Buick started by automotive pioneer David Dunbar Buick, was among the first American marques of automobiles, and was the company that established General Motors in 1908. General Motors pursued motor racing for its promotional and sales value, and brought the Chevrolet brothers and Bob Burman on as drivers. When the American Automobile Association’s Contest Board discovered Buick entering custom-built racing cars in stock production racing classes, they disqualified these so-called “Buick Roadsters” on 27 May 1910. The cars, called Marquette-Buicks were not produced in sufficient numbers to be judged to be a commercial product. The Buick 60 Special was built in response to that disqualification. Created in just three weeks, the revolutionary Buick race car was designated as a Model 60, but was nicknamed as “Bug”. Built as a single-seater, the Bug was the first race car to locate the driver in the center of the body both laterally and longitudinally. The car featured one serious design flaw: it was too narrow to handle in the corners and tended to tip, requiring the driver to slow down. Buick built only two “Bugs”, one for Louis Chevrolet and the other for Bob Burman. Two “Bugs” were raced in the “unlimited” or “Special” classification in 1910 and 1911. Chevrolet’s car suffered a roll-over crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on 29 June 1910 due to a blown tire. Chevrolet attributed his survival to having ducked down into the car when it rolled, where he was protected by steel bands built into the car’s hood. On March 30, 1911, near Jacksonville, FL, Burman drove the “Bug” to a speed record for a race of more than 10 miles. The “Bug” driven by Burman has survived to this day, and now is in the Sloan Museum in Flint (Michigan).
|Bob Burman / Louis Chevrolet|