Buick (/ˈbjuːɪk/), formally the
Buick Motor Division, is an upscale
automobile brand of the American manufacturer
General Motors (GM). It
has the distinction of being the oldest active American marque of
automobile, and was the company that established
General Motors in
1908. Before the establishment of General Motors, GM founder
William C. Durant
William C. Durant had served as Buick's general manager and major
Buick also has the distinction of being the first production
automobile maker in the world to equip its cars with overhead valve
engines in 1904.
For much of its existence in the North American market,
Buick has been
marketed as a premium automobile brand, selling luxury vehicles
positioned above GM's mainstream brands, while below the flagship
Cadillac division. Buick-branded vehicles are also known for
reliability, ranking high in Consumer Reports' brand reliability
Buick sold 1,231,941 vehicles, a record for the brand. The
main market is in China, where 80% of Buick-branded automobiles are
sold. Buicks are also sold in the United States, Canada, and
1.1 Early years
1.1.1 Early Engines
World War II
World War II years
1.3 Recent years
2 Production models
2.1.2 North America
3 Concept cars
4 Distinguishing features
4.4 Delta fin
4.5 Taillight shapes
4.6 Classic grille styling
4.7 Waterfall grille
6 World distribution
6.3 Middle East
6.4 New Zealand
8 Enthusiast organizations
10 See also
12 External links
David Dunbar Buick
David Dunbar Buick and Harley Earl
Valve-In-Head (OHV) engine, illustration from 1904 patent, Buick
Buick is one of the oldest automobile brands in the world and the
oldest in America. (Autocar, founded in 1897, is the oldest motor
vehicle manufacturer in the western hemisphere; while originally an
automobile maker, Autocar now builds heavy trucks. Oldsmobile, also an
early auto maker founded in 1897, is now defunct;
founded in 1852, but didn't begin producing automobiles until 1902;
Ford produced his first car in 1896 but did not start the Ford Motor
Co. until 1903, and during the period in between was involved with
other automobile manufacturers such as Cadillac, founded in 1902).
The first two
Buick automobiles were made in 1899 and 1900 at the
Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company" by chief-engineer Walter Marr,
but company owner
David Dunbar Buick
David Dunbar Buick was reluctant to begin making
automobiles, being satisfied with stationary and marine engine
production, so Marr left
Buick in 1901 to found his own automobile
company under his own name. His replacement was Eugene Richard, who
applied for a patent in 1902 for Marr's valve-in-head engine, which
patent, number 771,095, was awarded to Richard in the name of
1904. In 1903, the third
Buick automobile was made, this time by
Richard, but in 1904 Buick, whose company was now called "
Company," moved to Flint, Michigan, and Richard stayed behind. Marr
was rehired in Flint as chief engineer, to begin making automobiles in
production. That year, 37
Buick automobiles were made, production
increasing to 750 in 1905, 1,400 in 1906, 4,641 in 1907, and 8,800 in
1908, taking the number one spot away from close competitors
Oldsmobile, Ford, and Maxwell.
Louis Chevrolet driving a
Buick Bug in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup
Buick incorporated his company as the
Buick Motor Company on May
19, 1903, in Detroit, Michigan. In March, 1904, the company fell to
financier Benjamin Briscoe, who quickly sold it to James H. Whiting
(1842–1919), owner of Flint Wagon Works, in Flint, Michigan.
Buick to Flint that summer, to a location across the
street from his factory, with the idea of adding Buick's engines to
his wagons. David
Buick stayed on as a manager, and re-hired Walter
Marr as chief engineer. The engine
Buick and Marr developed for this
automobile was a 2-cylinder valve-in-head engine of 159 cubic inches,
with each cylinder horizontal and opposed to each other by 180
degrees. Whiting built only a few automobiles in 1904, by bringing
Buick engines across the street where his workers shoehorned them into
his wagons, before running out of capital, causing him to bring in
William C. Durant
William C. Durant that year as controlling investor. Durant was
co-owner, also in Flint, with Josiah Dallas Dort, of the Durant-Dort
Carriage Company, which was the largest carriage-making company in the
country and one of the largest in the world. Durant spent the next
4 years turning
Buick into the biggest-selling automobile brand in the
Buick sold his stock upon departure in 1906, and died in
modest circumstances 25 years later. In 1907, Durant agreed to supply
motors to R. S. McLaughlin in Canada, an auto maker, and in 1908 he
founded General Motors.
Buick in the early years
Buick Model B
Buick Model 10
Buick Model 10 Runabout
Buick B-35 Phaeton
Buick D-35 Roadster
Buick Model 22-54 Sport Roadster
Buick Standard Model 25 Touring
Buick Series 26 Business Coupe
Buick Model 67 Sedan
Buick Series 40 Model 46C
Buick Roadmaster Series 80 Touring Sedan
Buick Special Series 40 Model 41 Touring Sedan
Between 1899 and 1902, two prototype vehicles were built in
Michigan by Walter Lorenzo Marr. Some documentation exists of
the 1901 or 1902 prototype with tiller steering similar to the
Oldsmobile Curved Dash. In mid-1904, another prototype was constructed
for an endurance run, which convinced James H. Whiting to authorize
production of the first models offered to the public. The
architecture of this prototype was the basis for the Model B.
