1938 Buick Century


Buick’s recent campaign of highlighting its most significant performance vehicles for more than a century serves the purpose of launching its latest concept car at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, called the Avista. It’s only proper since Buick seems to return to the roots of its golden era with an offering of a 400hp twin-turbo V6 while conveying the image that it is no longer the snoozer grandpa-mobiles they’ve been for the past few decades.

In a recent press release that doubles as a promotional for the the Avista, Buick issued what it calls as “10 That Mattered,” citing the most significant performance vehicles in the company’s century-old history. We want to hear from you, so we opted to do a roundup of Buick’s 9 of he 10 that mattered and see if they were on or off the mark on the Buick that mattered to you. (the 10th one was 2012 Buick, which doesn’t count as a classic!)

Here’s a look at 9 milestone models that helped establish and advance Buick’s performance heritage arranged in chronological order.

1909 Buick Race Car

1909 Buick Race Car

A Buick’s first, this race care was the winner of the Prest-O-Lite Trophy, held at Indianapolis two years before the first Indy 500. With Bob Urman behind the wheel, the 250-mile race saw the 1909 Buick race car averaging more than 53 mph.

 1910 Buick 60

1910 Buick 60 Special

The 60 Special, or “Bug,” was built by the Buick racing team and had a unique nosecone – a feature designed more for aesthetics than aerodynamics. A huge, 10.2L (622 cubic inches) four-cylinder engine propelled the Bug to 110 mph.


1938 Buick Century

1938 Buick Century

Hailed as one of the fastest cars of its day due to its straight-eight motor and new domed pistons, the 1938 Buick belted out 141 hp pushing the car’s top speed over the century mark at 103 mph.

 1954 Buick Wildcat II Concept

1954 Buick Wildcat II Concept Car

The Buick V-8 engine – nicknamed Nailhead for its unique valve arrangement – was introduced in 1953 and powered the Wildcat II concept vehicle a year later. Using a quartet of sidedraft carburetors, engineers coaxed 10 percent more horsepower from the engine than regular-production models, giving the Wildcat II the power to back up its sporty styling.


1963 Buick Special

1963 Buick Special

A midsize car with a tiny, 215ci V-8 that made 200 hp in its final, 1963 version.  Versions of its engine were used in Indy racing cars.

1970 Buick GSX

1970 Buick GSX
At the height of the muscle car wars, torque was king and no competitor could dethrone the 510 lb.-ft. (678 Nm) of twist generated by the GSX’s available 455 Stage I V-8 engine. In a 1970 road test, Motor Trend went from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and covered the quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds.

1976 Buick Century Indianapolis Pace

1976 Buick Century Indianapolis Pace Car

Engineers leveraged the recently revived, more-efficient 3.8L (231 cubic inches) V-6 engine that was supplanting larger V-8 engines in many production models. With 22 psi of boost to make 306 hp, the ’76 Buick was a “reset” of expectations for performance.

1984 Buick March Indy Car

1984 Buick/March Indy Car: Scott Brayton drove this 1984 Buick Indy car, turning a 204.638-mph lap and a 203.637-mph four-lap average, setting new records for a race car donned with a production grade engine block.

1987 Buick GNX

1987 Buick GNX: The Grand National carried Buick’s muscle car torch into the 1980s. It was a Grand National on steroids, with a larger turbocharger, a higher, 276-horsepower rating and all-black attire, and a limited run producing 547 units.

So there we have it. What do you think of Buick’s 9 that mattered?

Did they miss out on anything? Share us your thoughts and comments below.

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One Response

  1. terryporter May 4, 2016

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