For many years Buick held an enviable position as a favorite of discriminating people including The Duke of Windsor, later King Edward VIII. This example, produced in the interrupted production year of 1942, shows for the first time the front fender partially extended across the front door.
The 1942 model year began in September 1941. World War II started on December 7th and automobile production ceased on 2 February 1942. 5,439 cars were built. This car cost $1,465, weighs 4,150 pounds and is 217 inches overall on a 129 inch wheelbase chassis. The 'Fireball' 320 cubic-inch engine developed 165 horsepower at 3600 RPM. This was the largest and hottest passenger car engine in production anywhere in the world.
Despite the hardships imposed by lack of materials and uncertain production schedules, Buick made substantial changes in its 1942 models, and the near total redesign caught virtually all other auto makers by surprise. The new Buick was an extremely modern car, with its massive chrome grill and large bumpers. After 1 January 1942, the government prohibited the use of all chrome trim, and thus all trim pieces were painted in matching colors, primarily battleship gray. Known as 'blackout models,' production of these chrome-less cars stopped on 2 February 1942 when the government ended all auto production for the duration of the war. However, Buick did not have to resort to painted bumpers because it had enough pre-restriction chromed bumpers on hand to complete its 1942 model run.
The last Buick to leave the factory carried a sign reading: 'Until total victory we dedicate ourselves to the objective 'When better war goods are built, Buick workmen will build them.''
The Buick Roadmaster was introduced in 1936. It was given a new 320 cubic-inch straight eight engine and was a big car with a wheelbase of 131 inches. The new car helped revive Buick sales. Buick continued to improve and redesign the Roadmaster during the 1930's and into the 1940's. Buick sales continued to increase in the pre-war years.
As car production resumed following the end of World War II, the Century and Limited series were eliminated. The Special series, which had accounted for 64 percent of 1941 production, comprised less than three percent of the 1946 model year total. The Super was by far the best seller, accounting for nearly 77 percent of Buick's output, but the Roadmaster increased its share from four percent in 1941 to 20 percent during 1946.
By 1953 the venerable straight eight engine was replaced by a new V-8, coupled to the new 'Twin-Turbine' Dynaflow automatic transmission. Calculated to increase torque multiplication by 10 percent, the new transmission provided faster and quieter acceleration at reduced engine speeds.
Few mechanical changes were made for 1954, though the front suspension was refined and the Roadmaster's horsepower was upped to 200. Power steering, revised for better handling, and power brakes were standard on the Series 70, as they had been since 1953. Power windows were also supplied as standard on the hardtop and convertible models, and available at extra cost for the sedan.
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