To be more specific, the last American car my parents bought. My granddad was a Ford man, throughout his whole life he bought nothing but Fords, other than a Chevrolet Corvair. I believe my grandmother spun it or something and that was the end of Chevrolet for him. My dad, on the other hand, had no brand loyalty. The first car he purchased for himself was a Datsun 280zx, and while still owning that, he bought a brand new 1982 Toyota Supra. Fast forward a few years to 1996 where he buys a brand new Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT. Come fall 2004, that Subaru now has just under 190k miles on it when it decided that was enough and died.
At the time, my dad had two other cars to choose from to drive. They had kept the 1991 Mazda MPV when they bought my mom’s Oldsmobile Silhouette new in 2001 and a 1993 Ford Thunderbird my dad had bought cheap from my uncle when he moved overseas. For a few months, he drove both these cars until July 2005 when he decided it was time for a new car. This was when I was really starting to get into cars, BMW specifically, and wanted him to get one. That was not to be and for some reason my dad had decided on a Buick Regal. The Carmax in Marietta GA happened to have one, they also happened to have an Estoril Blue E36 M3 convertible that I got to sit in.
While I don’t remember too much of the process, I know my dad traded in both the MPV and the Thunderbird and then wrote a check for the remaining amount. What my dad ended up with was a 2002 Buick Regal LS with the Joseph Abboud package. It had right around 44k miles on it and I believe it was a lease return car from Virginia. Now, since this was 14 years ago, my memory could be a little hazy. He ended up having that car until 2013 and 110k miles when the transmission started to slip. That car was traded in on a 2012 Hyundai Sonata that one of my sisters still drives, which actually just had the engine seize on her.
Anyways, let’s look at this Regal.
This was the only Joseph Abboud Regal in the same color scheme as my dad’s car I could find with a quick search. Here’s the only picture I have of my dad’s actual car:
That photo was taken in August of 2011 when we were sharing what we were driving at the time. I lived at home that summer semester of college and my dad drove the Explorer and made me drive this. I was not too pleased; I much preferred the Explorer.
I remember that cockpit, just a sea of beige GM plastic. It wasn’t actually a terrible place to be, besides the fact that the stereo usually refused to play burned CDs and the tape deck wouldn’t play the tape deck with the headphones jack with any quality at all. Remember those?
The stereo would occasionally accept burned CDs, but it seemed to only be several hours into a long road trip. The back speakers blew out at some point, I think ~2012 and the car got a new head unit and speakers, but by this point, I was back in my Explorer and never really got to enjoy that.
The seats themselves were actually pretty damn comfortable, apart from when the heated seats decided to get stuck on. See that middle piece? That’s how you turn the seat heaters on and off; that was unplugged until I found the piece we needed on eBay. It was replaced and they functioned as designed. Other than that, they were great for road trips. I went to Jacksonville FL from Roswell GA a couple times, and was comfortable the whole way.
This Regal has the supercharged 3800, whereas my dad’s just had the regular 3800. For the most part it was a reliable car. It was not without its problems though, it clogged a cat and seemed to eat coolant. Additionally, it always seemed to throw a check engine light right around emissions time. Could never find the fault, so I’d reset the light, drive it for a full reset and then get the emissions done. It did get decent gas mileage, I know one trip to Jacksonville, I got 30 MPG.
There is nothing remarkable about the gauge cluster other than the fact that the gauge lights quit working. Here’s me crossing 100k in it:
This one comes with the wing, while my dad’s didn’t. I do remember changing all of the lights in the rear in 2011 because half of the running lights had burned out. It looked a lot better at night after that.
Truth be told, there was nothing either that wonderful or terrible about this car. It was just a car.