10 Killer Buick Luxury and Performance Cars
Throughout the history of the American automobile, there have been carmakers that have provided luxury – Cadillac and Lincoln, for example – and there have been carmakers that have provided performance. But no American automaker has so effectively blended performance and luxury as Buick. Throughout its history, Buick has provided luxury car buyers with engaging driving dynamics, speed and acceleration. Here’s a look at Buick’s performance history:
Buick Series 60 Century (1936 to 1942)
One could argue that the 1936 Buick Series 60 Century was the prototype for cars like the Oldsmobile Rocket 88, and all the other cars that would influence the muscle car era. Prior to 1936, Series Buicks (Series 40, Series 50, Series 60, Series 90) had a range of engines with increasing horsepower as you climbed the Series ladder. But in 1936, all the Series Buicks got the same engine: a 320-cu.in. overhead valve Straight 8.
With 120hp, the 1936 Series 60 Century could run at 100mph, a feat that few other cars in its price class could accomplish. As the years went on, the Series 60 Century got more and more performance, eventually ending up with 165hp just prior to World War II. The Series 60 Century was the car to beat in this class, providing both serious performance and luxury to match.
1954 Buick Century
For several years following the war, Buick was like many other manufacturers, delivering slightly revamped versions of its prewar cars. But in 1953, Buick introduced an all-new 322-cu.in. “Nailhead” V-8 in the full luxury Roadmaster. The next year, the Century returned, and with it came the Roadmaster’s killer new 255hp mill, providing the style of the Buick Special with the Roadmaster’s performance
In 1955, Buick redesigned the inefficient Dynaflow transmission into something that could deliver the Nailhead’s true performance potential to the rear wheels. It was such a performance titan that the California Highway Patrol ordered a fleet of Buick Century models for use as pursuit cars. Civilian Buick Centurys matched the driveline’s exceptional performance with luxurious leather interiors, and features like power windows and an optional padded dash.