1951 BuickThe big visual change for Buick in 1951 was a return to the 1948 grille's theme of closely spaced vertical bars, but with a bumper "dipped" in the middle to better show off the shiny dental work. Neither dealers nor insurance companies had liked the toothy 1950 grille because every one of its nine pieces was different, making it difficult to stock and expensive to replace. And there were plenty of replacements because the teeth overlapped the bumper.
Moreover, the 1950 Buick grille bore the brunt of every radio comedian's jokes, which didn't sit well with Buick's humorless top management. Another change was the return to round VentiPorts, moved back to the front fenders, as in 1949. And, of course, the "bombsight" hood ornament first seen in 1946 still guided the driver down the road, though in a more stylized form.
A Buick DeLuxe, such as this one,
was added to the Special series in 1951
Fastbacks were dropped from the Special series, but two notchback two-door sedans were added: a $2,127 DeLuxe, and a sparsely trimmed $2,046 Sport Coupe. A $2,561 convertible was added, too, but was outsold by both the Super and Roadmaster ragtops.
Specials got a new and simpler instrument panel with two large dials in front of the driver, and the base models were now the only Buicks with a two-piece windshield. On the sides, they wore bright stainless trim on the lower rear fenders, not the full sweepspear as on the DeLuxes. Horsepower was raised to 120, or 128 with Dynaflow.
1951 was the last year for Buick Jetbacks.
Retaining the same lineup as in 1950, the Super now carried the full sweepspear on all models. However, this was the last year for Buick Jetbacks; only 1500 two-doors were produced, and only as a Super. Engines were unchanged for both Super and Roadmaster. In the Roadmaster line, the Jetback coupe departed.
The Riviera hardtop came in two models, with or without hydraulic window controls, and there was now only one four-door sedan, the 72R long-wheelbase Riviera. Total Buick model-year production for 1951 tumbled to 404,657 units, due in good part to Korean War cutbacks and a return to defense production. Buick nonetheless retained its fourth-place position, trailing Plymouth in production and sales.
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