Thursday, March 5, 2015

1950 Buick Grille: My, What Big Teeth You Have!

For much of the 1940s and 50s, General Motors' Buick brand had a grille theme featuring vertical bars.  I wrote about that here.  The boldest variation -- or the most outrageous (depending on one's taste) -- was found on 1950 models.  As the image above shows, the grille's "teeth" were draped over the front bumper rather than being protected by it, as was the case in other years.

The grille style was controversial in some circles, notably the anti-automobile, anti-American snob set that thought chrome-laden grilles on American cars of that vintage were icky or evil "dollar-sign" embodiments.  And there was the more practical matter of the ill-protected grille bars being easily damaged even in trivial "nerf" bump collisions with objects.  That aside, 1950 Buicks were a sales success, as this link indicates.

From a styling standpoint, the grille design gave 1950 Buicks an unnecessary nose-heavy appearance that was corrected for 1951 and later models based on the same body shells.  But some things never quite change: current Audis also have a nose-heavy look thanks to large grille formats that drape over front bumper (but without the heavy, chromed teeth Buicks had).


Here are front and rear three-quarter images of what seems to be the same car, a 1950 Buick Super Riviera two-door hardtop convertible.  No, the top didn't retract; the term was used because the side doors were pillarless, in the mode of convertibles.  The result was a sporty appearance that was popular, but this ended when rollover safety standards could not be met minus door pillars.

A publicity image showing part of the 1950 Buick model line.  Click to enlarge.

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