Saturday, March 16, 2013

BUICK - Forerunner of General Motors


David Dunbar Buick (1865 - 1924) , Scottish by origin, was interested in developing internal combustion engines for boats and later for automobiles. In  1899, he founded the Buick Auto Vim and Power Company to design and manufacture engines. In 1902, the company was in financial trouble forcing David Buick to take help from the Briscoe brothers - Frank and Benjamin Briscoe leading to the formation of Buick Manufacturing Company in 1902.

Seeing not much progress towards manufacturing , the Briscoe brothers sold off their holdings to James Whiting of  Flint Wagon Works and a new company Buick Motor Company was formed in 1903. David Buick along with Chief Engineer Walter Lorenzo Marr were credited with developing the first Over-head valve engine as against the side valve engines of that era.

The first production car Buick Model B was seen in 1904 -


In 1904, James Whiting brought in William Crapo Durant to manage the business at the Buick Motor Company. Being a top notch salesman as well as businessman , the Buick Motor Company flourished under the leadership of William Durant.

A 1907 Buick Model G -



In 1908 , William Durant thought about bringing most of the major automobile manufacturers under one company and attempted to integrate Ford Motor Company , Olds Motor Works, Maxwell -Briscoe Motor Company  and REO, He almost succeeded in creating a company named International Motors but for Ford and REO walking out in the last moment. In spite of Ford & REO walking out, William Durant created  General Motors Company with Buick Motor Company , Old Motor Works, Cadillac Motor Company and a plethora of small automobile companies and component suppliers. Thus was born General Motors out of Buick Motor Company. Later Buick became a brand of General Motors and survives till date.


In the early 30s , the ancestral coat of arms of its founder , David Buick,  was introduced in to the logo of Buick. In the early 60s the "Trishield" logo appeared, to depict the 3 major Buick cars of that time - the LeSabre, Invicta and the Electra -

A 1960 LeSabre
A 1959 Electra -



A 1961 Invicta -





Buick was well know for Engines and exterior styling. One of the famous engine design was popularly known as the "Nailhead" engine . Nailhead engine was a V8 engine with vertical overhead valves, resulting in a long stem and a small valve head. A "Nailhead" V8 Engine -




On Exterior styling , Buick brought in many new concepts including the Waterfall front grille, Sweepspear side chrome trims, VentiPort on the fenders, delta tail fins etc.

Buick brand still survives - one of the latest model, a 2013 Buick LaCrosse -

The Buick Logo -