During the 1930s, the world was in the grips of the Great Depression. Though it was a difficult time, General Motors commanded nearly half of the United States auto market and their Buick division emerged as the fourth best-selling brand in 1938. This was an impressive accomplishment considering that the Buick brand was in trouble during the twenties and early half of the thirties. In an attempt to bolster sales, General Motors consolidated the sales and much of the manufacturing of their Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac divisions. The 'Bo-peep,' as the program came to be known, whittled the number of exclusive Buick dealers from 2,600 in 1927 to just 67 by 1934.
Harlow 'Red' Curtice took the reins of the Buick division in 1933 and under his presidency, the Buick division and the product not only survived but thrived; its market share reached 8.8% by 1938.
Buick used the 320 cubic-inch, 120 horsepower engine found in the Roadmaster into the lighter Chevrolet bodied special, creating the Buick Century, named for its 100 mph ability. The combination enjoyed great success on the early racing circuits. 'Turbulator' pistons increased the compression ratio, increasing horsepower to 141. The I-beam design of the frame center section was replaced by an X-member and coil springs were at all four wheels, an industry first.