Engineer Walter Lorenzo Marr put Buick on a path that would become their hallmark, the Valve-in-Head engine with the valves placed directly above the pistons in what is generally known today as overhead valve configuration. The setup allows for better breathing resulting in more power and ultimately - better performance. The first Buick to be fitted with this design was the 1904 Model B.
The founder of the company, David Buick, lacked the business acumen needed to properly run the company. The savior was William C. Durnat who was the head of Durant-Dort Carriage Company, was brought it by bankers to straighten out the messy management. The company would later become the cornerstone of the new General Motors that Durant was building. This, along with the help of the popular Model 10 Buick, helped place Buick into second place in the industry 1908, after Ford, through 1910.
Durant was forced out by the financiers in 1910 and his position was filled by a young Charles Nash and later by Walter Chrysler. By 1914, the company was building six-cylinder cars, abandoning fours briefly in 191, and seemingly for good in 1925.
As the years progressed, the entire industry began to up the ante in terms of horsepower, meaning the number of cylinders continued to increase. Must of the industry went to eight-cylinder engines as Buick remained with their six. For 1931, Buick introduced three straight-eight engines with each of the units sharing almost no tooling or parts to each other. John Dolza and chief Engineer Dutch Bower were the individuals responsible for this new design. The entry level straight-eight unit had 221 cubic-inches of displacement and used for the 50 Series. The next engine in the line-up was a 272.6 cubic-inch engine used in the 60 Series, and the 80 and 90 series shared a big 344.8 cubic-inch powerplant that developed 104 brake horsepower. Over the next three decades, the Buick Company would produce only eight-cylinder engines.
Buick had introduced their new engines during the Great Depression, which meant that their sales fell, with their 1932 sales barely half those of 1931, with 1933 sales falling even more. For 1934, sales were aided by the introduction of the Knee Action independent front suspension and Harlow Curtice.
Harlow Herbert 'Red' Curtice was president of GM's AC Spark Plug division. He had joined Buick in October of 1933. He suggested that Buick needed a less expensive model that was smaller and lighter than other Buicks. For 1934, Buick introduced the Series 40. It used the Chevrolet-Pontiac 'A' body, and sold for as little as $795. The public responded, and sales rose 50 percent in 1934.
The Series 90 continued to reign as Buick's top-of-the-line model. Fitted with the overhead valve eight-cylinder engine that displaces 344.8 cubic-inches, it was capable of 116 horsepower. There were four-wheel mechanical drum brakes and a three-speed manual transmission.
This Series 96-C Convertible Coupe was purchased by Dr. Atwood in June of 1993. In 1995, it was given a restoration and upon completion, it was shown at the AACA Central Division Fall Meet, and awarded the AACA President's Cup for 1995. A year later, it took Grand National First honors at Huntsville, Alabama.
The car is painted in black and has a tan canvas top. The interior and rumble seat are beige leather, and the instrument panel is wood-grained. The odometer shows 43,322 miles and the undercarriage is painted in gloss black.
In 2009, this Convertible Coupe was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona auction presented by RM Auctions. The car was expected to sell for $130,000 - $180,000 and was offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close the lot had been sold for the sum of $187,000 including buyer's premium.