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BUICK CONCEPT CARS TO STAR AT 'EYES ON THE CLASSICS'

 DETROIT, May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- As a feature of its 90th anniversary celebration, Buick Motor Division plans to display most of its existing concept cars -- from 1938 to the '90s -- June 27 at "Eyes on the Classics," an automotive design show in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich.
 About a dozen one-of-a-kind cars, some owned by museums, others by Buick and one by a private individual, are scheduled to be displayed.
 Buick General Manager Edward H. Mertz announced plans for the showing in remarks Wednesday (May 19) at the Detroit Press Club. Buick Motor Co. was incorporated 90 years ago to the day -- May 19, 1903 -- in Detroit. It grew out of earlier companies that had produced one experimental Buick automobile in Detroit between 1898 and 1901 and another in 1903.
 Buick was moved to Flint, Mich., late in 1903 and production began there with 37 Model B Buicks in 1904. Buick became the industry's sales leader under William C. Durant in 1908 and Durant used Buick as the financial base for his creation of General Motors that year.
 Concept cars were commonly known as "dream" cars in the 1950s. But concept or dream car, the idea is about the same. A concept car is a design and engineering -- and often marketing -- exercise, a method of trying out new ideas and generating excitement with the public about a company's products and expertise. And sometimes a way to tease upcoming production models.
 Historians generally claim the first true dream car was a Buick -- a black two-place convertible created by GM Styling and Buick Engineering back in 1938.
 Over the years, Buick has developed many others. Now, for the first time, most of them are being brought together for a special showing. "Eyes on the Classics" is a benefit sponsored by the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology (DIO). It will be June 27 at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores.
 "Eyes on the Classics" is billed as the only automotive show dedicated exclusively to the art of vehicle design -- past, present and future. Vehicles presented are by invitation only. Proceeds benefit the DIO, a non-profit organization. The DIO is dedicated to the preservation of vision through education, research and support for the visually impaired.
 Buick is "honored marque" at the show in recognition of its 90th anniversary. Besides the concept cars, there will be a number of vintage Buicks, including several owned by the division. Among them will be a 1905 Model C and 1910 Buick "Bug" racer.
 The oldest Buick dream car in the show will be the first one -- the "Y-Job" from 1938. It was designed by Harley Earl, GM's first design chief, and built on a production Buick chassis modified by Charlie Chayne, Buick's chief engineer.
 There are various theories behind the name. Such as: It went one step beyond other GM experimental (or X) cars; or, the letter "Y" was used for experimental aircraft at that time. Also, Earl tended to use "job" to refer to every car he worked on.
 In any event, the names tended to get better for later Buick concept cars. Some, such as LeSabre, Wildcat, Centurion, would show up on production cars. Others also had a nice ring to them: Questor, Lucerne, Essence, Bolero, Sceptre.
 -0- 5/19/93
 /CONTACT: Lawrence R. Gustin of Buick, 313-236-1418/
 (GM)


CO: Buick Motor Division ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

ML-DM -- DE024 -- 0458 05/19/93 16:32 EDT
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Date:May 19, 1993
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