1987 Buick brochure Touring Options

A guide to 1987’s hot Buicks

Despite a legacy of cushy plushness, Buick has often expressed a propensity for performance. By 1987, all models had touring options available except the B-body Estate wagons (LeSabre and Electra). Oh and, lest we forget, that was the same year Buick broke formation and snatched the “fastest American car” title from Corvette. So, how was an average consumer to know about Buick’s non-traditional equipment? One way was this brochure: a guide through the touring options for the 1987 model year, the busiest for the touring line.

1987 Buick (Hot Buicks) brochure - internal codeFirst, it is sort of interesting that a model year is nowhere to be found on the catalog. While I haven’t figured out why, some telltales betray its vintage, like the document code on the bottom left of the back cover. Though sometimes only indicative of a printing date, “87” is in the series. More telling, however, are the cars inside, which include the dramatically downsized Riviera and rear-wheel-drive Regal. Those two products alone narrow the range to 1986 or 1987. Since 1986 was the last year that square, sealed beam headlamps were used on the LeSabre and Electra models, the flush units they sport in the catalog leave 1987 as the only possible model year.

Counting the Estate wagons as one, Buick offered nine models for 1987; eight were available with at least one level of “touring options” (the phrase used in the brochure for the subject features). Below, I’ve put together a table that summarizes which touring options were available on the various models.

1987 Buick Touring Options1987 Buick GNX logo

We’ll look at what the different options meant for each model but there were some oddities that stood out to me, such as the curious omission of the segment-bending GNX in this “Hot Buicks” literature. It’s not even alluded to and I haven’t a clue why. I can only speculate that due to its quasi-production nature, it was not marketed normally. (McLaren Performance Technologies/ASC handled most upgrades and the “X” reportedly stood for “experimental;” only 547 were made and #001 was retained by GM.)

1986/7 Buick T logosI was surprised the T Type was not available on Regal but, after some digging, discovered it was dropped for 1987 in favor of the ‘T’ Package (packaging conflicts reportedly led to consumer confusion). Worth noting, while the new ‘T’ Package (T for “touring”) could be ordered independently, it was mandatory on all Turbo Package-equipped Regals. Any less confused now? If not, things should clear up after a closer look.

It may also look peculiar that the Skyhawk was the only model with the available Interior Sport Package. Being at the bottom of the totem pole, however, other models were generally better equipped to begin with or their touring options included much of the same equipment. As well, Skyhawk was the most youth-oriented of the bunch and the unique packaging likely offered added ways to keep costs flexible.

Finally, the original piece (one I’d hand collected as a lad) is in excellent shape but it appears the marketers used heavy contrast and color saturation intentionally, or it hadn’t printed as intended. Either way, I wanted to preserve and present it like it was, so I purposely did not mess too much with the colors.

Continue this story on page 2.

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