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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Buick Super sedan, 1950

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Buick Super sedan, 1950
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Jeff Tinsley, Negative #: 2003-32669


This object appears in the following sections:

Making the Exhibition
About America on the Move — Our New Idea

Smithsonian Automobile Collection — Car collection, 1950-1969

Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949
Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949 — Making the Sale

Buick Super sedan
Buick Super sedan

“Your eyes are windows...”

Buick Super sedan
Catalog #: 2002.0266.01, Accession #: 2002.0266
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection

Postwar Buick models offered upscale style, power, and roominess to a new generation of motorists. Middle-class motorists were attracted to these features, and by 1954 Buick was the third best-selling car in America, after Chevrolet and Ford. Clara Fultz Bentz, a small business owner who ran a corset and lingerie shop in Martinsburg, West Virginia, owned this 1950 Buick Super sedan.

Physical Description

1950 Buick Super four-door sedan with all-steel body, black with chrome trim, and gray herringbone upholstery. Valve-in-Head Fireball straight eight-cylinder engine. Dynaflow automatic transmission. Weather Warden "venti-heater" and radio. 17' 3" L x 6' 5" W x 6' H

Date Made:
West Virginia
Used in Martinsburg, W. Va.

In the late 1940s, the new car market changed from a seller's market to a buyer's market. Supplies of cars increased after postwar materials shortages eased, and manufacturers added dramatic new styling and new features to attract customers. Families went shopping for cars with features that matched their growing affluence, taste for fine consumer goods, child-raising responsibilities, and increasingly mobile lifestyle. General Motors responded by pricing some of its Buick models (the Special and the Super) at levels that middle-class Americans could afford to buy on credit. Once aimed at an elitist market, Buick became the third-most-popular car in America by the mid-1950s.

Related People, Places, and Events
Buick Motor Division, General Motors Corporation

Related Place
Flint, Michigan

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