Buick 94 Roadster

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94 Roadster





In 1911, Buick introduced its first closed-body car, four years ahead of Ford. In 1929, as part of General Motors' companion make program, Buick Motor Division launched the Marquette sister brand, designed to bridge the price gap between Buick and Oldsmobile; however, Marquette was discontinued in 1930. All Buick, Marquette, Viking, and Oldsmobile products shared the newly introduced GM B platform starting in 1926. Buick debuted two major achievements for the 1931 model year, the OHV Buick Straight-8 engine and a synchromesh transmission in all models but the Series 50. The Eight was offered in three displacements, the 220 cubic inch (bore 2 7/8 in. stroke 4.25 in.), was available in the Series 50 with 77 brake HP. The Series 60 engine was a 272 cu. in. unit (bore 3 1/16 in., stroke 5 in.) giving 90 brake HP. The Series 80 and Series 90 used a 344 cu. in. version (bore 3 5/16 in., stroke 5 in.) for 104 brake HP. Automatic vacuum-operated spark advance was another new feature replacing the steering column mounted spark lever although an emergency lever was now dash mounted. Buick scored another first in 1939, when it became the first company to introduce turn signals. All 1939 models also had a steering column mounted shift lever.

The Buick Series 90 produced between 1931 and 1935 is recognized by the CCCA as a full classic, the only complete model (as opposed to individual custom bodies) to enjoy that status. The year 1931 was also the first to see the production of Buick’s new Straight Eight engine, a 345 CI inline-8 producing 104 horsepower. The new engine arrived just as the inline-6 it replaced was coming to the peak of its development, and with competitors moving to larger displacements and more cylinders, its arrival seemed well-timed, but the Depression was in full bloom and sales dropped to fourth place; Buick sold just 843 of its Series 90 Roadsters, discontinuing the model at the end of that year.

In the 1930s Buicks were popular with the British royal family, particularly Edward VIII. He imported and used a Canadian built McLaughlin-Buick that were GMs top brand in Canada, Cadillac not having caught on there. George VI used one for a coast to coast royal tour of Canada in 1939.

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