Buick made for sale, the 1904 Model B, was built in Flint,
Michigan at a re-purposed factory that was known as the Flint Wagon
Works. There were 37 Buicks made that year, none of which survive.
There are, however, two replicas in existence: the 1904 endurance car,
Buick Gallery & Research Center in Flint, and a Model B
assembled by an enthusiast in California for the division's 100th
anniversary. Both of these vehicles use various parts from
Buicks of that early era, as well as fabricated parts. These vehicles
were each constructed with the two known surviving 1904 engines.
The early success of
Buick is attributed mainly to what they called
the valve-in-head engine, now known as the overhead valve (OHV),
engine patented by Eugene Richard and developed by Richard, Buick,
and Marr. The Model F had a two-cylinder engine, an 87-inch wheelbase
and weighed 1,800 lbs. The creation of
General Motors is
attributed in part to the success of Buick, so it can be said Marr
and Richard's designs directly led to GM. The power train and
chassis architecture introduced on the Model B was continued through
the 1909 Model F.
The basic design of the 1904
Buick was optimally engineered even by
today's standards. The flat-twin engine is inherently balanced, with
torque presented to the chassis in a longitudinal manner, actually
cancelling front end lift, rather than producing undesirable lateral
motion. The engine was mounted amidships, now considered the optimal
Billy Durant was a natural promoter, and
Buick soon became the largest
car maker in America. Using the profits from this, Durant embarked on
a series of corporate acquisitions, calling the new megacorporation
General Motors. At first, the manufacturers comprising General Motors
competed against each other, but Durant ended that. He wanted each
General Motors division to target one class of buyer, and in his new
Buick was near the top — only the
Cadillac brand had
more prestige, a ranking that
Buick occupies currently in the General
Motors lineup. To save on resources,
Buick vehicles shared a common
platform, called the GM A platform, that was shared with Chevrolet,
Oldsmobile and Cadillac. The ideal
Buick customer is
comfortably well off, possibly not quite rich enough to afford a
Cadillac, nor desiring the ostentation of one, but definitely in the
market for a car above the norm.
Buick followed the likes of Napier in automobile racing,
winning the first-ever race held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The first full-size
Buick to join the smaller Model B was in 1907,
when the Model D was introduced with a four-cylinder
255.0 cu in (4,178 cc) T-head engine, installed in the
front with rear wheel drive. This was one of the only cars with side
Buick ever made.
Buick introduced its first closed-body car, four years
ahead of Ford, but five years after Cadillac, which was the first. The
car was built at the all-new factory in Flint which later became to be
Buick during the 1920s made various sized
vehicles, with series designations for different years, sometimes
using numbers, while later years using lettered designations. One of
the larger vehicles, with straight-six, was the
Buick Master Six.
In 1929, as part of General Motors' companion make program, Buick
Motor Division launched the Marquette sister brand, designed to bridge
the price gap between
Buick and Oldsmobile; however, Marquette was
discontinued in 1930. All Buick, Marquette, Viking, and Oldsmobile
products shared the newly introduced
GM B platform
GM B platform starting in 1926.
Buick debuted two major achievements for the 1931 model year, the OHV
Buick Straight-8 engine
Buick Straight-8 engine and a synchromesh transmission in all models
but the Series 50. The Eight was offered in three displacements, the
220 cubic inch (bore 2 7/8 in. stroke 4.25 in.), was available in the
Series 50 with 77 brake HP. The Series 60 engine was a 272 cu. in.
unit (bore 3 1/16 in., stroke 5 in.) giving 90 brake HP.
The Series 80 and Series 90 used a 344 cu. in. version (bore 3 5/16
in., stroke 5 in.) for 104 brake HP. Automatic vacuum-operated spark
advance was another new feature replacing the steering column mounted
spark lever although an emergency lever was now dash mounted. Buick
scored another first in 1939 when it became the first company to
introduce turn signals, which did not appear on other car brands until
almost a decade later. All 1939 models also had a steering column
mounted shift lever.
In the mid 1930s McLaughlin-Buicks were particularly popular with
British monarch Edward VIII. He imported and used a Canadian
built McLaughlin-Buick. It was GM's top brand in Canada. Being
Canada's most luxurious brand Buicks are always presented for Royal
transport within Canada.
George VI used one for a coast to coast royal
Canada in 1939.
1904 - 1911. Two cylinders horizontally opposed at 180 degrees, OHV,
159 cu. in.
1907 - 1924. Four cylinders, in line, OHV, 165 to 392.6 cu. in.
1914 - 1930. Six cylinders, in line, OHV, 191 to 331 cu. in.
1931 - 1953. Eight cylinders, in line, OHV, 221 to 345 cu. in.
