Skylark V8 Equipped! 1962 Buick Special

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Throughout the fifties, domestic cars were, for the most, part, standard-sized. The wheelbase dimensions changed based on trim levels, but full-size cars were the mainstay. Take Buick for example, 1960 saw models including the Electra, Invicta, and LeSabre, produced in a multitude of body styles including a station wagon. But smaller cars were slowly catching on and GM decided, starting in 1961, to get in on that downsized act. And for your review, today we have a second year, 1962 Buick Special Skylark two-door hardtop. This Buick is located in Round Hill, Virginia and is available, here on Barn Finds Classifieds or here on Facebook Marketplace for $10,500.

The Detroit Three and a Half may have considered the VW Beetle to be a pest but AMC (the half) certainly saw the value in small cars. Both Chevrolet (Corvair) and Ford (Falcon) heard the compact call too and introduced diminutive models for ’60. In ’61, BOP (Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac) dipped their toe in the water with their Special, F-85, and Tempest models (respectively). And then in 1962, Buick introduced the Special Skylark, such as our example, and marketed it as a V8 equipped, luxury trim level for the Special.

Buick referred to the Special and the Skylark as the “Happy-Medium Sized” car but the version that followed in 1964, built on GM’s renowned “intermediate” A-Body platform, were ten inches longer in length with a three-inch extension in wheelbase so it can be argued that these ’61-’63 version of the Special/Skylark were really compacts. Whatever the case, this ’62 Skylark, with its distinctive convertible top-inspired, creased steel roof panel design, resembles a full-sized Buick but packaged in a much more manageable size.  The seller indicates that this Special is still wearing its original coat of Glacier Blue lacquer topped off with a white lid. The finish is in fair shape with normal horizontal surface fade.  A life-long California car, this Skylark shows no indication of rust or deterioration other than a surface spot on the hood. No sign of crash damage or misaligned body panels is evident either.

Power is provided by an all-aluminum, 190 gross HP, 215 CI, “Skylark” V8 engine connected to a Dual Path Turbine Drive, two-speed automatic transmission. The seller states that the engine was properly rebuilt sometime back and numerous components were replaced, including the substitution of an Edelbrock intake manifold in place of the original. The seller adds that this 97K mile example was recently driven cross-country, from California to Virginia, without incident.

The interior shows very well considering its age and the fact that it’s white. The upholstery looks unblemished though the dash is exhibiting some surface rust and the steering wheel possesses “old car” cracks. The front seat configuration is interesting in that they are what appear to be slightly oversized buckets, directly adjacent, with no room in between for a center console. Assuming that the foam has held up, they look comfortable! The only non-original item spotted are the under-dash gauges – a common upgrade for cars that originally employed idiot lights.

So, a survivor? Depends on your definition, the originality has been altered, but in a very positive way by the engine rebuild – beyond that, it’s still 1962. Special/Skylarks of this generation have frequently not been saved as they were considered economy “commodity” cars, Buick in name or not. And that’s unfortunate, as a model like this represents an evolutionary time for the American automobile business. Sure, gargantuan was still in, but the marketplace was expanding and this is as fine an example of that expansion as you’ll ever encounter, wouldn’t you agree?

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Comments

  1. alphasudMember

    I really like these cars due to their affordability. If any of the A bodies turns up near me in good drivable condition I would like to own it.

    Like 6
    • Gary

      I like it too. Brings back good memories. The 215 has got to be rare, don’t remember too many of those.

      Like 7
      • s robbins

        I’m surprised the aftermarket had an intake manifold.

        Like 0
    • BOP_GUY BOP_GUYMember

      A-body 64’s, or Y-body 62’s? I’ll be selling my 62 Skylark convertible sometime soon.

      Like 0
  2. Jcs

    I’ve never been a fan of this series of cars, from any of the makes but I must admit that this little V8 Buick is intriguing.

    Equipped well and with a far nicer interior than any other that I have seen through the years, she has been preserved remarkably well over the decades.

    I think she is priced about right as well. Someone is going to score a really cool little car.

    *Trigger alert…..GLWTS

    Like 9
  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Loved these cars when new, but fhe f-85 was my favorite. If money were not an issue I’d park this in my garage next to my 64 Riviera and drive sparingly to keep it in great shape.
    God bless America

    Like 4
  4. Mike

    A twin of this car always seem to be at my grocery store (maybe we shop around the same time). All the windows are rolled down and a very chunky mutt is sitting in the passenger seat laser focused on the entrance waiting for the owner to come out.

    Like 10
  5. Moondawg00

    The passenger front has hit or pressed hard against something as the bumper is slightly raised out of position so the bumper and grill don’t line up. Nothing serious, just need to be realigned but something to look at in person if you’re considering buying. Otherwise a beautiful example of early 60’s automobile architecture!

