The Buick name has been around in the US for a long time. In fact, it's the oldest American company still producing cars. Today, it holds a position within the General Motors Corporation as the budget luxury car maker but there is a great heritage behind the name that belies that position.
The history of Buick
Originally established by a Scot, David Dunbar Buick, the Buick Cars company moved to its current home, Flint, Michigan, in 1903. The first car is believed to have been made in 1902 but records are scarce and the vehicle has long since been lost. The first production model rolled off the Flint line in 1904 but production reached only 37 in that year. In 1908, the firm was bought by GM and it was here that it's historic rise began. 1911 marked the release of the first car with an enclosed body design and Buick's success was complete as it became the best selling manufacturer in the States. This period saw another first with the introduction of the six cylinder engine design. From such auspicious beginnings came a slump in the 30s. Sales fell steadily and in the 40s, production turned over to war manufacturing. It may be that this actually saved the brand. The post-war period was a good time for Buick and dealerships made the most of new technology like the Dynaflow automatic transmission. By the late fifties, though, the popularity of large cars like Buicks waned and sales once again dropped. The sixties and seventies brought dividends as the muscle car decade took off. Cars like the Buick Regal and Riviera supplied power and style in huge quantities. This success, and horsepower, continued with the Buick GNX and Grand National in the eighties .
The cars that tade the name
The Buick brand has been home to some of the most memorable names in motoring. Early classics included the Roadmaster and Century. Both launched in 1936 with 120 bhp, 5.2 litre straight eight engines. The Roadmaster Riviera of 1949 was one of the first hardtop convertibles and was a truly stunning car to look at. Power now came from a 150 bhp V8 that gave performance to match the looks. In 1963 came one of Buick's two finest hours ion the shape of the new Riviera. Sporting coupe styling and a 360 hp motor, this monster could run the standing quarter mile in 15 seconds. We had to wait until 1984 for the record breaking Grand National to arrive. 200 hp, a turbo-charger and with sports seat carrying the Buick "6" emblem, this was the fastest saloon in the world for a time and a fitting swan-song for the high performance Buick.