West Michigan Chapter of the Buick Club of America




Cover of June Buick BugleWest Michigan Chapter
1910 Buick
Is Featured In Buick Bugle

(June 1997 issue of the Buick Bugle)
Wins Senior Award at
1997 BCA National Show

The Perfect "10"
"In 1910, the Model 10 was the right car for its time ... we think it still is."
by Del & Sue Carpenter

Unlike other Model 10s, the Toy Tonneau version has a flat cowl and varnished wood dashboard. Originally offered only in Buick Gray, by 1910 the Model 10 also sported the color blue, although the chassis was still coated with the off-white gray paint.

    Our search for the perfect "10" led us to Sanford, North Carolina, and a man named Roger Lyons. Roger had acquired this Model 10 from a museum in Michigan in 1980.
    The story goes that this particular Model 10 had been in the museum's collection since 1935. When the museum closed, its two Buicks — the Model 10 and a Model 14 — went to North Carolina, the 10 ended up in Roger's possession.
    Roger completed the car's restoration in 1990 and won several awards. However, a few health problems and a growing interest in other cars caused him to put it up for sale. We saw the ad, went to look at the car, and couldn't resist. We brought her back to Michigan.
    To be specific, our "10" is a 1910 Model 10 Toy Tonneau, the most expensive of the four styles of the Model 10 offered by Buick. The other versions were a Runabout, a Tourabout, and the Surrey. In 1910, the Toy Tonneau sold for $1,150. The top, windshield and speedometer were extra.
    Buick first offered the Model 10 in 1908 and it was very popular. Selling for just $900 — including acetylene headlights, oil side and taillights, and bulb horn (the top was $50 extra) — the Model 10 became Buick's largest seller and led the company to second place in vehicle sales, trailing only Ford by a very small margin. At the time, Buick offered six different models while Ford sold only the Model T.
    The Model 10's acceptance among the public was due to its ease of control through the smooth-running four-cylinder engine mated to a two-speed planetary transmission featuring Buick's traditional high-speed lever on the side. Later, the Model 10's superior performance was accentuated by success on the racetrack. Surely, this didn't hurt the car's popularity and today the Model 10 is largely credited with putting Buick in the automobile business for good.
    Our 1910 Model 10 has the 92-inch wheelbase introduced in 1909; the '08 version had an 88-inch wheelbase and most people feel their increased length gives the later cars a better appearance. The Model 10 has a 165 cid four-cylinder, 22.5 horsepower engine, and the car weighs 1,730 pounds. It came with a Buick gray (actually off-white) chassis and a dark blue body. Also contrasting pinstriping was used extensively. Unlike the other versions of the Model 10 built that year, the Toy Tonneau has a flat cowl with a varnished dashboard rather than a rounded cowl.
    Despite the Model 10's popularity, the decision was made to end production after 1910. We think that, in the "10," Buick built the right car for the times, as the company has done for so many years since 1910. Even considering that almost 11,000 Model 10s were produced in 1910, we are still amazed at how many have survived for 87 years.

The 165 cid four-cylinder engine producing 22.5 horsepower gives the "10" dependability and performance, leading to its popularity 87 years ago.

Along with the engine, the Model 10 could thank its driver-friendly two-speed planetary transmission and side-mounted high-speed lever for much of its public acceptance.