Entrepreneur William C. Durant took control of the fledgling Buick Motor Car Company in November, 1904. With 'Billy' Durant at the corporate wheel, the Flint-based Buick soon became the most popular car manufactured in America.
This 1908 Model F Buick is powered by a horizontally opposed 2-cylinder engine originally introduced in the very first Buicks of 1904. Featuring Buick's patented overhead-valve (OHV) design, the engine made an impressive 22 horsepower. It rides under the body, at the center of the chassis (the fuel tank is under the hood). Buick built cars powered by this 159-cid engine through 1910.
The 1908 Model F Touring originally listed for $1,250. The current owner has owned this example since 1980. A painstaking and careful restoration has just been completed and the Buick now looks exactly as it did when new, 100 years ago.
During the 1908 season, Buick introduced a new, smaller car powered by an 18-hp OHV 4-cylinder engine. Selling for as little as $1,000, the popular new Model 10 would help Buick set a production record of 8,820 cars in 1908.
Basking in Buick's success, Durant set out to create a conglomerate that would blanket the auto market top to bottom, incorporated on September 16, 1908, his new company was called General Motors.
David Buick was a Scottish-born bathtub manufacturer and the founder of the Buick marque. He was joined by a Michigan bicycle merchant named Walter Lorenzo Marr and a French machinist named Eugene Richard. These individuals devised an engine with valves in the cylinder head, opposite the pistons rather than the more popular way of alongside them. The term 'Valve-in-Head' was appropriate and would become a hallmark of Buick cars even in the modern era.
William Durant was impressed by the products created by David Buick, Walter Marr and Eugene Richard and invested in each of these companies. He became a member of Buick's board of directors in 1904 and soon extended a $300,000 stock issue for the Buick Motor Company. He was an avid stock speculator, an investor and a superb salesman. He sold more than 1,100 Buicks before the company had a change to create 40 examples.
The Model B was the first car produced by Buick and introduced in 1904. It was a four-passenger tourer that sold for $950. The Model B was followed by the Model C in 1905 and the Model F followed a year later. Production of the Buick Model F lasted until 1910 with a total of over 1,200 examples were produced.
The cars were elegant, durable, and fitted with rather powerful engines for the era. In 1906 a Buick Model F proved its capabilities by entering a 1,000-mile relay run from Chicago to New York. The event was staged by the Chicago American and Examiner. At the completion of the event, only the Model F Buick had traveled the complete distance and earned the nickname 'Old Faithful.'
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007