Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Buick originated as an independent motor car manufacturer, the Buick Motor Company, incorporated on May 19, 1903 by David Dunbar Buick (who invented the overhead valve engine on which the company's success was based) in Flint, Michigan. In 1904 the struggling company was taken over by James Whiting , who brought in William C. Durant to manage his new acquisition. Buick himself unwisely sold his stock for a small sum at his departure, and died in very modest circumstances forty years later.
Durant was a natural, however, and Buick soon became the largest car maker in America. Using the profits from this, Durant embarked on a series of several dozen corporate acquisitions, calling his new mega-corporation General Motors.
At first, the different manufacturers who comprised General Motors competed against each other, but Durant put a stop to that. He wanted each General Motors division to target one class of buyer, and in his new scheme Buick was near the top—only the luxurious Cadillac brand had more prestige.
Even today, Buick retains that position in the GM lineup. The ideal Buick customer was comfortably off; possibly not quite rich enough to afford a Cadillac or not desiring the ostentation of one, but definitely in the market for a car a cut above the norm.
Buick's emblem is three shields arranged touching on a diagonal, within a ring. This design was adopted in 1959 and represents the three models that comprised the lineup that year—, LeSabre, Invicta and Electra. The shields are adopted from the shield of the Buick family crest, which in modified form had been used on Buicks since the 30s. A version of the traditional crest appeared on Electras through the 70s.
A traditional Buick styling cue dating to 1949 is a series of three or four portholes or vents on the front fender behind the front wheels. These were originally called Ventiports (later just portholes), and have appeared sporadically on several models since, as nonfunctional ornamentation. Lower cost models were equipped with three portholes, while higher cost models came with four; when the number of portholes was standardized across the entire model line, buyers of the higher cost models complained bitterly that they felt shortchanged. As of 2003 they have been re-introduced on the Buick Park Avenue. Buicks other styling cue during the 1940s - 1970s was the "sweep-side", a curved line running the length of the car.
The Buick V8 engine, nicknamed the "nailhead", 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 V-8 engines, enabled the engine to fit into smaller spaces while maintaining easy access for maintenance.
Unlike some of GM's other brands, Buicks are not marketed globally, although in the early years of the marque Buick had a substantial export presence. In pre-World War II China, for example, one in five cars were Buicks.
Since 1999, a Chinese version of the Buick Century/Regal has been produced and sold in China under Shanghai GM and has proven to be popular among upscale, professional families. In addition, Buick of China also sells the subcompact Sail, sourced from GM's Asian operations and based on the Opel Corsa B, the compact Excelle, based on the Daewoo Lacetti/Nubira, and a modified version of the Venture/Montana/Silhouette/Sintra minivan named the GL8. Buick has stated that it expects China to become its second largest market.
- Buick Century - Midsize car (ending in 2005)
- Buick LaCrosse - Midsize car
- Buick LeSabre - Midsize car (replaced in 2006)
- Buick Lucerne - Fullsize car
- Buick Park Avenue - Fullsize car (ending in 2006)
- Buick Rainier - SUV
- Buick Rendezvous - Crossover SUV
- Buick Terraza - Minivan
- Buick Apollo
- Buick Caballero
- Buick Centurion
- Buick Century
- Buick Eight
- Buick Electra (Includes Electra 225)
- Buick Estate
- Buick Grand National
- Buick Gran Sport
- Buick GSX
- Buick Invicta
- Buick Limited
- Buick Reatta
- Buick Regal
- Buick Riviera
- Buick Roadmaster
- Buick Skyhawk
- Buick Skylark
- Buick Somerset
- Buick Special
- Buick Sport Wagon
- Buick Super
- Buick Wildcat
- Buick home
- Buick in China (English & Chinese)
- Buick in Canada EnglishFrench
- Buick in Israel (Hebrew)
- BuickForums.com A place for Buick owners and enthusiasts to talk about their vehicles.
- Reatta.net Reatta enthusiast website and message board
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