As the foundation of corporate giant General Motors, Buick positioned itself for continued success from 1931 forward with new eight-cylinder engines across the board. Ranging in displacement from 221 to 345 cubic inches, Buick’s all-new “eights” were technically advanced and featured the marque’s famed “Valve in Head” technology, rooted in the pioneering work of David Buick’s early associate and engineering genius, Walter L. Marr. Interestingly, Buick’s new eight-cylinder engines were unique to each series and shared no common parts, with the exception of the upper-level Series 80 and 90 lines – both powered by the 345 cubic-inch unit delivering 104 factory-rated brake horsepower and more importantly, 250 pounds-feet of peak torque at just 1,400 rpm. Performance was robust by early-1930s standards, establishing a Buick hallmark that would continue through the 1970s, when GM began adopting fewer “corporate” engine types.
Decidedly upscale and boldly advancing while lesser marques were retreating in the face of the deepening Great Depression economic climate of the early 1930s, Buick offered a wide model range appealing to upwardly mobile buyers, progressing from the surprisingly well-equipped Series 50, derived from the short-lived Marquette companion brand of 1930, through the increasingly luxurious Series 60 and Series 80 lines. Buick’s top model line was now Series 90, on a grand 132-inch wheelbase chassis, featuring a wide array of eight open and closed body styles. In addition to Buick’s new “eights,” the marque’s sophisticated engineering brought new smooth-shifting synchromesh transmissions for 1931, along with new oil-temperature regulators cooling engine oil at high speeds and warming it in colder weather. While Buick production did decline measurably for 1931 from 1930 levels in both calendar- and model-year terms, the GM division was in sound financial health and benefited from the strength enjoyed by its parent company.
The glamorous Series 90 was Buick’s eight-cylinder flagship line during the early 1930s, clearly signaling the marque’s intention to lure buyers from the competition and even from its corporate sibling, Cadillac. Styling, overseen by GM design Chief Harley Earl, remains a Classic Era® masterpiece by any standard, including numerous elements that made Earl’s 1927 LaSalle and contemporary Cadillacs so appealing to buyers. In fact, some Fisher- and Fleetwood-built bodies from Buick’s Series 90 line were even shared across the GM range with Cadillac, making the big Buick an even more enticing value to many buyers.
In addition to its sporty, sophisticated aesthetic, this handsome 1931 Buick Series 90 Model 96S Country Club 4-Passenger Coupe is particularly rare and collectible as one of just 2,990 examples produced. Attractively presented with a fine quality, well-detailed older restoration, it is a testament to Buick quality and style, with excellent proportions and presence. Handsomely finished in dark blue with black fenders and warm gray accents the Country Club Coupe lives up to its sporty moniker with a two-passenger interior with room for up to two more inside the jaunty rear rumble seat trimmed in black upholstery. A roll-down rear window and golf-club side door enhance the experience. The spacious and well-appointed interior compartment deserves special mention, with pleated beige wool upholstery and door panels finished to a high standard. Handsome wood graining adorns the inner cowl, door caps, and the striking instrument panel to complete the upscale feel. Externally, the Buick is very well equipped with accessories, optional features, and fascinating details. Among them are sculped “biplane” front and rear chrome bumpers, twin large-diameter Pilot Ray accessory lights with chrome housings, a chrome grille guard, factory-correct “Mercury” radiator mascot, and twin cowl lamps. Dual side mounted spares are housed within optional steel hard covers. Wind wings reduce wind buffeting while driving with the windows rolled down. Landau irons add classical grace, and a folding rear luggage trunk is mounted atop a folding rack. Underhood, Buick’s renowned 345 cubic-inch “Valve-in-Head” OHV straight-eight engine is very well presented and detailed with proper factory colors and components throughout.
Sporting, elegant and quite rare today, this 1931 Buick Series 90 Country Club Coupe is one of precious few prewar Buick models to enjoy Full Classic® recognition from the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA). With its power and abundant comfort, it is well-suited for a wide array of driving tours and events. As offered, it provides a truly rare opportunity to acquire a striking top-line 1930s Buick, fit for touring and casual shows.
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