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Buick Company History

Published: 24th Mar 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!


Buick Archive

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The Buick marque is one of the oldest motor manufacturing companies in the USA and indeed the world. Its founder David Dunbar Buick (1854-1929) was born in Arbroath, Scotland, but at the age of two he emigrated to the USA with his parents and they went to live in Detroit. When he was 15 David went to work for the Alexander Manufacturing Company of Detroit, which produced plumbing products and later he took over the running of the company. He developed a penchant for inventing, his best known being the process for fi xing enamel to cast iron baths, from which he became quite wealthy.

David Buick later became thoroughly imbued with engines and his Buick Auto-Vim & Power Company sold engines to the farm and boat markets. The name of his company was later changed to the Buick Manufacturing Company which evolved into the Buick Motor Company
which was incorporated on May 19th 1903. The fi rst Buick motor car offered for sale was the Model B of 1904 which featured a fl at-twin engine with overhead valves and mounted amidships and was test driven by David’s son Thomas Buick. The company ran into fi nancial diffi culties and was rescued by William Durant, with Buick becoming part of his GM empire, thus guaranteeing its long term survival, though it weathered a rough storm through the depression years much later.
By 1926 the Buick Motor Company were selling 260,000 cars a year and had gained a reputation for being a high end luxury brand, but not as ostentatious as Cadillac. In 1939 the company were the fi rst to introduce turn signals on cars, their fi rst fully automatic transmission named Dynafl ow arrived in 1948, power steering was added in 1952, along with a high compression V8 engine, power brakes and 12 volt electrics in 1953. Other noteworthy styling infl uences associated with the marque include the Sweepspear, introduced in the 1940s and used right the way up until the 1970s which was a curved line running the length of the car which was highlighted in chrome or stainless steel in earlier models, and front wing portholes, originally known as Ventiports a creation of stylist Ned Nickles. Great cars from Buick stable have included the Roadmaster, Skylark, Riviera, Century, Electra, Invicta, Wildcat and Gran National to name but a few.

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