David Dunbar Buick, a Detroit plumbing executive and inventor who began building and selling gasoline engines late in the 19th century, produced the first experimental Buick automobile in 1899 or 1900. It was probably built by his chief engineer, Walter Marr.
Buick created Buick Auto-Vim and Power Co. in 1899 or 1900 (it was housed in the Boydell Building, which still stands at Beaubien and Lafayette, about six blocks from Renaissance Center). He created Buick Manufacturing Co. in 1901 or 1902. However his first corporation was Buick Motor Co., a Detroit firm he incorporated on May 19, 1903 - providing a date of birth.
Buick Motor Co. was sold to the Flint Wagon Works in Flint, Mich., in September, 1903. In 1904, the company's officials persuaded William C. Durant, a highly successful Flint carriage manufacturer, to take over Buick.
Within four years, in 1908, Billy Durant had promoted and organized Buick into such a success he could claim Buick led the country in production. That year, with Buick as its base, Durant created General Motors. He would soon add Oldsmobile, Cadillac and Oakland (forerunner of Pontiac) to the firm, and along the way helped create Chevrolet Motor Co. with Louis Chevrolet, a former Buick race driver.
Among other famous names in Buick history were Walter Chrysler (Buick president before starting Chrysler Corp.), Charles Nash (Buick president, GM president and a founder of what became American Motors) and Harlow Curtice (GM chief executive and Time magazine "man of the year" in 1955).
After 95 years in Flint, during which nearly 35 million Buicks were produced, Buick returned to Detroit in 1998 as all GM marketing divisions were placed in Renaissance Center. In Buick's first 100 years, nearly 37 million Buicks have been produced.