For some reason I have been a little reluctant to write the story of my 1910 Buick Runabout but here goes:
The Buick Motor car Company was established by David Buick in 1899 making it today North Americas oldest surviving car make. Its first car was produced in 1904 and 37 were built. 1905 saw 750 built as word started to get out about what a great car it was.
Billy Durant, who was a huge buggy manufacturer in Flint Mi. was persuaded to drive one and realizing cars were going to be the way to go, purchased the Company. He then in1908 formed the General Motors Corporation around his acquisition of Buick.
Now with the power of GM behind them, Buick sales soared. Its main competitors were Cadillac and Ford but by 1910 the Buick outsold both makes combined by double, and this made Buick the number one selling car IN THE WORLD! Bet you never knew that statistic!
Now back to my car. It’s very rare runabout Roadster style, with only 85 of them being built. Its price new was $1000.00, a hefty sum then. It sits on a 92” wheelbase and has a 4 cylinder, 165 cu.in. engine developing 22.5 hp
The third seat at the back was called “the mother in law” seat. It lifts up to a decent size trunk underneath. You will notice it has a roll down rear window and that the windshield will fold into several positions as needed. The transmission is a planetary type, which means 3 floor pedals like a Model T. Low, reverse & brake with a high gear lever being mounted outside the body along with an emergency brake. Gas and spark are controlled on the steering wheel and it has a switch for the magneto on the dash. My car has the optional speedometer which drives by a gear off of the front wheel. One thing that attracted me to buy this car was that someone had installed a starter very discretely on the car. The starter button is located below the magneto box. It starts easy and runs great. The engine has many open running parts and is a joy to watch it work.
The cowl and tail lamps run on oil. The headlights are powered by a generator mounted on the left running board which sends acetylene to the headlights which by now you can light up all 5 lamps with a match.
However- I hate to reveal this secret: People were much smaller then and at this point in time I cannot safely drive the car. First- the steering wheel is in my tummy- not that that is an insurmountable problem but having had both knees replaced years ago I cannot bend them back far enough to safely drive it down the road. I have sat in the other front seat and stretched one leg over to the low gear pedal and driven it up and down MacEwan Street just because I had to!
In the meantime, it’s on display in my building. The first words from everyone seeing it is how “cute” it is and that really describes it great. Then they marvel that they are looking at a functional car that is 114 years old.
I purchased the car in Galveston Texas a couple of years ago. The people that had it for sale had done up a great video on it. We have attached it here and I think you will find it a pleasure to view. I would appreciate hearing your comments on this presentation.