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10 most noteworthy cars from Buick


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I have been asked by a fellow who is doing some research and maybe a book on Buick to give my opinion as to which would be the top 10 years of Buick cars, 1903 thru 2002. At the time, I said the '36 Century came to mind, but was interested in what everyone else thought. Give us your comments, thanks, Paul

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Agree wholeheartedly with the previous suggestions. I would add the 1963 Riviera as the start of the 'personal luxury' car, which lead to the Eldorado and the Mark III. While some might say the early 2-seater or 4-seater T-Birds were firsts, or the late '50s Mark as well, the Riv seemed to really hit a spark; sor of 'at the right place at the right time.'

I would also add the 1983 Riviera convertible. While Chrysler came out with the Lebaron in 1982, the '83 Riv raised the bar to true luxury status.

Many magazines also point to the first production Wildcats in 1963 as bringing in the ideas of performance and sporty looks in a family car.

You might also consider the first 'little' Buicks; the 1961 Buick Special as Buick's response to the small import car, as well as their smaller aluminum V-8 engines.

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One is very easy - as mentioned - the 1963 Riviera

Other possibilities -

1941 Limited

1953 Skylark

1970 Skylark GS Stage 1. This was the fastest production car at the time.

1987 GN

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I agree with Joe completely. Two cars without equal for the periods they were introduced. Other noteworthy cars would be (remember, these are opinions):

3. 58 Limited - the most over the top 50's car produced in size and chrome.

4. 53 Skylark and Roadmaster/Super Estate wagon - Skylark for obvious reasons (one of the 3 Motorama cars actually put into production for the 53 GM model year), but the 53 Super and Roadie woodies were the last American real 'woodies' built, and in very limited numbers. The senior sereis cars for 53 were also the first Buicks to use the nailhead motor, being the 322.

5. 50 Buick - for the coolest grille ever made.

6. 59 Buick - one of the cleanest-lined cars made by any company and a design that was miles away from anything Buick produced up until that time.

7. 63 Buick LeSabre and Wildcat - first full-size post-war Buick with a factory floor-shift 4-speed. Very low production numbers too (but, I am very biased on these cars, so I may be one of the very few out there that would think these are important or noteworthy).

8. 63 Riviera - first year for the Riv, and an overall awesome looking car, and powered by a nailhead.

9. 65 Skylark GranSport (and Riviera GS) - the Skylark GranSport is the car that started the whole GS thing, and a GS Riv is just cool.

10. The Y-Job and the 51 LeSabre. The Y-Job is the car that started the whole factory-built running/driving concept car idea of automotive future design, and Harly Earl's LeSabre is simply the best looking vehicle on the face of the earth.

I am sure there are others that deserve to be on the list, but these are the standouts in my mind.

Matt

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1906-1909 Model F, 1908-1910 Model 10. If being good enough to found General Motors on doesn't make these cars noteworthy I don't know what would.

1936 Century. Created the modern car (performance emphasis along with luxury in a popularly available model).

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In my opinion these are the top years in no particular order:

1. 1970 - It was the best muscle year for Buick i.e. 70 GSX and Stg 1

2. 1949 - Mr Earl is correct, total redesign - very important year

3. 1936 - Century was a 'new' type of car

4. 1987 - GNX enough said

5. 1965 - Riviera and Skylark/GS both simply awesome

6. 1950 - I'm a little biased but that grill is the greatest of all time!!

7. 1939 - A grill all hot rodders love, nice looking cars

8. 1960 - The big fins, totally awesome design - enough said

9. 1967 - All of these were sweet, and the Star Wars air cleaner

10. 1963 - The Wildcat/Lesabre are in their own class, style & power (the 1st fast with class IMHO)

Well there are my picks, wish I had a few from each. I can dream !! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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Completely agree that the 1908-1910 model 10 has to be on the list, for these reasons:

--Modern rear wheel drive shaft, replacing chain drive up until then

--Selective, sliding gear transmission & shifter, replacing the planetary gears up until then

--Engine up front under the hood, replacing the engine under the back seat up until then.

--Four pistons mounted vertically above the crankshaft, not off to either side, as with the under-seat engines.

--All in all, a totally revolutionary car for its day, by Buick Chief Engineer Walter Marr.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

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How about the 1934 Series 40.

The industry was still struggling to come out of the depression. Didn't this model result from the collaboration of Harlow Curtice and Harley Earl and fill the need for an attractive car at a price people could afford?

A lighter car, newly designed motor which developed greater H/P than the larger old style 50 series motor, 85 MPH top speed and the new independent front suspension.

The 1934 Series 40 is acknowledged as a car dealers could sell and was responsible for dramatic increase in Buick sales over the 1933 year.

