Budget Beater: 1971 Buick Skylark Custom

1971 Buick Skylark Custom

This dirty old 1971 Buick Skylark may not be the most desirable classic, but with a 350 V8 under the hood and an asking price of $3,250, it seems like a good buy to me. The car was purchased by a school teacher in 1971 and stayed in the family after her death. It has been parked in a barn for a couple of decades so it needs attention. These cars aren’t worth a lot, so I would focus all my funds and energy on making it a safe and reliable driver first. You will want to confirm that the engine is not seized up before making an offer though. As with any barn find, you don’t know why it was parked so plan for the worst. Hopefully it is something simple like a fuel pump or a master cylinder, but you won’t really know until after you dig into it. Find it here on eBay out of Dalton, Georgia.


  1. Chebby

    YES. Great car. Summer of ’90 I had a beater 1970 with the 350-2 engine. It was surprisingly amazingly fast. One time it developed lifter clatter and after a couple of days I thought to check the dipstick—there was no oil on it. Added 2-3 quarts and it ran silently once again. It was pretty thirsty if you put your foot in it. I did that on a slippery turn and wrapped it around a tree. Bald tires are bad, especially when you’re a teenage idiot.

    Mine was about the same condition as this one but I paid $250 and a case of Coors for it.

  2. Blindmarc

    Good deal for the car. Plenty of these when I was a teenager.

  3. Chris

    I’d have it. Then I’d have to sell in the divorce settlement. Good starting point for a project.Please, no cloning it into a GS though.

    Paint & panel, a set of Buick Rally wheels, disc conversion & some handling upgrades.

  4. Barzini

    These cars were faster than you might think. Many years ago a co-worker had a plain-Jane Skylark with a stock 350 that would do ear-splitting burnouts.

    • ROC

      Very true my Brother had a beige kinda gold color 72 he smoked the tires all the time

    • Chris

      Agreed. My ’69 Skylark with its 350 4bbl has suprised some people

  5. RLW

    Owned a 72 custom 2 door in early 80’s. My first car. Same color combo and hubcaps too. Would grab this 71 if near PA and priced in low 2k range, assuming it starts and runs safely.

  6. Mark

    I agree with Chris’s comment’s. Buick ralley wheels and don’t clone it. Car looks to be all there even with A/C

  7. seth

    what is that car in the background of the first picture?

    • DT

      a Cadillac

  8. John

    These cars were not good cars. This did not use the Chevrolet based 350 V8. It came from Buick, or Oldsmobile, or Pontiac, or someplace. They had a tendency to burn valves and/or carbon up the heads. They were heavy and very softly sprung. They could go around corners, provided you did it gently. The steering had 186 turns lock to lock (well maybe more like 4-5, but it felt like 187).

    They ran well when they were running. The 2 bbl carburetor version would often return less than 10 mpg. Its hard to imagine what a 4 bbl version would have done. An uncle pulled a 25 foot travel trailer with one. Sheesh.

    Like 1
    • Chris

      Its a Buick 350. Front distributor gives it away from the SBC. Weight wise, there’s a lot of variables, but a Skylark isn’t going to be much heavier than a Malibu. In fact a lightly optioned Skylark would be lighter than a big block Malibu.

      Softly sprung, yes. Plenty of upgrades available though. I do agree with the s-l-o-w steering. About 5 1/2 turns manual, 4 with power steer. Again plenty of bolt in quicker steering boxes available

  9. pontiactivist

    Had a 72 skylark 350 4brl suncoupe with the folding vinyl sunroof. Cool car. Wish I still had it. Dont see many of them.

  10. Dan

    Cmon, John… You never owned one, did you? I’ve had my first car, a ’70, for 28 years. Added four more to the fleet over the years. All I added was a rear sway bar and it handled great. Variable ratio steering was tight in the first car. Stock was also very fast, surprised many. 350-2 carb was a larger Rochester 2-jet starting in ’70, hence the power and lack of economy. My Q-jet 4bbl Skylark is easier on gas due to small primaries (if you stay off of it!) Buick 350 is extremely tough, even when not well cared for. (see above story!) Higher nickel content block than Chev. Also own several ’69 Kaiser Jeep Gladiator trucks factory fitted with the Buick 350. I’ve never had any of the problems John mentions…

  11. Vincent

    Car is actually back up for sale or trade on eBay now

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.