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Parked For 45 Years: 1966 Buick Skylark

Named after a species of bird, the Skylark was one of Buick’s longest-running nameplates, for 46 years across six production cycles. For much of its run, it was a nicely trimmed intermediate and the famed Gran Sport adorned many of them over time. This first-generation example from 1966 has been sitting for more than 45 years yet cranked after some gas was poured down the carburetor. Perhaps better than a donor car, it will require a complete restoration. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, this desert find is available (through a dealer, we think) here on craigslist for $3,500. T.J. comes through with another toasty tip!

In the 1960s, the Skylark was Buick’s version of the Chevrolet Chevelle, just a little nicer equipped as was typical with the marque. The cars shared the same platform with the Pontiac Tempest/Lemans and the Oldsmobile F-85/Cutlass. Skylarks were a step up from the entry-level Specials. Most of these cars came equipped with a V8 engine, which in the case of the seller’s example could be a 300 cubic-inch motor. An old boss of mine had one of these machines and after 100,000 miles it was still flawless, perhaps because he changed the oil every 1,000 miles and washed it by hand once a week.

This Skylark looks well-baked, perhaps from being out in the Southwest desert sun for the past four decades. Loads of patina are on the old cream paint that will have to be redone, but dents, dings, and rust appear to have been held at bay. It looks like it was once a two-tone, with a coat of brown possibly covering the roof. From what we can see of the chrome, it may polish up. And the glass seems okay except for the windshield, which could possess a series of large cracks.

Buick built 33,000 copies of the Skylark Sport Coupe with a V8 engine, model 44417. This one apparently was parked at the 88,000-mile mark and at least the engine is not frozen after all these years. In fact, when the seller got it to fire up, there was no smoke or strange noises coming from the ancient motor. We don’t know the condition of the automatic transmission, likely a 2-speed (akin to a Powerglide). The seller believes the Buick was shelved due to bad brakes and then forgotten about. When it comes to restoring this old gal, does the old adage hold, “wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?”


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    My 3rd new car was a ’66 Skylark, fully loaded, black vinyl over metalic silver grey, matching interior, factory 5 spoke chrome wheels and a coke bottle and sandwich bag in the left rear side panel. Chased that rattle for a month. One of the best cars we’ve ever owned.

    Like 6
  2. Howard A Member

    Put it back in the hot sun, it’s not done yet, I’d say, oh, another 20 years at 114 degrees should do it. Skylarks were probably the nicest rendition. I never really thought of it as a Buick Chevelle. My stance on these types of ,,projects, probably pizzes some people off, primarily the sellers, but honestly, does anyone, besides the seller, actually see someone restoring this? My beliefs withstanding, if it was nice, it would be desirable. Like this, I just don’t see it happening.
    For the record, if you think Buicks are in the equation, you’ve crossed the line to old fart. Congratulations on that milestone. And for the record, I would like a Buick,,,,and if that slogan is used, credit goes to a Ms. Linda November, who initially sang those praises for the 1965 Buick. She also did the “Meow-Mix” commercials, among others. She’s 78 and still looks great. In case you were just a twinkle in your parents eyes then, that lady helped sell a lot of Buicks.

    Like 7
  3. Jeff adams

    That’s a special not a skylark

    Like 0
  4. Racet417

    Despite seller’s claims this appears to be a Special, not a Skylark. Skylarks did not have the portholes, but had a “vent” to the rear of the front wheel well, and had a trim panel with horizontal ribs between the taillights. Would also have a Skylark badge on the right side of the dash and on the rear of the quarter panels.

    Like 9
  5. local_sheriff

    Yeah it looks baked indeed, however that hopefully also means it’s extremely dry too. Personally I think the Skylark/Special is the prettiest GM car this year only bypassed by the new for ’66 Riv of course.

    Not really sure we’ll see someone pay seller’s $, however what I see here is a (very) blank canvas for maybe a fun pro-touring build where strict originality isn’t 1st priority. It must be much better for the hobby that cars like this are used for that purpose instead of starting out with an already nice original Skylark that someone else could enjoy

    Like 3
  6. gary englert

    what size is the motor

    Like 0
    • local_sheriff

      8cyl A-body Buicks were 300cid with the 340 being optional. The legendary Nailhead 401 was also available – for its last year – but only in Skylark GS

      Like 0
  7. Coffee49

    I had a ’63 2 door as a winter car, 255 v-6 with no gas gauge, carried a gallon of gas in the rusted out trunk for emergencies

    Like 0
  8. Greg

    Wash it up, fix the brakes, vacuum the bat guano from the inside and drive it like you stole it, or until the engine quits. These are cool cars and certainly could become a head turner if you have the $$$$.

    Like 3
  9. Freespirit

    Alot of people like to keep the patina, and just sand it smooth and clearcoat it. I always liked all the a bodies. Maybe find a Buick 350 with a 4 barrel. Make a sharp cruiser or rat rod. As long as it’s still solid and not rusted out, it has potential.

    Like 1

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