I got a note from my old friend Don Reynolds the other day. He's winding down a busy year celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Reynolds Buick, the store his grandfather opened in Covina, CA in 1915. It's always a pleasure to hear from Don because of his love of history, and the latest missive was no disappointment because he included a treasure trove of images from his Father's desk.
The images are all from 1971 and represent a history book of what a prosperous automobile dealership looked like in the early 70s, preserved in Kodachrome. The building itself was only six years old at the time, and is resplendent with colorful pennants and a bevy of brand new Buicks- with a heavy emphasis on luxury models and boattail Rivieras.
The photos also happen to date from what Don a called the "Jaguar phase," so there are XJ saloons and E-Types -one with genuine wire wheels even- in the photos as well. Apparently Reynolds was a big Opel dealer too, with several Opels in for service including what looks like a 1959 wagon.
It's a glorious scrapbook of new Buicks and Opels, a peppering of Jaguars, enticing late model used cars, a GMC with a pop-up camper and even a dune buggy on the used car lot- because it's Southern California after all. There's even a Firestone tire store next door with a vivid red sign.
In never before seen Kodachrome, here's Reynolds Buick of West Covina, Califiornia in 1971:
All images courtesy of Don Reynolds/ Reynolds Buick
The first car of my Mother's that I remember riding in was a Buick- a big, black 1961 Electra 225 Riviera four-door hardtop. It had a long hood, four portholes, a luxurious button tufted interior, a freestanding clock a'la George Nelson, and a fold down vanity mirror that said "Buick is a beauty, too," And a beauty it was indeed, as were so many large, powerful Buick sedans over the years.
So yesterday's announcement of the new Buick Avenir concept car definitely caught my eye. It's a big, expressive car, with a long hood, a hint of Buick's distinctive coke bottle side sculpturing, a vee-shaped rear deck that pays homage to tthe boattail Riviera, and a roomy interior.
The name means "future" in French, and I certainly hope it's a glimpse into the future of Buick sedans. Unlike some concept cars like the Cadillac Sixteen, the package looks quite credible and could be built on the new large Omega platform that will also host the upcoming Cadillac CT6.
It's powered by a direct-injected V6 engine with cylinder deactivation paired with an nine-speed automatic transmission and dual clutch all wheel drive, and rides on 21 inch wheels. Avenir makes use of high technology including a 4G-LTE wireless hotspot, fully reconfigurable glass-panel dash and rear seat video screens with individual USB ports, and while it all imparts a Buck Rogers feel, there's nothing that's too far out to bring to market today. It's loaded with features, but they're all doable. And inside and out, it looks like a Buick- a big powerful Buick, albeit a contemporary adaptation of one.
In short, I love it! Now all it needs is a vanity mirror that says "Buick is a beauty, too..."