When GM set out to build the W-platform, it invested $7 billion on it. Unfortunately, it was an investment that didn’t pay off.
This 1988 Buick Regal is a prime example of everything that was wrong with the program. It’s a car that was too old fashioned to attract any young buyers and too new to keep the old ones. A premium front-wheel-drive coupe that came too late and suffered in a market that, by then, had moved on from luxury coupes and was more interested in big sedans.
The W-body cars (Lumina, Intrigue, Grand Prix, etc) had been designed to replace cars on the G and A platforms (Chevrolet Celebrity, Pontiac 6000, etc), but many of those cars sold better than the new W-body ones, so GM kept on selling them.
Its old engine, its rear fiberglass mono-leaf spring, and its failure to keep up with market trends meant it was far from a moneymaker for GM. In fact, in 1989, The General was losing $2,000 on every car it sold.
Like the platform, though, it can be argued that these early cars got a second lease on life. The architecture, through several iterations, stuck around until 2016, with the Chevrolet Impala using a 3rd generation of the platform that debuted in 2004.
These early cars, meanwhile, became cheap on the secondhand market and would ferry many a budget-minded driver around. That also meant that they weren’t treated especially well, so to find one in the condition you see in this video is very rare.