The Buick Motor Company was the cornerstone General Motors was built on. Charles Nash was President and General Manager of Buick by 1910 and oversaw a thriving automaker that sold nearly 30,000 automobiles in that year. Early Buicks included very small to very large automobiles, and trucks, that enabled the marque to compete throughout the industry. Buick also utilized racing extensively to establish a reputation for speed and durability. Early drivers including ‘Wild’ Bob Burman, Louis and Arthur Chevrolet, Lewis Strang and others raced Buicks; high profile races for production automobiles were held on Long Island, at Savannah, Indianapolis and Daytona Beach. Two bright red ‘Buick Bug’ racers were also constructed for Burman and Louis Chevrolet in 1910, who raced them around the country. These special ‘wind cheaters’ were equipped with huge 622 c.i. four-cylinder engines mounted in shortened single-seat racing chassis covered with streamlined bodies emblazoned with rams heads painted on the front of each car and were crowd favorites wherever they raced! Buick also offered sporting options for their regular customers.
Both the popular Buick Model 10 on a 92-inch wheelbase and the larger Model 16 on a 112-inch wheelbase were available as sporting Roadsters. The Roadsters consisted of only two seats mounted on a standard chassis with a hood, cowl and fenders. Their construction was actually quite clever, however, allowing for exchange of a gas tank, a single rear seat or a wider rear seat that converted the car into a Tourabout or Surrey, all on the same chassis.
This pretty 1910 Buick Model 16 Roadster is an older restoration, very well done and preserved in proper working order. In an era when only a single color was offered on many models, here the body, fenders, chassis and wheels are all finished in white. The appearance is all the more sporting for the single color, highlighted with red coach lines on the fenders, hood, wheels, frame and front axle. A brightly polished brass finish adorns the head lamps, radiator and script, coach lights mounted on the cowl and a large flared bulb horn. The brake and shift levers and wheel centers are also finished in polished brass. The simple instruments include a Stewart speedometer and mileage recorder and a brass oil sight gauge. An acetylene tank is mounted on the right side to provide gas for the lamps, while a round gasoline tank is mounted on the rear deck behind the two seats. Black tires are mounted on the wood spoke wheels. Neither a windshield nor top was provided, given the sporting nature of this early Roadster. The seats are constructed of wood – that may be original to the car – and upholstered in black tufted leather that looks to be new. The large 318 c.i. engine prominently displays four individually cast cylinders and produced 32.4 horsepower. The cylinder heads are not removable, so the workings of the push rods and valve gear operate in plain site adding to the charm of this very early Buick. The three-speed sliding gear transmission sends power to the rear axle. The car has been set up for touring, a concealed electric starter has been skillfully added, the rear brakes have been converted to hydraulic,and a modern air filter has been installed, all enhancing the enjoyment of driving this automobile that was constructed before the adoption of electric starters, lights, and juice brakes.
Here again is a wonderful brass era automobile, this one fitted with a sporting Roadster body that evokes the Age and Buick’s early sporting history. This car presents and drives equally well – aided by a concealed electric starter – and will be eagerly welcomed by the Buick Club of America, Antique Automobile Club of America and the Horseless Carriage Club of America as well as other brass club activities, parades and local shows.
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