- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2003

Buick joins Detroit's Century Club on May 19 when it celebrates its 100th birthday as an automaker. It joins Cadillac, which was founded in 1902 and Oldsmobile, another GM Division that celebrated its century several years back, and Ford Motor Co., which also joins the elite club this year.
The centennial celebration will be centered on two events: a five-day birthday party with more than 2,000 vintage Buicks in the company's former hometown of Flint, Mich., and a touring display of 20 vintage Buicks currently on display in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
In Flint, which was Buick's home from 1903 until it moved to Detroit in 1998, the rollout of vintage cars will also find the 10,000 members of the Buick Club of America holding their national meeting, July 23-27.
Besides the huge array of Buicks from 1905 to the cutoff of 1991 (and two 1904 Buick replicas), the event will feature a World War II B-24 Liberator bomber with four Buick engines and a Buick-built World War II Hellcat tank destroyer.
Visitors from Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand are expected to attend the event along with a large Canadian delegation.
The company traces its beginnings to David Dunbar Buick, born in Arbroath, Scotland, in 1854, and brought to Detroit at age 2. He became a plumbing inventor/executive in the 1880s, then became fascinated with gasoline engines in the mid-1890s. He was soon building engines for farm use and boats and by 1899 or 1900 had opened Buick Auto-Vim and Power Co. Among the tiny company's stated specialties: automobile engines. The name was changed to Buick Manufacturing Co., then to Buick Motor Co., with incorporation papers filed May 19, 1903, creating the firm's birthday.
Billy Durant entered the scene and Buick's success was under way. No lover of horseless carriages, Durant became fascinated with the Buick product as he said, because it could climb hills and run through mud as no other car he had seen.
No one could raise money, sell products and plan big organizations like Durant. He went to the 1905 New York Auto Show and came home with orders for 1,000 Buicks before the company had built 40.
By 1908, Buick claimed to lead the country in automobile production, with 8,820 built. The company's historical significance is undeniable. It became the financial pillar on which General Motors was created.
Buick emphasized its centennial with a new concept vehicle introduced at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The vehicle is described as a premium, distinctive "crossover" combining the best features of a sedan and sport utility vehicle. The name Centieme is French for 100.
The GM division also announced its first truck-based vehicle since 1923, the Buick Rainier, as a 2004 model. Rainier is a full on-frame SUV powered by the Vortec 4200 inline six-cylinder engine or optional Vortec 5300 V-8. The new model will arrive in dealer showrooms this fall.

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