autoevolution

Hearing Aid Beige 2002 Buick Prototype Looks Like an Audi A2 With an Opel Zafira Hood

Founded in 1899 as the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company, the Buick Motor Division of General Motors was acquired by the biggest of the Big Three in Detroit in 1908. Currently a shadow of its former self, the premium-oriented automaker gave us firsts that many people take for granted, including the overhead valve engine.
2002 Buick Hatchback Prototype 20 photos
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Buick’s first closed-body car was introduced in 1911, and two decades later, the automobile gave us the first concept car in the guise of the Y-Job. Even recent concepts have that certain something about them, including the Wildcat EV that offers the first look at the brand’s new design direction and zero-emission future.

The Buick division, like Cadillac, will go fully electric by 2030 in both the U.S. and China. Speaking of the PRC, does it come as a surprise that Buick sells more vehicles there than in its home market?

The biggest tragedy, however, is that Buick switched to an SUV portfolio in North America. Gone are the personal luxury cars, coupes, convertibles, and land yachts of yesteryear, and to be frank, the company didn’t really have a choice. Had it not switched to unibody sport utility vehicles, General Motors may have discontinued the 123-year-old automaker in this part of the world.

Back when Buick used to make other types of vehicles, the premium-oriented outfit produced three curious-looking prototypes. Two of them, gifted with Chevrolet badging, are thought to have been destroyed. Stored indoors for 18 years, this quirky fellow is the only working prototype of the three. Listed by Mecum Auctions with 239 kilometers (make that 149 miles) on the clock, this piece of automotive history is offered on a bill of sale.

Never titled and not approved for U.S. roads by the Department of Transportation, the hearing aid beige-painted hatchback is rocking a 1.5-liter engine connected to a five-speed manual transmission. Specified with a gray interior and air conditioning, the compact-sized contraption does look as if General Motors took inspiration from the Audi A2’s headlights and the A-series Opel Zafira’s hood.

Mecum Auctions hasn’t provided a pre-auction estimate for the five-door prototype, but we’ll know for certain what’s what at the Chicago 2022 auction that runs from October 13th to October 15th.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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