Droptop Dreams – 2004 Buick Velite Cabriolet, 2001 Buick Bengal and 2000 Buick Regal Cielo

buick veliteBuick was keen to have an open-topped car in the early 2000s. How do we know this?

Three near-consecutive concepts explored the possibility of a Buick convertible: with the final being the best. We start with the 2000 Buick Regal Cielo — an innovative retracting targa that stacks the split roof panels into the trunk.

This left the main pillars and side glass intact, but likely added hundreds of pounds and may have absorbed most of the trunk’s volume.

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In 2001, we have a sexy and slinky Bengal cabrio concept with sharp and smooth surfaces and an ultra-low cowl. Sexy. Until you get to the nose, where “boner-shrinker” might be the best description of this giant, clown-like grille.

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Finally, the 2004 Velite. This design is sexy and organic, flowing and confident. Full surfaces and giant dimensions are appropriately luxurious for a Buick cabriolet. The nose here takes us into the modern Buick style. The flush-surface waterfall grille in-board of the headlamps became the Buick face starting with the Enclave, and maturing into the current Regal and LaCrosse. You can see why. Except from those awkward headlamps, the Velite is a seriously desirable machine.

Powered by a twin-turbo V6, the Velite shows that a full-size American cabriolet might not be totally unthinkable in the future.

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