The History of Buick
Today we see Buick as a luxury version of many shared platforms that General Motors carries. The Buick name has been around for many years. Since the company’s incorporation in 1903, Buick has been the oldest American automotive brand still currently producing vehicles for sale. Buick started with two prototype models before it produced its first vehicle for ready for production and sales to the general public.
The first production model was the Buick Model B that was known as the “couch on wheels” as Buick made a point to try and bring the comfort and room of your living room to your vehicle. The engine was a two cylinder horizontal opposed piston engine that delivered 20 hp and was mated to a transmission that offered two forward gears and one reverse. The first year of production for Buick lead the team to produce a total of 37 vehicles that year. The Buick Model B sold for $1,000 dollars which would be at around nearly $26,000 dollars by today’s inflation. So this vehicle was starting at around the price of a 2013 Buick Regal. Buick wanted to offer quality and comfort to its buyers and become a staple for American luxury. Unfortunately there are no known surviving Model B Buicks in existence today but there have been recreations that utilized many original parts.
Throughout the upcoming years Buick introduced vehicles such as the Model F that would go on to become a top seller for the company. Some historians attribute the success and creation of General Motors to the Model F as it became a staple for the company. The Model F would utilize the same type of engine design as well as level of luxury and quality that would give rise to the Buick name to become synonymous for affordable American luxury. With the Buick name gaining popularity it soon became the best selling Auto manufacturer in America. During the Second World War, Buick retooled their factories in order to build nearly 2,600 M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyers.
For the Post-War years Buick became a driving force in the auto industry and continued to offer customers quality vehicles at a reasonable price and therefore we saw many great vehicles being built. Through the years we would see popular names arise such as the LaSabre, Skylark and Rivera. These vehicles would become well known and continue on with future generations. In 1953 Buick introduced a high-compression V8 engine that would utilize the 12-volt electrical system devised by the Delco Corporation. These engineering feats would become common place for many different GM vehicles.
Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s Buick would develop vehicles that utilized more contemporary designs. These vehicles would soon lose the more bulbous shape and show off a more sleek and jet-age look to them. Buick cars such as the Rivera become its own model with production of 40,000 vehicles. With the late 60’s and 70’s we would see Buick entering into the “Muscle Car” era as such names as the Gran Sport and the GSX would become dominate names in the field of affordable power. Then in the last half of the 1970’s decade we would see rising insurance costs, emissions standards and a fuel crisis that would cause American manufacturers to rethink their positions on “big blocks” and muscle meant that companies such as Buick would retool in order to manufacture more efficient vehicles.
During the 1980’s we would see Buick manufacturing more front-wheel-drive vehicles such as the Buick Skylark. The company wanted to consolidate its manufacturing process to improve efficiency therefore moving all departments to one location through a $200 million dollar project that would often be remarked as being Buick City. The company produced many vehicles but one would stand out in the eye of the performance minded collector which would be the production of the 1987 Gran National performance based version called the GNX. The GNX was able to get a 0-60 time in 4.7 seconds which at the time was faster than most Italian exotic cars. Moving into the 90’s we would see a continuation of heavily shared components with Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Pontiac. This was done in order to keep costs lower for production and parts. Over the years Buick would be targeted to older buyers as GM advertised the company as affordable luxury. The only issue is that there were no longer any types of performance based vehicles to draw in a more youthful buyer.
Currently GM is working to revitalize the image of Buick as it has suffered through years of malaise. Youthful buyers became non-existent and therefore GM was set to bring them back into Buick dealerships. Today we see that Buick is currently being sold in many different countries such as Canada, China, Israel, Mexico and Taiwan. China has become Buick’s largest market and was a deciding factor when GM started to downsize its companies thus letting Oldsmobile, Saturn, and Pontiac go. Today we see that there are many fresh faces coming to Buick that are geared towards younger and older buyers. We now see a five model selection that offers Compact, Mid-Size and Full-size sedans as well as two Crossover vehicles. We have seen the introduction recently of the Buick Verano that looks to offer customers all the amenities and comfort at an affordable price. We also have the Buick Regal that has been redesigned and offers a performance based model known as the Regal GS. And we have the Buick Lacrosse that is the company’s flagship model that offers competitive fuel efficiency as well as luxury and technology. All of these fresh faces for Buick will help make the company rise again as a top manufacturer for the United States.
Categories: Production Cars