One-Family California Car: 1962 Buick Skylark

It’s hard to believe that 1959 was a year of smaller cars being introduced in Detroit, given the iconic 1959 Cadillac and other cars that were at their biggest. One such smaller offering was the Buick Skylark and this 1962 Buick Skylark can be found listed here on eBay in Petaluma, California. The current bid price is $4,500 and there is no reserve on this fantastic looking car. Thanks to local_sheriff for sending in this tip!

What a great looking car! The first thing you probably notice is the rust spot on the top of the hood, or that’s the first thing I noticed. The seller isn’t sure if this Teal Mist color (according to the body tag) is the original paint or not and the “chunk of paint” missing on the hood showing the rust spot is the only rust on this car. I’m assuming that it’s been repainted at some point, this car wouldn’t have had a clear coat in 1962. Or, maybe I’m wrong about the fading being peeling clear coat.

I like the look, though, but of course, I would rather have it looking like new so I might save my spare change (do people use actual money anymore?) to have it painted at some point. The Buick Skylark was made in the early-1950s as the beautiful Buick Roadmaster Skylark convertible in 1953 and 1954. It became an official model of its own in the summer of 1961 for the 1962 model year as the Buick Special Skylark based on GM’s Y-body cars. In 1964, it became a standalone model in the Buick lineup based on the larger A-body cars.

This car isn’t perfect either inside or out but it looks great to me just as it is. I have never changed a dash but I know that a lot of you have. This one is cracked as is the steering wheel, which is unfortunate. But, being a California car, that’s the price that you often pay for not having to deal with body rust. The seats look great both front and rear. No power windows?! Ha, just kidding – jeez, rough crowd.

The engine and engine compartment almost make me openly weep they’re so beautiful. The seller says that this Buick 215 cubic-inch V8 has been rebuilt and the engine compartment has been restored and man does it look great under the hood. This is a very nice hidden surprise for sure. The engine had 190 horsepower when new and it works great. Hagerty is at $7,700 for a #3 good condition car and $4,100 for a #4 fair condition car. Given the paint and interior issues, this one has to be somewhere in-between those numbers. Any thoughts on this Skylark?


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  1. Ed VT

    My grandfather had one exactly like this except it was a sky blue color. It was a stylish small car in a sea of big cars. It was comfortable and quick but I seem to remember it sucking fuel. I can still see him with the seat pushed back, his arms out straight and a PallMall hanging from his mouth.

    Like 32
  2. Jonathan Sands

    A little bit off topic, but, an old girlfriend of mine back in the latter 70’s had a ’65 Skylark with a V-6 that could drop a patch at any time. That was one hellacious engine, I wanna tell you. GM put out some great engines.

    Like 9
    • 1Ronald

      Except for the 85 Cadillacs where anti-freeze slipped into the crankcase and you’re looking at over $4,000 easily.

      Like 1
      • Rick

        And that 215 aluminum V8 like the one in this featured car. In the mid 1960s our family car was a ’63 Buick Special wagon. Unless we ran a 90% antifreeze/10% distilled water coolant mix the heater core would plug up with aluminum crud corrosion. And the spark plugs would often foul from aluminum corrosion buildup.

        Like 1
    • Poppy

      The V-6 in your girlfriend’s ’65 was the “Fireball” derivative of this 215 inch V-8. It was a 215 with two cylinders removed and was cast iron instead of aluminum. It first augmented then replaced the 215 V-8 altogether when the odd-firing V6’s displacement went to 225 inches. That engine evolved over the decades to the venerable 3800 – always retaining the 90 degree cylinder bank angle.

      Like 3
  3. Jcs

    Light and powerful with a rev happy short stroke design, the aluminum 215 V8 was way ahead of its time and lived a very long life, being in production all the way through 2004. They were still offered to low volume specialty builders through 2010.

    Fun and unique little cars, this looks to be a pretty nice example. I love the white interior on this one, suits it’s personality perfectly. Nice find Scotty.

    Like 16
  4. T

    I had a similar Oldsmobile F-85 on the same platform. Cold starter but a neat car.

    Like 3
  5. JoeNYWF64

    That is 1 long trunk lid for a small car! Compare that to the joke of a trunk lid on most of today’s cars.
    Rust spot – possible small fire under the hood that was quickly put out? Or maybe excessive compounding the paint in that spot.

