Where did Buick come from?

Stock Buick Image from

When you think of Buick, what do you think of? You probably think of the car that your aunt who can’t change a tire drives. Or maybe you ask something such as “what the hell is a Buick?” And I wouldn’t blame you, they aren’t exactly as revolutionary as they once were. But they were the company that brought so many revolutionary concepts to the automotive world. These include things such as the automatic gearbox, and many European cars used their V8s throughout the 70s. 

Buick was founded in 1899 by Scottish-American David Dunbar Buick in Detroit, Michigan. It began as the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company and made bodies and engines for motor cars. In 1903, Buick changed to making cars on its own. During that same year, the company was taken over by James H. Whiting, who moved the company headquarters to Flint, Michigan. He then recruited the future founder of General Motors, William C. Durant to manage Buick for him. 

Under Durant, Buick was able to extend into Canada by teaming up with a company called RS McLaughlin. In 1907, the deal with RS McLaughlin was made, and a 15 year contract for Buick to supply motors was established. The cars of McLaughlin-Buick quickly became known as “Canada’s Standard Car.” Mr. Buick sold his remaining stocks in the company and then lived a fairly modest life for the next 25 years until his death. 

Within the next decade, Buick had become America’s largest car maker. Durant then used the reputation of Buick to begin the creation of American car conglomerate General Motors. Durant made sure all the companies in GM understood where they were on the so-called ladder of appeal to buyers. For example, Pontiac was near the bottom of the ladder, and were the cheaper cars. While Cadillac was at the very top, making high-end luxury cars. Buick was right below Cadillac, and was seen as the entry level luxury cars for the company. 

Buick continued on for a while, until a revolution was made. In 1911, Buick made the first closed-body car, a whole 4 years before their competitor at Ford began to. For the 1931 model year a new engine was developed, the OHV Buick Straight-8 engine and the synchromesh transmission. A fun fact about Buick in the 1930s was that they were popular with the British Royal family, and King George IV used a Buick for his road trip across Canada in 1939. In that same year, Buick added a shifter to the steering column, as well as being the first company to add turn signals.

During the Second World War, General Motors and all its companies shut down civilian production of cars and began to produce equipment for the war effort. A notable contribution that Buick made to the war contribution was the production of the M18 Hellcat tank. Once the war was over Buick went back to production of civilian cars, a notable new addition was the station wagon. And in 1948, Buick created the first true automatic transmission, creating a true revolution in the automotive world that lasts to this day. 

Buick continued to be a staple of American life throughout the 1950s, but in the 1960s they made significant contributions to the American muscle car scene. With cars such the Skylark, Riviera, and the Invicta. These cars may have not been as popular as the Mustang, Charger, and Camaro, but they are still valuable contributions to 60s car culture.

During the early 1970s Buick seemed to be fine, but then the oil crisis that hurt all American car companies hit. And Buick was no exception. Buick got off its feet and continued to make cars throughout the 1980s. There are differing views on Buicks of the 1980s. Some groups of people believe this to be one the peaks of Buick, and I will admit that Buick sold quite a few cars during this time. But the other groups of people believe that Buick became boring during the 1980s, and all GM cars essentially became Chevys but with different badges. This reputation still hasn’t left Buick and I believe that this reputation was the beginning of the reason why so many people don’t even recognize Buick in its current form. 

Buick hasn’t really done many notable things in the American market since the days of old. Which is why Americans like myself no longer see Buick as the great innovator that it once was. But in the Chinese market however, it is a completely different story. In China Buick is loved and GM seems to have put their bets in production in China to capture the Chinese market. And at this point all Buicks are made in China at this point and any that are sold in the U.S. are imported to the States from China. 

Buick obviously has changed over the years, and seems to have strayed from its original success of innovation. I wish the best for this company, as I do all companies, but I don’t plan on buying any Buicks. Primarily because GM is not known for its reliability and Buick is also built in China. And workers in China are not known for being treated ethically. I hope that y’all respect my opinions, and please let me know what you think of Buick as well. 


Buick Logo, History Timeline and List of Latest Models (

The History of Buick (

History of Buick — Long Island Buick Club (


Leave a reply



Leave a reply

Citroën C4 review (2021) – Is it the comfiest car for the money?

A trip to the past: 1978 Citroën Mehari.