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The V-6, one of the most popular engine designs in use today, was first developed by Buick for its 1962 Special. It was the first use of a V-6 in a mass-produced U.S.-built car.

Joseph D. Turlay, Buick's top engine designer of the period, responding to Buick's need for an engine for the new small car, said he could build a 90-degree V-6 quickly by simply eliminating two cylinders from Buick's aluminum V-8.

"We got it into full production in less than a year," Turlay said. "It had a new crankcase (and a cast-iron block instead of aluminum), but the rods, pistons and valves were nearly the same as those of the V-8."

The new engine resulted in the Special earning the "Car of the Year" award from Motor Trend magazine for "pure progress in design, originative engineering excellence and the power concept for the future expressed in America's only V-6 automobile engine."

In the muscle-car era of the late 1960s, Buick phased out the V-6 and sold the tooling to another company. But in the fuel crisis of 1974, Buick re-purchased the tooling, re-introduced the V-6 and began a series of improvements and design changes which led to the powerful, smooth, responsive and fuel-efficient powerplants of today.

In 1976, Buick's pace car for the Indianapolis 500 was powered by a turbocharged V-6 -- the first V-6 ever used in any Indy 500 pace car. Buick's first front-wheel drive car, the 1979 Riviera, was offered in two models -- a standard version with a V-8 and an S Type, with a turbocharged Buick V-6. The S Type won Motor Trend's "Car of the Year" award.

In 1986, when Buick offered an intercooled turbo V-6 in the Regal Grand National, auto magazines labeled the Grand National as America's quickest automobile. The Buick V-6 became a major factor on the race tracks of the country as well as a mainstay among production powerplants.

It all started with the 1962 Buick Special.

Source: Buick Motor Division
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