Tag Archive: olds

David Dunbar Buick (1865 – 1924), Scottish by origin, was interested in developing internal combustion engines for boats and later for automobiles. In  1899, he founded the Buick Auto Vim and Power Company to design and manufacture engines. In 1902, the company was in financial trouble forcing David Buick to take help from the Briscoe brothers – Frank and Benjamin Briscoe leading to the formation of Buick Manufacturing Company in 1902.

Seeing not much progress towards manufacturing , the Briscoe brothers sold off their holdings to James Whiting of  Flint Wagon Works and a new company Buick Motor Company was formed in 1903. David Buick along with Chief Engineer Walter Lorenzo Marr were credited with developing the first Over-head valve engine as against the side valve engines of that era.

The first production car Buick Model B was seen in 1904 –

In 1904, James Whiting brought in William Crapo Durant to manage the business at the Buick Motor Company. Being a top notch salesman as well as businessman , the Buick Motor Company flourished under the leadership of William Durant.

 A 1907 Buick Model G

In 1908 , William Durant thought about bringing most of the major automobile manufacturers under one company and attempted to integrate Ford Motor Company , Olds Motor Works, Maxwell -Briscoe Motor Company  and REO, He almost succeeded in creating a company named International Motors but for Ford and REO walking out in the last moment. In spite of Ford & REO walking out, William Durant created  General Motors Company with Buick Motor Company , Old Motor Works, Cadillac Motor Company and a plethora of small automobile companies and component suppliers. Thus was born General Motors out of Buick Motor Company. Later Buick became a brand of General Motors and survives till date.

In the early 30s , the ancestral coat of arms of its founder , David Buick,  was introduced in to the logo of Buick. In the early 60s the “Trishield” logo appeared, to depict the 3 major Buick cars of that time – the LeSabre, Invicta and the Electra

A 1960 LeSabre

A 1959 Electra

A 1961 Invicta

Buick was well know for Engines and exterior styling. One of the famous engine design was popularly known as the “Nailhead” engine . Nailhead engine was a V8 engine with vertical overhead valves, resulting in a long stem and a small valve head. A “Nailhead” V8 Engine –

On Exterior styling , Buick brought in many new concepts including the Waterfall front grille, Sweepspear side chrome trims, VentiPort on the fenders, delta tail fins etc.

Buick brand still survives – one of the latest model, a 2013 Buick LaCrosse

The Buick Logo –



Charles Brady King (1868 – 1957) of USA was an inventor and Engineer.  In 1894 he formed the Charles B King Company to manufacture Stationary Engines, Marine Engines and Pneumatic hammers and was holding numerous patents.
In 1893 , he made a plan to develop a “horseless” carriage which will be self-propelled by a Gasoline engine.
The first car was made in 1895 with a 2-cylinder King engine. The second car was made in 1896 and was driven around.
After experimenting successfully with cars, King continued to concentrate on Engines and pneumatic hammers. In 1900, King sold the Marine Engine business to Old Motor Works and joined the company as Chief Engineer. After the disastrous fire at Old Motor Works , he left the company and joined Northern Manufacturing Co (Later to be renamed as Northern Motor Company) in 1902.
At Norther Motor Company , King developed many engines and introduced new features on Northern cars. One of the well know being the “Silent Northern” car.
When Northern Motor Company was taken over by E-M-F in 1908 , King left Norther Motor Company and pursued higher studies. On completion of his studies , in 1910, King incorporated his company – King Motor Car Company.
King Motor Car company produced a few cars , the famous being the King 8 with a 8-cylinder engine, advertised as “the car of no regrets“. A 1912 King 36 roadster –
The King Logo –

After 1916 , sales kept falling and finally King Motor Company was closed down in 1924

Ransom E Olds (1864 – 1950) experimented with steam carriages in the mid 1880’s and moved to experimenting with IC engines in the early 1890’s.  He started building an IC engine car for the 1895 Times-Herald race but could not complete the car in time for the race. In 1897, the Old Motor Vehicle Co was formed and the first car was built. In 1899 , the company name was changed to Old Motor Works and was incorporated to build and sell “perfect” cars.

The famous Curved Dash was introduced in 1901 and was an immediate best seller, selling more than 400 units in the first year. To be able to meet the rising demand, Olds invented the “First Automotive Assembly Line” with interchangeable parts, to mass produce cars. In all 19000 Curved Dash cars were made between 1901 and 1907.

1901 – Curved Dash. 

A video explaining the parts of the Curved Dash (Engine, gearbox, chain etc) is here – http://youtu.be/7ZVd46f4Iq0

In 1904 , Ransom E Olds quit the company over disputes with the directors. He started a new company ,  named REO which continued to manufacture cars Ransom Old designs.

Old Motor Works was integrated in to General Motors in 1908 and continued to manufacture cars under Oldsmobile brand. Some of the famous cars being Oldsmobile 88, F-85, Cutlass , 442 etc


Oldsmobile 88                                                                                    Oldsmobile Cutlass

In 1949 , Oldsmobile introduced a new OHV  V8 Engine, named Rocket in the Oldsmobile 88 cars and the engine came to be known as the Rocket 88 engine. This engine was one of the last carburetted engines operating till the early 1990’s. The Rocket engine was so famous that even the logo of Oldsmobile started changing to depicting a rocket, during this period.

The logo of Oldsmobile , past and the last –


The Oldsmobile brand was retired in 2004 by General Motors after 96 years.