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Buick Super Eight
The Buick Super is a full-sized automobile produced from the 1940 through the 1958 model years (excluding WW II); it was built on Buick's larger body shared with the Roadmaster. It and the Roadmaster were replaced by the Electra in 1959.
The Super shared a new General Motors C-body with the Roadmaster but on a shorter wheelbase. It featured three chrome VentiPorts on each front fender to denote its smaller straight-eight engine and shorter engine compartment when compared with the Roadmaster. The sales brochure noted that VentiPorts helped ventilate the engine compartment, and possibly that was true in early 1949, but sometime during the model year they became plugged. The idea for VentiPorts grew out of a modification Buick styling chief Ned Nickles had added to his own 1948 Roadmaster. He had installed four amber lights on each side of his carís hood wired to the distributor so as to flash on and off as each piston fired simulating the flames from the exhaust stack of a fighter airplane. Combined with the bombsight mascot, VentiPorts put the driver at the controls of an imaginary fighter airplane. Upon seeing this, Buick chief Harlow Curtice was so delighted that he ordered that (non-lighting) VentiPorts be installed on all 1949 Buicks.
Super script was found just above the full length body fender molding on the front fenders. New fender edge taillamps were featured while rear fender skins remained a Buick standard. New fender top parking lamps, harkening back to 1941 styling appeared. Full wheel trim discs were standard along with such features as a cigar lighter, ashtray, and automatic choke. Cloth interiors were standard, except on the convertible which was trimmed in leather and leatherette and had a power top, seat and windows as standard equipment.
Dynaflow automatic transmission was now optional equipment on Supers in 1949. Cars so equipped had 6.9:1 compression ratio and 120 horsepower. Total sales set a record at 190,514 for the first time since the Super's introductory year. The instrument panel was new.
The 1950 Supers shared with all the other series totally new all bumper guard grille and more rounded styling. Super script appeared on front fenders just above the full length lower bodyside moldings. A new body style was a 2-door Riviera hardtop. Another new bodystyle was a long wheelbase sedan which was stretched an extra four inches (102 mm) and featured plusher interior than most Supers, which normally had cloth interiors of finer material than the Special. Supers had three VentiPorts on each hoodside. The convertible had leather power seats plus power windows and top.
The 1950 Super came with a single two-barrel carburetor on a new higher displacement 263 cu in (4.3 L) Fireball I8 which produced 112 hp (84 kW). It was able to achieve speeds over 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) with an optional Dynaflow automatic transmission which, rather than changing through gears, used the torque converter to couple the motor to a single gear ratio. The car had 2 splits in the back glass although the windshield was now curved one-piece glass. Models also could be equipped with an AM radio and an antenna that could be adjusted via a knob in the front center above the windshield. In the June 1953 Popular Mechanics, acceleration was rated at 0-60 mph in 14.5 seconds. The Super set an all time record of 251,883 sold.
In 1951 Supers had larger bodies than Specials but looked similar with three rounded VentiPorts per fender, broad bright fender shields and a full length "Sweepspear" chrome body side molding. This chrome-plated strip started above the front wheel, after which it gently curved down nearly to the rocker panel just before the rear wheel, and then curved around the rear wheel in a quarter of a circle to go straight back to the taillight. Series script was found on the deck lid and within the steering wheel center. The long wheelbase sedan was named the Riviera sedan although it was not a hardtop. Supers were trimmed with materials similar to Special Deluxes except except for in the plush Super Riviera sedan. Front turn signals were within the bumper guard "bombs," while rear signals shared the stop lamps' housing on the rear fender edges. The convertibles and Estate wagon were trimmed in leather. 169,226 Supers were sold.
In 1952 Buick's mid-priced line resembled the Series 40 with three VentiPorts per fender and Sweepspear rocker panel trim. Super script appeared on the rear fenders aided identification. The Super was built with the larger C-body, however. The full flowing fenderline dipped deeper on this body and rear fenders had a rear crest line absent on the B-body Specials. A new deck lid gave a more squared off appearance. Like other Buick series it was a near copy year for 1952. Chromed rear fender fins gave distinction to 1952 Supers. Interiors were cloth except on convertibles and Estate wagons which were trimmed with leather. The Super used a different instrument panel than the Special. It was distinguished by a large center speedometer housing flanked by smaller gauge housings. Series identification was found within the steering wheel center. The Sedanet and the regular wheelbase sedan were cancelled. Sales fell to 135,332.
In 1953 Buick's middle priced line shared the Roadmaster's new V8 and, for this year the Roadmaster shared the Super and Special's 121.5 in (3,086 mm) wheelbase. The Super earned a horizontal trim bar on its rear fenders which distinguished it from the Series 70 Roadmasters. Otherwise its side trim bar on its rear fenders was identical although the Super was had only three VentiPorts on each front fender. Series identification was found on the deck emblem. Full wheelcovers were now standard. The vee in the bombsight ornament signified the V8 power under the hood. Interiors in most models were nylon and silky broadcloth. The convertible had power windows, seat and top as standard equipment. Dynaflow was now standard equipment. Air conditioning was a new option. A total of 190,514 Supers were sold.
Bodywork. Length/width/height/wheelbase Ė cm (in) : 533/203/160/307 (210/80/63/125.5); weight : 3800 lb (1700 kg).
Mechanics. V8 engine 4316 cc (263 ci), front-mounted, 16 valves, Dynaflow 3-speed gearbox, automatic, rear-wheel drive. Maximum power : 124 bhp at 3600 rpm; torque : 298 Nm at 2000 rpm.
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