Created to mark Buick's 50th anniversary, the Skylark joined the Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Fiesta and the Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado as top-of-the-line, limited-production specialty convertibles introduced in 1953 by General Motors to promote its design leadership. Of the three, the Skylark's run of 1,690 units proved the most successful and an amazing sales feat, considering the car's 1953 list price of slightly higher than $5,000 was over 50% more than the well-equipped $3,200 Roadmaster convertible on which it was based. Nevertheless, many languished in dealer showrooms and were eventually sold at a discount.
Production ran for two years. The 1953 Skylark (designated model 76X) was almost identical to the model 76R two-door Roadmaster convertible in dimensions (except height) and appearance, shared its drive train and had all its standard equipment plus its few remaining options including power windows, power brakes, full carpeting and a Selectronic AM radio. Only A/C was not offered as it was unnecessary in a convertible.
Most importantly, the state-of-the-art Skylark featured Buick's new 322 cu in (5.3 L) Nailhead V8 in place of the automaker's longstanding straight eight and a 12-volt electrical system, both division firsts. It debuted full-cutout wheel openings, a styling cue that spread to the main 1954 Buick line. Accenting its lowered, notched beltline was a new Sweepspear running almost the entire length of the vehicle, a design that appeared in various forms on many Buick models over the years.
The 1953 Skylark was handmade in many respects. Only stampings for the hood, trunk lid and a portion of the convertible tub were shared with the Roadmaster and Super convertibles. All Skylark tubs were finished with various amounts of lead filler. The inner doors were made by cutting the 2-door Roadmaster's in two and then welding the pieces back together at an angle to produce the rakish door dip.
The overall more-streamlined look was reinforced by cutting the windshield almost 3 inches (7.6 cm) shorter and lowering the side windows and convertible top frame proportionately. The seat frames and steering column were then dropped to provide proper headroom and driving position. Front leg room was 44.7 inches (114 cm). Authentic wire wheels were produced by Kelsey Hayes, and it was chromed everywhere except the plated and painted "Skylark" center emblem.
This phenomenal Buick Skylark was restored with no expense spared and no shortcuts taken. As testament to this, the body-off restoration took over two years to complete and was finished in 2014.
The engine was completely rebuilt by Ken Groves of Akron, Ohio, and the paint and bodywork were done by Dan McGlocklin of Canton, Ohio (it was a rust-free car, so bodywork was minimal). As expected, the rare Pinehurst Green exterior is an authentic Skylark color for 1953. The beautiful leather interior was completed by Jenkins in North Carolina. The entire restoration was done to correct specifications, right down to the re-chromed authentic Kelsey Hayes wire wheels. The DiNoc applique dashboard has been recreated and is in perfect condition.
The floors are solid, as are all panels, and the gaps are correct all around. Everything on the car works as it should, including the radio and clock. All gauges are clear, crisp and work well. The power windows and seat work well, as does the power convertible top. Other standard equipment includes AM radio, power antenna, power windows, power seat, heater/defroster and electric wipers.
Riding on 7.60 R 15" American Classic radial whitewalls, this stunning vehicle has covered a mere 1,092 miles since its restoration. It has been professionally maintained, and this very rare Pinehurst Green Skylark looks as good as it runs. It has never been shown nationally as the owner is very private and chose not to do so. In my opinion, if it were to be shown, this historical timepiece could score 100 points or certainly very close. Don't miss this beautiful, rare Skylark at a great price.