Sunday, April 29, 2012

Buick Blackhawk Concept, 2001

 
Buick Blackhawk Concept, 2001

The Blackhawk is the ultimate expression of Buick. It has classic styling combined with contemporary proportions.

Retractable convertible with styling from the '30s

The Blackhawk is basically a 2-plus-2 convertible with a retractable top, and a body that looks like it came out of the late 1930s or '40s - because it did. Its face is a classic 1939 Buick grille, which has a pattern of fine vertical bars, and its major sheet metal combines the sleek bodies of 1941 and 1948 Buick Roadmasters.

All of this except the grille has been modified, and the final appearance - featuring black cherry paint, doors without handles and hidden headlamps - is of a streamlined yet retro head-turner that looks like it was created specifically for the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Blackhawk power: 463-hp V-8; 0-60 in under 5 seconds
The Blackhawk's performance goal is 0-60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds. Its powertrain is a 1970-vintage 455-cubic-inch Buick GS Stage III V-8 engine, heavily detailed and mated to the latest electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. The naturally aspirated, overhead valve, fuel-injected engine generates 463 horsepower at 4600 rpm and 510 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm.

Hand-made components
Many of the Blackhawk's major components are hand made, such as the frame, the unique carbon-fiber top and the retractable system that lowers the top into the trunk (leaving a small luggage area).

Other features include a fully independent suspension, remote keyless entry (so you can open the doors, which don't have exterior handles) and dual exhaust with three-inch pipes. The Blackhawk is equipped with 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels (a style similar to those on uplevel Rivieras, Wildcats and Skylarks of '65) with high speed, Z-rated tires -- P295/35R18 on the front and P295/45R18 on the rear.

As an accent complementing the exterior design, a slightly different shade of dark cherry is used to create a "sweepspear" along the sides of the body. The sweepspear is a decoration that first showed up on some '49 Roadmasters and later became a shape sculpted into the sides of '50s Buicks. It's basically a horizontal line that sweeps in a downward curve along the doors toward the base of the leading edge of the rear fender, then kicks up over the rear wheel openings.

Emphasizes industry first for Buick: Lighted turn signals
While the Blackhawk looks to be from somewhere in time, it's hard to pin down where. Borrowed from the same 1939 Buick that donated the grille, a lighted logo device in the middle of the trunk exterior incorporates turn signals - a reminder that this particular '39 Buick feature was the industry's first production turn signal. Borrowed from contemporary technology, the Blackhawk is equipped with Global Positioning System navigation tied to a liquid crystal display screen.

And borrowed from a 1996 Buick Riviera - one of the most luxurious of all Buicks -- is the heavily modified Blackhawk interior. That includes buff color leather for the door trim and seats, plus design of the instrument panel and center console (though the wood-rimmed steering wheel is unique).
Even the name is borrowed. Buick introduced a subcompact Skyhawk for 1975 and the hawk symbol became an icon for the entire Buick line through the 1980s.