|The 1960 Buick|
|1960 Buick Trivia|
First year for famous “tri-shield” emblem.
Last year for “tap-start” starting system.
Last year for Buick’s traditional torque tube driveline.
Venti-Ports (portholes) return after 2 yr absence.
Buick built its TEN MILLIONTH car in January 1960.
The warranty on a new 1960 Buick was only 90 days or 4,000 miles.
|Upon closer inspection, Buick's 10-millionth car is a white LeSabre coupe. Rumor has it that it was sold to an Ohio bank president, but my attempts to find out more have been unsuccessful.|
|1960 Buick Road Tests:|
Motor Life, 3/60 (Invicta 4-dr hardtop)
Consumer Reports, 3/60 (LeSabre 4-dr sedan)
Motor Trend, 6/60 (Invicta Custom 2-dr hardtop)
Mechanix Illustrated, 6/60 (Invicta 2-dr hardtop)
The December 1959 issue of Car Life was the only contemporary auto magazine that featured a 1960 Buick on the cover.
Instead of a road test, the issue featured a multipage "special section" that was no more than a thinly veiled advertising supplement. Reprints were provided to Buick dealers as promotional handouts. (The same thing was later done with the 6/60 Motor Trend road test.)
|Motor Trend puts a 1960 Invicta coupe through its paces. They loved it!|
|1960 Buick Daytona Endurance Test|
|Motor Trend featured a story on the Daytona endurance run in the April 1960 issue. Reprints were provided to Buick dealers as promotional literature. Mechanix Illustrated (June 1960) combined a brief story on the feat with a road test of a stock Invicta coupe.||Reproductions of the original NASCAR certificate were provided to dealers. Today, this is an extremely rare piece of 1960 Buick memorabilia. Note that to de-emphasize racing, the "A" and "R" in NASCAR are stated to stand for "Advancement & Research", rather than "Automobile Racing".|
One of the best kept secrets about the 1960 Buick was the Daytona endurance run. This scheme was the brainchild of Buick’s PR director, Jerry Rideout, and was conducted during early January 1960.
The idea was to prove Buick’s reliability by driving a stock 1960 Invicta coupe on the Daytona track for 10,000 continuous miles, at an average speed of 120 mph! To accomplish this, six professional drivers were used, each in a 2-hour shift. Pit stops were used for tires (only 1000 miles per set) and driver changes.
Refueling, however, was handled in a very different and innovative way. Inspired by the military’s mid-air refueling of planes, Buick engineers developed a method to do the same with the Invicta. A chase car was built with a long refueling nozzle and apparatus to deliver 15 gallons of fuel in 6 seconds. During the course of the Daytona run, 78 such refuelings were conducted at speeds between 115 and 125 mph!
The 10,000 mile run was successful, and Buick was awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Performance from NASCAR president Bill France. The final tally was 10,000 miles in under 5000 minutes; average speed was 120.186 mph. By the way, the six drivers used on this feat include some names you will recognize: Fireball Roberts, Marvin Panch, Tiny Lund, Ralph Moody, Larry Flynn, Bobby Johns, and Larry Frank.
Unfortunately, the entire affair smelled too much like racing for GM management, and Buick was told to put a lid on it. Not one to be shut down, Jerry Rideout “leaked” news of the accomplishment to the press. The Detroit News broke the story (1/19/60). Later, both Motor Trend (April 1960) and Mechanix Illustrated (June 1960) had feature articles. A fantastic 18-minute movie of the event made by GM Photographic and was eventually shown at dealer training meetings. But by then it was old news.
Shortly after the endurance run, another 1960 Buick took to the track. Shown here is the white Electra 225 convertible that Buick provided as the Daytona pace car. (It can be seen briefly in the GM Photographic film of the endurance run.)
I wonder if this exact car is one of the many surviving white Electra convertibles?
|COPYRIGHT 2005 by Gregory L. Cockerill. All text contained herein, including interviews/recollections of other parties, is my original work and is owned by me. This also applies to all images of my white 1960 LeSabre convertible. As such, the aforementioned material may not be used without express written permission. Other images presented herein are either from the public domain or used with permission of the owner(s).|