The No. 16 Buick Regal was built for NASCAR racing by Banjo Mathews in November of 1988 for David Pearson's Chattanooga Chew sponsored team. Pearson’s son was the driver during the 1989 Winston Cup season before it was sold to historic stock car dealer and driver Gene Felton.
The original No. 16 Chattanooga Chew is a gem for collectors of NASCAR items since it comes from a well-known constructor, has ties to a famous team and had success in the NASCAR Historic Racing series after its “retirement.” Felton had rebuilt the car and passed it to a client who in turn sold it to the present owner, an avid historic racer, in 1995. Prior to this, Felton gave “old 16” a good run in the 12-Hours of Sebring IMSA endurance contest of 1994.
But the Regal itself is interesting. Frequently sharing the same body and power-train as the Century, the Buick Regal was a mid-size that was produced by General Motors from 1973 through 2004. Slow to react to develop in the lower-priced, mid-size luxury market, Buick wanted to market to compete against the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, the Grand Prix and the Monte Carlo.
The Regal marked the unveiling of the first major restyling of the GMs intermediate body design since 1968. This was also the first major restyling for both the Monte Carlo and the Grand Prix. The original Regal shared the front and rear styling of the Century, though subtle distinctions separated them and included differing grilles and taillight lenses. The newly fashionable “opera windows” were also featured in the Buick Regal rather than the traditional roll-down windows. More often, Regal interiors were found to be much more luxurious than lesser Century models and featured wood-grain trim on both dashboard and door panels, and notchback bench seats with center armrests with velour, cloth or vinyl upholstery, and door-pull straps. The No. 16 Chattanooga Chew last appeared on car auction sites in 2006 when it sold for $44,000.