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Buick's Flint Centennial Celebration Detailed


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PRESS RELEASE

January 22, 2003

Buick's Flint Centennial Celebration Detailed

FLINT, Mich. - Details of a giant Buick centennial celebration in Flint were announced today (Jan. 22, 2003) by the Buicktown Chapter of the Buick Club of America and by Buick Motor Division.

The Flint celebration July 23-27 on the grounds of the Flint Cultural Center is expected to include more than 2,000 vintage Buicks, mostly from across the United States and Canada.

Also featured will be a World War II B-24 Liberator bomber with four Buick-built engines, a World War II Hellcat tank destroyer built by Buick and a major fireworks display.

Buick General Manager Roger W. Adams will speak at a centennial "grand finale" program July 26 at Whiting Auditorium.

"Flint was Buick's home town from 1903 to 1998 and together the city and company made a lot of automotive history," said Adams. "Indeed, Buick was the foundation for the creation of General Motors and Flint was GM's birthplace. Both the Buick Club of America and Buick agreed that we absolutely must hold our biggest 100th birthday party in Flint."

Adams pointed out that Buick continues to have a special presence in the Flint area with the annual Buick Open Golf Tournament at Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc and with the Alfred P. Sloan Museum and its collection of cars and other artifacts at the Buick Gallery and Research Center in the Flint Cultural Center. In 2002 the museum and Buick created an award-winning Buick heritage exhibit that was seen by more than 30,000 people in museums from California to New York.

Dennis Meyer, chairman of the Buicktown Chapter's Buick centennial meet, said meet registrations have already been received from Buick Club members in Australia, England, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Sweden. The club of vintage Buick collectors and enthusiasts has about 10,000 members in the United States.

(One Italian entry is from Nicola Bulgari, one of the top officers of the international jewelry firm that bears his family's name. Bulgari is an avid Buick collector, with about 50 vintage Buicks in Rome and more at his Pennsylvania home. Bulgari, who has donated vintage cars and model cars to the Buick Gallery in Flint, plans to bring about 10 of his Buicks to Flint.)

"We are looking forward to a memorable and historic celebration," said Meyer. "It will be a club event, a family event, a community event. This could go down in history as the biggest single-marque meet ever held - and just in case, we're already preparing the paperwork for the Guinness Book of World Records."

The Flint event will be a "unified meet" involving all Buick affiliated clubs, including the McLaughlin Buick Club of Canada. The Buicktown (Flint) Chapter is the Buick Club's largest, and this will mark the eighth time the national meet has been in Flint. The others were in 1971, '72, '73, '75, '76, '78 (75th anniversary meet) and '88.

"Thousands of club members from all over the world, many with their vintage Buicks, will come to Flint," Meyer said, noting that Flint-area hotel rooms are almost sold out for that week. The cars will be on public display (there is no admission charge) starting July 23 but the best viewing day should be Saturday, July 26. Visitors to the display may also tour the Sloan Museum and Buick Gallery without charge.

Among significant cars expected to be there are the only existing Marr AutoCar (1903), produced by Walter Marr, who built the first Buick automobile around 1899, and also Marr's concept Cyclecar, built at Buick around 1915.

Making their first-ever appearance outside Canada will be two Canadian-built Buicks from 1928 and 1937 that were produced especially for British monarchs touring Canada. They will be on loan from the Canadian Literary, Science and Technology Museum.

Kevin Johnson of Woodland Hills, Calif., is expected to display a replica of a 1904 Buick Model B. No Model B is known to exist except a replica of the first Flint Buick, basically just a chassis, engine and seats, in the Sloan Museum. Johnson's car (now under construction) will have a full replica body. Johnson's car and the Sloan's replica have the only two1904 Buick automobile engines known to exist.

Meyer has planned a busy schedule for visiting club members. On Wednesday, July 23, the Blue Hawaiians will perform a free concert at the Applewood estate of the late Flint auto pioneer Charles Stewart Mott, and club members will tour the estate's gardens. Tours will be offered to Frankenmuth, Crossroads Village, the Flint V-6 engine plant, GM Hamtramck Assembly Plant and Milan Drag Strip (where some "muscle" Buicks of the '60s, '70s and '80s will run). The Flint engine plant tour is significant because engines for Buicks will have been built in Flint for 100 years - except during World War II - in December of 2003).

The fireworks display, which Meyer described as "huge," will be launched in the downtown area on Friday night, July 25, as part of a block party.

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Wow! The anticipation builds.

By the way, a Flint native who will participate in the Seattle caravan contacted the auto editor of "The Flint Journal" more than a year ago about our caravan plans. I now have a message from "The Flint Journal" in my in-box, asking more details about our caravan plans. Looks like "The Flint Journal" is planning to do some major coverage of the Buick Centennial events.

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