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455-Equipped: 1972 Buick Skylark

In 1972, the most powerful Buick Skylark featured a 350ci V8 and mediocre performance. Those craving more could order a GS 455, and while it offered significant performance improvements, these came at a premium that some buyers couldn’t afford or justify. Wind the clock forward fifty years, and our feature Skylark combines the best of both worlds. Its engine bay holds the promise of stunning performance, but its asking price is significantly less than you might expect to pay for a GS 455 in similar condition. Located in Austin, Texas, you will find this Buick listed for sale here on Craigslist. You can drive away in this beauty by handing the owner $16,000. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for referring the Skylark to us.

Our feature Skylark has received plenty of TLC from the seller and previous owner. It presents nicely, and while I initially thought it wore Seamist Green paint, the more I examine the photos, the more doubts are raised in my mind. Regardless of the truth, it exhibits no significant flaws or faults. It cloaks panels that appear close to perfect, but the big news is its lack of rust. There is nothing visible externally, and the owner doesn’t mention any problems with the floors or frame. The tinted glass looks spotless, and the same is true of the chrome. The seller added the current alloy wheels, and while they may not appeal to every enthusiast, they suit the character of a classic from this era.

Both the 1972 Skylark and the GS 455 were based on the General Motors A-Body platform, but they were entirely different creatures. The best that a Skylark buyer could hope for in 1972 was a 350ci V8 that produced 180hp, and with an automatic transmission bolted to this, it would cover the ¼ mile in 17.4 seconds. This Skylark is not original or numbers-matching, but I’m sure most of us would forgive that “shortcoming” the moment we pressed the pedal to the metal. The engine bay houses a 455ci V8 loaded with performance parts. These include a mild Competition Cam, an MSD ignition, and what appears to be an upgraded intake and carburetor. The car also features an automatic transmission and power steering. It isn’t clear what the power output of this big-block might be, but it would be a safe bet that it is higher than that provided by the 350. If the figure has climbed beyond 200hp, this Skylark could potentially threaten the GS 455’s 15.9-second ET. The seller treated the Buick to plenty of mechanical TLC to ensure that it is mechanically sound. He says that it runs and drives well, and the only fault he mentions is a minor leak from the steering box.

With new Black vinyl door trims and seat upholstery, it’s no surprise that this Skylark’s interior presents as nicely as the rest of the car. There is no wear or signs of physical damage, with the dash and pad looking immaculate. The original owner didn’t load the car down with luxury appointments, with the original AM radio appearing to be it. Aftermarket additions include a timber-rimmed wheel, a column-mounted tach, some aftermarket gauges mounted under the dash, while the speakers mounted in the rear parcel tray suggest that there may be a stereo hidden somewhere in there.

With circumstances changing dramatically, 1972 marked the last hurrah for the classic American muscle car. The 1973 model year still offered something for enthusiasts, but there was no denying that things were declining rapidly. This 1972 Skylark provides the type of muscle usually reserved for a GS 455, but at a fraction of the price. Where a GS in a similar state to this car would cost its buyer around $56,000, this one looks like a steal at $16,000. If the real deal is beyond your reach, maybe this one deserves a closer look.


  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    For a big-block car that looks so good in and out and fairly tidy under the hood, I find the price to be ridiculously low. The body, paint and trim look amazing, the interior needs nothing and its motivation is provided by Buick’s biggest and probably its most powerful engine. The money dumped into this car must far exceed the ask. The whole deal just seems a little odd to me.

    Like 8
    • Ted Laun

      A mint stock Skylark would be $20k. Buicks just aren’t popular as other makes.

      Like 0
  2. sakingsbury20

    I don’t want to criticize the writeup but its confusing at best with the engine info…If the 350 is 180hp and this is basically a warmed over 455 I don’t get where the ” beyond 200hp” comes from when a stock 1972 gs 455 is 250hp. If someone wanted to clone a gs455 this would be a good starting point as the car seems to be in great shape an price affordable considering lack of bodywork. Or just drive as is. I look back to the 70’s and think of all the cars I hard for what could be considered “walk around” money today….consider the 1970 gs455 I paid $600 for in 1976….white, black vinyl top, black bucket seat interior with console, stock from the factory shape. Had mid 60’s for milage, only wart was broken grill from minor parking lot mishap. The “what ails me” part is, that fall me and a buddy moved to Conn to work at Electric Boat in Groton, the following summer we decided Conn wasn’t for us, theres no place like home (ME.)…..He had purchased a 71 340 pistol grip 4spd challenger by trading in his 250mr Honda an some cash while there. The week before we moved I blew the transmission in my Buick, well we moved that weekend leaving the Buick in the apt complex parking lot planning to come back the next wk with a trailer for the Buick…..well week turned to month, well you see where this is going, so if anyone in Oakdale,Conn has a 70 gs 455 they want to get rid of I’d happily come get it….

    Like 2
    • Chris In Australia

      This is a pillared coupe, rather than a true hardtop, so no GS clone here.

      Like 4
      • sakingsbury20

        Good point…something I certainly overlooked…

        Like 0
  3. Harvey Member

    My friend Wayne had a blue one near that year.350 4bbl duel exhaust.I remember it to have plenty get up and go and it was a really nice car:-)

    Like 3
  4. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Not sure if I like the Chevelle stripe look. But I do like the car they disguise underneath!

    Like 8
  5. Troy s

    I remember a few GS455 Buicks in solid shape in the famous Auto trader back in the mid ish eighties,, asking 45 hundred bucks and thinking, ” wow, thats kinda high in price, I think I’ll wait a few years when prices drop ….” DUHHH!
    Nice torquey ride here overall, hop in turn key melt the rear tires..you know, fun stuff!

    Like 4
  6. Todd Fitch Staff

    Hey Adam – thanks for shining a light on what is probably a potent non-GS 455 Skylark. My Aunt had one of these, red with black top and interior, 350. She called it her “Red Bird,” and I heard my parents’ side of the conversation when she called them to say she was fixing to trade it in and did they want it for my first car. They declined, and I didn’t know enough to object, but years later I realized it would have laid waste to nearly every car in my high school. Not coincidentally I may not have survived owning it. Having driven 350s and 455s of this era, I’ll mention that the torque of the 455 makes an enormous difference that’s masked by the underwhelming HP numbers. Someday when I don’t have a project car completely stripped in my garage, I’d consider owning one like this. Even with stock heads you could swap in some higher compression pistons and really wake it up. Thanks for the memories. Cheers!

    Like 7
  7. Tony Primo

    Swapping pistons would work, but bolting on some heads with smaller combustion chambers would probably be an easier way to do it.

    Like 4

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