It looked terrible and beeped a lot, but it was so revolutionary.
Buick isn’t exactly recognized for cutting-edge technology, at least not right now. When most people think of Buick, they think of the old. Alternatively, they expect huge sales success in China. Instead, both. That wasn’t always the case, especially when it came to cutting-edge technology. In reality, the 1986 Riviera was the world’s first production automobile featuring a touchscreen. The “Graphic Control Center” (all two of them) was in color and allowed drivers to control things such as temperature control and the radio.
On the other hand, the GCC did far more than let the driver regulate the level of the radio and the A/C. You might use a car diagnostic to learn about the brakes, powertrain, and electrical system. It’d even tell you how much gas was left in the tank. You might also use it to keep track of your journey. All of those characteristics may appear mundane, but keep in mind that we’re talking about the 1980s, and this is an American production car, not an Italian supercar. The screen was just 3×4 inches in size, but the unit was. It was a cathode-ray tube design, which was essentially a little TV crammed into the dash. The touchscreen generated almost the same response across the board. Popular Mechanics complimented the technology while criticizing the usability.
“No other carmaker gives the motorist so much information at the press of a button,” said the Christian Science Monitor. They also stated that it was a lot of fun! What a difference a generation can make. However, like Popular Mechanics, the Monitor noted that the touchscreen is distracting and draws the driver’s focus away from the road. This resulted in the touchscreen’s retirement in 1990; however, it did live on in the short-lived Buick Reatta. Unfortunately, this cutting-edge technology wasn’t enough to save Buick from GM’s downward spiral. In fact, Riviera sales decreased by a shocking 70% in 1986. It wasn’t the GCC’s fault, but it’s difficult for new technology to acquire acceptability when it’s only in a few cars.
As previously stated, Buick isn’t exactly recognized for developing technologically advanced vehicles these days. However, this was not always the case and may not remain the case in the future. As demonstrated in the Avista idea, history repeats itself. Forget about the two exterior doors for a moment and concentrate on the interior, which required a mini-scandal to construct. It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie/BMW i. Could Buick be about to launch another technological bomb on the world? It seems unlikely, but then again, a touchscreen as an option on a car in the mid-1980s seemed unrealistic, and we all know how that turned out.
If you want to witness the GCC in action, check out this fantastic video. Make an effort not to freak out every time the screen beeps… That is, each time you push it.