David Dunbar Buick was a gasoline engine builder who knew an engineer named Walter L. Marr. Together, the two built a car that they decided to name a Buick between 1899 and 1900. The car company officially considers its start in 1903. This was the year that the company incorporated and moved from Detroit to Flint, Michigan.
Getting Off the Ground
In 1904, the car company produced 37 of its Model B Touring cars. These vehicles were rated from 15 to 21 horsepower. Engine and rider comfort were a priority for the car company from the get-go. For instance, the first model was nicknamed the “couch on wheels.” This was the same year that the company almost filed for bankruptcy, but it hung in there because just four years later, the car company overtook its closest competitors, Cadillac and Ford, to become the number one producer of cars by selling 8,820 vehicles.
The car maker built its one-millionth vehicle in 1923. People liked purchasing the car brand since it was famous for its reliability. Lowell Thomas, a renowned writer and traveler, drove one to complete the first vehicle expedition through Afghanistan. A few years later, the car company won awards in a set of endurance and reliability races that took place from Leningrad to Moscow.
In 1935, the car company developed the Century. This vehicle operated using an inline 8-cylinder engine, one that generated 120 brake horsepower or bhp. The car company sold 28,890 of the Century. By this time, style was starting to make a difference in car sales, so in 1938, the car maker produced the Y-Job convertible. Sleek and black, the vehicle has earned the title of being “The World’s First Concept Car.”
World War II brought a temporary change of direction to the car maker. The company did its part for the war effort by building more than 2,500 M18 Hellcat tank destroyers for the government in 1942. The government awarded the car maker more than 30 different military contracts. Because of this, the car builder’s materials were present at almost every fighting front.
Following the war, the carmaker expanded its operational facilities, and in 1949, the company introduced the Roadmaster Convertible to car buyers. To give families an option, the car maker brought out the Super Riviera Coupe. Generating 124 bhp, the vehicle gave car buyers a powerful engine and plenty of interior space. It also exhibited fine exterior styling indicative of the era. This was the first year that the carmaker built hardtop convertibles. Apparently, Edward T. Ragsdale, the car company’s manufacturing manager, recommended the hardtop styling. He noticed that his wife preferred the convertibles because she liked the way that they looked, but she never put the top down since doing so would mess up her hair.
Ups and Downs
By the late ‘50s, the carmaker started to have financial struggles due to outdated styling, product issues and the country’s economic recession that caused people to begin buying smaller cars that could go further on less gas.
In 1961, the company brought out a compact vehicle that included an aluminum V-8 engine. A year later, the company introduced its V-6 engine in the Special model vehicle, which became Motor Trend magazine’s “Car of the Year.” The carmaker’s upper-series models were also new that year. The company’s sales grew to more than 450,000 cars sold. In 1963, the company introduced the Riviera. This modern classic helped the carmaker overcome its financial challenges at the time, allowing it to continue building trustworthy cars.
The car manufacturer’s sales continued to grow through the ‘60s, and in 1973, the car company hit a record of selling 821,165 units. But, later that year, the oil embargo caused problems for everyone. In 1974 and 1975, the company’s sales dropped below 500,000 vehicles sold. The company countered the oil issue by bringing back the V-6 and worked to produce more economical engines.
In 1983 and 1984, the carmaker’s sales reached record levels. It did almost as well in 1985. In 1991, the company was an industry leader again, and when it redesigned the Park Avenue for 1991 and 1992, the vehicle won several “best car” awards.
When 2004 arrived, the car company decided to join the SUV movement and introduced the Rainier. With this vehicle, Buick also brought back its first V8 engine in years. For 2008, the car company revealed the Enclave, which is a luxury crossover that changed the game for the vehicle segment.
A Car You Can Trust
Today’s Buick’s continue to be quality vehicles, ones that are as luxurious to ride in as they are durable. The company has kept on track with technological advancements as well as modern-day styling to offer vehicles that people want to own and drive. Check out this year’s lineup, you won’t be disappointed.