The Buick Super
16 Aug 2016
General Motor’s Buick automobiles were designed to appeal to customers looking for more luxury than the Pontiac and Chevrolet models but lacked the financial resources to purchase a Cadillac. You could say that Buick was the model GM built for the middle class.
In 1940, Buick launched a new model called the “Super.” Like its Pontiac, Cadillac, and Oldsmobile cousins, the Buick Super was built on the General Motors C-body platform. The C- platform was the large sedan chassis that was longer, wider and lower to the ground than previous generations. Vehicles built on the C-chassis had a low stance that provided more interior room and allowed better styling than before.
Buick built the first-generation C-body cars during 1940 and 1941. In 1942, the second generation C-body automobiles were introduced. Instead of inflated “pontoon” fenders, the fenders flowed down the side of the car integrating with the flared rear fender wells. The front grille was striking. It featured bold vertical bars with a heavy chrome outline flowing seamlessly together with the elaborate triple chrome bumper. The most breathtaking improvement in 1942 is the introduction of the Sedanette two door Coupe. East Hills Chevrolet of Douglaston, NY, a local Chevrolet dealer, explains that this is the equivalent of what we today refer to as a fastback design.
Unfortunately the second generation of the Supers was halted in 1941 when all domestic automobile manufacturing came to a halt while the US entered into WWII. During this time, most of automobile and truck manufacturers switched over to making war time machinery, things such as tanks and aircraft.
After the war was over (1945), the American automobile manufacturing industry switched back to making cars and trucks. It was at this time that GMs most famous designer, Harley J Earl, rose to fame. Earl is also the first automotive engineer to utilize free hand sketching and clay modeling for the design and visualization of new car styling concepts. Because of his talents and ideas, Earl became the first director of General Motors art and color department.
By 1947, Detroit was in full swing making automobiles again. For Buick, the Super was their best seller. In fact, in 1948 the Super model represented more than 75 percent of the total cars that Buick sold for the year. For 1949, Earl implemented vent ports on the gently restyled front fenders. Although they started out as true engine compartment vents, in the following model year, they became nonfunctional trim. These iconic fender ports are still used on some Buick models today. By the end of the year Buick sold more than 250,000 Super model units, setting the all-time high sales record for any single model in the company’s history up.
Image From Wikimedia Commons