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Buick has a long history as the oldest manufacturer of automobiles in America, dating back to the 1890s. With such a long history comes quite a story to tell. Additionally, with that story comes the unmistakable Buick logo and where it came from. 

A brief overview of Buick history

The Buick logo on the front grille of a vehicle seen in Hefei, China
Buick logo | Ole Spata/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to Penske, Buick got its humble start when David Buick created the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1899 to sell engines for farm and boat markets. The company was incorporated in 1903 under the name we know today, the Buick Motor Company. 

Things started slow for Buick. The company didn’t even roll out a single vehicle in 1903 and had to be sold to Flint Wagon Works. The first successful test model, the 37 Model B, was put into production in 1904. Then William Durant joined the team to help the company climb out of its financial hole. Durant attended the 1905 New York Auto Show and sold over 1,000 vehicles before 40 were even built. Sales went up to 8,820 by 1908, thanks to the Buick’s valve-in-head engine. The continued growth in sales allowed Durant to create the holding company named General Motors. 

Buick was the preferred car of international leaders by the 1920s. Buick’s fortunes continued to soar even during the Great Depression. Buick experienced a dip in the 1950s but came back in the 1960s thanks to improved styling and engine innovations such as the V6. 

Buick has since rolled out successful models like the Regal Grand National, Gran Sports, and the GNXs. The focus of Buick was sedans until the millennium when it turned its brand to “Premium American style.” Buick has branched out to SUVs but continues to excel at convertibles and crossovers. 

What does the Buick tri-shield logo mean?  

The Buick “tri-shield” logo, three shields inside a circle, can be traced to David Buick’s Scottish coat of arms. In the 1930s, a General Motors Styling researcher found the coat of arms of the Buick family and decided to modernize it and use it in the logo. 

“The interpretation is that the red shield with a checkered silver and azure (light purplish-blue) diagonal line … an antlered deer head with a jagged neckline in the upper right corner of the shield, and a gold cross in the lower-left corner,” noted by Penske. “The cross had a hole in the center with the red of the shield showing through. Minor changes to the concept were made over the years.”

The logo has since evolved to depict three shields to represent the three Buick models being built at that time: the LeSabre, Invicta, and Elantra. The tri-shield has since been modernized with an emphasis on the outline of the original design. The new design is see-through and shows no colors in the shields. 

Consumer Reports only gave recommendations to three large luxury SUVs in 2021, and the Buick Enclave came in second place. The Enclave is known for the feel of its acceleration, braking system, and transmission. The safety system is less than stellar, but for everyday situations, the Enclave is the way to go. Its $40,300 price tag makes the Enclave a reasonable and comfortable (but premium) purchase.

Another good Buick buy is the crossover SUV 2021 Encore GX. At just over $25K, the Encore GX is quite a deal, and it is praised for being comfortable to ride in with plenty of space for people and equipment. 


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