CAR REVIEW | Buick | Buick is a luxury brand of car produced by General Motors (GM). Buick car models are sold in the United States, Canada, Israel, Mexico, China, and Taiwan, with China being its largest market. Buick holds the distinction as the oldest active American make. Some current Buick models are shared with GM's German Opel subsidiary.
The Buick is currently the oldest American still-active automotive make, and among the oldest automobile brands in the world. It originated as the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1899, an independent internal combustion engine and motor-car manufacturer, and was later incorporated as the Buick Motor Company on May 19, 1903, by Scottish born David Dunbar Buick in Detroit, Michigan. Later that year, the struggling company was taken over by James H. Whiting (1842–1919), who moved it to his hometown of Flint, Michigan, and brought in William C. Durant in 1904 to manage his new acquisition. Buick sold his stock for a small sum upon departure, and died in modest circumstances twenty-five years later.
1912 Buick logo
Between 1899 and 1902 two prototype vehicles of Buick were built in Detroit, Michigan by Walter Lorenzo Marr. Some documentation exists of the 1901 or 1902 prototype with tiller steering similar to the Oldsmobile Curved Dash.
|Buick Enclave, 2010|
In mid-1904 another prototype was constructed for an endurance run, which convinced James H. Whiting to authorize production of the first models offered to the public. The architecture of this prototype was the basis for the Model B.
The first Buick made for sale, the 1904 Model B, was built in Flint, Michigan. There were 37 Buicks made that year, none of which survived. There are, however, two replicas in existence: the 1904 endurance car, at the Buick Gallery & Research Center in Flint, and a Model B assembled by an enthusiast in California for the division's 100th anniversary. Both of these vehicles use various parts from Buicks of that early era, as well as fabricated parts. These vehicles were each constructed with the two known surviving 1904 engines.
|Buick Eight Sedan, 1951|
The power-train and chassis architecture introduced on the Model B was continued through the 1909 Model F. The early success of Buick is attributed in part to the valve-in-head engine patented by Eugene Richard. The creation of General Motors is attributed in part to the success of Buick, so it can be said Marr and Richard's designs directly led to GM.
The basic design of the 1904 Buick was optimally engineered even by today's standards. The flat-twin engine is inherently balanced, with torque presented to the chassis in a longitudinal manner, actually cancelling front end lift, rather than producing undesirable lateral motion. The engine was mounted amidships, now considered the optimal location.
Durant was a natural promoter, and Buick soon became the largest car maker in America. Using the profits from this, Durant embarked on a series of corporate acquisitions, calling the new mega-corporation General Motors. At first, the manufacturers comprising General Motors competed against each other, but Durant ended that. He wanted each General Motors division to target one class of buyer, and in his new scheme Buick was near the top — only the Cadillac brand had more prestige. This is the position that Buick occupies to this day in the General Motors lineup. The ideal Buick customer is comfortably well off, possibly not quite rich enough to afford a Cadillac, nor desiring the ostentation of one, but definitely in the market for a car above the norm.
At first, Buick followed the likes of Napier in automobile racing, winning the first-ever race held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Buick launched its first closed-body car in 1911, four years ahead of Ford. As part of General Motors' companion make program, in 1929 Buick Motor Division launched the Marquette sister brand, designed to bridge the price gap between Buick and Oldsmobile; but, Marquette was stopped in 1930. Buick recorded another first, when it became the first company to introduce turn signals in 1939. - Car Review