If you've ever dreamt of driving with the top down in a Buick convertible, you're not the only one. Since 1903, Buick has been enticing car lovers with their range of all-American motors. Today, there's any number of Buick models to choose from...but only a couple of handfuls of convertibles. Fortunately, there's still just about enough variety to give you a choice in the matter. If you can't decide which of the models deserves your attention the most, take your pick from our round-up of the 10 best Buick convertible models of all time.
10. 1908 Buick Model 10 Runabout
How better to start our countdown than with the 1908 Buick Model 10 Runabout, the very first convertible Buick ever made? After debuting at the New York Automobile Show in 1907, it was released to a rapturous reception the following year. Despite costing a hefty $900 (a rare fortune in those days), the Runabout's elegant looks, stellar performance, and outrageously powerful 22.5-horsepower engine helped it become one of Buick's best-selling models of the year. The following year, Buick capitalized on its popularity by doubling production from 4000 to 8000 units.
9. 1938 Buick Y-Job
The Buick Y-Job was revolutionary. Released in 1938, it constituted the first-ever concept car ever produced. Its stylish, innovative design (the handiwork of both GM’s styling department and iconic designer Harley Earl) transformed the industry, with its tailfins, retractable headlights, and waterfall grille helping set a new standard, not just for Buick, but for every other car manufacturer around.
8. 1955 Buick Roadmaster Riviera
Up next is the 1955 Roadmaster Riviera, a supremely elegant little number loaded with sharp styling, exquisite features, and a luxury interior to die for. There was nothing subtle about the Roadmaster's design, nothing understated in its gold trim, its painted wells, fender portholes, and Dagmars. but that was the point. This was a car that was designed to turn heads. If you're lucky enough to find one on the vintage market today, you'll see that over half a century later, it's still capable of doing just that.
7. 1949 Buick Roadmaster
1949 was a great year for Buick, and much of that came down to the Roadmaster Convertible Coupe, a superb motor that firmly established Buick as one of the top car manufacturers in America. Thanks to a snappy engine capable of delivering 150 ponies, the Roadmaster was fast enough to please even the biggest speed freak on the road. Its design was outstanding, with elegant swoops, graceful curves, and the very first set of VentiPorts that had ever graced a Buick. The interior was every bit as delectable as the outside, with sumptuous leather, polished wood, and gleaming chrome. With both a performance and a style to write home about, the Roadmaster Convertible Coupe was unquestionably one of the finest cars to emerge from the post-war era.
6. 1935 Buick Series 40 Model 46C
If you were a prosperous guy or gal about town in the 1930s, there was a very good chance you had your eye on a 1935 Buick Series 40 Model 46C Convertible Coupe. With only 933 units ever made for domestic sale (an additional 67 were made for export), you'd have had to be quick on your feet to catch hold of one. If you did, you'd be unlikely to be disappointed. Selling at $925, this rare bird was a beauty, with curves for days, a sumptuous tan leather interior, and a rumble seat for an extra two lucky passengers.
5. 1990 Buick Reatta
As carsandracingstuff.com notes, the Buick Reatta was introduced in 1990 after design problems delayed its intended release date. Whatever those design problems were, they'd clearly all been ironed out by the time the Reatta hit the dealerships. Powered by a V6 engine that dished out 200 horsepower, it was a powerful, potent machine with the grace and looks of a 1950s film star. The gorgeous interior bore numerous handcrafted details, adding to the pervading air of refined luxury. The exterior design was subtle and classy, while the confident handling ensured it drove just as well as it looked. Released as a low-volume edition of just 2500 models, the Reatta would be the last convertible we'd see from Buick until the release of the Cascada a quarter of a century later.
4. 2004 Buick Velite Concept
In 2004, Buick unveiled the Buick Velite Concept at the New York International Auto Show. A four-seat convertible with impressive styling and equally impressive performance, it was widely applauded. The interior was a hymn to restrained elegance with rich woodwork, butter-soft leather, and shiny metal flourishes. The exterior was a head-turner, full of sleek lines, voluptuous curves, and sharp angles. Its powerful engine delivered a comfortable (although hardly mellow) ride. In a statement released by GM via netcarshow.com, Anne Asensio, executive director of GM Advanced Design, summed up the Velite with the comment: "Velite is a new expression of Buick's longstanding heritage in understated yet sophisticated design. The Velite's impressive stance and overall presence emphasize a sumptuous driving experience that further pushes Buick on to the center of the world stage of luxurious touring cars."
3. 1953 Buick Skylark
As The News Wheel writes, the 1953 Buick Skylark was released to coincide with Buick's 50th anniversary. Its athletic style and luxe design proved a winning combination, while its bespoke extras, which included the option for drivers to engrave their name on the horn, its leather seating, and its vigorous engine ended up attracting legions of celebrities, including Bob Hope and Milton Berle.
2. 1982 Buick Riviera
As buickrivieraconvertible.com writes, the 1982 Riviera Convertible was based on a brand new body style for the Riveria, which had been introduced to the public just 3 years previously. Although Buick was confident about the style of their new model, tensions must still have been running high at GM's HQ - after all, this was was the first convertible made by Buick since 1975 and the first to roll out of the GM stable since the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado breathed its last. They needn't have worried. The 1982 Riviera Convertible was a thing of beauty. Available in a choice of white or red, it was elegant, refined, but with enough unabashed luxury to draw the crowds. With a base price of $14,898, it was no one's definition of a cheap car. Was it worth it? Unquestionably.
1. 2016 Buick Cascada
The 2016 Buick Cascada might not have featured the iconic Buick waterfall grille, but in every other way, it was a classic. As the first convertible to grace Buick's portfolio in 25 years, expectations were riding high. It didn't disappoint. Comfortable, stylish, and practical, this was a car that ticked every box. Powered by a 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with direct injection that delivered 200 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque (or 221 if the limited overboost feature was engaged), it offered a comfortable ride with plenty of thrills. Aesthetically, it was a dream, with a stylish, contemporary design and enough little luxurious flourishes to point to its providence.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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