    Like 1
  6. MitchRoss Member

    Color combination is perfect. A nice respray and this would be a show stopper. I Think the Special was the most stylish of the compacts in the early 60s

    Like 5
  7. Richard Isenberg

    I love it. A reasonable price and one could get the car repainted. Great Sunday cruiser

    Like 3
  8. Joe Padavano

    The 1961-63 Y-body cars were actually based on the Corvair platform. It says something about GM’s technical and production ability at that time when they could produce four different cars with three different drivetrain options (rear engine Corvair, front engine with transaxle Tempest, and conventional F85 and Special) all on the same platform. Add to that the engine diversity – air cooled flat six, slant four, iron V6, iron V8 (326 in the Tempest) and aluminum V8 – and turbochargers on both the V8 and flat six! Oh how the mighty have fallen.

    Like 14
    • Richard Isenberg

      My parents had an F85 when I was in high school. That was the nicest running comfortable car. It was a 4 door but sweet. In my opinion GM not as good these days

      Like 5
    • Ralph

      Sorry no they are not, the closest combination is the Pontiac Tempest which uses a similar floorpan to a Corvair but the Corvair is a Z body, the BOP cars are a Y body.

      The Z body cars have a 4 inch longer wheelbase, 108 vs 112.

      • Ralph Fiallo

        Y cars have the longer wheelbase, correction.

      • Joe Padavano

        The wheelbase difference doesn’t mean there’s a fundamental platform difference. The 1968-72 A-body cars used 112″, 115″, 116″, and 121″ wheelbases, depending on the model. The GM B-body and C-body platforms are the same except for the 3″ longer wheelbase. Look at the greenhouse of a Corvair wagon and a Y-body wagon and tell me they are different platforms. Also, another newsflash: not everything on Wikipedia is correct.

    • Ralph

      No sorry the aren’t, the Corvair is a Z body the BOP compacts are a Y body, the Tempest and Corvair and the most closely related ones but they have Y body cars different widths and wheelbases from the Z.

      Like 1
    • MrR

      Nope, sorry, they are 2 different platforms with different widths and wheelbases, the BOP compacts are a Y body, the Corvair is a Z body.

    • ADM

      Now, they can’t even bother with more than four color choices.

      • JoeNYWF64

        & 3 of those 4 “colors” are many times white, black , & grey or silver. & sometimes you have to get an expensive several thousand $ option pkg to just be offered a red or blue(1 shade)! & both red AND blue may not even be offered!
        Compare to …
        & don’t get me started with interior “color choices” or more than 50 separate distinct options, making a NEW ’60s car available to even poorer families – if the car was a base model.

  9. Robert Holke

    This was my first car in 67. Black with White top and Black interior. Traded it for New 68 Charger R/T 440 ci.

    Like 2
  10. Pete Phillips

    Those are not 1962 Skylark wheel covers.
    The compact Skylark was introduced in the fall of 1960, not 1961, as a two-door sedan, with the four-barrel, high compression 215 V8 and bucket seats.

    Like 1
    • Sunshine

      Agree. The Buick offered 15″ wheels as an option. I never say in person, and don’t see a separate hubcap offered. So, wonder if these are 15″ wheels and matching hubcap? See link:

      • Joe Padavano

        Olds and Buick both offered 15″ wheels as an option, and also 14″ wheels for the 1963 model year. I’ve got a set of the 15″ wheels for my 62 Olds.

  11. PairsNPaint

    This is nice! If it were on the East Coast, I’d be all over it! What a great weekend cruiser this would be.

    Like 4
    • Joe Padavano

      If it were on the East Coast, it would be a rusty lump. I’ve given up on rust belt cars. It’s worth paying the shipping for a west coast car.

      Like 5
      • Richard Isenberg

        Joe. I live in PA. We thought about buying a car from CA. The shipping I thought was really reasonable. I definitely would pay it if and when the time and right car comes along

        Like 2
      • Joe Padavano

        I’m in NoVA, and I’ve shipped five cars from CA, NV, and AZ over the last 7-8 years. Worth every penny. FYI, the low-ball shipping quotes you’ll get are total BS. Expect to pay 50% more than the quote to actually get the car delivered. Personally I would prefer to avoid the games and waste of time from these companies.

