What do you get when you cross a sleek, premium American sedan with oversized dubs, ground effects kits, advanced audio/video systems, lavish chrome and a powerful engine under the hood? Eleven different street-savvy interpretations of the Buick Lucerne CXS, which is bringing Buick en mass for the first time to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.
The treatments range from a black-on-black VIP (pronounced vipp) Lucerne by RIDES Magazine, a Japanese-influenced tuner trend that has sped into American car culture; to a two-tone semi-hot rod interpretation. Other looks include ground-hugging street sedans that mix luxury sensibilities – as evidenced by a lavish use of leather, suede and chrome – with urban touches like oversized wheels and over-the-top entertainment systems.
Rick Bottom’s Buick Lucerne CXX Luxury Liner delivers a great, fun-to-drive enthusiast’s commuter car that occasionally ferries business passengers. It begins with a two-tone BASF exterior finish with White Gold Flash tri-coat on the sides and Glacier Gold Flash over the top down to the beltline. A ground effects kit consisting of add-on body pieces to the front and rear fascias and rocker panels brings the body closer to the pavement for a performance-oriented look. The Lucerne’s already-powerful Northstar V-8 powerplant is retuned to deliver a 40-horsepower boost, resulting in a car with performance to match its trend-setting appearance.
All the customized Lucernes will be unveiled today during a special program at GM’s “The Drive” facility in Las Vegas, then will go on display throughout the SEMA exhibit hall. (Bottom’s Lucerne will be in the GM area.)
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reactions from some of the top customizers from around the country,” said Buick General Manager Steve Shannon. “SEMA provides an excellent opportunity for Buick to partner with these custom shops to show off a premium American sedan that has a great presence, stance and proportions. And, I expect this won’t be the last time we make an appearance here.”
Buick had never partnered with custom shops until shops from New York to Los Angeles vied for an opportunity to bring their artistic visions to Lucerne. Buick received more than 20 proposals and selected 10 partners based on their ability to define brand character and demonstrate innovative and creative ideas. RIDES Magazine, a hip-hop urban publication based in New York, contacted Buick to debut the VIP trend on the Lucerne.
“This amount of interest demonstrates Lucerne’s appeal among the trend makers as well as the trendy,” Shannon said. “ Lucerne certainly has made people think differently about Buick.”
Lucerne has attracted the attention of urban hip-hop publications like RIDES Magazine and DUB. RIDES is building out the Lucerne in an authentic “VIP” style , with the intent on making it the utmost status symbol in luxury, performance, style and refinement. Modifications include a custom body kit; lowered suspension; exhaust; large wheels and tires; mobile entertainment system; interior featuring custom suede inserts and executive-style tray tables; and lowered stance. The vehicle will be featured in the RIDES SEMA booth before going on the magazine’s star-studded tour through 2007.
“We at RIDES pride ourselves on doing innovative builds with cars that aren’t always the most obvious,” said Ben Harris of RIDES Magazine. “We felt the Lucerne was the perfect candidate for customization because it has plenty of styling in its stock form, with enough open room to put our own spin on it.
“We like that it’s a premium American full body sedan, looks great in a ‘VIP’ style, and think this Buick will do very well in the urban market.”
In addition to the RIDES Magazine VIP Lucerne CXS, 10 custom shops from coast-to-coast have applied their creative vision to the Lucerne with styles ranging from urban hip-hop to sophisticated European influence to powerful hot rod. Custom shop partners include:
Rick Bottom Custom Motors, Mendota, Ill.
Rick Dore Kustoms, Glendale, Ariz.
D3 Design & Engineering, Signal Hill, Calif.
Performance West, Bonsall, Calif.
Mitek / MTX Audio, Phoenix, Ariz.
Trent ’s Trick Upholstery, Baltimore, Ohio
Fesler Productions, Phoenix, Ariz.
Concept 1, Gilbert, Ariz.
Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation, Clarence, N.Y.
Spade Kreations / American Racing, Rancho Dominguez, Calif.
About the 2007 Buick Lucerne
Introduced as an all-new model for 2006, Lucerne is Buick’s most premium and elegant model. Loaded with safety features, technologies and luxurious appointments one would expect in a high-end luxury car, the front-wheel-drive Lucerne brings a fresh approach to the entry-luxury segment.
From its gracefully sculpted exterior design – featuring cues from Buick’s popular Vélite convertible concept car – t o its smooth yet responsive ride and library quiet interior, Lucerne reinforces Buick’s reputation for quality and attention to detail inside and out.
Standard in the uplevel Lucerne CXS and available in the CXL is a premium Northstar V-8 that puts out 275 horsepower (205 kW) and 295 lb.-ft. of torque (400 Nm). Lucerne’s overall ride performance is enhanced with Magnetic Ride Control technology. Standard on CXS, this system uses magnetically charged particles suspended in a synthetic fluid to continuously adjust the fluid’s viscosity to varying road surfaces and driving characteristics. The system has quicker response than conventional valve-damping systems, while providing increased vehicle control and tire contact with the road surface.
Every Lucerne model, from the well-equipped base CX to the sporty CXS, receives Buick’s all-encompassing engineering initiative, called QuietTuning, to significantly reduce, block and absorb unwanted noise from entering the cabin. Many of the customizers chose to preserve Buick’s trademark feature in their SEMA concept vehicles.
Starting with a stiff body structure, extremely tight body gap tolerances and an extensive wind sealing system, additional notable QuietTuning initiatives include laminated side glass in all four moving passenger door windows; noise-reducing outside rearview mirrors; lower profile flat blade windshield wipers with a flexible airfoil surface; a new “double-isolated” powertrain mounting system; laminated steel; composite nylon baffles in the roof pillars; rocker panels and cross-car structures; composite wheel housing liners and more.
Lucerne comes in CX, CXL V-6, CXL V-8 or CXS trims. Pricing for 2007 is: CX, $26,265; CXL V-6, $29,280; CXL V-8, $31,290 and CXS $35,295. Price includes a $750 destination freight charge.