Saturday, March 5, 2016

1941 Buick Super 4-door Sedan

"You might not have that new-car urge, but the FIREBALL will smoke you out. Ever notice when you lift the hood of this sprightly 1941 Buick how much engine looms up under your gaze? That long thrusting bonnet is needed — it's brim-full of velvet-smooth micropoise-balanced power-plant. And it houses, in the new FIREBALL Dynaflash engine, the sweetest and suddenest and most serviceable mobilization of horsepower you ever gave the gun! Try it soon — roll out a new Buick SPECIAL and treat yourself to controls that almost seem to shake hands with you. It's a big car, yes — a longer, roomier, broader beauty than ever before — yet so nimble and nifty in action you'll think it has wings on its wheels."

A third-party front axle, small wheels and the missing chrome trim make this Buick from Havana look a bit desolate, but make no mistake: this was one of the best looking automobiles of its time. Since GM styling czar Harley Earl and Buick president Harlow Curtice went along very well, Earl took particular care in Buick styling, and often favored the division with the best proposals. Thus, Buicks were repeatedly the most flamboyant looking cars in the GM portfolio throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

Compared to its predecessor, the 1941 Buick sported subtle but effective modifications. The ornate "harp" grille, introduced in 1940, was ever so slightly altered for 1941. Headlights moved outwards to the fender corners and revised lateral engine ventilation "ports" made the otherwise similar car look much more stylish and coherent. All in all, it was an evolutionary design, but it went down well with the customers: Buick's model year production soared from 283,404 to 377,428 cars in 1941. In Cuba, 1941 Buicks are quite rare. Perhaps the 1941 Chevrolets were a more sensible buy for many, as they offered similar looks for a much smaller budget.

Surprisingly, Buicks advertisement campaign for 1941 clearly focused on women. Addressing principally the gentler sex was a bold and innovative move at the time. Presumably the company wasn't striving for female buyers alone, but rather for their influential role in the decision making process for a new car. Care for an example?

"It's time to put your foot down . . . firmly! This woman-is-a-fragile-vessel stuff is all right — within limits. It's comforting on rainy nights when you like the shelter of his big umbrella — and it's cozy in soft firelight when the feel of masculine tweed against your cheek suits your mood. But this idea that a woman's car has to be a little car just because your muscles don't bulge — well, that is an idea to be stepped on! My goodness — can't a man see that a girl likes a little zip and ginger in her getting-about-town? Doesn't he suppose you get as much kick as he does out of bossing around a big, strapping, 165-horsepower FIREBALL straight-eight engine?"

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