        Like 3
  12. J mills

    I had a tan one the ball joint broke as I was turning into the Watkins Glen race track for the Grand Prix a local shop with a couple of good ole boys choked me for 200$ to fix it in 1967. true story loved it

  13. Paul R.

    My Dad had a ’62 F 85 , light mist green color.
    The car was light, quick and nimble with that aluminum V8.
    I remember him telling me it was popular as a get away car with the bad guys.
    He found it too light in the end and traded it in for a ’63 Chev Impala. His previous car was a ’58 Olds ’88 so I guess he was used to something a little more substantial.
    I always think, if only we had stashed all the family cars away somewhere !

    Like 5
    • S

      It’s funny that you mention your family having the cars they did. My parents had a 58 Olds Super 88, a 62 Buick Skylark, a 62 Chevy Impala, all at the same time – similar to what you had.

      Like 2
  14. JS

    The smaller cars like the 1959 Austin Mini were the result of the 1956 events in the Suez canal. I always got around 45 MPG with my Mini.

    Like 1
    • Charles Sawka


      Like 1
  15. Johnny

    Nice little car. I had a 64 Pontiac Lemans rag top. Live near Ravenna ,Ohio. Put it on its top one night. Someone had switched motors in it and put a 421 back in. That sucker would run,but found out the trans axles were junk. That,s what caused me to wreck mine. Like to have another one of them. Had alot of fun in it.

    • Joe Padavano

      1963 was the last year for the transaxle.

      Like 2
      • Rick

        Yes, I had the misfortune to own a ’63 Tempest wagon with the slant four and that transaxle with the exposed torque converter. Still, that car taught me some valuable diagnosis and repair skills.

    • Charles Sawka

      Is that swap even possible ?

  16. Steve Thompson

    Put a small 490 cfi four barrel with alum intake and headers & exhaust and a 4 speed trans, repaint, wheels & tires and cool little rod

    Like 2
  17. AnalogMan

    I owned this exact car back in the late 70’s! Even the same two-one white over blue color combo! These are a low-key car, subtle in their understated good looks, that are delightful to drive. A very under-rated car, IMHO.

    I just graduated college, and sold a ’68 VW Beetle for a nice profit (after a backyard engine rebuild and paint job). I stumbled on the Skylark and was smitten. It’s not a ‘performance’ car, but it did everything well. Powerful enough to be fun, sensibly sized to be easy to drive and park, comfortable enough for long drives, and beautiful enough that I did double-takes to look back at it walking away after parking. As others have said, that 215 V8 engine is a gem, maybe unequaled to this day (though the heads were also aluminum, and I found out the hard way that if you’re not *very* careful tightening the spark plugs, it was all too easy to strip the threads and then need a heli-coil insert).

    Mine had a two-tone cloth interior (in light and medium blue), which was gorgeous, better looking (IMHO) than the upmarket leather. It was still original, and perfect (though aging…). Unfortunately, the girl I was dating at the time just couldn’t resist putting her feet up on the seats, either while a passenger, or during the frequent times she borrowed the car (and drove with one foot on the pedals, and one on the seat). After a summer of that treatment, the front seats gave up and came apart. They lasted over 15 years of wear and tear, but a few months of my old girlfriend did them in.

    She was great, but not that great.

    Like 3
  18. Billkrz

    Hi Guys, I’m still looking for one in this color (Desert Fawn) if you ever come across one. Prefer a 1961,

    Like 4
  19. Milt

    There’s a guy that shops at the store I go to that drives one of these. His cattle dog always patiently waits for him to come back. I see it all over town, so it’s a daily driver. You can miss it.

    Like 1
  20. T-bone

    I have a 63 Skylark with the 215 amazingly it gets 20 mpg. Great car.

    Like 3
  21. Solosolo Solosolo Member

    At the same time as this beautifully designed Buick was offered I had a 1962 Chevy 2 and the difference in shape is like chalk and cheese. The Chev was a good car but the Buick is a far better looker IMO.

  22. Ted-M

    Like the looks, a smaller version of LaSabre!

