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1904 Buick Vehicle

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1904 Buick

Pictured above is the first Buick Model B. In the front seat is Walter Marr(driving) and Tom Buick(son of David Buick). In the back sear is Josiah Begole (former Michigan govenor and father of Charles M Begole) and James Whiting.

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The Buick models available for 1904:
Model B Tonneau (early)
Model B Tonneau (late)
Model C Tonneau

David Buick sold his successful plumbing business in 1899 and entered into producing gasoline engines and automobiles under his newly formed Buick Auto-Vim and Power Co. Buick reorganized into the Buick Manufacturing Co. in 1902, producing stationary engines while continuing to experiment with the automobile.

Buick again reorganized on May 19, 1903 into the Buick Motor Co. with the financial backing of Benjamin Briscoe. Briscoe, a friend and business associate of Buick's since the 1890s, had gained success supplying sheet metal for the Olds Motor Works in 1901. Shortly aftewards, Briscoe conversed with Jonathan Maxwell resulting in the Maxwell-Briscoe Co., organized July 4, 1903.

Briscoe had entered into an unusual financial arrangement in the Buick Motor Co., but wanted out after organizing Maxwell-Briscoe. The Flint Wagon Works (James Whiting) was looking to get into automobile manufacturing and purchased the Buick Manufacturing Co on September 3, 1903. Alexander Brunell Cullen (ABC) Harding had encouraged Whiting to enter the automobile business. Harding himself had been the only auto maker in Flint (1901-1903) until being forced out of business on October 24, 1903 for not owning an ALAM (Association of Licenced Automobile Manufactures) license. ALAM was the oganization controlling the Selden patent.

For 1903, Buick did not produce an automobile, only stationary engines and marine engines fearing ALAM. On Januray 22, 1904, the Buick Motor Co., headquartered in Detroit MI, was dissolved and on Janurary 26, 1904 The Buick Motor Co. based in Flint MI was incorporated, moving Buick from Detroit to Flint. Also in January 1904, Whiting was persuaded to begin building an automobile, selling the first one on August 13, 1904. Orders in the successful stationary engine business began falling behind as David Buick was now enthralled with producing an automobile. Getting the automobile into production and the slow pace in which they were completed, depleted the company's considerable liquid capital and by the fall of 1904 the company substantially owed the Flint bankers. Whiting expressed his concerns with Fred A. Aldrich, who worked for Billy Durant's Durant-Dort Carriage Co., the largest coachmaker in Flint.

Whiting, a conservative sixty-one year old businessman, felt Durant was capable and was willing to allow Durant controlling interest in Buick. Durant hesitated six weeks describing the company as "practically insolvent", but after test driving the car extensively took control of Buick on November 1, 1904. On that day, Whiting resigned as president and was replaced by Charles Begole, however it was understood Durant "now held control." In November 1904, the first month of Durant's control of Buick, the resourceful Durant purchased the troubled Pope-Robinson automobile company to conveniently acquire the ALAM license.

The 1904 Buick (early) was available in indego blue with yellow running gear and wheels. The leather was availble in any color.
The 1904 Buick (late) was available in dark (royal) blue with yellow running gear and wheels. The leather was availble in any color.
The two 1904 Model C automobiles produced were available in dark (royal) blue with ivory running gear and wheels. The leather was availble in any color.

Reference Material:
Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942 3rd edition by Beverly Rae Kimes and Henry Austin Clark, jr - pp 161-162, 1234.
The Buick a complete history 6th Ed by Terry B Dunham & Lawrence R Gustin with the staff of Automobile Quarterly pp 13, 18, 21-23, 29-40 .


Vehicle: 1904 Buick





Early: 83 inches
Late: 86 inches
Model C: 87 inches

Track - front/rear

56 inches

Wheel-Tire Size front/rear

Early: 28 x 3 inches
Late: 30 x 3 1/2 inches
Model C: 30 x 3 1/2 inches



Number of Cylinders


Horse power

Early: 15 bhp
Late: 22 bhp
Model C: 22 bhp


159 cubic inches

Bore x Stroke

4 1/2 x 5 inches

Engine Location





Early: 1,675 pounds
Late: 1,700 pounds
Model C: 1,850 pounds

Total Produced

37 units

Sale Price

Early: $950
Late: $1,200
Model C: $1,200



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Last modified: October 5, 2010