World War II
World War II years
Buick Super Series 40-B Model 41 in USAF paint scheme
Buick Super sedan
Buick Roadmaster Sedanet coupe
Buick Roadmaster convertible
Buick Super Riviera
Buick Roadmaster Skylark
Buick Roadmaster Estate
Buick Special sedan
Buick Century Riviera
Buick Super Riviera
Buick Special Riviera
Buick Bug Race Car and 1944 M18
Buick Hellcat Tank Destroyer
1940 — Estate introduced as wagon designation on Super.
1942 — Produced the
M18 Hellcat army tank and supplied radial
engines installed in the B-24 Liberator,
Douglas C-47 Skytrain, and
Douglas C-54 Skymaster.
Dynaflow automatic transmission first offered.
1949 — VentiPorts debut.
1953 — Buick's 50th Anniversary. Introduction of
Buick V8 engine
Buick V8 engine and
1955 — Best model year sales to date with 738,814 Buicks sold.
1957 — New 364 cu. in. engine block &
Ball joint front
suspension debut. Roadmasters now had aluminum finned brake drums.
1959 — Electra, Invicta and LeSabre and 401 cu. in. V-8 (in Electras
& Invicta) introduced. Electra was the Official Pace Car of the
Indianapolis 500 race.
Buick Special DeLuxe
Buick Wildcat convertible
Buick LeSabre convertible
Buick Riviera GS
Buick Century GS
Buick Electra Park Avenue
1960 — Electra 225 was the Official Pace Car of the Daytona 500
1961 — Skylark nameplate returns as top model of new
car with new 215 cu. in. aluminum V-8. Fireball
V6 engine introduced.
1962 — Wildcat introduced as trim level on Invicta.
Motor Trend Car of the Year.
1963 — Riviera introduced as its own model with 425 cu.in. V-8 as an
option. Wildcat introduced as its own model. Electra 225 was the
Official Pace Car of the
Daytona 500 race.
Special reintroduced as intermediate sized car on GM "A" body
1967 — Radial tires available as options on all full size
1970 — Estate introduced as its own model. GSX high performance
package first offered on Gran Sport (GS) 455.
1971 — Centurion and "boat-tail" Riviera introduced.
1973 — Apollo introduced. Regal introduced as upper trim level on
1975 — Skyhawk introduced. Park Avenue introduced as trim/option
package on Electra 225 Limited. Century was the Official Pace Car of
Indianapolis 500 race.
1976 — Century was the Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500
race for the second year in a row. Final year for
1977 — Electra redesigned and downsized. Best model year sales to
date with 773,313 Buicks sold.
1978 — Buick's 75th Anniversary. Turbocharged V6 introduced in the
Regal Sport Coupe. Best model year sales to date with 795,316
1979 — Riviera S-Type named Motor Trend Car of the Year.
Buick LeSabre Limited
Buick Riviera convertible
Buick Electra Park Avenue
Buick Regal Grand National
Buick Century Estate
Buick Park Avenue
1980 — Diesel engine became available on select
Somerset introduced as trim/option package on Regal Limited.
T-Type performance trim introduced on Riviera.Regal was the
Official Pace Car of the
Indianapolis 500 race.
1982 — Grand National high performance package first offered on
Regal. First Riviera convertible produced.
1983 — Riviera was the Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500
race. Best model year sales to date with 810,435 Buicks sold.
1984 — Official Car of the XXIII Olympiad. Best model year sales to
date with 906,626 Buicks sold.
1985 — Somerset introduced as its own model. LeSabre Limited
Collectors Edition offered to mark the end of an era for the
rear-wheel drive coupe and sedan. Electra redesigned and converted to
front-wheel drive. Best model year sales to date with 915,336 Buicks
1986 — LeSabre coupe and sedan redesigned and converted to the new
front-wheel drive H-body platform.
1987 — Limited production GNX high performance package introduced
and offered one year only on Regal.
1988 — Official Car of the U.S. Olympic Team. Reatta 2-seater
introduced. Regal redesigned and converted to front-wheel drive. "The
Great American Road Belongs to Buick" slogan debuts.
1989 — Ultra introduced as trim/option package on Electra Park
1990 — First Reatta convertible produced. Regal is now offered as a
4-door sedan for the first time since 1977. "The New Symbol for
Quality in America" slogan debuts.
1991 — Park Avenue introduced as its own model. Roadmaster returned
to lineup after 33-year absence.
1993 — Buick's 90th Anniversary.
Special 90th Anniversary Edition
LeSabre produced to commemorate the milestone.
1996 — Roadmaster discontinued.
1997 — Regal and Century are redesigned.
