Since I picked up an Invicta (although it is in wagon flavor), one of the most interesting parts of my research on the model is the story about the Daytona endurance run. This scheme was the plan of Buick's PR director, and was completed during early January 1960.

The idea was to prove Buick's reliability by driving a stock 1960 401 "nailhead" Invicta coupe (stock invicta engine) on the Daytona track for 10,000 continuous miles, at an average speed of 120 mph! To accomplish this, six professional drivers were used, each in a 2-hour shift. Pit stops were used for tires (lasting 1000 miles per set) and driver changes.

Refueling, however, was handled in a very different way. Taking inspiration from the military's mid-air refueling of planes, Buick engineers developed a method to do the same with the Invicta. A chase car was built with a long refueling nozzle and apparatus to deliver 15 gallons of fuel in 6 seconds. During the course of the Daytona run, 78 such refuelings were conducted at speeds between 115 and 125 mph...not my idea of a stop at the gas station. And if you do the math that is 1170 gallons, plus the 18 or so that were in the tank. Something just shy of 10mpg if you take the math a little further (at 120+ avg MPH!). See the crazy setup below


The 10,000 mile run was successful, and Buick was awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Performance from NASCAR president Bill France (Note that to de-emphasize racing, the "A" and "R" in NASCAR are stated to stand for "Advancement & Research", rather than "Automobile Racing"). The final tally was 10,000 miles in under 5000 minutes; average speed was 120.186 mph. The six drivers used on this feat include some names you may recognize: Fireball Roberts, Marvin Panch, Tiny Lund, Ralph Moody, Larry Flynn, Bobby Johns, and Larry Frank.


Unfortunately, the entire affair smelled too much like racing for GM management, and Buick was told to put a lid on it. Not one to be shut down, Jerry Rideout "leaked" news of the accomplishment to the press. The Detroit News broke the story (1/19/60). Later, both Motor Trend (April 1960) and Mechanix Illustrated (June 1960) had feature articles. A fantastic 18-minute movie of the event made by GM Photographic and was eventually shown at dealer training meetings.

See the footage here in 2 parts.