- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 11, 2004

A Frederick, Md., man in 1983 bought a 1967 Buick Wildcat four-door hardtop for his wife. The 16-year-old car had been driven about 84,000 miles.

Sadly, the woman’s health rapidly deteriorated and she died soon thereafter. The widower kept the car, unused, in a garage for 20 years until May 2004 when he finally felt comfortable enough to sell his wife’s car.

Paul Puff, of Centreville, a long-time owner of Buicks, had been looking for an antique car when he saw the ad offering the 1967 Wildcat. He went to inspect the aquamarine Buick with its black vinyl top and was immediately taken by the originality of the pristine car. He thought the owner’s price was on the high side, but told him he was very interested. However, he was going to a car show the next day where there were sure to be other cars for sale. He would let him know.

When Mr. Puff returned home the next day from the car show there was a message from the Buick owner offering the car at a reduced price. A deal was struck and the 18-foot, 4.5-inch-long car was soon parked at its new home.

A bit of pizazz was added to the appearance when Mr. Puff reversed the tires on the wheels to expose the attractive white sidewalls.

Other than that the Buick has only received cosmetic cleaning and polishing. That’s all it needed because it had received such good care in the past.

Research by the third owner indicates that the 4,069-pound vehicle carried a base price when new of $3,437. Of the four Wildcat models offered in 1967, this one, with 15,510 built, was the most popular.

Beneath the expansive hood is the powerful 430-cubic-inch V-8 engine with five main bearings. A four-barrel Rochester carburetor draws fuel from the 25-gallon gasoline tank to feed the engine that produces 360-horsepower.

Original factory installed accessories on the big luxury car include:

• Wildcat wheel covers.

• Remote left mirror.

• Power Windows.

• Power steering.

• Air conditioner.

• Power brakes.

• AM radio.

The Buick Wilcat still has wing vent windows which are opened via hand crank.

Mr. Puff admits that there are two convenience features that he does miss on his 37-year-old Buick, cruise control and a right side mirror. “I miss the mirror big time,” he says.

Access to the cavernous trunk is via an electric release hidden in the glove conpartment.

Mr. Puff, retired from the Fairfax Police Detective Bureau, is impressed with the safety features on his Buick Wildcat including the finned aluminum front brake drums as well as the seat belts.

The six-foot, eight-inch-wide Buick comfortably rides on 15-inch wheels on a 126-inch wheelbase.

It’s easy to gain acccess to the car with its overall height of more than four-feet, six-inches. Settling into the typically comfortable Buick seats behind the three-spoke steering wheel, the driver is naturally overcome by a wave of wanderlust. Mr. Puff has recently leisurely cruised down Skyline Drive with his wife as the odometer on the Buick approached 94,000 miles.

“I like the feel and comfort of a luxury car,” he says. “I wouldn’t be afraid to go anywhere in this car.”

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