Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Memories: Buick Lets the Sun Shine In

The 1970's were a time of rapid change in the automobile industry as well as in society as a whole. Old social norms were giving way, the trend toward ecology was coming on strong, and for the auto industry, we had landed in an era of decreased compression and increased regulation.

Proposed roll-over standards made automakers hesitant to redesign their convertible models at the same time the near universal acceptance of air conditioning caused the demand for convertible models to plummet. Most models of convertible were discontinued in the early 1970's. At the same time, however, people still craved the interaction with sun and stars. The Fifth Dimension sang "Let the Sun Shine In", and Buick looked for a way to do just that.

The 1972 would be the last for the mid-sized Skylark convertible, and Buick introduced a special model at mid-year to help ease the transition. The Sun Coupe was a special option on the Skylark 350 Custom Coupe. It included a forward vinyl roof section, decorative pinstripe, fabric sliding sun roof, and gold "Sun Coupe" identification.  Often seen in youthful colors like Bittersweet, Yellow or Kelly Green, it was a very attractive car. Longtime Reynolds employees recall the Bittersweet and white one with Chrome wheels on our showroom floor.

Unfortunately the Sun Coupe failed to inspire the marketplace and only 3.943 were sold according to Buick records. The folding sunroof was not going to replace the convertible and Buick quickly moved on to the sliding steel sunroof and the "T-Top" removable hatch roof for its sun worshiping buyers. But we still fondly remember the car with the color keyed sliding roof and the gold badges proudly proclaiming itself to be a "Sun Coupe."

No comments:

Post a Comment