All in all a pretty stylish and popular car, not at the head of the top ten list but probably should be acknowledged in there somewhere.

post-31244-14313790372_thumb.jpg

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no matter what you think of it, wouldn't Boattail be worthy of inclusion? pretty amazing design.

You could also add the 1st car to have dynaflow too, I'm not sure which that was though.

To the guy who thought the '50 grill was great, what about the '58, over 100 individual squares.

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It's been too long already...I've forgotten some of the items discussed in the Buick engineering talk at Rochester by Dunham and Gustin...they listed a bunch of industry firsts and Buick firsts...some of those could be considered.

A few thoughts I have is that some of the pre-war advances were pretty amazing...'36 was also the first year Buick went to hydraulic brakes...electric started (invented in 1912, on Buicks shortly after)...the straight 8 Buicks...interesting that they made more power and torque than many of the early V8s, perhaps part of why others were using V8s long before Buick - why mess with a good thing.

As for design / grace / etc., '53 was an important year with both visual and technical makeovers. The '62 Special with V6 was Motor Trend's car of the year (and I'd imagine there are others). My wife really likes the boat tail Rivieras as well. Perhaps the first supercharged V6 cars....

Let's see...to narrow it down to 10, there'd be Roadmaster, Super, Century, Special, Invicta, LeSabre, Electra, Riviera, Skylark, and Regal <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

Sorry I couldn't be of any help.

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Guest imported_MrEarl

This is an easy one....

1954 Roadmaster

1954 Century

1954 Super

1954 Special

1954 Skylark

1954 Wildcat II (can't believe no one has mentioned this sweetheart)

Talk about design change... The Beautiful Buy, with that French curved Riviera roofline laying so gracefully on that new lower and wider sleek slabsided body with that unforgettable front waterfall grill and the racecar style rear wheel cutouts and new panamoramic style windshield... and the Bankers Hotrod is back!!! The Century averaging 110 MPH in a mile at Daytona. Although started in 53 now ALL the series had that wonderful new and indestructible V8 Nailhead engine available with Dynaflow!!! Took over Plymouth's place in the big three.

So that's ONE.

here in no particular order , and maybe not necessarily Buicks greatest, are the rest of my favorites

1959

1953 Skylark

1942

1937

1934

1964 Riviera

1969 GS 400 Convertible

1999 Riviera

and the number one Buick and automobile of all time.. Mr Harley Earls own design and personal automobile, the 1938 Y-Job!!!!!!!!!

If you want to consider milestone cars then I think certainly the 1936 Roadmaster and Century, the 1963 Riviera and the 1959's would have to be at the top of the list.

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Mr. Earl, this is getting really interesting, some great thoughts, and I want to thank you for being the first to mention my favorite, the '42, although I think the '36 Century is a bigger milestone. Keep 'em coming, guys, Paul

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I think I would have to agree with Lamar in that the 54 C bodies especially were unique. 54 was the last so-called "pop art" grille with the familiar teeth, 55 styling totally changed. The 54 roof line was unique and was the 1st complete restyle since 1949. The Nailhead was improved, and I think the Dynaflow. On the interior - the dash and layout were all new, going away from the round gauges prevelant since 1942 so - yes 1954 for style, technology and historical focus.

A lot of members own the 54 Buick for the above reasons - tons of style - so perhaps what we own should also be considered a barometer.

Jake

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Guest imported_MrEarl

Paul, Pete, do I smell a new Bugle article brewing. Perhaps Roberta can start a Poll here on the forum(after all Roberta CAN DO ANYTHING), announce that it is running in the next Bugle and give a month for everyone to vote then publish the results? Might get a few new folks to the forum that way.

ahh Paul, I love the 42's. If I ever get enough 54's a 42 or 59 will be my next buy. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

MAN Jake you are good, thanks for the great literary input there <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

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All great cars.

I'll add my 2 cents.

I'd put these on the top 10 list ( of production cars):

1938, clean style, all steel body, all coil spring ride

1947/48, uninterrupted, distinctive full sweep fender curve

1958, full new design, air poise suspension, epitmized the garish use of chrome and SS, one year only 58's in a recession year

1972 Riviera, boattail design, whether you believe it was a styling sucess or a great idea gone terribly wrong.

all non porthole years.

My final 6, would be:

1934, series 90, conv rumble seat coupe

1970 (and 1/2) GSX, 455, Stage 1, mid year option

1959 electra 225 convert

1965 Riviera GS, 2x4

1904 Model B

1953 Skylark

Again all non porthole years. So I need 11 on my list of 10 to include the portholes.

My 11th in a list of 10 would be a 1953 Roadmaster woody wagon.

John

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As I've read the list, I find myself nodding in agreement with many of the suggestions. I do think that Derek is "right on" in his mention of the first V6 Specials in 1962, since that engine evolved into the 3800 that basically saved General Motors' passenger car business in the '80's and '90's. I think he's also correct in mentioning the first turbocharged V6's in Regal and LeSabre sport coupes in 1978. These cars were really the progenitors of the later Grand Nationals and GNX's.

