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1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible Parades Super-Rare Cool Feature You Didn't Know Existed

Buick assembled 600,148 automobiles for the 1965 model year, and the overwhelming majority (around 99%) came with an automatic gearbox. The rest shared the two manuals, either the three-speed (which was standard equipment, believe it or not) or the equally unicornian four-speed. Already low in numbers when new, three-pedal Buicks are about as commonplace nowadays as Sasquatch.
1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed 39 photos
Photo: forums.aaca.org/Ted Nagel
1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-SpeedTed Nagel, owner of the 1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4-Speed
The Wildcat was Buick’s best-performing full-size luxo-boat in the sixties, and I’m not talking about the glorious V8s that proudly wore that name, but the actual vehicle model. In 1965, the Wildcat came in four body styles: four-door sedan and hardtop, two-door ‘Sports Coupe’ – read ‘hardtop’ – and two-door convertibles.

Three trims were available: the basic, nameless offer, Deluxe, and Custom. The production numbers for the droptops are the lowest of the series – 9,014 examples left the factory with a retractable rack covered in weather-proof fabric. Here’s where the numbers become interesting: of that batch, just 128 came with a manual box – 22 three-speeds and 106 four-speeds.

Saying that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see one roaming around today would probably get accolades for ‘Understatement of the Year,’ but here it is. Lou Costabile found one at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals last November, and the video below is solid proof. It’s a four-speed Flame Red restored Wildcat Deluxe convertible, owned since 2000 by the man standing next to it.

1965 Buick Wildcat Convertible 4\-Speed
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
Ted Nagel, from Cincinnati, Ohio, is one serious Buick nut – he has a collection of rare four-speed Tri-Shield automobiles – and this magnificent Wildcat is a salvage car brought back to life from the dead. When he bought the car, it came in pieces, and it took some time, dedication, persistence, money, and skill to bring it to what we see here.

Then again, Mr. Nagel has been wrenching Buicks for nearly three decades. Hence, it’s hardly surprising to anyone – particularly the ‘Nailheads’ (Buick fans) – that this rarity belongs to him. The superb classic is powered by the Wildcat 445, displacing precisely 401 cubic inches and outputting exactly 325 hp (329 PS). The 445 is the torque rating, in lb-ft (603 Nm) – yes, Buick figured it out before Carroll Shelby coined the phrase ‘Horsepower sells cars, but Torque wins races.’

4,616 Wildcat Deluxe Convertibles were built in 1965, and this is one of the rare ones with a clutch pedal and four forward gears. The owner doesn’t have a Buick selection to have something to dust off occasionally but enjoys driving his cars instead. Granted, it can be challenging to build/fix/replace them, given their rarity and lack of donors. However, this is probably the best part about classics. One needs to put their heart into the ownership, not just money.

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About the author: Razvan Calin
Razvan Calin profile photo

After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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