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David Buick

AKA David Dunbar Buick

Born: 17-Sep-1854
Birthplace: Arbroath, Scotland
Died: 6-Mar-1929
Location of death: Detroit, MI
Cause of death: Cancer - Colon
Remains: Buried, Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit, MI

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Engineer, Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Designed the first Buick motorcars

David Buick's formal education ended when he was about eleven years old, and he quit school to help his widowed mother make ends meet. He later worked at a plumbers' supply shop, and made his first fortune by devising an improved process for heat-binding enamel to iron, allowing the affordable production of wrought-iron bathtubs. By the 1890s he was building and selling gasoline engines for boats.

Shortly after the turn of the twentieth century he designed and built a car in his workshop, and in 1902 he founded the Buick Manufacturing Company, where his overhead-valve engines gained a reputation as the most powerful and reliable available. A gifted designer but a poor businessman, Buick and his company were both near bankruptcy within months, and he sold effective control of the business to new investors. William C. Durant, a purveyor of horse-drawn carriages, joined the firm as General Manager in 1904, and though Buick still held the title of President it was Durant who wielded authority. Their recurring disagreement was that Buick wanted each vehicle to be a perfectly-crafted precision-built instrument, while Durant wanted to cut costs and speed the production line. Within two years Buick's founder was gone, and two years later the Buick Company became a subsidiary of Durant's new business, General Motors. Buick later worked as an office clerk at a Detroit technical school, and died in poverty in 1929. A stylized adaptation of the Buick family crest remains the logo for GM's Buick line.

Father: Alexander Buick (carpenter, d. 1860)
Mother: Jane Roger Buick (butcher's assistant)
Wife: (m.)
Son: Thomas Buick (d. 1943)

    General Motors Founder & President of Buick Mfg. Co. (1902-06)
    Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company Founder & President (1899-1902)
    Naturalized US Citizen
    Scottish Ancestry


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