1999 — Limited production Riviera Silver Arrow produced to
commemorate original 1963 concept as well as end of Riviera
Buick Lucerne CXL
Buick Enclave CXL
Buick LaCrosse Super
Buick Regal GS
In the 2000s, Buick's lineup was modified with the compact and
performance segments being abandoned in favor of the crossover/SUV
market which was growing in popularity. In 2000, the eighth and final
generation of the LeSabre was introduced and remained in production
until its discontinuation in 2005. In 2003, the
crossover concept car commemorated
Buick Motor Division's 100th
anniversary. Some of the Centieme's exterior design and interior
features would later appear on the 2008 Enclave crossover. In 2004,
Buick added the Rainier mid-size SUV.
Buick began consolidating its
lineup in 2005 and by 2008 had reduced it to just three models with
new nameplates: the 2005 LaCrosse/Allure, the 2006 Lucerne, and the
2008 Enclave. In 2008, the Super name returned after a 50-year absence
as a new performance trim level on LaCrosse and Lucerne. While the
brand's total overall sales slipped in the United States, the
profitability of the model lineup ensured Buick's future within
Since 2005, GM had gradually consolidated
Buick with GMC and former
Pontiac dealerships to create the current Buick-GMC network. During
General Motors Chapter 11 reorganization and emergence in 2009, the
Buick as a "core brand", citing the division's
success in China. Behind the scenes, GM began to move products
originally planned for other brands to Buick. The
Opel Insignia was
originally intended to become the second-generation Saturn Aura, but
instead became the new
Buick Regal. In the 2009 J.D. Power and
Associates Vehicle Dependability Study,
Buick tied with Jaguar as the
most dependable brand in the United States.
The 2010s saw the return of a classic
Buick nameplate (Regal) as well
as the addition of several new ones, plus the brand’s first factory
convertible since the early 1990s.
In January 2009,
Buick unveiled the new 2010 LaCrosse sedan, an all
new styling direction which included traditional
Buick cues. The
market responded to the LaCrosse, with reviews favorably comparing to
luxury models such as the
Lexus ES. In 2010,
Buick became the
fastest growing automotive brand and attracted a younger customer
demographic. An all-new Regal sedan, a smaller model based on the
Opel Insignia, was re-introduced for the 2011 model year
after a seven-year absence. For 2012, the all-new Verano, which was a
compact sedan based on the
Chevrolet Cruze, joined the lineup.
Additionally, the performance-oriented Regal GS officially went on
sale and became the first
Buick in almost 20 years to be offered with
a manual transmission and a turbocharger.
Buick also entered the
hybrid market with the introduction of eAssist technology on the 2012
LaCrosse and Regal which helped improve fuel economy ratings by as
much as 38% over the regular gas-engine versions. Meanwhile, sales of
the Enclave crossover remained strong. In January 2012, the all-new
Encore mini crossover was unveiled at the North American International
Auto Show in Detroit. Also in 2012, a turbocharged version of the
Verano was introduced and the Enclave was redesigned for the 2013
model year. In 2013, GM confirmed plans of a "hybrid global brand"
which includes Opel/Vauxhall and
Buick using more synergies between
the brands. LaCrosse and Regal were refreshed for the 2014
model year. In 2015, the all-new Cascada compact convertible debuted
North American International Auto Show
North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In November,
the all-new 2017 LaCrosse was shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Buick also confirmed that the Envision mid-size crossover would be
sold in North America starting summer 2016. The Verano compact sedan
was dropped from the
Buick lineup in North America in 2017. For 2018,
Buick replaced the Regal sedan with an all-new model offering
hatchback and station wagon body styles. This new Regal is the first
Buick for the North American market since the 1987
Skyhawk and the first station wagon since the 1996 Roadmaster.
For the 2018 model year, Buick's North American lineup consists of the
Encore compact crossover, the Cascada compact convertible, the Regal
mid-size hatchback and station wagon, the LaCrosse full-size sedan,
the Envision mid-size crossover, and the Enclave full-size crossover.
There are plans to add a Sub-brand to accompany Buick, with the Avenir
badge being applied to its top of the line level trims, starting with
the 2018 model year, utilizing the same strategy as GMC's Denali
Sub-brand, which has been successful for GM. With GM spinning off
the Opel/Vauxhall division to Group PSA in March 2017,
expected to move away from sharing the same
Opel model/designs upon
the completion of the current generation vehicles or a debut of a
replacement after the sale closes.
A GM company spokesman said that
Buick is positioned as a "premium"
marque (entry-level luxury) to compete with Acura, some
Volvo, and Infiniti, while
Cadillac is aimed at the "luxury"
performance segment which includes
BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and Audi
Buick Excelle GT
Buick Excelle XT
Buick Excelle GX
Buick Verano GS
Buick Regal GS
Buick Velite 5
Regal/Regal GS (1999–present)
Velite 5 (2017-present)
Verano GS (2015-present)
Regal (1973–2004, 2011–present)
Model B (1904)
Model C (1905)
Model F & G (1906–1910)
Model 10 (1908–1910)
Model 14 & 14B (1910–1911)
Special (1936–1958, 1961–1969)
Roadmaster (1936–1958, 1991–1996)
Century (1936–1942, 1954–1958, 1973–2005)
Skylark (1953–1954, 1961–1972, 1975–1998)
Riviera (1963–1993, 1995–1999)
Estate (1970–1979, 1990)
Skyhawk (1975–1980, 1982–1989)
Park Avenue (1991–2005)
Buick Y-Job concept
Buick LeSabre concept
Buick Wildcat II concept
Buick Centurion concept
Buick Velite concept
Buick Riviera concept
Buick Riviera concept
Buick Avenir concept
Buick has a long history of creating intriguing concept cars dating
back to the Y-Job, the industry's first concept car, of 1938. Its most
recent concepts have included the Avenir, unveiled at the 2015 North
American International Auto Show, and the Avista which was unveiled a
year later at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.
