It’s the 4th of July weekend so we felt compelled to focus on a singularly American subject: Buick’s Skylark. From 1953 until 1998 (with 6 years off during the ’55 – ’60 model years) Buick fielded a car named after, we assume, Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer’s song of that title. The ’53 and ’54 Skylarks were, in essence, hand-made dream cars, offered to the public at a very high price and commensurately low production. 1,690 Skylarks, all convertibles, were built the first year and just 836 the second.
Buick reassigned its Special model designation to a new small car in 1961 and brought Skylark out of retirement as a slicked up, more fully featured coupe version with a convertible joining the fold the very next year. We love the proportions, the jauntiness and the overall attitude of this ’65 convertible, finished in Bamboo Cream.
Feral Cars Field Scout Peter “Petey” Andrews captured this slick ’67 Skylark that aped its bigger Buick siblings right down to the mag-type wheels and slinky fender skirts.
The Skylark name took flight in the ’70s on a somewhat bigger “intermediate” size car that had a “greaser” reputation in that muscle car era. This “tuff,” matte finished ’72 and nail polish red ’73 give testimony to the anti-social stance that was almost un-Buicklike but, somehow, refreshing. You could order one of these with a 455 cubic inch V8 but the Arab oil embargo and ensuing energy crisis made those kinds of fun and games unsustainable in short order.
By the next decade, Skylark had shrunk precipitously and got as far away from the muscle car ethos as you might imagine. It was now a 4 cylinder front wheel drive runabout but still had some pretense of luxury. This ’82 coupe should give you some idea of that downmarket transformation. The richly textured surface rust on the hood would seem to indicate that they weren’t painted with all that many coats.
Skylark’s last iteration was rather radically styled with a “prow” grill, inspired by the great art deco Buicks of the ’40s. Our friend Sophie. seen with her ’92, told us she loved the design the minute she saw it in the early ’90s and grabbed this low mileage example as soon as she could.
The Skylark story is mostly about coupes and convertibles but, for a time, Buick’s SportWagon was designed a Skylark sub-model. Feral Cars Field Scout Shanon Fitzpatrick, on location in Zurich, sent in this shot that highlights its Greyhound Scenicruiser-inspired raised roof and glass panels. The view from the back seat was terrific and If ever a station wagon could be sporty, this was it.
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