Buick Super – 1940

The ‘Super’ description was no brash boast. In that automobile status league everyone understands, the Buick was a symbol of upper-middle-class prosperity, offering near-Cadillac quality at a thrifty discount. Buicks were big, comfortable and solidly made.

The Super was Buick’s mid-range straight eight — with the Special below and Roadmaster above — and the company’s best-seller towards the end of the 1940s, helped by confident slogans like The Best Buy in Big Cars’ or ‘Buick’s the Buy’.

Although first generation Supers were produced from 1940-42 and second generation models from 1946-1948, the third-generation cars introduced in 1949 were part of an entirely new Buick range. This major relaunch replaced postwar models that were continuations of those being manufactured when production was suspended h 1942. The new Super acquired the company’s distinctive VentiPorts in the front wings, lots of chrome around Buick’s characteristically toothy grille and the smoothly flowing lines so typical of late 1940s American cars. Body styles included Riviera and standard sedans, Riviera hardtop, estate wagon and convertible.

The Super was also offered with the primitive (by modern standards) Dynaflow automatic transmission system as an optional extra. This was a hydraulic pump-driven transmission with two speeds (low and high), altered either way by a shift lever. It did nothing to enhance performance — if anything it detracted — but nonetheless Lip-tallow proved incredibly popular with innovation-hungry buyers and was soon fitted to the vast majority of new Buicks.

Having broken out of postwar shackles, Buick just kept right on enhancing the Super. The body was revamped again in 1950 and a fourth generation in 1954 saw an improved engine and more significant changes in the Super’s look, to a squarish design that would be revamped yet again in 1957 before the Super fatally bit the dust the following year.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

USA

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

1940 (until 1958) ENGINE: 4.3 l (263 cid) Straight Eight

PERFORMANCE: Top speed approached 100 mph (161 kWh); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in around 11 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Ford and Buick shared a 50th birthday in 1953, but whilst Ford celebrated its Golden Anniversary with a year of glitzy special events, Buick’s sober approach was to introduce power Steering, 12 volt electrics and the new OHV V8 Fireball engine for its Super and Roadmaster cars.

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