A trishield, the
Buick symbol, hood ornament on a 1990 LeSabre Custom
Buick Trishield is rooted in the ancestral coat of arms of the
automaker’s founder, David Dunbar Buick. That crest was a red shield
with a checkered silver and azure diagonal line from the upper left to
lower right, a stag above, and a punctured cross below. The division
adopted this on its radiator grilles in 1937. In 1960, the logo
underwent a major overhaul. Its single shield was replaced by a trio
in red, white, and blue—denoting the LeSabre, Invicta, and Electra
then in the
Buick lineup. It was supplanted by the
Buick Hawk in the
1970s, but the trishield reemerged in the 1980s, simplified, but with
its same patriotic colors. The Trishield with red, white, and blue
features, was simplified in 2005, but the colors have returned
representing the current trio of vehicles in the
Buick marque for
sedans and crossovers. However, the Trishield enjoys its even more
distilled and emboldened tri-color form.
Buick styling cue dating to 1949 is a series of three or
four vents on the front fender behind the front wheels. The source of
this design feature was a custom car of
Buick stylist Ned Nickles,
which in addition had a flashing light within each hole each
synchronized with a specific spark plug simulating the flames from the
exhaust stack of a fighter airplane. Combined with the bombsight
mascot (introduced in 1946), VentiPorts put the driver at the controls
of an imaginary fighter airplane. The flashing light feature was not
Buick in production, but VentiPorts remained as nonfunctional
They were called VentiPorts because the 1949 sales brochure noted that
VentiPorts helped ventilate the engine compartment to minimize the
engine overheating. The suggestion was made that they allowed air flow
out of the engine bay. Air entered from the grille into the engine bay
and was pressurized by the radiator fan, and exited through the
VentiPorts. The benefit might have been true in early 1949, but
sometime during the model year they became plugged.
The installation of VentiPorts was a reference to
participated in the war effort by supplying over 74,000 Pratt &
Whitney radial engines that were installed in B-24 Liberator aircraft.
Buick also supplied Pratt & Whitney engines in the Douglas C-47
Douglas C-54 Skymaster. GM also had a controlling
North American Aviation
North American Aviation from 1933 until 1948, the company
that built the
P-51 Mustang fighter plane. GM also
owned the Allison Engine Company, the manufacturer of the Allison
V-1710 V-12 engine that was used in the Lockheed P-38,
Bell P-39 and
When introduced, the number of VentiPorts (three or four) denoted the
size of straight-eight engine installed. Since displacement
differences in straight-eight engines resulted in more dramatic
differences in engine length than on V8s, the
Buick Roadmaster (which
was the only model at this time with the larger engine) needed a
longer chassis in front of the cowl to accommodate the larger engine.
Thus an extra VentiPort also corresponded directly to the necessary
extra length in front. After the more compact V8 replaced the
straight-eight engine in 1953 this difference in chassis length was no
longer needed. Nevertheless, the convention remained. Consequently,
Buick Century, which shared the
Buick Special's smaller body,
was reintroduced in 1954, it also received four VentiPorts to denote
its engine's greater displacement. However, in 1955, the
which shared Roadmaster's larger body, was promoted from three to four
VentiPorts despite having the smaller displacement engine. In turn,
Buick Invicta which took the place of the
Buick Century in 1959,
and consequently had the smaller body with the larger displacement
engine, was demoted from four to three VentiPorts on introduction.
Thus the number of VentiPorts came to denote body size rather than
Buick introduced the first
V6 engine installed in an American
passenger car, called the Fireball V6 in the
Buick Special, and three
VentiPorts appeared on the side, ushering a new designation denoting
the number of cylinders instead of displacement and bodysize. As a
result, VentiPorts have appeared sporadically from 1960 through 1981.
Buick V6 engine
Buick V6 engine was not related to the
GMC V6 engine introduced
for commercial use in 1959.
In 2003 VentiPorts were re-introduced on the
Buick Park Avenue
Buick Park Avenue Ultra.
After the Park Avenue was discontinued,
Buick salvaged the VentiPorts
to appear on the new-for-2006 Lucerne. Consistent with the tradition
that held from 1961, the Lucerne's VentiPorts refer directly to the
number of pistons: V6 models have three on each side, while V8s have
four on each side.
