Spotted in China: Buick Sail sedan on White License Plates

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A beautiful red Buick Sail sedan, Spotted in China in the eastern suburbs of Beijing. The old Sail was in a very good shape, and it is indeed the best Sail sedan I have ever seen. Paintwork was clean, nothing broken and no rust, everything original or period original, and she wears white license plates!

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The interior was a dirty mess. Seat covers are after market and seemingly never washed. Steering wheel cover, floor mats, and gear lever lock are additions too. Plastic wood and CD player are original.


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The Buick Sail sedan is basically a rebadged second-generation Opel Corsa wagon. It was manufactured in China from 2001 until 2004 by the Shanghai-GM joint venture, alongside the Buick Sail S-RV, which was based on the Opel Corsa wagon. In 2006 the Sails were reborn as the Chevrolet Sail, and that name continues until today. At the time General Motors decided to move the Buick brand upmarket and bring in Chevrolet for the lower end.

The Buick Sail sedan was available with three Opel four-cylinder petrol engines: 1.2, 1.4, or 1.6, mated to a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.


The stylish Buick badge on the door.


The Shanghai GM badge was in English, these badges are nowadays in Chinese.


SCX was a trim level. AT for the automatic transmission. Sail badge in English, they are in Chinese today too.


Buick badge above the boot lock.

The white license plate is rare. White license plates for passenger cars were only issued in 2002 and 2003 in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen. It was an experiment were citizens were allowed to come up with their own alphabetical/numerical combinations.

The experiment was cancelled after citizens came up with far too much creativity, choosing for various combinations with ‘sex’, ‘CIA’, ‘FBI’, and the infamous USA-911 which appeared on a Beijing car not long after the September 11 attacks.


Happily, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with WLJ·168, or with anything on the whole car, because this old German-American sedan is simply brilliant. May she ride for a long time a coming!

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