Hard Hit: 1984 Buick Skylark T-Type

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I’ve had my eye on this decrepit hot-rod Buick for quite some time, as it keeps popping up on eBay with a lower and lower price, now listed with a $350 Buy-It-Now. That’s pretty stupid cheap, but it comes with the obvious caveat of half the nose being ripped away in what appears to be a hard hit. Still, T-Types in any form are neat rides and an interesting alternative to the equally-rare Chevy Citation X-11. 

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For an 80,000 mile car, the interior remains in great condition. The trim looks like it would come back easily with a simple cleaning and the seats and carpets just need a date with the shop vac. The very cool three-spoke T-Type wheel remains in place and the presence of a manual transmission in a Buick is almost jarring at first glance. The example still retains its trick digital tachometer, even if it does look like an afterthought.

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The high-output version of the General’s 2.8L V6 was the only engine choice available. According to the seller, it still ran when he acquired it as the accident-damaged example you see here today. It hasn’t been started in many years, so you’ll have some detective work ahead of you when determining just how far back you have to start before twisting the key for the first time. Of course, you’ll want to straighten out the driver’s side frame rail and replace the fender while the engine is on the stand for rebuilding.

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From this angle, the Skylark T-Type looks downright solid. But click through the full listing here on eBay to get a sense for just how much work is required to straighten this one out. Our bodywork experts may want to chime in about the likelihood of the frame being tweaked based on a hit like this, though it looks like the doors still close tightly. Who knows, this rare Skylark has been listed for a while now but it’s about as cheap as it gets for a project car. Anyone drive one of these when they were new?

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  1. TRP

    What am I missing? Someone please educate on what’s so special about this Buick?

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    • Trickie DickieMember

      Yeah, me too. Thought I knew everything!

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    • John K

      A late April Fool’s day car?

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  2. Myron

    In the listing it states it is a T-type. It is not! GM, as far as I know did not put a turbo on any V-6 smaller than the 3.8 litre. Also when you look at the photos there is no turbo charger on this motor. Had this been an actual turbo model it would be one of those specials that I would gladly pay the asking price and pay for towing but this is not one of them.

    Like 1
    • Keith

      T-Types are not restricted to have turbo engines. Buick also made LeSabre T-Types with the 3.8L engine, Skylark hatchback T-Types (the hatchback version of the car listed here) and there are even a few Park Avenue T-Types if you can believe that!

      Like 0
    • theGasHole

      I know this is an old post but just FYI to the folks interested: the Skyhawk T-Type WAS available with a 1.8L Turbo engine, I know from personal experience.

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  3. grant

    This is a parts car.

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  4. Charles H.

    It did not have to have a turbo to be a T-Type, Buick did make a T-Type Regal in non turbo form, with a 5.0 V8, so it didn’t necessarily have to be a turbo…..

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    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Buick offered the Skyhawk as a T-Type also with the OHC Opel 1.8L and no turbo. I had one of those in the early 90’s and it wasn’t anything more than fancy trim.

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      • The Walrus

        I think, looking at this ad in 2016, it summarizes everything that was wrong with GM in the 80’s. Marketing 5 similar but different model lines that overlap so much within the same year? If insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, this ad would be all the documented evidence required to have Buick committed for life!

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  5. James

    I would agree with the parts car. looking at the drivers side picture it looks like the roof has had a twist as well.

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  6. Bob S

    This is the oddest choice of car I have seen on Barn Finds…..but keep up the good work.

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  7. Rando

    The shock tower on driver’s side is pretty well out of place. I can’t see any redeeming qualities in this car. I always try to see something redeemable, but this is just junk in my opinion. What would you have if you fixed it? Would it ever be worth anything?

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    • JeffAuthor

      I don’t know why outright value has to be the deciding factor. There’s like, what, a handful of original T-Types left in existence?

      I’ve bought cars solely for the trim package it had and there was no difference in performance, but they were harder cars to find. I like the “special” factor.

      As per the turbocharging discussion, thanks to Charles H. for setting the record straight.

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      • Scotty GStaff

        I love your eye for the unusual, Jeff. We’re brothers from different mothers in that regard. I would be all over this car if it was in great condition.

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      • Mark S

        (Second try,)I have worked as an Auto mechanics since 1980 and I’m here to tell you that these first generation GM front drive compact car were real junk. From steering box premature failure to inner CV joint transmission bushing Failure to name a few the right side trans axle was two piece with a rubber dampener that would shake apart and require a new axle and add on support bearing kit. If you’ve ever changed out a streering rack on one of these things you’ll never want to see another one of these in your life. They would have engine and trans mounts failing early. They were choked to the max with pollution controls, they had paint jobs that would fall off. They had cheep cheesie interiors with door handle and armrests that would fall. Just so you know this skylarks cousins the omega, citation, and Phoenix were no better. This skylark isn’t even a parts car it’s a scrap car.