Modern and edgy compared to the oval ones that adorned Buicks for
years, the new VentiPorts have become a Buick-wide talisman again. The
newly designed VentiPorts appear on every
Buick model from 2014
Sweepspear on a 1953
Contemporary sweepspear, upon its reintroduction on a 2nd generation
Another styling cue from the 1940s through the 1970s was the
Sweepspear, a curved trim line running almost the length of the car.
Introduced as an option on the 1949
Buick Roadmaster Riviera hardtop
coupe, the original Sweepspear was a chrome-plated steel rub strip
which began level over the front wheel, gently curved down across the
front fender and door, dove nearly to the rocker panel just ahead of
the rear wheel, then flared up and over the rear wheel before leveling
off again into a straight run back to the tail-light. The shape of the
feature shows similarities to the Jaguar XK120, with the feature
running the length of the car in both examples.
The "Riviera trim", as it was initially called, was made available on
the Roadmaster convertible very late in the '49 model year. It proved
so popular that by the 1951 model year it was made a standard feature
on all Buicks. During the two-tone color craze of the 1950s, it
separated two different color areas.
In time, the Sweepspear became stainless steel, then a vinyl rub strip
or simple character line in the sheetmetal, as hinted in some versions
Buick Riviera, distinct on the 1968-1969 Skylark, and appearing
on the 2008 Invicta concept car. Often optional trim was available to
reinforce a plain character line in the bodywork. The feature was
re-introduced with the 2nd generation
Delta Fins on a 1959
Buick Electra 225 Riviera
Buick was marketed beginning in September 1957, just as the
space age began with the launching of
Sputnik I on October 4 of that
Buick was nicknamed "the king of chrome" and had rear
tailfins reminiscent of a rocket ship. In 1959,
Buick had the
aerodynamic Delta Fin. The fin made parking difficult and blocked the
driver's line of vision. It was snubbed down in 1960 and
disappeared in 1961.
During the 1950s, the characteristic form of the
Buick taillamps was a
tier of small, circular bullet-shapes. In the early 1960s, most models
began to evolve a wide, rectangular pattern, until the 1965 Skylark
and Electra models appeared with full-width rear lamps. Since then,
wide taillamps have been a
Buick hallmark, usually consisting of four
bulbs on each side. The brake light illumination uses the two outer
bulbs, while the two inner bulbs remain as tail lights.
Classic grille styling
Buick "dollar grin" and "Trishield" in a
Buick styling cue (dating from the 1942–1958 period,) that has
most often reappeared, though, is for the grille to be a horizontal
oval with many, thin, vertical chromed ribs bulging forward. This has
sometimes been called the
Buick "dollar grin" particularly on the
early 1950s models, which had thick, highly polished ribs that
somewhat resembled teeth. The 1950 model took this tooth theme to its
extreme as the teeth crossed over the bumper exposing the 1950 "grin".
The 1951 model reined in the theme, bringing the teeth back behind the
Buick Models have a new take on the classic styling
with their Chromed "Waterfall Grilles".
Buick waterfall grille on 2nd generation LaCrosse.
In recent years,
Buick has adopted a Waterfall Grille, as seen on the
Buick Velite concept car from 2004 and first used in production with
Buick Lucerne introduced for the 2006 model year. This waterfall
grille bears some resemblance to grilles of Buicks from the 1980s,
such as the Grand National.
Buick V8 engine, nicknamed the Nailhead because of its relatively
small intake and exhaust valves which resembled nails, became popular
with hot-rodders in the 1950s and 1960s, because the vertical
attachment of the valve covers, in contrast to the angled attachment
of other V8 engines, enabled the engine to fit into smaller spaces
while maintaining easy access for maintenance.
In addition to premium and luxury vehicles,
Buick has also been well
known for its offerings of high performance cars. Some of the better
known examples included the Gran Sport and GSX models of the 1960s and
1970s, and the Grand National and GNX models of the 1980s.
Buick G2.5 V6 made by Shanghai GM, China, 2002
V6 engine of
Buick 2.5G of Shanghai GM, China, 2002
China is Buick's largest market, accounting for 80% of the cars sold
worldwide in 2015. In 2015,
General Motors sold 990,000 Buicks in
China, four and a half times what it sold in the United States.
Buicks have always been popular in China. In pre-
World War II
World War II China,
one in five cars was a Buick
Buick is a leading vehicle brand in
China. Buicks were used by the last emperor Puyi, the first
president Sun Yat-sen, and the first premier Zhou Enlai.
Since 1999, a Chinese version of the
Buick Regal has been produced and
sold in mainland China by Shanghai GM and has proven to be popular
among upscale, professional families, establishing
Buick as one of the
most popular vehicle brands in China. In addition,
Buick of China also
sells the compact Excelle, in its first generation based on the Daewoo
Lacetti/Nubira), a five-door hatchback version called the HRV, and a
modified version of the first generation
Pontiac Montana minivan named
the GL8. Many Buicks for the local market are equipped with smaller
more fuel efficient engines with double overhead camshafts, than those
with overhead valves in the same nameplate for the American market.
