Exterior Color: White
Interior Color: Black
Dillsboro, Indiana, United States
Ignored On Arrival, But Coming On Strong
An image exists out there that perfectly conveys the fate we thought would befall the Buick Encore after its world debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The shot shows the just-unveiled Encore on stage, basking in the glow of spotlights but surrounded by a large display area that's bereft of both cars and people. Two journalists are sitting on a couch over to the side, both facing the Encore but ignoring it as they inspect their swag, and a solitary custodial engineer pushes a vacuum back and forth across a sea of gray carpet.
Like a kid with his birthday cake at a party no one came to, this little crossover's debut was largely, almost cruelly, ignored. Who can blame us, though? Two shows ago, the Motor City's main stage welcomed the redesigned Aston Martin-esque Ford Fusion, the 3 Series-assassin ATS from Cadillac and the return of Dodge to the small car game with the Dart. A fourth model for the wayward Buick brand, especially one so arguably un-Buick in form and function, did not seem to deserve the attention paid to its peers that year.
Generation Gap generally tries to adhere to a theme for each episode, and for the final video from the Lingenfelter collection, the series might have its best idea yet - limited-production muscle cars from General Motors.
On one side you get a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle COPO, and it's an absolute sleeper. Other than the SS wheels, this classic coupe looks practically bone stock, at least until the engine fires up. Under the hood is a 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 making a claimed 425 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This was the sole year for the COPO package on the Chevelle, and Chevy only made about 323 of them.
The Chevelle's challenger is almost as rare and arguably just as cool. The 1987 Buick Grand National GNX looks just as mean today as when new. It eschews a traditional muscular V8 in favor of a 3.8-liter turbo V6 making a claimed 276 hp and 360 lb-ft, although that number is supposedly a bit underrated. Also, just 547 examples of the GNX version were ever built making it quite a collector's item too.
The Future Buick Verano Convertible?
I wasn't wearing a pedometer while in Germany covering the Frankfurt Motor Show this year, but it's safe to say I walked more than a few miles between press conferences, shooting cars and trekking back to the media center on the first day alone. For this reason, it didn't take much convincing from General Motors for me to duck out of the Messe a day early and drive some of its latest Opel models. No, this didn't include the all-new Country Tourer, but I was able to drive the Opel Mokka (our Buick Encore), the Opel Adam and the Opel Cascada.
I focused most of my driving time behind the wheel of the Cascada, which went on sale in Europe earlier this year, since rumors are swirling that a Buick version of this convertible "could happen soon." Buick hasn't had a convertible since the Reatta, and GM has been lacking a non-performance, budget-minded convertible since the Pontiac brand - and its G6 - was dropped, so adding the Cascada to Buick showrooms could further help the reemerging brand compete in the near-luxury segment. Although the weather was too chilly (and occasionally rainy) to enjoy the Cascada with its top down for very long, I was able to clock a fair bit of drive time behind the wheel on roads ranging from the autobahn to tight roads in small, quaint villages.