David Buick was born in Arbroath Scotland in 1854. His family moved to the USA 2 years later and settled in Detroit.
At age 15 he quit school to become an apprentice with Wm. Sherwood and they manufactured plumbing fixtures.
They eventually formed the Buick and Sherwood Manufacturing Company.
David was a tinkerer and a dreamer and between 1881-1889 was credited with 13 inventions, including the lawn sprinkler, valves, closets, flushing devices and most of all- the modern bathtub.
He devised a method to make porcelain adhere to galvanize so the next time you take a soak in your bathtub, thank David Buick for this.
In 1885 David was becoming very interested in gasoline engines so that by 1901 he had sold off his interests and formed the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company of Detroit. Another inventor by the name of Walter Marr joined him and together they produced a one cylinder engine that worked well and built a car around it which most probably could be called the first Buick. In 1903 The Buick Motor Company was formed. Primarily they built a 2 cylinder marine engine and advertised heavily to the other car builders that if you are building a car, you need our engine. In 1904 they produced 37 automobiles. The Company though was in huge financial distress but along came Wm. C. Durant, a self made millionaire selling carriages but knew that he had to get into the automobile business. After driving a new Buick for some distance he was hooked on the car and offered to buy into the company with a majority stock purchase and that he would also have full control and that the Company had to move from Detroit to Flint.
With Durant at the helm, 750 Buicks were built in 1905 and as sales kept rising each year Durant formed the General Motors Corporation in 1908 with Buick as its cornerstone. Durant in short order added Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Oakland (soon to be known as Pontiac) to his Company. Henry Ford wanted to sell also but by this time Durant could not arrange any more money from the bank. Just think of what that merger might have been like!
Now with the power of GM behind them, Buick became in 1908 the largest selling car in America. Its main competitors was Cadillac and Ford and by 1910 Buick had outsold both of them combined by double to make claim as the top selling car in the world! 30525 Buicks sold that year.
Durant, knowing how good and powerful the Buick was, started a racing and hill climbing team and his chief driver was Wild Bob Burman. He eventually surpassed all the racing records held by Louis Chevrolet and even the great Barney Oldfield.
For the record- David Buick married Caroline (Schwink) in Nov. of 1878.
They had 4 children. Thomas D, Frances Jane, Maybelle Lucille, and Wynton R.
David Buick left the Company in 1908. He ventured in other Companies and stocks thereafter but was highly unsuccessful. He died of cancer at 74 years of age on March 5, 1929.
In 1994 GM unveiled a plaque honouring Buick at his birthplace home in Arbroath Scotland
On Dec. 1/2010 GM unveiled a full size statue honouring David Buick in downtown Flint.
SOME INTERESTING BUICK FACTS
- Walter P. Chrysler was president of Buick starting in 1916. He formed his own car company in 1924.
- In 1938, The Buick Y job, designed by Harley Earl is regarded as the first ever concept car
- Canadian built Buicks were called McLaughlin- Buicks through 1942.
- Buick built 2507 of the famous M18 Hellcat tank during WW11. They were also used in the Korean War. Cost then was over $55,000.00 each, almost a Million dollars today.
- Many times Buick has been awarded the rank of no. 1 in independent quality studies.
- King Edward and Wallis Simpson went off to exile in a McLaughlin- Buick
- General Patton met his demise in the back seat of a Buick
- Buicks have been featured in many movies but the most famous one was the 1988 movie called Rainman which featured a 1949 Buick Roadmaster Convertible. I own the exact same car today, right to the colour.
- Buick is Americas oldest car company still producing automobiles.
- I feel it it is safe to say that every family in North America at one time or another, there was or is, a Buick in their background.
Gorgeous original Buick stained glass window, recovered from a Buick dealership that was established in New York City in 1914.