Test-driving a 1958 Buick Super equipped with the Flight-Pitch transmission, Motor Trend reviewer Don Francisco experienced "extreme slippage somewhere between the engine and the rear wheels. Engine speed went up with the throttle movement, but the car didn't accelerate as it should have.
"To get the car moving fast enough to keep up with normal traffic it was necessary to push the throttle to the floor, where the converter ratio changed to a still lower pitch."
As for gas mileage, the Super averaged 11.3 mpg highway, 8.5 city. Altogether, Francisco found the car to be "a disappointing experience." In summarizing, he wrote, "These cars are for mink and dinner jackets, not slacks and Levis; they are for driving to dinner and the theatre, not for beating across town during rush hours."
And that, we suspect, is exactly the way Buick intended things to be. The image the company sought to project was one of comfort and luxury, not of hotshot performance.
As part of this effort -- while retaining the Special, Century, Super, and Roadmaster series -- Buick undertook to revive its big prestigious Limited for 1958.
The earlier Limited, which had disappeared from the Buick catalog with the coming of World War II, had never been a money-maker for the division, but there is little doubt that it served amazingly well as an image-builder.
It was Harlow Curtice, then chief of Buick Division, who attempted to establish the big Buick as a competitor to Cadillac, an effort that his superiors ultimately torpedoed. But now, in 1958, Curtice was himself president of GM and everybody knew that he continued to take a special interest in Buick.
Read about the reintroduction of the Limited on the next page.