If you were lucky enough to drive a car you liked in high school, we’re sure you have a sentimental attachment to it, and are even luckier if you managed to hold onto it. Efren Cuevas wasn’t able to keep the ’85 Buick Regal he drove back then, but he did manage to get the same year, make, and model off one of his cousins. A story we typically hear is when guys purchase something that is “just supposed to be a street car,” but things have a way of deviating from the original plan.
As you can see, Efren’s Buick got a little more involved than being just a street cruiser. “Once it starts, it just keeps on trickling,” he says. We understand, and we’re certainly glad it did. From stem to stern, the car shows off how you can keep it clean and functional, but get a little crazy with some of the modifications. It would be seven long years before Efren got to see his project finished, but since he had a hand in practically every aspect of the car’s transformation, we believe his patience truly paid off.
In terms of the body, it’s the one time we enjoy seeing the expression “suicide” used, with said treatment being given to the doors, forward-facing hood, and rearward-opening trunk. A new core support had to be built for the aluminum radiator to work with the customized hood. Next to the shaved firewall resides a 350 transplanted from a Suburban and dressed up with Billet Specialties valve covers and serpentine system, Edelbrock Endurashine carb and manifold, with engraving by Cadillac Jay to show it all off. MagnaFlow mufflers keep it sounding lively.
Inside the molded trunk you’ll find a Whammy pump juicing up four Hoppo’s dumps, and four candlesticks with 8-inch front and 10-inch rear cylinders. A quartet of Optima batteries keeps things lit up. A reinforced rearend, molded frame, 2-ton front and 3-ton rear coils with extended A-arms round out the underpinnings. Like the engine, all the hydros are hardlined. It’s all sitting on four 13-inch G Boys wheels.
That hole you see in the top is no moonroof. You could say it’s a combination sunroof/cabriolet that never closes, as that’s the way Efren wanted it. After he, Ralph Nino, Cesar, and Tim McIntyre completed all the body mods, Francisco Herrera sprayed House of Kolor Sunset Pearl as the base before Bugs Auto Art added the fine pinstriping. Inside you’ll find Lexus front seats with a split seat in the back with fiberglass center console and rear seat divider holding the iPad head unit that’s powering JL Audio amps and speakers with JBLs in the decklid, and Pioneer speakers in the door. Different color vinyls, along with a billet wheel and gauges by Classic Instruments continue the clean and functional theme that Efren and Michael Wilkins brought to the interior.
When the finished product finally made it to the street, Efren named it Brighter Days as a nod to his mother who we’re sure is smiling down on what she said he’d probably never finish. Efren would also like to thank his family, club, Mike Ortiz, Angel Contreras, Tim McIntyre, Michael Wilkins, and everyone else who had a hand in building this car. Seeing his kids’ excitement when people crowd around it at shows makes it all worth the wait. Well done, carry on.
1985 Buick Regal
San Tan Valley, AZ
Chevy 350 with a TH350 trans
Whammy pump, four Hoppo’s dumps, four candlesticks with 8-inch front and 10-inch rear cylinders, all hardlined. Four Optima batteries, reinforced rearend, molded frame, 2-ton front and 3-ton rear coils with extended
iPad head unit, JL Audio amps and speakers, JBLs in the decklid, and Pioneer speakers in the door..
Lexus seats, split back seat. Custom fiberglass console and rear seat divider. Billet steering wheel. Classic Instruments gauges.
Suicide doors, hood, trunk. Opening in the roof. House of Kolor Sunset Pearl by Francisco Herrera. Engraving by Cadillac Jay. Pinstriping by Bugs Auto Art.
13-inch G Boyz/Premium Sportways 5.20-13
The Buick Regal was introduced in 1973 and is still manufactured to this day. It started life on the same A-body platform that you found under Chevy Monte Carlos and Pontiac Grand Prixs of the same year. During its second generation, which started with the ’78 year, it moved to the G-body platform. Weak six-cylinder motors could only be upstaged if you wanted to opt for the more powerful turbocharged Grand National version, which has become collectible among muscle car enthusiasts after only being offered for five years. With a three-speed automatic and respectable fuel mileage, the Buick Regal in 1985 was rather unassuming with a sticker price of around $12,000 in its day. In 1988 the Buick Regal was changed again for its third generation to the W-body platform. With a production run spanning 43 years and counting and five generations of platform modernizations, the Regal has held its own and doesn’t appear to be going away, unlike the Oldsmobile and Pontiac counterparts it used to compete with.