    Like 1
  23. Brian Girasoli

    I have a four-door 1962 Buick Special that I bought in 1998 and still own (and I’m just the second owner). It is fun to drive (I have the Fireball V-6, all original) and it is always a treat to see these on this site as they just aren’t found anymore. Next year, for its 60th birthday, it will have the first restoration of its life. Rebuild the engine, brakes, transmission. Can’t wait.

    Like 1
  24. Conrad P Alexander Jr

    still got one in my garage

    Like 1
  25. James Schwartz

    Does it bother anyone else (maybe I’m just easily bothered) when a commenter says something like “I owned this exact car 20 years ago…..except mine was………..”
    Then you didn’t own THIS EXACT CAR!!!! Stop saying you owned this exact car, or you owned this very same car, when you didn’t. The words you are looking for is “I owned one very similar to this”, or “I owned one that was nearly identical to this”
    I see AnalogMan above did it in this thread.
    There are listings where a previous owner sees a car that he actually used to own,,,that’s when someone has owned “this exact car”.

    IDK, it bugs me.

    Like 1
    • DON

      People do that at car shows too. They’ll come up to me and say I had a Duster just like yours, except mine was a slant 6, not a 340 , and it wasnt green like this one and had a bench seat and column shift and didn’t have those stripes…..

      Like 1
  26. S

    My parents bought one of these brand new. They drove it all the way until 1981! It was one of the best cars we ever had. I have always liked Buicks since and I still drive them. It was almost the same color as this, too. I like the white vinyl interior. Ours had blue cloth and vinyl. With a rebuilt engine and transmission – how could you go wrong? Also new carb and radiator. A lot of things have been taken care of. This sold for $5800 and I think it was well worth it! That one family kept the car for 58 years is just amazing – and a good sign that it was well loved.

    Like 1
  27. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this beauty sold for $5,800!

    Like 2
    • Jcs

      Wow, that sure is an awful lot of “cool car” for 5800 bucks!!! Well done, buyer.

      Like 3
  28. Billkrz

    Since we are going down Memory Lane, here’s my story (and why I posted earlier about trying to locate one in Desert Fawn (golden/beige):
    My first car was a 1961 Skylark purchased in 1969 with only 26,000 miles. Still had the plastic seat covers on it! Great car with super acceleration. The dual path transmission allowed a variable first gear which combined with the four barrel allowed the car to accelerate to 60mph under full throttle when it would then shift to second. Weak points: ’61’s had lots of shavings in the block which would clog both the radiator and heater cores. You had to swap these out to get the cooling correct and flush the block, then use Telar for antifreeze as other antifreeze coolants would interact with the aluminum to clog the passages again. Also, the Rochester 4GC needed to have it’s floats adjusted every 6 months to eliminate fuel starvation on tight corners. Brake cables needed to be lubed regularly to prevent freezing up. Could have used a tighter suspension and 13″ wheels did not have a lot of options for wide rubber in those days so grip was a bit lacking. Gave it to my Dad in ’73 when I ordered a new Camaro Type LT. He later sold it when he became ill and the person who bought it totaled the car in Branchville, NJ in the mid-70’s. Sad day…

    Like 1
  29. ADM

    There was a TV show, called Shannon, that ran one season, ’61-’62. An insurance investigator drove a ’61 Skylark 2 door. It was a four wheel office, with a hidden dictating machine, cameras, tape recorder, a mobile phone, and weapons.

  30. CaCarDude

    This was a stylish car back in the day, one I would have liked to own. In 1970 just home and out of Uncle Sam Army I bought a 1963 Buick Special Rag Top, it had the small V6, nothing power in the car it had a radio, heater and Baby Blue on blue bench seat interior. To this day that was one of the best little cars I ever owned. Ran and drove very nice. I have always been a fan of the BOP cars. I now have a ’65 Skylark Rag top, The seller of this ’62 said in his ad that it came from Putnam Buick, but there is no way it could have since Putnam was not the Buick Dealership in 1962. It was called Rudd Buick in Burlingame. The reason I know is my ’65 came from Rudd and I have the window sticker to prove it. Putnam did not take over the dealership till late 65 or early ’66. Not a big deal but just wanted to mention.
    Nice find here on this little ’62.

    Like 2
  31. PatrickM

    Sold. $5,800.00. Dang!

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