    Like 5
  6. Will Fox

    One of the nicer `62’s I’ve seen in a long while. Very clean, and the white interior is in amazing shape for it’s age! Millenials & Gen Z people wouldn’t have any clue what this is, but those of us old enough to remember these do. The wheel covers are from a `66; I wonder if the seller has the originals?

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      Check the image of the trunk, there are wheel covers in there but I don’t know if they are the originals.

      JO

      Like 1
      • Patrick Curran

        Neither the ones on the car or the ones in the trunk are correct for this year. Always liked these cars. The covers on the car are for a later year but the correct ones shouldn’t be too hard to find if the new owner is concerned about correctness.

        Like 0
  7. racer417

    My first car! My dad was a Buick dealer back in the 60s. But it’s a Skylark, not a Special Skylark.

    Like 1
  8. S

    This car was on BarnFinds just a few months ago – maybe in March? It was from California. I remember it because it was unusual that it had the white vinyl interior, and it had the rust spot on the hood. It sold on eBay, and it sold for like $7500 or so. Still a nice car – but I guess when the car arrived on the truck, the new owner wasn’t too impressed – or they just planned to flip it. It still has the California plates on it, so the new owner evidently never registered it.

    Like 3
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      Yes, it was in California then, and Virginia now. Barn Finds is representing the new owner in the sale.

      JO

      Like 1
    • LV

      Correction- the car didn’t arrive on a truck…we drove it 3417 miles to VA! Ran great, 70-75 mph and tracks straight.

      Like 0
  9. S

    One concern I noticed – why is the dash and glove box door rusty?? This car must have had water in the interior for some reason, or sat outside with a leaky window. Still cool – but I’d want to know why that happened.

    Like 1
  10. CaCarDude

    If this Buick came from the Burlingame area it could be showing signs of surface rust since this is in the SF bay area. The license frame shows Putnam Buick which took over the Buick dealership in late ’65 early ’66, prior to that it was known as Rudd Buick. I have a ’65 Skylark from the Rudd dealership with original window sticker. The ’62 was a nice looking Buick and with the small V8 and backed with the 2 spd ST300 transmission a very nice driver.

    Like 3
  11. bone

    It wasn’t just Ford and GM , Plymouth and Dodge had compacts out in 1960 , and Studebaker beat the big 3 in 1959 with the Lark

    Like 6
  12. John Albera

    Did these have the ST300, or was it the “Dual Path” two speed?

    Like 1
    • Bob C.

      I was wondering the same thing, because the ST300 didn’t come out until 1964. I would think it’s in the Dynaflow family if original.

      Like 2
      • Jim ODonnellAuthor

        You’re correct! Dual Path Turbine Drive. Corrected, Thx.

        JO

        Like 1
    • BOP_GUY BOP_GUYMember

      I have a 62 Skylark convertible. Great little cars to drive weighing in at like 2700 pounds! But yes, it has the nightmare Dual Path 2-speed automatic transmission, made only for the Buick version of these Y-body compact cars. Getting parts is next to impossible, but when they’re sealed up and working right, they are quite smooth. It’s essentially a mini version of the Dynaflow.

      Like 0
  13. Car man

    I ordered the same car brand new only black with a red interior with a 215 4 barrel window sticker was $3300. Put 144,000 mi on it

    Like 2
  14. Healeyv8

    I have a 61Two door Buick Special for sale in California. 52822 original Miles.

    Like 0
  15. S

    Sold for $5800 on January 11th.
    Now it’s $10,500 is the asking price.

    Like 0
  16. healeyv8

    Please correct me if I am wrong, I was told that the original engine was designed by Rolls Royce, the rights were brought by Buick.Range Rover then brought the rights off Buick, They had them in all early Range Rovers, they made the blocks with wet sleeve lines that can be replaced. They have been extensively modified here in Australia and England, we had them in 3.5, 3.9 and 4.4 versions that came out in small trucks called Leyland Terriers. Great light weight “Aluminium”engine. Hope I have all that right.

    Like 0
  17. chrlsful

    “…an all-aluminum, 190 gross HP, 215 CI,…”
    yes, too many missed this in their posts. A tip top production of usa auto industry – this motor came out during another boom/bust (the bust) cycle we R so often treated to in this country. Dwn sized vehicles, the GM co came up w/a dyn-0-mite motor. Not able to manufacture w/o over heating (or some such difficulty) Leyland/Rover bought the idea’n went on w/it in rover (TC 3000 model a hot lill 4 dor 2+2 w/2 & 3 hood scoops seen in the country clubs of usa in late 60s/early70s). We lost a good’un.

    The poncho Tempest (I think) looked very similar to this rig. It was quite an oddity as it had a few out of the box thinkin innovations (tq tube, 2 rear axels ie transaxle, 1/2 a bent8, no driveshaft hump into the cabin). Thank U Mr Delorean…U could get this same excellent engine in one~

    Like 0

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