Thursday, April 2, 2015

1947 Buick Super 4-door Sedan

"Name what you expect of a new car today and common sense gets you to thinking Buick as the year's richest harvest of car pride and pleasure and performance. Take in the sleek lines of those sweep-back fenders, that gleaming grille, the broad breadth of the bonnet — and you know that here is styling sure to stay fresh and new for seasons to come. But get into the fields of stamina and soundness to measure the yield of this handsome traveler's building — there's where the canny buyers find Buick a bumper crop on wheels."

Here it's a pristine looking example of Buick's most popular car for 1947, even if its owner went a bit over the top when detailing his pride. Notice the fancy rearview mirrors — and no less than 10 "VentiPorts"! These famous Buick trademarks would first appear two years later on all production Buicks.

Under the watchful eye of Harley Earl, designers of General Motors' Styling Section were repeatedly setting new standards for American automotive styling over three decades between the 1930s and 1960s, and the postwar Buicks are a nice showcase of their virtues. Of all GM divisions, Harley Earl took especially great care in Buick styling, since he had a good relationship with Buick's general manager Harlow Curtice. Unsurprisingly the stunning 1938 Y-Job, the world's first concept car, was a Buick. You can notice the influence of the Y-Job in the low, horizontal front grille of our pictured Buick, as well as in the way the sculptural bonnet nicely flows into the front fenders. These unique "Airfoil" fenders run through to the rear wheel wells and should visually enhance the length of the car, true to Earl's mantra of ever "longer and lower" looking cars. Harley Earl proposed this styling detail first to Cadillac, but it was rejected for being to difficult to engineer and too costly to produce. Thus, the Cadillac featured shorter, bullet-shaped fenders, and Buick's Harlow Curtice happily opted for the "Airfoil" fenders to give his Buicks an unique look.

After all, the design of the 1947 Buick dates back as far as 1942: like most American manufacturers, Buick sold warmed-over versions of the prewar models through 1948. Cars of these last two model years look virtually identical and differ only in a subtle "Super" nameplate on their front fenders. Yet, while other postwar cars —even in GM's portfolio— increasingly began to look dated, the massive grace of the Buicks somehow didn't become outfashioned. Best of all, the Buick build quality matched the Buick look: these cars were built rock-solid and truly embodied the highly respectable progressive image that Buick stood for.

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