Tri-Shield badge slots just below the top tier Cadillac and represents another conservative luxury division in GM’s diverse portfolio. It’s always been like that and things don’t look like they’re about to change anytime soon. Although they were always plushy, this doesn’t mean Buicks weren’t at all accustomed to stepping out of their comfort zone and delivering performance to match their refined nature. Such occasions were rare, that’s true. Still, I can think of a certain fastest Buick or two that were at the top of the performance game during their prime. And I believe we’re all thinking about the same cars. Certain gents called GSX and GNX.
To prove that these weren’t only accidental forays into performance wonderland on Buick’s part, we’re bringing you this list of 10 performance-oriented Buicks from Tri-Shield badge’s ancient beginnings to the modern era. Although Buick never represented to GM what Mopar has to Chrysler, these 10 were among the fastest and most powerful GM-built models during their time. They definitely were the most powerful Buicks among their velvety coevals.
1910 Buick Bugs
Buick Model 60 or Special 60, or just Buick Bug was built by the Buick engineering department in just three short weeks. Only two examples came out of Buick engineering’s garage on such a short notice, however. One was designated to Bob Burman while the other ended up in Louis Chevrolet’s care. Bugs were rather revolutionary for their time and not just thanks to their imposing styling either. They had 622ci 4-cylinder below that futuristic (for the time) cowl, and featured two independent braking systems. Both systems were insufficient, however, making the Bug one extremely tough race car to handle. Moreover, drivers had to manually operate the pumps which delivered pressurized oil and gas to the engine. Imagine how difficult that must have been when Bugs were clocking 110 mph, and Burman and Chevrolet had to pay close attention both top the track and indicating gauges.
See those four exhaust stacks protruding out of the left side of the engine cowl? Yes, they blew smoke right into driver’s faces. That’s what you get when you hasten things up and fail to test your race cars prior to actual race. But despite all their shortcomings, Buick Bugs were extremely potent race cars. Although the team would never achieve major success with them due to their extremely difficult handling and driving, Burman did manage to record a handful of speeding records in straightaway competition.