Plumbing company owner,
David Dunbar Buick, who gave America its
first porcelain bathtub had two other companies
The Buick Auto Vin & Power Company
and The Buick Manufacturing Company, which
produced L-head engines for marine and stationary
use. Unfortunately Buick was not a shrewd
businessman. In 1902 he relinquished ownership
of both these companies.
The Buick Motor Car Company
In 1903, The Buick Motor Car Company was
formed, though the first Buick rolled out
one year later. During its infancy, The
Buick Motor Company was pulled out of financial
crisis on several occasions by Walter Marr,
Eugene Richard, the Briscoe Brothers and
William Crapo Durant.
With Durant at the helm, production totaled
750 units by 1905, up from 28 produced in
1904. Buick production for 1908 was 8,820
cars, second only to Ford. This success
was due to two reasons the first
being Buick's Model 10, the car that 'made'
Buick. The second was the merger with Olds,
forming General Motors.
Beginning 1910, Durant bought over several
other car makers, which mounted financial
burden on Buick. To make matters worse,
the inexpensive Model 10 was dropped as
Buick moved into the high-priced, big-car
range. By 1912 all Buicks came with doors
and new, smoother lines consisting of barn-shaped
hoods and radiators with front and rear
fenders taking on a semi-circular shape.
Between 1914 and 1919, hoods became semi-oval
in shape and from the side the fender radius
outline gave the appearance of a section
of roller coaster track, with steep inclines
at the ends; this, of course, represented
the fenders themselves.
During 1920 Buick production was 115,176,
the highest priced of which sold for $2,700.
Sedans and coupes were becoming popular,
yet the open cars had a high style quotient.
The only major change in Buick sheet metal
came in 1926 with the new double belt lines
and headlight bars.
It was during the 30s and 40s when GM relied
heavily of the same basic body lines, letting
ornamentation denote the different models.
Buick by far was the car with the sharpest
ornamentation of all the GM vehicles.
The year 1932 saw only 41,522 Buicks rolling
off the production lines Buick had
fallen to seventh spot in the industry,
selling at $1,500. Then GM announced a sales
campaign to sell Olds, Buick and Pontiac
through a common dealership. Predictably,
25 percent of the Buick dealerships folded
up, and the campaign was withdrawn after
one and one-half years.
The year 1933 was for radically streamlined
cars from every car maker, and Buick was
no exception, The 1933 styling theme prevailed
in Buick design through 1935.