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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ALFRED P. SLOAN - BUICKS AND FLINT PART 1

A very modest little museum, but to be clear the Buick Gallery is a separate building within the cultural center in Flint Michigan. Alfred P. Sloan amongst other notable achievements held the titles of Chairman, CEO and President of General Motors at different times from 1923-1956.

Sloan was named as a collaborator providing technology to Hitler's NAZI movement to develop automobiles.
Sloan was also was part of the plot to eliminate trolleys so buses and cars would take over,but who in auto industry was not?

Don't get your panties in an uproar, Sloan was a Philanthropist and I think it is just the nature of the early pioneers in the auto industry to be movers and shakers by any means possible. 
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is still alive today and his legacy is a great one.There is an Alfred P. Sloan prize as well.
Sloan died at age 90 in 1966 of Cancer in the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC , yes it is named for him and Charles F. Kettering also of GM heritage in the 1940's as it became the Cancer Institute leading the country in the latest technologies!  
Back to the Buick Gallery!
 It is a former Buick dealership service department.



 Sloan-Longway? The Longway Planetarium was merged with The Sloan Museum and Buick Gallery to preserve not only automotive history (Flint is really the birthplace many believe) , but Genesee county history as well! Host of many car shows because of the spacious grounds.

Durant Plaza= William C. (Billy) Durant founded GM










 This race car was piloted by Louis Chevrolet, yes that Chevrolet just one year before he became an auto manufacturer !





 The concept cars are fantastic and I have bumped into them in many places as they do go out for loan to other museums.




 Back up camera in 1956







A Buick based on that new Corvette!




 Just a parting FYI there was a Mr. Buick; David Dunbar Buick. 
It could have been DDB Motors! Buick was a Scottish immigrant who settled in Detroit via his parents at the age of 2, Mr. Buick was offered a severance package and one share of Buick Motors and left his namesake company. Billy Durant bought that one share in 1906 for $100,000  (2 1/2 million in today's values) Dunbar tried to market a car named Dunbar in the 1920's,but he never achieved any success or wealth again. Millions of cars wore his name, but he was no part of the rest of the story!    
I am bothered by Buick's new ad campaign as they seem to want to create a new sporty image, saying maybe all Buick's prior to this were stodgy old men cars?
Oh yeah these three above make my blood boil!
Maybe the advertising company was thinking about the "Not your Fathers Oldsmobile" campaign?
Then they lower themselves to tell us they are marketing a car to compete with a Lexus?
It is hard to see the difference between American cars and Japanese cars today!
Yes Buick at one time was mostly a Luxury Brand, The pecking order was Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac.
RIP Oldsmobile and Pontiac - gone,but not forgotten. At least Ransom E. Olds is probably feeling better in the afterlife since he lost his company a long time ago anyway! FYI there was no Mr. Pontiac, there was a Mr. Olds, Mr. Chevrolet, Mr. Buick so what about Cadillac? I love this story, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac a french explorer who is credited for finding parts of Canada and Northern USA with traces to Louisiana (Cajun country)- HUH? He was a Governor of French Louisiana. 
OK cut to the point of the story he founded Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit, yes Detroit which became the center of the auto industry, formed out of one of the 2 failed Henry Ford companies "The Henry Ford Company" before the Ford Motor Company, Cadillac was born and payed homage to the Detroit Founder! Pontiac was named for Indian Chief Pontiac, hence the Indian Head logo, Pontiac Michigan is in Oakland County which is what the cars were named prior, then dropped using only Pontiac!
The Cadillac emblem is coat of arms crest! 
One more and then we can move on, in Canada Pontiac's and Chevrolet's used the Acadian name, that is the town in France our explorer was born in, Acadia!  
These were Chevrolet's in the USA
OK back to Buick!
 I always thought of Buick walking that line between luxury and high performance, so did Buick if you take a look back!
We do not embrace our past anymore just worry about profits!


 This was not that long ago GSX and Grand National below were Muscle cars and not old man Buick's!

The Sloan museum had a muscle car display on loan along with its regular exhibits!
 Whoever picked the cars was spot on!
 Lighting was (intentionally) poor?









Very potent and limited production Buick GNX 
 They do chronicle the automotive history of The City of Flint very well! 




 The first ever Chevette and only one built in Flint!




Part 2 
Stay tuned!