattan’s 34th Street, we’re grateful for crawling traffic. The agonizingly slow pace keeps the lowered car from scraping on obnoxious areas of pavement and gives passersby the chance to gawk. We’re soon adept at lip-reading “What kind of car is that?” as tourists, shoppers, street hawkers and other motorists glimpse the sleek, flowing black shape, accented by large chrome wheels, chrome tailpipes and fender ports.

A blacked-out Mercury Marauder crawls by from the opposite direction, the driver saluting us with a rev of his pipes in neutral. Two 20-somethings in a lowered Honda Civic with a bean-can muffler tell us, “That is way cool. It’s really smooth-looking. We want one.” They want a Buick?

This is one of the cars commissioned by Buick for the SEMA show. Done by Rides magazine, working with Staten Island, New York, builder Don Whitmire, its elegant execution is based on a Japanese style that modifies upscale corporate-executive-class sedans such as Toyota’s Century, Celsior (our Lexus LS), Crown or Majesta or Nissan’s President or Fuga (our Infiniti M). These are VIPs’ cars. They’re lowered, adding big rims and body kits, and done up in black on black.

“The standard’s always been Japanese cars,” says Brian Scotto, Rides executive editor, “but today, you can see a VIP-style BMW or Mercedes.” And now a Buick.

We head downtown. On the one hand, the car is stealthy because it’s dignified, not garish; on the other hand, it’s noticed by car-aware types—including young hipsters in trucker caps and baggy jeans and contemporary couples with designer tote bags.

Buick’s general manager, Steve Shannon (who recently moved to GM’s Saab division), told us half-jokingly that when he decided to make Lucernes available for SEMA customizers, “We had no idea if people would laugh, or even return our phone calls.” He said 11 proposals were selected for execution, from 20 received.

With the average age of Buick sedan owners in the mid-60s, they can’t be customers forever. So Buick is reaching out to new segments. “We wanted to show a heartbeat at SEMA,” said Shannon. “We surprised people. I saw a trade paper headline saying, ‘I’m not making this up, Buick is at the SEMA show.’ ”

Whitmire fabbed new fiberglass front and rear bumpers and side skirts, lowered the car 4.5 inches and added low-key suede interior inserts. “The VIP-style tire and wheel combination is important for a tight-to-the-ground look,” Scotto explains. The car mounts Falken 245/35ZR-20s front and 275s rear, on AME wheels.

We park at Union Square. People approach, not sure what it is. There’s no Buick label anywhere. Whitmire removed color from the Buick crest emblems, substituting cubic zirconia. Manhattan gynecologist Richard Slatkin—a car enthusiast with a Lexus LS 460—points up similarities to the Maserati Quattroporte. He asks for a brochure, saying he’d buy one. Graphic designer Miguel Ovalle, age 31, proclaims himself to be into cars, saying this is “sweet, very clean and sophisticated, definitely good for younger people.” Genevieve Ellis, 24, from the Bronx, wearing an Al Pacino sweatshirt, asks the Maserati question. With her are fellow urbanites Marion Reynoso, 21, and Sabrina Mobley, 31. They declare the car “a real bad ride. It is so far out. Who would know it’s a Buick?” Throughout the day, young and old hail the car as a righteous ride.

Finally, Lincoln Town Car owner Vlad, from Queens, pronounces the car “gorgeous.” He’s 65, and he recognizes the shape of the Buick crest. “This car will sell,” he advises, “if you remove the crest.”

The source:


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Mean looking in black, but why the MB-lookalike wheels?

Edited by ZL-1

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I hate those wheels. The guy who designed them (and all the ones that look like them) should be shot repeatedly.

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Let me re-iterate my statement in my signature...

"GM.. Your brands are only as damaged as you allow them to be."

Give your divisions competitive and proper product, and you'll see nothing but sales growth, especially from my generation.

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Nothing wrong with the wheels, they're just very dated.

Those are def. MB S-class wanabe rims.

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