17th September 1854

Buick Motor Company founder is born

It seems unlikely Arbroath-born David Dunbar Buick would have remembered much of the country of his birth: his family emigrated to Detroit when he was two.

In 1899, he established a company to develop engines for agricultural machinery, which evolved into a firm both developing its own cars and producing engines for other companies’ vehicles. Although the firm would establish what became an ancestor of all petrol-driven engines used in vehicles today, he left the Buick Motor Company within three years, when ill-health brought on through overworking forced him to step back. The remainder of his career, although filled with potentially profitable investments, was less successful.

David Buick’s death

The Aberdeen Press and Journal of 7 March 1929 ran the headline “David Buick dead: motor pioneer ends his life in poverty”. Buick had died two days earlier. It revealed that at the time of his death, “Mr Buick was living at Detroit, working as an instructor at the Trades School, in obscurity and poverty. Although his name is on the bonnets of millions of motor cars throughout the world, he was too poor himself to be able to afford a car. Yet he did not regard himself as a failure. In an interview last year he described a failure as a man who stayed down when he fell instead of jumping up and making plans for the future.”



Other events that occured in September

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