The engines of 2005-09
Chevrolet Equinox and
originally intended for
Buick in China, were made in China and
imported by General Motors.
In June 2005,
Buick announced that it would market the Australian RWD
Holden Caprice in China as the
Buick Royaum (2005–06). Buick
previously marketed the subcompact Sail, sourced from GM's Asian
operations and based on the
Opel Corsa B, until 2005. Since then,
Shanghai GM has replaced it with the
Chevrolet Sail (a rebadged Opel
Buick has stated that it expects China to become its second
Buick debuted the Chinese version of the LaCrosse sedan. The
only differences are exterior design, different engine choices, and a
facelifted interior. It is positioned above the Regal but below the
In April 2007, Shanghai GM announced the
Buick Park Avenue, for the
Chinese market only. The vehicle is based on the
Holden Caprice, with
engines manufactured in Australia.
Buick sold 447,011 vehicles, an increase of 59.6 percent
compared with the previous year.
Buick has sold over two million vehicles in China. The first million
took eight years, the second came in at only three years.
Taiwan was founded in August 1989. In the early 1990s, Buick, along
with other GM brands, was very popular and frequently seen on
Taiwanese streets. Park Avenue, 3rd and 4th generation Regal, and 6th
generation Skylark used to be sold in Taiwan.
In December 2004,
General Motors signed a memorandum of understanding
with Yulon, a firm based in Taiwan, for the licensed manufacture of
Buick vehicles there. In July 2005,
Yulon GM Motor Co. Ltd. (Yulon
GM), a joint venture with 51 percent equity stake held by
and 49 percent by GM, was founded.
On April 17, 2006,
Yulon GM debuted the first
Buick vehicle ever built
in Taiwan, the LaCrosse sedan. It is very similar to the Chinese
version of the LaCrosse.
On April 2010
Buick debuted the localised version of LaCrosse, named
Alpheon, to South Korean market.
Buicks were sold in Mexico from 1921 to 1962, when a protectionist
policy on behalf of the government restricted the percentage of
imported parts that could be used in the manufacture of vehicles and
the sale of imported cars. From then onwards, all GM products were
Chevrolet dealerships. In 1990, after a heavy modification to
the protectionist policy of the sixties, GM started assembling the
Buick Century in Mexico, at the plant in Ramos Arizpe, in the state of
Coahuila, just south of Texas, and selling it through Mexican
Chevrolet dealerships, so it was not uncommon for many people to call
Chevrolet Century". In 1997, GM stopped production of Buicks in
Mexico and the brand was not sold there until 2009.
With the announcement in 2009 of the elimination of the
it was speculated that Buicks would be sold once again in Mexico,
since there was a large network of Pontiac-GMC dealerships already in
place. On July 24, 2009, Grace Lieblein, the new president of GM in
Mexico, revealed that the
Buick brand would be available in Mexico in
late September of that year, after an absence of a dozen years, with
the LaCrosse and the Enclave models.
Buick shared the dealership floor
Pontiac and GMC until the
Pontiac brand faded away in the summer
In Israel, Buicks are imported by Universal Motors, Ltd. (UMI), which
also imports other GM vehicles. For model years 2004 and 2005, the
Buick LeSabre and
Buick Rendezvous were sold. For model years 2006 and
Buick LaCrosse and
Buick Lucerne were sold alongside the
Rendezvous. For model year 2008, the
Buick LaCrosse and
were available. Buicks were sold throughout the Middle East until the
Buick Roadmaster was discontinued.
Buicks were once sold in New Zealand. They were also built at the GMNZ
plant in Petone, outside Wellington. At the end of World War II,
Buick name was not revived for the New Zealand market.
For many years,
Buick was a substitute for
Chevrolet in automobile
racing. No earlier than the 1960s,
Buick was a competitor in the
Indianapolis 500, and (like almost every other American manufacturer)
also participated in the Grand National stock car racing series using
its Regal and later the Gran Sport.
The golden age of
Buick in motorsport, however, was the early to late
General Motors entered the Regal, particularly the Grand
National model, in the
NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Cup Series alongside the Oldsmobile
Buick was also a major powerplant in the
IndyCar Series and
IMSA GT Series
IMSA GT Series (particularly in the IMSA GTP class) for several years.
The 1990s, however, proved to be the end of Buick's reign in
motorsports, as GM replaced it for many years with
phasing out that marque in 2004.
Oldsmobile would be replaced by
Pontiac until its demise in 2009, being replaced by Chevrolet.
Buicks were also entered in the
Trans Am Series
Trans Am Series in the 1980s and 1990s
using aftermarket V8 engines.
