1912 Buick Model 43 2 seater Racer: ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’

American Automobile maker Buick arguably invented the marketing phrase ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’. The Buick Race Team, racing cars powered by its patented overhead valve engine, was founded in 1908 to get the word out that a Buick automobile was something really special and really powerful. Using a series of numbered publicity releases called ‘Racing Bulletins’, the American public were quickly informed every time a Buick took a race win, essentially saving the company a lot of money on advertising.

Racing was never for the faint-hearted, but those early years were especially rough, as Terry B. Dunham describes in a 2002 issue of Antique Automobile: “The sound of an idling Buick racing four was fearsome. At full throttle a stinky, smoky, deafening roar would surround the car. During a race, the blast of hot air and grit blowing off the track was formidable, and there were no windshields to deflect it. Tires looked to be little more than rubber bands stretched around wooden spoke buggy wheels. For the driver the only protection against injury consisted out of a thin leather helmet, goggles without safety glass, gloves, padded clothing and high-laced boots. Wearing no seat belts, the only thing keeping them in place was a harsh bucket seat.”

The Buick factory racing team was dismantled in 1911, but its racing successes inspired speed freaks to race Buick automobiles for years to come. This one-of-a-kind Buick Model 43 Racer was built on Buick's most powerful chassis of 1912 with its overhead valve four producing nearly 50 horsepower. The healthy sized 5.2 liter cast-iron engine in the relatively light chassis displayed very good power and performance for its size, achieving top speeds of over 130 kilometers per hour. The Model 43 featured mechanical valve lifters and a single Stromberg carburetor. There was shaft drive from the 3-speed transmission and a multi-disc clutch to the rear axle. Steering was by worm and nut. A top and windshield were optional.


In 1916, racing this exact car, American racer P.Thomason finished the famous ‘Douglas to Phoenix, Arizona’ long distance race in 3rd position. It was part of the Lindley Bothwell Collection in the United States for decades where it was raced by three-times Indy 500 winner Mauri Rose in numerous veteran races, all the way up to the 1955 Pebble Beach races. After its racing career the car was hired out for movies, including the popular motion picture about the famed thoroughbred Seabiscuit.

During the TABAC Classic GP Assen this 1912 Buick Model 43 racer is demonstrated by the Dutch Vintage Sports Car Club.

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