Like so many, David Dunbar Buick came to America has an immigrant with big dreams. His family left home when he was a toddler, and in the coming years, Mr. Buick would come to love the internal combustion engine.
So, after leaving his career in plumbing manufacturing in 1899, Buick set out to chase a dream. He began Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in Detroit, Michigan, with hopes to revolutionize the agriculture industry, according to The Scotsman. In three years, Buick had built just one vehicle and drained all of his resources in the process.
Nevertheless, he persisted. In 1902, he founded Buick Motor Company and began work on his valve-in-head engine. His work paid off when a man by the name of William Durant purchased Buick Motor Company as the beginning of what would become General Motors. Buick’s one share in the company was purchased for $100,000 in 1906, equivalent to about $2.7 million today.
Buick should have stopped there, though. While his old company was finding its footing, he returned to the industry in the 1920s with Lorraine Motors. It never caught on, and by 1928, Buick was completely broke. One year later, he died of cancer at age 74.
Years later, his legacy lives on and his name is attached to millions of vehicles across the world. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1974 for his contribution to the blooming auto industry in the late 19th century.