Haven’t heard of McLaughlin before? You’re not alone. With hundreds of automakers born and laid to rest in the first few decades of the industry, it can be hard to keep track of who the players were before consolidation created several of the megaliths that currently rule today’s market.
Ontario’s McLaughlin Carriage Company started out serving the horse-and-buggy crowd in 1876, and eventually became a powerhouse amongst Canadian carriage-builders. When Sam McLaughlin assumed the presidency of the company however, McLaughlin turned its attentions to the motorcar, beginning production in 1907 and kicking off a chapter in the history of what would eventually become General Motors that is rarely taught north of the border.
McLaughlin quickly partnered with Buick, which at the time was under the control of William C. Durant, the titan who would go on to form General Motors (which was done at the suggestion of Samuel McLaughlin, the CEO of Canadian operations at the time). McLaughlin owned a huge stake in the original Buick company, and for a long period the company’s vehicles were branded McLaughlin-Buick. McLaughlin-Buick would eventually combine with Durant’s recently purchased Chevrolet division in 1918, (with Sam McLaughlin running General Motors’ Canadian operations), creating the GM that we know today. By 1942, World War 2 would end the production of new automobiles in North America and sound the death knell for the McLaughlin-Buick brand; when the factories opened up again after the global conflagration had ceased, Buick would be the only name on hood.
This 1931 McLaughlin-Buick (names reversed in the listing) 50 Series is representative of the upscale positioning of the company in the pre-war era. The first year for McLaughlin-Buick ‘straight-eight’ engine combined with a syncromesh manual transmission for smoother operation, the 77-horsepower Series 50 model was built in Oshawa, Ontario. The Canadian-built Buick-McLaughlins weren’t exact replicas of their U.S. counterparts – in many cases they looked the same and shared many mechanical components, but there were design differences throughout the vehicles that reflected the lack of standardization between the Canadian and American markets at the time. This was true even when vehicles shared the same names, such as the McLaughlin-Buick Roadmaster.
Buick-McLaughlin cars are rare, regardless of the model year, but the earlier 1930s models are not easy to find. The fact that this is also an unrestored ‘survivor’ car makes it an even more intriguing acquisition for anyone seeking to own a uniquely Canadian piece of automotive history.
See the listing on autoTRADER.ca: 1931 Buick MCLAUGHLIN 50 Series Survivor Original Rare – Tottenham
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