The Buick Bengal was one of the many GM concept cars of its era. And along with 90% of its concept brothers and sisters. It was something that would never be. Like a majority of American concept cars from the late 80's through early 2000's. It simply was something that would never sell to expectation. And to be quite honest. Most of the cars from this generation wouldn’t of been able to provide decent numbers. The select few cars that made the cut during this era, got dulled down severely. Pretty much leaving it a shell of the original concept. The Buick Bengal was one of the few that I would of liked to see them try. Would it of sold? Probably not. But it could of provided a nice alternative to Buick’s elderly image. The launch of the Pontiac solstice and Saturn Sky was proof that they wanted to shake the image up a bit. What would of happend if they went through with the Bengal?
Well honestly... it probably would of been the Reatta story over again. It would of been too much of a hail mary for the consumer to get behind. It would of packed a supercharged 3.4 liter V6. A tad underwhelming. Even though I am a fan of the GM 3.8 V6. This wouldn’t of made it the sporty car they wanted it to be. And like most concept cars of its era, Talk of production was postponed for a few years. In 2004 it was scrapped all together and replaced by something even more underwhelming. Kinda a product of that concept era.
So this casting is from Maisto’s GM design line. And it was one of the few I liked back in the day. I found it a few days ago and decided it needed it’s story told.... one last time.
It wasn’t the best looking concept they could of sketched up. But it was far from their worst. This was actually oddly a conservative design for them. Most of what they had going on design wise during its time....well....was pretty mad to say the very least. But it is cool that this was relevant enough to be turned into a diecast.
Maybe it was for the best it wasn’t produced. It could of turned out duller than a Saturn. And what a bad legacy that would of been.
Its like the story of a famous rock band breaking up and fizzling out after its first album. Maybe it was better that they went out with a “what if?” Instead of being stars in insurance commercials down the sad road.
It made the Cover of Automobile magazine with the Ford 49 concept.
And I you go on Google. You can find lots of concept photos.
Its all just one fuzzy memory now. And one day it will be completely forgotten about altogether. But it will always have some what of the nostalgic vibe about it. It came from a time where we were still somewhat primitive, yet predicting this futuristic and retro marriage in the automotive world.