DETROIT – Buick's 2003 Park Avenue Ultra reaches back into a rich design heritage to present a modern interpretation of a classic Buick for the division's centennial year. "Every automaker strives for its own distinctive look," said Annette Smith, Park Avenue brand manager. "Studying Buick's rich history, we unlocked assets that give Buicks instant recognition and have applied them to the new 2003 Park Avenue Ultra." The new Park Avenue Ultra includes such classic Buick features as a prominent vertical-bar grille and front fender portholes. Portholes – first called "VentiPorts" – are design icons strongly associated with Buick since their introduction in 1949. Larger wheels, lower profile tires and chrome accents complement the Ultra's 240-horsepower supercharged engine. On the inside, elegant luxury remains Park Avenue's trademark with new Polished Walnut Woodgrain, updated instrument panel graphics and bright aluminum sill plates. "The overall feeling of Park Avenue Ultra's new styling is bold and aggressive, yet refined," said Smith. Power and a sportier ride The 2003 Park Avenue Ultra has better handling and a sportier ride thanks to new 17-inch chrome-plated aluminum wheels, P235/55R17 Goodyear Eagle LS blackwall touring tires and a standard Gran Touring package that features a specially tuned suspension and rear stabilizer bar. These features accompany the standard supercharged 3800 Series II V6 engine. Fuel economy for the Ultra is 18/27. New vertical-bar grille The aggressive vertical-bar grille, inspired by Buick's 2000 concept car, the LaCrosse, integrates a new chrome see-through tri-shield badge in the center. This grille is a modern interpretation of a design created for the 1938 Buick Y-Job by Harley Earl, General Motors' first design chief. A new monochromatic tri-shield badge is on the grille and trunk lid. Fender portholes and chrome-plated exhaust tips Portholes, another classic Buick design feature, are reappearing for the first time since the 1980s. Three functional chrome-plated portholes on each front fender give the vehicle a powerful look and help cool the engine compartment. The number of portholes is related to the number of engine cylinders. Chrome-plated exhaust tips are standard for 2003 and are custom-designed for the Ultra. Contemporary interior features Changes to the Park Avenue Ultra interior create a rich sense of style. The new Polished Walnut Woodgrain can be found on the steering wheel, instrument panel trim and door trim. Increasing front seat storage space, the optional convenience console creates a five-passenger seating environment that offers an elegant appearance with woodgrained door lids. Bright aluminum sill plates with raised ridges line the floor on the front door openings. Seats are embroidered with the Buick tri-shield on all four headrests. An updated instrument panel with contemporary gauge cluster graphics enhances the premium appearance of the Ultra's interior. The Park Avenue Ultra goes into production in September 2002. Three new colors, Cabernet Red Metallic, Jade Green Metallic and Silver Blue Ice Metallic, are available, in addition to seven carryover colors. The Park Avenue Ultra is the second model to be introduced for Buick's centennial year. The 2003 LeSabre Celebration Edition was introduced in Chicago in February 2002. Buick Motor Co. was incorporated in Detroit on May 19, 1903, and moved to Flint, Mich., later that year. While experimental Buicks were built as early as 1899, the first production models were built in 1904. In 1908, Buick became the financial foundation for the creation of General Motors. Buick's headquarters returned to Detroit in 1998. Since 1904, more than 35 million Buicks have been produced.