There’s something immensely satisfying about taking a neglected heap and getting it to run like a well-oiled machine. Especially for Hot Rod Unlimited host David Freiburger. Of course, Freiburger cares far more about functionality than appearance, and concentrated his efforts on improving the 1966 Buick’s handling. So at first glance, other than the freshly powdercoated 17-inch wheels and Falken performance tires, there’s nothing remarkable about the old drop-top.
However, the suspension was a different story. Having sat for more than 30 years, the bushings were shot, and the suspension components were badly rusted. Thanks to some help from Classic Performance Products, the Buick got a comprehensive suspension overhaul front and rear, as well as getting some modern 11-inch front vented disc brakes replacing the old front drums.
The difference the suspension tweaks made were dramatic, to say the least. Nick Licata, editor of Camaro Performers magazine, rode along with Frieburger at El Toro Marine Base in the slalom, autocross and braking test, initially incredulous that such a rough-looking ride could perform so well. But the Buick proved itself that day, out-running a late-model Mustang GT by nearly a second in the autocross.
Watch Freiburger saw the Buick’s thin-rimmed, bus-sized steering through the autocross, and make the big Buick handle like it has no right to on this week’s Hot Rod Unlimited. Be sure to tune in to the Motor Trend channel for fresh automotive content updated weekly.