In the late 1920s, Buick was the go-to brand for understated luxury at General Motors. Cadillac always sat atop the throne at GM for style, equipment and flash, but Buick quietly offered several luxurious and advanced vehicles through the years that were often priced to compete with their luxury-centric siblings. Eight-cylinder engines were the fashionable choice for luxury cars at the time, though Buick was lagging behind the competition with its effective but passé six cylinder units. Rather late to the party, Buick launched three different straight eight engines in 1931. The three engines were outwardly similar but surprisingly, they shared very few common parts. At the entry level, for the 40 and 50 series got a 221 cubic inch unit. From there, the 60 series received a 272.6 cubic inch eight (later increased to 278.1), and the range topping 80 and 90 series were fitted with a big 345 cubic inch powerplant that developed a healthy 104 horsepower. From 1931 through the next three decades, Buick would be solely dedicated to producing eight-cylinder cars.
In spite of the exciting new range of engines, Buick struggled in sales due to the dire economic conditions brought on by the Great Depression, and they desperately needed a boost. After plummeting sales through 1933, Buick introduced a very important new innovation: “Knee Action” independent front suspension. Developed by General Motors, Knee Action suspension was featured on Buick, Olds and Cadillac. It was a short/long arm design that was developed by a British-born engineer named Maurice Olley. The system used upper and lower control arms, coil springs mounted to a robust subframe. Olley’s design proved so effective it was built under license by Rolls-Royce, chosen by them over a similar system from Packard. The combination of the improved eight-cylinder engines, superior ride and road holding from the independent front suspension and numerous other safety and styling changes put Buick back on the road to recovery by the middle of the decade.
Our featured example from Buick’s rebirth is a striking and handsome 1935 Model 67 (from the 60 series) wearing an understated yet stylish four-door, five passenger sedan body. Since receiving a comprehensive restoration, this wonderful automobile has covered just 4,500 miles and remains extremely attractive and ready for use. For starters, the styling on this Buick is simply marvelous. The elegant, split and laid-back grille flows into a subtly detailed hood with art-deco strakes on the side panels. Curvaceous fenders feature dual sidemount spare wheels wearing body-colored hard covers. Dual chrome trumpet horns, dual chrome Trippe Safety Speed Lights and chrome main headlamps suitably dress up the front end. In the rear, a matching trunk rides on a folding rack and twin tail lights are affixed to the fenders. A subtle gold pinstripe highlights the body swage line, which is repeated on the wheels. The full fenders, graceful curves and exquisite detailing combine to make an extremely elegant package.
Taupe-colored cloth upholstery covers the seats, door panels and headlining. It is in excellent order, appearing very fresh and attractive. The highlight of the interior has to be the fantastic woodgrained dash, which features gold-detailed panels for the instruments, glovebox and central switches. The correct AC instruments appear in very good order, with a charming originality to them. The steering wheel features an unusual McLaughlin-Buick Canada horn button, revealing this car’s history in Quebec. The 278.1 cubic inch straight-eight is well detailed in correct Buick Green with black side and rocker covers. It shows some signs of light use, though remains very clean and tidy. A 3-speed manual transmission sends power rearward and the car performs very well thanks to the powerful engine, efficient brakes and independent front suspension.
Buick’s most popular body style for 1935 was this, the practical, roomy and highly attractive four-door, Five-Passenger Sedan. Take a good look at our feature car and it easily becomes apparent why. Nearly 25,000 of the style were sold, however most rode on the entry-level 40 series chassis. 60-series production was but a fraction of its lesser siblings – with just 1,716 cars produced in 1935. Of those, a mere handful wore this handsome and understated body, making it a very rare and desirable automobile, indeed.