I believe that the 1941 models represent another milestone year for Buick. The efforts of Harlow Curtice to restore Buick as a powerful force in the industry had really paid off, and Buick was on a roll in terms of style, performance, and sales. The compound carburetor straight-8's gave Buick the industry's highest power ratings, and Buick's custom body program with Brunn resulted in some of the most elegant automobiles built during the era. I love the Special and Century fastback coupes and the sleek, massive Super and Roadmaster convertible sedans. And I think that the '41 Limited represented the high water mark of the 90-series.

My reference to the 1941 Brunn customs raises a question I've been wanting to ask. We know that the 1940 Buick Brunn Townmaster (based on the Roadmaster series) still survives. What about one of the few 1941 Limited Brunn customs? Fifteen or so years ago, I spotted a Hemmings ad for one of these cars, for sale in Michigan for $175,000. Yet, we have never seen recent photos or heard any confirmation that any of these cars still survive. Does anyone have any knowledge of a surviving example?

If I could add any five regular production Buicks to my personal collection, I'd be looking for a 1940 Series 80 Limited convertible sedan, a 1949 Roadmaster sedanette, a 1954 Skylark, a 1958 Limited coupe or convertible, and the nicest original 1963 Riviera I could find.

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There are so many top Buick cars that it's next to impossible to name ten. Everyones list is making me long for another car show! In terms of style alone, I like the 65 Riv for the hideaway headlights. The 49's for the hardtop Riviera Style. The 32's are just classy cars all around! The 66 Riviera for the ultimate smooth lines. 95-99 Rivieras for the best all around ride/looks/handling combo. The 53 for the most recogonizeable and true beauty. The 59's for the biggest chance on a wacky design that captured my heart. I don't know where to stop...I like them all..

JD

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Yep John - 66 Riviera. The posts that followed my picks keep bringing in cars that should be in the list. Since the Riviera was the flagship car, every restyle received focused attention. Dave Holls, the designer of the 59 Cadillac tail fins among other GM landmarks, penned the 66 Riviera restyle, which is considered by many among the top 10 most beautiful cars IN THE WORLD. It still looks fresh today, which is amazing.

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I agree, the 66 Riviera has to be on the list, very close to the top. Such a clean and dramatic style. Pundits at the time never would have believed Buick could top the 63/4/5, but they did.

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Guest imported_BCAOffice

This is really an interesting thread, but why has no one mentioned the 1931? First straight eight Buick. I also like the '36, '49 hardtop, and the '63 Riv.

just my 2 cents worth.

Mike

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I seem to recall seeing a picture of a '41 Brunn town car on the Huff Report website some time ago. I think it was taken at a Hershey meet several years ago, but I could be wrong. I, too, have long been a fan of the Brunn cars and would be interested in learning more about any survivors.

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1939 Buick Century. Beautiful Body Styling,Dash,Steering Wheel,Grilles,Front End & Rear End.

I have driven these beauties for 30+ years. Couldn't even go to the grocery store

without people stopping to look. Every Time. What a Car!

Greg...NEW1966

BCA # 11974

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September issue of Automobile magazine gives their picks for the 25 Most Beautiful Cars Ever (both foreign and domestic)...the 1963-'65 Riviera made the cut.

I don't like these questions......... how do you just pick one or two? If you are a car nut, it's not fair to just pick a few, there should be no limit......cars are not like wives, there should be no limit.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest imported_MrEarl

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">You might also consider the 1970 GSX and the 1987 GNX, as they raised the bar for " Muscle cars" </div></div>

You're right Joe and here ya

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  • 2 weeks later...

Aren't you trying to cover too much of a time frame?

All the way from 2 cyl. cars to 4 cyl. to 6 cyl. and then to straight eights, V-8s, V-6s!

Just getting a car to run at first was a good achievement. It would seem that starting to put them in a particular time space would be a better picture of the total achievement.

1904 through 1925, Two and Four cyls. 21 years.

!925 through 1930 Straight Sixes, 5 years.

1931 through 1953 Straight Eights, 22 years.

1953 V-8s, V-6s and all others. 53 years.

M.L. Anderson

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  • 1 month later...
Guest imported_MrEarl

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Watch out George, you may stir up a hornet's nest with the "real" Buick owners. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> </div></div>

I was just gonna say "What's dis "Raetta" George is talkin about" <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Just kiddin, and actually that's the car Buick needs to bring back.

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Thanks, Lamar. I, and many others are very fond of our Reattas. There are many other Buicks that I like very much. You and the other Buick guys are very knowledgable. Am working on a "girls on Buicks" for your thread. Seems that a long lost cousin was a "Playmate of the year" several years ago. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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