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The Buick “Muscle” story starts  long before the first Gran Sport ! 

Many of our country's legendary racers started with Buicks. Most prominently were the Chevrolet Brothers. By 1909, Buick racing history was in high gear. Buick won 90% of all the events entered that year! In the early 60's a Buick powered dragster became the first dragster in the world to reach 160 then 170 then 180 MPH! (See below)

 Buick traces its beginnings to David Dunbar Buick, born inArbroath, Scotland, in 1854, and brought to Detroit at age 2. David 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. and then to Buick Motor Co., with incorporation papers filed May 19, 1903, creating the firm's official birthday.

In this period, Buick and his associates built two cars (one as early as 1899) and designed an overhead valve (later
called "valve-in-head") engine. This efficient and powerful engine was patented by Buick engineer Eugene Richard. Buick's chief engineer, the brilliant Walter L. Marr, was later identified with its future development and indeed, with more than 30 patents, the entire development of Buick automobiles.



 The success of Buick engines was evident on the race tracks - including 1909 successes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway two years before the first Indy 500 - and in endurance tests across the country and around the world.


A 1912 Buick Model 28 (Left) was the first car to travel across South America, driven from Buenos Aires, Argentina, over the Andes to Santiago, Chile, in 1914. 

Note: Buick "portholes" on side of hood!



bear Buicks won hill climbs across the country - including one in 1904 with one of the first 40 Buicks ever built.


At left is a photograph of W. W. Brown  taken on July 17, 1913 as he drove his Buick Model 10 “Bear Cat” up Pikes Peak.

 In 1908, Buick claimed to lead the country in automobile production, with 8,820 produced - and with the hot new Model 10 as the biggest seller (4,002). Durant had made the transition from the biggest producer of buggies to the biggest producer of automobiles. And, on Buick's success, Durant created a holding company that year. He called it General Motors. 

Buick designers and engineers always had better race car technology. For example, during the early '60's when Ford had a 406/427, Chevrolet had its 409, Pontiac had its 421, and Chrysler had the 413 wedge, Buick experimented with a 401/425 Turbocharged V engine that was designed to be used in the G.M. B Wildcat. The car never saw production because it was too powerful! It turned out that this engine produced over 800ft. lbs. of torque!

Perhaps no one new the potential of the 50’s and 60’s Nailhead Buick V8 better then  TV actor, Tommy Ivo. After buying a new 1955 Buick and winning a track record in his class at  Pomona he was hooked! He was making lots of money and had lots of time on his hands between takes on the sets so he built a ‘25 model  T roadster with a Buick V8 and started setting records with it. Next  he slid a Buick V8 into a dragster (Left) which became the worlds quickest gas dragster in 1958.

If you will look closely you can see Tommy’s ’55 Buick in the back ground. The car that started it all!

Still not satisfied He put together the very successful "Twin Mill," that featured two Hillborn injected 401 Buick nailheads. (Below) What was unique here was that instead of running the Buicks in-line, Ivo placed them side-by-side How'd he do that? He meshed the flywheels and ran one engine backwards by reversing the firing order!

This became the first dragster in the world to reach 160 then 170 then 180 MPH!



Two engines were good, so Ivo figures, four must be great!  So in 1961 he then reveals this monster below!
This car would run close to 200 MPH in the 1/4 mile with four 401 Nailhead Buicks but it was just two unsafe between the "blow torch" hitting you from the pipes in the center and the smoke from the burning front tires that blocked your vision so it only made a few runs.

The Buick’s Nail Head V/8’s were built through 1966. In 1967 they were replaced with the 430 V/8 which was the same block as the 1970 455’s of
Gran Sport Fame. This opened up a whole new can of worms for the auto racing industry!