Classic Car Profile: Buick Skylark
Buick has been a mainstay in the American automotive industry since it built its first car back in 1902. Over the years, Buick has produced numerous nameplates, some of which were successful and some of which were more of a flop. The Buick Skylark, which made its debut in 1953, falls into the former category. Here’s some history on the classic Skylark, which remains a favorite with collectors to this day.
The Buick Skylark initially debuted in 1953 as a limited-edition, top-of-the-range Roadmaster model to celebrate Buick’s 50th anniversary. It was one of three GM special-edition models, and it was by far the most successful. It was also the first-ever Buick model to house a V8 engine under the hood. While it got off to a popular start, sales eventually languished and Buick ended production after two years.
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Almost a decade after the original Skylark’s cancellation, Buick reintroduced a Skylark version of the Special compact car as a luxury trim level in 1961. The Special Skylark was popular enough that it became a permanent Special trim in 1962. By 1964, Buick deemed the Skylark successful enough to become a model in its own right.
Through the generations
As the Skylark became its own nameplate, Buick moved it off the smaller Special chassis and onto a longer 203.5-inch chassis shared by the Chevrolet Chevelle and Pontiac Tempest. The Skylark also ditched its signature V8 engine in favor of a V6 that produced 155 horsepower. Sedan versions offered cloth-and-vinyl seats, while convertible models came with all-vinyl seating surfaces. By the end of the first Skylark generation, five body styles were available: four-door sedan, four-door hardtop, two-door convertible, two-door sedan, and hardtop coupe.
The Skylark entered its second generation in 1968. At the same time, Buick decided to build the Skylark with two wheelbase length options. Two-door models used a shorter wheelbase of 112 inches, while four-door models’ wheelbase was 116 inches. The V6 from the first generation was swapped out for a 4.1-liter inline-six, producing 155 horsepower. A new 230-hp V8 was offered as an available option until the 1971 model year.
Buick continued making the Skylark in various versions and through six generations until its eventual discontinuation in 1998. While the nameplate lost some of its fan following through the years, the earlier Skylark models remain a favorite with classic car collectors to this day.
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Sources: DanJedlicka.com, Wikipedia
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