Buick Club of America, founded in 1966, is a non-profit
organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of
automobiles built by the
Buick Motor Division of General Motors
Buick Advertisement - Syracuse Post-Standard, January 21, 1911
The Saturday Evening Post, November 1920
Cover of 1925 promotional folder from Swedish reseller
Advertisement for 1916
Buick by dealer Howard Automobile Co., San
List of automobile manufacturers of the United States
^ BUICK MOTOR DIVISION HISTORY by Lawrence R. Gustin, 1993 - Buick
^ a b c d e f g "The Buick, A Complete History," third ed., 1987,
Terry P. Dunham and Lawrence Gustin.
^ "How Car Brands Compare for Reliability". Consumer Reports. Consumer
Reports. October 15, 2015.
^ "GM Reports Third Consecutive Year of Record Global Sales".
media.gm.com. 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
^ a b c Frankel, Todd C. (January 20, 2016). ""That's a Buick?" In
China, unlike the U.S., there's no doubt". Washington Post.
^ Flint Timeline Project-James H. Whiting Archived July 7, 2009, at
the Wayback Machine.
^ VMC virtualmuseum.ca McLaughlin-Buick:"Canada's Standard Car"
Buick History". Welovebuicks.com. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
Buick perhaps 1902". Prewarbuick.com. 2002-01-01. Retrieved
^ "James H. Whiting". Thewhiting.com. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
Buick Model B". Prewarbuick.com. 2002-01-01. Retrieved
Buick Prototype - Sloan Museum". 1929buick.com. Retrieved
Buick Model B
Buick Model B - Restoration Project". 1929buick.com. Retrieved
^ "A Heritage of Precision". Buick. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
Buick Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved
^ "The free-wheeling gambler who created conservative General Motors".
Info.detnews.com. 1996-07-30. Archived from the original on
2012-07-10. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
^ Stoll, John D. (2008-07-07). "GM Weighs More Layoffs, Sale of
Brands". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
^ Katz, John F. (1998-03-02). "1909
Buick Model F". Autoweek.com.
Buick History (1904-1929)". 1929buick.com. Retrieved
^ Wells, Dick. "SRMA Update" in Street Rodder, 12/98, p.298. The
accuracy of this source is in question, however.
^ Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925
(New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.121.
^ Clymer, p.120.
^ "Who Made That Turn Signal?". The New York Times. July 12,
^ Davies, Caroline (2001-08-23). "Car that took King into exile goes
on sale". The Daily Telegraph. London.
^ a b
^ The Buick, A Complete History, Dunham and Gustin
^ LaChance, David
Hemmings Motor News Buyer's Guide from Hemmings
Muscle Machines: 1966-'67
Buick Riviera GS July 2006 Retrieved July
^ "History & Heritage". Buick.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
^ Dederer, Andrew (2008-04-25). "
Buick and the
Detroit Zombies". The
Truth About Cars. Retrieved 2011-09-23.
^ Krebs, Michelle (2009-06-29). "'Good' GM: Maybe Not All That Good".
Edmunds Auto Observer. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
^ Evans, Scott (2009-04-02). "GM CEO Henderson Says
Buick is a Core
Brand". MotorTrend.com. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
Buick Regal". Autoblog.com.
^ "GMI Exclusive: 2010
Saturn Aura on "Hold"". GM Inside News.
2008-06-26. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
Buick and Jaguar Tie to Rank Highest for Vehicle Dependability,
J.D. Power Press Release, 19 March 2009
^ "Comparison: 2010
Buick LaCrosse CXS vs 2010
Lexus ES 350". Motor
Trend. March 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
^ "Fastest Growing Car
Brand in America? Buick". Advertising Age.
2010-08-16. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
Buick Announces Avenir Sub-
Brand To Join Future Products In 2018"
from GM Authority (September 1, 2016)
^ Frost, Lawrence; Taylor, Edward (Mar 6, 2017). "PSA targets Opel
turnaround as GM exits Europe". Reuters. Retrieved 10 March
Buick LaCrosse". Autoblog.com.
^ a b c d e f Official website of
Buick China. Retrieved October 2,
^ Time Magazine, May 14, 1945, numerous advertisements referring to
Buick engines installed.
^ "Timeline Photos".
Buick Official Facebook Page. 2013-12-13.
^ "Photo of a 1958
Buick Special". Archived from the original on
2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
^ "Source of the photo of the 1958 Buick". Photos.cokertire.com.
2008-05-05. Archived from the original on 2011-08-24. Retrieved
^ "Photo of a 1959 Buick". Retrieved 2010-12-27.
^ "Source of the photo of the 1959 Buick—David's Dimension Classic
Car Images:". Davidsdimension.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
^ "Forecast Says China Provides Opportunities and Competition".
Internet Auto Guide. Archived from the original on 2010-11-21.
^ Peter Alexander (2006-05-15). "
Buick bucks the trend — GM brand is
No. 1 car seller in China, thanks to smart marketing". NBC News.
^ Austen, Ian (March 26, 2008). "A Chevy With an Engine From China".
New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
^ Jensen, Cheryl (2010-04-23). "Forecast Says China Provides
Opportunities and Competition". New York Times. Retrieved
^ "GM hits two million sells in China". Autoblog. 2009-06-22.
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