On this day in auto history - December 20th

Sun 20th Dec 2020

It was on this day in 1954 that American giants Buick Motor Company signed a deal with entertainer Jackie Gleason which was believed to be the biggest commercial contract in show business history at the time.

The three-year deal, reportedly valued at over $11 million - staggering numbers for the early 1950’s - involved Buick sponsoring Gleason’s prime-time Saturday night ‘Honeymooners' sitcom and would see him conclude every episode with a brief Buick sales pitch.

In addition, sales literature was widely distributed of the burly comedian visiting Buick assembly plants, chatting with staff and showcasing the company’s high-tech facilities.

The deal worked well for Buick who went on to enjoy its best ever sales figures in 1955 - selling 738,000 models across its range - a record which would stand until broken in 1977.

Thanks to its subsequent breakthrough in the Chinese market, Buick-branded cars now routinely sell over 1 million per year.