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Astroroof Survivor: 1976 Buick Skyhawk

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Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

If you wanted to make your Buick Skyhawk just a bit more special, there was a factory option known as the Astroroof, a custom glass panel that spanned the top of the body. While interesting, it found very few buyers when new and makes for a rarely-seen option today. This 1976 example here on eBay is a survivor in nearly every regard, with the added bonus of Buick’s trick skylights. 

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With only 38,000 miles from new, it’s not surprising to see the Buick remain in such fine cosmetic condition. That red interior is eye-popping to say the least, but it’s also untorn and almost upscale looking. Though the crank windows immediately clue you in that this is an economy car, kudos to Buick for making the insides an attractive place to be. All that sunshine pouring in evidently hasn’t done anything to harm the seating surfaces or dash top, while the automatic ensures this Skyhawk enjoyed a leisurely existence.

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Total Astroroof production is estimated to be under 3,000 units. Although those numbers aren’t firm, it does tell a tale of either being too pricey of an option or poorly marketed. Or, maybe it was just unusual to see a higher-end feature offered on an economy car. I can remember similar attempts to add roof-oriented touches to lower-tier cars that have similarly ended in low sales numbers, like the California Roof BMW 318ti. It could also be that Buick’s anemic V6 was a disappointing dance partner for a car whose exterior seemed to promise a much racier driving experience.

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Despite being in Massachusetts, this Skyhawk is rust free. The handicap placard in the window may also provide a clue that this Buick enjoyed a quiet existence as a retiree’s car and hasn’t seen much time on the open road. Whatever the story is, the Astroroof feature adds a layer of intrigue to this survivor as a potentially smart investment, given how few are likely to exist today. With a $5,500 Buy-It-Now and the option to make a best offer, does anyone else think this could be a cheap project car that won’t leave you upside down when it’s time to move it along?

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Comments

  1. Chris in Nashville

    If only it were a stick shift…

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  2. Rock On

    Oops, looks like it’s sold already!

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  3. Jonny the Boy

    And no pictures of the special roof!

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  4. Howard A Member

    My ex-wife had a ’77 Monza with a V-8, which was clearly too much for that car and I always thought a Buick ( Olds or Pontiac) with a V-6 would have made more sense. These H body cars were ok, had great heaters and I agree, a 5 speed would make this car fun to drive. These were terrible rusters, and to see one like this is pretty cool. Someone got a good deal here. This is pretty much what the ex’s Monza turned into ( Cavalier shown)
    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/086-1985-Chevrolet-Cavalier-Type-10-CC.jpg

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    • leiniedude

      Wisconsin winters! I still see some of these driving around in the same condition as your photo Howard. That and Chevy trucks of the era.

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  5. Blindmarc

    Coming to a Mecum auction near you!

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    • Howard A Member

      HA! BINGO! ( at a substantial increase in price, no doubt) I hope not. I hope someone uses this car. It’s that nice.

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  6. DA

    And 40 years later panoramic roofs are a hot item on many cars. Maybe these were just before their time.

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    • Rando

      hot item as in “ants under a magnifying glass”…if there is no cover panel, that would be a pretty miserable driving experience. Heck a sunroof is pretty bad on a sunny day.

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  7. ccrvtt

    I bought an Oldsmobile Starfire new in 1976. They were really cool looking cars in their day. And that’s about it. The odd-fire V-6 was a very unhappy engine, very lumpy. The build quality was Vega +1 and after having the doors de-rusted I sold the car when the decklid started to rot. On the other hand, I loved it. The seats were good, the 4-speed was passable, and it just looked so cool. To me. Probably shoulda bought an SD455…

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  8. Turretman1st

    First car I ever bought off a used car lot to get my wife to learn how to drive a standard in 1985, it was yellow with the glass roof. Odd fire v6 and four speed.
    Was a really nice car to drive, and my first speeding ticket was doing 90 with out knowing officer understood and only ticketed me at 70 in 55 zone.
    Only problem I have ever really seen with the Mona body cars was most of the door hinges were welded on. The doors were to heavy for the hinges so the doors were falling off. The doors on ours were that way in 1982, labor cost were to much for repair so junked.

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  9. stillrunners

    Okay hate me if you will….but I always like this body on any of the GM makes…..

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi stillrunners, no hate here. It was a good design. We stuffed a lot of crap in that hatchback. And even though the V-8 was too heavy for this car, it never failed, in true SBC form.

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  10. Christopher

    I never knew that the roof existed. My brother had a Starfire of the same year. Orange with white interior. 4 speed v6. I liked it enough I bought a ’79 Monza sport 2+2 with 3.2V6 and 4 speed. It had under 3k miles on it. Clutch was so stiff it took superman legs to push. Never did get it to engage right. Once the clutch cable pulled through the firewall. Had to have the fire wall welded. The engine sludged even with normal oil changes. 37k…toast.

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  11. Frank

    They made 2012 1976 Buick Skyhawks with this Astro Roof . They are very unique .

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  12. MadHungarian

    I’m late to the game here but just discovered this. Does anyone know if the car sold and if so how much? Is anyone reading this the person who bought it?

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