The Buick Club of America celebrated its 50th anniversary last weekend in Allentown, Pennsylvania, at the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage, a fitting location since Italian jeweler Nicola Bulgariis perhaps the most passionate Buick collector in the world. His just completed 27-acre complex was designed to host such events.
Some 635 vehicles were registered, though weather kept around 100 of them from making the trip to the four-day celebration with tours to local attractions, such as the manufacturing facilities of Martin Guitar and the America On Wheels museum. Buses also took club members as far afield as the AACA Museum in Hershey and to the Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia.
The week also marked the opening of the Historic Vehicle Association’s National Automotive Heritage Laboratory, which is on the NB Center grounds. The lab was open for club members to tour and to watch as HVA staff demonstrated their laser-scanning process on two historic Buicks — the 1910 Bug Indy racer and the 1938 Y-Job concept car.
The event also drew one of the largest flea markets ever for a Buick national meet with approximately 100 vendors on site. A few cars could be purchased from the car corral as well.
Club members who arrived early could walk through the collection buildings and restoration shops on NB Center grounds, but they were closed during the main show day.
Activities included a police-escorted, 100-car drive to the historic Dorney amusement park. Another dinner was held at the Allentown Fairgrounds Agriplex.
Weather was threatening daily, with heavy rain some afternoons. Fortunately, the rain held just long enough Saturday so the crowd could witness Nicola Bulgari drive the Buick Y-Job around the grounds with newly retired head of GM global design Ed Welburn in the passenger seat,, and with Bulgari’s collection curator Keith Flickinger following in the 1910 Bug race car. The majestic Y-Job made several circles of the field with the raucous race car belching smoke behind it before they were parked in the middle of the grounds along with Buick’s latest concepts — the Avenir and Avista.
Photos by Jed Rapoport