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  8. C.Jay

    In 1986 (ended in 1989)the LeSabre T-type was added to the lineup in a no-turbo form. Thicker sway bars, different trim and transmission gear ratios. Most of the other T-Type models had similar improvements.

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    • theGasHole

      Had an 89 LeSabre T-Type, can vouch for its existence. Non-Turbo 3.8L

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  9. Steve

    Back then from what I remember the X-11 was a pretty successful car to use for road racing. I owned a non t-type with the base motor and a 5 speed and my father had one with an auto. Mine was fun to drive from what I remember. My cousin had a Citation Town Coupe with this exact drivetrain and no A/C. He did some exhaust work/ a cold air package and from what I remember it was as quick or quicker than some of the V8 performance cars of the day. The X-body was the typical car that was available at the time and comparing them to what is available now or to a 70’s X-body is not really fair. Because this is a T-Type I think there is some significance there but I don’t think the amount of money to get this car back on the road is worth it. The small cars GM made back then with (X and J bodies) with the H.O. V6/manual combo were nothing to sneeze at performance wise for the time. I had Base Non GT Sunbird with a V6, I removed the emblems from it so it looked like a 4cyl. I did an exhaust, homemade CAI and I could blow away a 5.0 TPI/auto F-body any time I wanted to and it would be pretty ugly for the first block too.

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    • JeffAuthor

      Amen, Steve – this is what I was getting at with regards to the H.O. vehicles. Although this one may be a lost cause, you know there are not many left! Thanks for chiming in!

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  10. Billy Bob

    In 1983, I ordered the Oldsmobile Omega ESC (European Styled Coupe) with 4- speed and A/C; very similar to this Buick. The car was good looking, comfortable, spacious, and performed well for the day. Transmission was rebuilt several times however. In hindsight, I should have bought the 325i but, I wanted a non-foreign car.

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  11. junrai

    even if it wasnt wrecked and running registered and insured I would have a hard time paying $350 for that PILE
    just about everything put out in the 80’s was horrible except the trans am delta 88 mustangs and camaros

    the top of my list of ugly 80’s cars are the celebrity labaron new yorker pugeot fierro was OKAY but still kinda ugly citation

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  12. ron h

    If you can store it so it doesn’t deteriorate, there will come a day people will be beating down your door for it. It wasn’t a common car or a popular one so plain and simple, it is rare and will only become moreso. Fix it whille parts can still be found.

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    • slickimp

      Were’s the picture of drivers side don’t want to show the bad

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  13. Jubjub

    Wow. That is out of left field. Too bad it’s not just rough or wrecked. A grade school classmate’s mom drove an Omega ES2800…white and black with red and orange graphics. Had cool wheels and I thought it was an interesting trim package. Better than the typical Omega with wire wheel covers and vinyl top.

    I remember an optioned up Phoenix with a V6 smoking my Scout II with a 345. Humbling.

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  14. Steve_C

    I had a 1984 Buick Skylark T-Type that I bought brand new. Same colors as this one. It had a sunroof, very nice looking car when it was new. Unfortunately it was a lemon. Biggest POS that I have ever seen! The first time I started up after leaving the dealership smoke started pouring out of the wheel wells and grille. It broke down two days later. Paint started peeling a month later. So many things went wrong with that I swore it was possessed. I had to let it sit because it wasn’t drive able. Every time I took it back to the dealer they kept it at least a whole month. One time they had it for three months. I had to keep making payments on it and keep it insured until I had enough paid into it to be able to trade it in. I drove my aunts old Fairmont Futura while my new car just sat there undrivable. I was so glad to get rid of that thing. My brother worked at the dealership where I traded it in and he said it was always back on the lot after being sold to some poor guy with bad credit. One time I stopped by the dealership and they were pushing it and the engine was pulled out of it. I felt sorry for the guy that bought it, but I got screwed worse than he did on that deal. It was $12,500 back then, which was a lot of money for a car, especially when I couldn’t drive it!

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  15. John

    I had an 83 Skylark T type back in 96′. Same color as this one, but an automatic. I always wanted to find one with the manual. When I saw this one on Barn finds, I had to have it whatever the condition was. I bought this one, currently have the engine and trans out repairing the frame. Sitting in the field for 18yrs it surprisingly is in decent shape concidering. The paint is baked but as for rust, for the most part is all surface. Sure the car isn’t worth a lot but it is more of a centimental thing and plan on driving it. Its definitely a project, but am looking forward to one day driving it. I’m most likely going to upgrade the engine to something fuel injected to steer away from the issues these cars had.

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  16. Steve_C

    Good luck with your project Jim. Please post pics of progress as you go along. Since mine was identical except for the manual transmission, I would like to see it.

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    • John Woods

      Currently being painted, will keep you all posted!!!

      Like 1

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