The Great American Road Still Belongs To Buick

1903 Model B

Buick 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 GM, its founder William C. Durant had served as Buick’s general manager and major investor.

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, Buick’s Model B. The company only produced 37 cars during its first year of production.

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 luxury Cadillac division. Buick-branded vehicles are also known for reliability.

William Durant

In 1916, Walter P. Chrysler was Buick’s president. During the next two years, Buick built Liberty aircraft engines, mortar shells, ambulances and experimental trucks for the World War I. In 1920, Chrysler resigned as Buick’s president and later formed his own, Chrysler Corporation.

In 2015, Buick sold 1,231,941 vehicles, a record for the brand. The main market is in China, where 80 percent of Buick-branded automobiles are sold. It first opened it’s Buick sales offices in Shanghai in 1929, but the first Chinese-produced Buick did not roll off the production line until 2009. Buicks are also presently sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In February 1942, Buick returned to its focus on producing aircraft, ammunition and the M18 tank destroyer, the Hellcat.

In the late 1940s and early ’50s, Buick became synonymous with “the doctor’s car” because of its reliability and quality. It became the car that many people aspired to own.

The 1975 Buick Electra was the longest car that Buick ever produced, measuring 233.7 inches, bumper to bumper. While, also in the same year, it produced its most compact car, the Skyhawk. And many movie-goers will recall the prominently featured 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible in the 1988 Academy Award-winning film Rain Main with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. 

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