Thursday, May 28, 2009

Buick: Something to Believe In


  1. The bodacious boattail! I loved that car. When I was growing up in Grand Blanc, it seemed that they were everywhere. Every GM exec had one. I thought they were so popular.

    I didn't realize at the time that they were driving them because they weren't selling...

  2. Land boat, indeed ... in a static testament to vehicular excess and advertorial hubris, that Riviera (or "Riv" as they were habitually called in my Buick household) is going to launch itself into that river, it's going to upset that bucolic scene and it's going to change everything.

    After the Riv, nothing for Buick will be the same.

    And that was the point, wasn't it? Not just another Buick, that car (which was never nearly as successful as its pushers hoped it would be). Oh, no ... it was supposed to make an enduring, indelible mark on the car landscape and take Buick and GM to a new level of automotive supremacy.

    It doesn't matter that it didn't quite work out that way. What's important to my point is that it happened when Flint exported products, imported truckloads of money, kept its best people home and mainlined hope.

    With the Riv, people actually believed that something they built, something they admired on the lots at MacGillivray's or at the annual new car preview at the IMA, something they stretched to own and park out front, could concretely change things.

    Of all the things Flint's lost, and the list, as we know, is considerable, the disappearance of hope has been the most damaging. Find a way to infuse that stuff back into city life and we'll see the revival we all long for.

    But, it's going to take more than a big car with a sexy ass, though.

  3. When car design was art--innovation, imagination transportation. Days long gone, for better or worse...


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at