Back in the early 1900s men with any kind of mechanical inclinations knew that the big jackpot revolved around building cars. Thousands of mechanics and tinkerers tried their hand at building automobiles that would make them millionaires, but only a few actually succeeded. Many of the names we see on vehicles today represent the men whose perseverance and drive (no pun intended), that pushed them to engineering and prosperous heights that would only be duplicated in the dot com businesses of the last thirty years. One of the hardworking and driven men whose name has graced over 35 million cars was David Dunbar Buick. (Source: Williamson Cadillac & Buick).
Buick was born in 1854 in Scotland and moved with his parents to Detroit when he was two years old. Upon leaving school at the age of fifteen Buick went to work for a plumbing company and he and a partner took it over a few years later when the company was in financial trouble. The plumbing company became a success but was sold when Buick started paying more attention to his inventions and to internal combustion engines than to the running of the business.
Buick founded the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company where he developed engines on a full-time basis. He went broke a couple of times but ultimately was loaned money to start the Buick Motor Company, where he developed an innovative engine that is the basis for many modern engines today. He also started building his own namesake cars.
Buick ran the company for about four years before he was in financial deep water – again. Mr. Buick was a superb engineer and inventor but apparently had no talent for management or financial accounting principals. He resigned and left Buick Motor Company with a modest sum of money and began a short career of investing in other companies. In the 1920s, (he was in his 60s at this time), he ventured back into the automotive industry and developed another car. This, too, went by the wayside and David Dunbar Buick became a trade school teacher who couldn’t even pay for minor luxuries, such as a telephone. He was broke, even though his car company, Buick was world famous and went on to become a mainstay of the industry giant, General Motors. This man was obviously a genius and a gifted and talented engineer and inventor. Perhaps if he had mastered the art of business management his life would have taken different and more successful turns.