Friday, August 14, 2015

Something Special Before the War

             Finding the right name for a new automobile has been something that has challenged car makers from the early days on. In the mid-1930s, Buick was getting ready to roll out a brand new entry level car. So what do you call the lowest priced sedan in your stable? The answer is obvious: Special.
            Introduced in 1936, the Special was the first Buick to actually have a proper name rather than just a number designation. Though the first Specials were also known as the 40-Series, the proper name more than hinted that owning one would make the driver, well, special. Why not, they were driving a Buick which sat near the top of General Motors’ manufacture ladder.
            A brand new 248 cubic inch overhead valve inline eight engine produced the power. The car was offered in four trims. There was a two-door coupe, a two or four door sedan, a four-door station wagon (which was offered only in 1940 and 41), and a two or four door convertible.
            The 1938 model shown here was the last year before all Buick cars underwent a dramatic re-design. Production officially was put on hold in February, 1942 so Buick, along with other manufacturers, could turn their attention to arming the military for World War II.
            After the war in 1946, Buick rolled out one option of Special, the largest of the line that had been seen prior to hostilities. The same basic body and design that was rolled out in 1939 continued to be used until 1949. That year saw a new, updated body design.
          In 1951 Buick retired the 248 cubic inch engine and replaced it with the famed Fireball straight eight. By 1955 the line was receiving some slight name changes with the introduction of the Special Rivera which would go on to become on of the country’s best selling lines.
            By 1958 Buick decided that the Special had been around long enough and that name ceased as a standalone model. The Special name has been applied to other Buicks over the years, particularly the Skylark, but none were as special as the Special.

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