No place for modesty
1985 Buick Wildcat concept rear overheadOut in the open, sitting behind the passenger compartment but just ahead of the rear wheels, is the Wildcat’s crown jewel.

There is no covering, it’s finished just the way you see it.

1985 Buick Wildcat concept engineSealed access points for engine fluids and the “command module” are clearly marked and easily reached.

1985 Buick Wildcat concept NACA ductAir to cool the engine is routed through the Wildcat’s side NACA ducts. (A NACA duct, is a common form of low-drag air inlet design, originally developed in 1945 by the precursor to NASA–the U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.)

An interior Tron would appreciate
1985 Buick Wildcat concept interiorWith such a striking exterior, the interior must have been overlooked, right? Wrong. The parts on the interior are about as impressive as the parts on the outside. To start, Wildcat was a testbed for GM’s, apparently defunct, fingerprint I.D. access system which unlocked the canopy and ignition’s security system.

1985 Buick Wildcat concept interiorOnce inside, the driver was faced with myriad information. However, cognizant of and wanting to avoid digital information overload, designers were cautious in how the vast amounts of data were displayed; some digital displays emulated analog gauges.

Myrl Green, head of the Wildcat’s electronics team, explained, “We tried to get the best of both worlds. You can’t anticipate a digital number zipping up on 6,000 RPM, but on the analog gauge you can see it approaching. We wanted to stay close to what the enthusiasts like to see, but we wanted to do it electronically.”

1985 Buick Wildcat concept dashBefore air bags were mandated, the Wildcat’s spoke-free steering wheel design was quite inventive and seemed the logical next step. In the center cluster, viewed through the steering wheel, are readouts for engine RPM (electronically displayed as both numeric and dial-simulation), water temperature, oil pressure, fuel level, and volts. The electronic screen reportedly refreshes ten times per second, lending to a fluid look.

A heads-up display, or HUD, provides speed, odometer readings, turn indicators, and transmission position. Within a third data area, up high in the center of the dash, a “vacuum fluorescent dot matrix screen” displays oil temperature but can be altered to show horsepower and torque curves (including cursors that move with engine speed), a compass, a g-meter (showing both lateral and longitudinal acceleration), tire slippage (telling how much and which tire), tire pressure, and the spark timing map. Pretty sophisticated stuff for 1985.

(Continue to the photo gallery below or return to the home page)
Pages: 1 2 3 4