Buick: the brand’s history and model range
General Motors corporation has a branch that produces Buick cars. This brand was founded in the early 20th century, on May 19, 1903. It is a symbol of America’s quality. The Buick Motor Division company is the oldest existing in the USA car producer. Let’s get to know it better, because Buick is a premium brand of entry-level, with which only Acura, Lexus of entry-level and Volvo compete.
How it all started: the birth of the brand
At the turn of the XIX and XX centuries, the successful owner of a plumbing business, David Dunbar Buick, became interested in internal combustion engines. His interest was so significant that the main business was abandoned, the companion began to make claims, and David sold him his part of the company (for a huge amount of 100 thousand dollars at the time). But as a result, Buick had both free money and free time. To do what he likes, he registered the “Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company”, the purpose of which was positioned in the development, manufacturing and sales of engines for agricultural machines. David invited W. Marr, who was a successful engineer and was fond of cars, to design an internal combustion engine. Both of them repeatedly swore to smithereens, many times Marr left the company and returned again. Despite the controversy, in two years (1899 and 1900), two cars with single-cylinder water-cooled engine were created. One of them was sold by David to his friend for $300. Then the 20th century came. Finally, Marr left Buick. The first founded its own car production, and David transformed the “Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company” into the “Buick Manufacturing”. This engine is still used in automotive production. But Buick was running out of funds, and in 1903, he had to borrow $5000. David’s loan was extended by a friend and colleague, B. Briscoe, who supplied the production of Buick Manufacturing with sheet metal. At the same time, under the terms of the loan, David had to reorganize the firm into the Buick Motor Company, 97% of whose shares belonged to B. Briscoe. In fact, the latter became the new owner of the automobile production, and Buick got the position of Executive Director. In the year of foundation of the Buick Motor Company, 16 cars were sold. But Briscoe didn’t own a car company for long. In the following 1904, he sold it to J. Whiting, who had an interest to install the engine on the wagons produced by his company. Since the latter was based in Flint, the Buick Motor Company was also relocated there from Detroit. David was no longer an Executive Director, but an ordinary Manager, which, however, allowed him to hire the post of chief engineer of the same W. Marr. Already in the first days of July, 1904, the model B appeared, which had a two-cylinder I head (at the time – a rarity) engine with a displacement of 2.6 liters and a capacity of 22 HP. The car reached a speed of 56 km/h and cost $950. It can be considered the ancestor of all subsequent production cars of the company, as they were manufactured in the same workshops. In 1904, there were sold 37 such units. Such cars in 1904 were sold 37 units. Whiting expressed dissatisfaction with the organizational work of D. Buick. The latter did not object that a talented mechanic and inventor is not the same as a talented manager. Having taken 100 thousand dollars of compensation again, he left. First to nowhere, then David attempted to make carburetors, play the stock exchange and even invest in real estate in Florida. In the last years of his life, Buick was an instructor at a vocational school and a watchman. The genius loser, who was not interested in a popularity or a profit, died of cancer pathology in 1929 at the age of 74, in poverty and oblivion. Nonetheless, David Buick belonged to an ancient Scottish family, which has its own coat of arms. It contained all the elements of the traditional knight era: scarlet background, diagonal line, as a sling on a shoulder, deer horns in one corner and a gold cross – in the other. In 1937, designer R. Pugh, paying tribute to the founder of the thriving car brand, tried to reflect the coat of arms in the logo of the company. Subsequently, there was little left from the family coat of arms, but today, the knights’ shields are inscribed in a usual metal circle and let people not forget the story of a simple Scottish young men who dreamed of cars.
New opportunities of the Buick Motor Company
J. Whiting offered the chair of the director of the automobile company to the owner of the factory for the production of carriages and carts, W. Durant. The latter quickly realized that manufacturing of cars was extremely profitable. He developed a teeming organizational activity, began to sell shares of the company, increased its capital to $1500 thousand (investing more than half of its own, personal funds). Durant was determined to establish the production of a reliable car in the middle price range. How fast the Buick became popular can be judged by the rate of sales growth:
The model B is followed by the model C, then by the more expensive and larger F. In 1907, Buick released a new four-cylinder engine and four new models, the model D and the model H in the upper price range of the market, and the models K and S in the lower range. At the same time, the production of the Buick F and G models, which were in stable demand, remained unchanged.
No other car brand offered its customers such a large selection of models, and no other brand was sold as fast as Buick. By 1908, less than four years after Durant’s arrival, Buick had overtaken Oldsmobile and Cadillac in sales.
In 1909, Buick production was moved to a new production complex in Flint. It was the largest American and world automobile factory, which employed more than two thousand people who worked 24 hours a day in three shifts. In 1909, Buick made more cars in one day than in the whole 1904.
Durant had huge plans: he was committed to the creation of a global automobile corporation and founded the holding company General Motors. In less than a year, the capital of General Motors reached $60 million. In parallel with the acquisition of Oldsmobile, Cadillac and Oakland (later renamed Pontiac), Durant bought companies for the production of components, paints, wheel disks, etc, turning GM into an automotive empire. After a slight decline and the removal of Durand from the management of the company, the production continued to expand. At the same time, dealers had to introduce waiting lists – the demand for Buick cars was enormous, the company constantly increased its capacity and expanded production area. By 1916, sales increased to 124834 units. From 1909 to 1919, Buick was the best-selling American car. In 1923, the millionth Buick car rolled off the assembly line, and the daily production volume reached 550 cars. From 1916 to 1925 Buick built 45 new production buildings and premises, increasing the total production area by almost three million square meters.
- The most innovative cars in America, Buick first began to be produced with fully enclosed bodies.
- It was the Buick team that first developed ultra-fast body painting technology, reducing it from four weeks to six hours.
- The engine was upgraded – in-line 8-cylinder instead of the outdated 6-cylinder.
- All the wheels received brakes, and the gearbox was equipped with a synchronizer.
- It was Buick that struck the automotive world with automatic ignition, and then the first models with turn indicators, which other brands introduced not even years, but decades later.
- The first concept car was the Y-Job model created in 1938.
- In 1949, on the front fenders behind the wheel arch, holes appeared, that imitated the exhaust pipes of fighters during the war. This design discovery was destined for a long life – it lasted 45 years on some modifications of the Buick.
- In the 50s of the twentieth century, Buick decided to radically change the rear optics, replacing small lamps with full-size lights.
- Buick, for its more than a century of history, has always preserved a bright individuality, maintaining a unique balance of modernity, technology and good old classics.
- It’s Buick that has always been the flagship of General Motors, the best-selling brand for many years, a cult milestone in the history of America.
The automaker, who has not experienced a single failure, fall, bankruptcy. Cars that have been cult for Americans for more than a century in appearance, as well as in reliability and unpretentiousness. It’s all about the legendary Buick brand. We hope you enjoyed the article. Do not forget that you have the opportunity to quickly and easily process an international driver’s license on our website. It will not take you a lot of time and effort, especially since this document is useful while driving not only Buick.