Would You Have It? 1986 Buick Skyhawk T-Type

10,241 very careful miles. Very careful! That’s right, this 1986, Radwood-ready Buick Skyhawk T-Type has hardly been driven at all and looks the part! Not only that but it was equipped with the rare 5-speed manual transmission and air conditioning! This unicorn survivor is listed for sale here on eBay with a buy-it-now price of $15,495 or you can make a lower offer to the seller, who lives in Eaton, Ohio.

Although the pictures aren’t quite as detailed or comprehensive as I’d like, I was able to find a previous listing of the same car for sale earlier in 2021 with far more detailed pictures. The seller also offers to send copies of 40-50 documents detailing the entire history of the car and verifying the low mileage. It’s apparent that someone really, really loved their Skyhawk. And what’s not to love? Do note, however, that in that previous listing there are some faults noted with the car that are not highlighted in the current sale ad. Thanks to reader Dennis H. for sending in this cool find!

How many Buicks can you think of that even had 5-speed manual transmissions available?

Note the sporty, leather-wrapped steering wheel — pure 80s goodness right there! The car has covered 104 miles since the pictures were taken for the previous sale attempt, and rides on newer tires, while the four original tires are included in the sale.

The door panels sport period stripes in colored velour as well. I find these delightful and they brought back memories of Grand Nationals, GNXs, and GSs — when Buick actually was a performance brand and “Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?” wasn’t a joke.

One item puzzles me about this car. The “power bulge” in the hood was listed as new for 1986 in some sources and was there to allow a turbocharger to fit. However, this car is not equipped with a turbo, so there’s an error somewhere. I’m guessing it’s in the reference sources, as I can’t see a situation where this car would have had an engine swap for a lower-performance engine. Does this T-Type bring you back to your 1980s self? Or are you still running from it as fast as you can!

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    Cool! You DEFINITELY won’t see this at your local Coffee & Chrome!
    GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 22
  2. JCA Member

    It doesn’t get bid past $4,500 on BAT, so let’s list it for $15,000 on Ebay? Brilliant strategy…

    Like 51
    • Claudio

      Its the old raise the price if it doesn’t sell tecnique !

      Like 5
  3. Big_Fun Member

    Love to have it, as I love all intesresting Buicks. Rare does not always equal desirable. That also means pricing should by strategic. Do you want to sell? There is always some FOMO in pricing a rare one…how about your target audience? I was in JH when this rolled of the line, I liked it then. However, my desire to own this is a little less every year…

    Like 14
  4. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    You gotta love that Kleenex box console.

    Like 6
    • Leslie Martin Member

      Personally, I’m diggin’ more on that wicked hidden money clip/coinholder and the in-dash cassette storage trays!

  5. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Yea… that front end looks familiar…

    That’s it! Later recycled for the Reatta, under the Buick banner again!

    Like 17
    • Terrry

      Or a Chevy Cavalier with a Reatta front end, basically that’s all this Buick really is. Too much plastic and tin for me.

      Like 7
  6. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    If one approaches this as a basic economy car, which it is, it’s actually kind of cool. Sporty styling, interior is trimmed nicely, and a manual transmission. Low miles and great condition. But as always, rare and valuable don’t necessarily line up. Just as a point to ponder, if this was a Pinto the bids would be in the five figures.

    The BaT ad is much better, this seller needs to learn that a tall guy taking pics of a short car needs to kneel down.

    I had the (nearly) identical car, the equally rare Oldsmobile Firenza. It was an “okay” car.

    Like 16
  7. Sam61

    That is cool but surprised it isn’t optioned more heavily. My ex-wifes first new car was an 84 Cavalier notchback 2 door. Stickered for $8,000…2.0, auto, ac, ps, pb, stereo and rear window defogger.

    Maybe the “power bulge” is for the master cylinder…haha? Meatier tires, turbo or a 3.8 w/supercharger swap would be fun.

    Like 3
    • Terrry

      If you wanted a heavily-optioned Cadavalier you didn’t order a Buick. You bought a “Cimmaron by Cadillac”

      Like 5
  8. Ronald Niemzyk

    I had a white ’84 Skyhawk wagon that I ordered and was similarly equipped with the 5 speed, gauge package, handling suspension, sport steering wheel and alloys. It was a sharp looking wagon that got lots of comments and was reasonably fun to drive. I put 46,000 miles on it in a little over a year and traded it in for an MR2 in 85 when they came out. If it was a wagon, I’d be interested in it for nostalgia’s sake.

    Like 8
  9. Mark Lawson

    I bought an ’85 Skyhawk new with the 5 speed. Worst car I’ve ever owned, hands down. 2,900 miles off the lot, the car’s “brain” died, and Buick tried to charge me $4,000 to replace it. I had to have an attorney get involved for them to honor the warranty. I sold it 2 years later with less than 50,000 miles on it for the whopping sum of $900 to a dealer who parted it out.

    Like 9
    • Stan

      Haha “brain” Thats brutal Mark. Our family 84 Chevy celebrity brand new was a lemon 🍋 rarely ran good, and threw a rod thru the block at less than 23000 miles.

      Like 5
    • Rene Zapata

      I agree. My dad had the Skyhawk when I was a kid and it was the biggest piece of junk. It spent more time in the shop than on the road. One time it caught fire cause of an electrical issue and it was junked. From that day on my parents bought a Toyota and never looked back.

      Like 4
  10. Steve Clinton

    Buick’s attempt at using the Cavalier with a Riatta nose as the basis for this was a failure.

    Like 7
    • Terrry

      I mentioned the same thing earlier. Just the cheapness of a Cadavalier with some Buick trim, even if this one is clean.

      Like 1
    • nlpnt

      It sold reasonably well the first few years, pre-hidden headlight “Reatta nose”, but by the time this facelift came along the emphasis was on the N-body Skylark so the fancier J’s were put on the back burner.

      Like 1
  11. Mike Stephens Staff

    Yeah Jamie I’m digging that pre-airbag mandate steering wheel too! I’ve always thought that airbags, especially in their early years, have kind of detracted from many steering wheels being able to be designed as mean looking as some of them once were prior to those safety devices. Although I’m not going to buy it, especially not for $15.5k, I do like it for what it is and I love that it has a 5 speed.

    Like 5
  12. Joe Haska

    I opened this listing just to see what this car looked like. I am still not sure what looks like, the photos were incredible, inconceivably BAD. Now, I don’t care what it looks like and I am pretty sure I never did.

    Like 7
  13. Bruce

    My sister had a little Buick looked something like this. I think it was called a Turbo Type T. It would really surprise you when that turbo spooled up.

    Like 4
  14. Chris

    Cool seeing a listing that I can finally say is close to where I live. Looks like a good example of this model. Are those rear window louvers I see in the pic? I had friends back in the day who had these and Sunbirds with the turbos. I test drove it’s cousin Olds Firenza, also non turbo, as a used car in the late 80s. It had the automatic in it but I found it to be peppy. It was a little out of my reach price wise back then so I had to go back home with my Mustang and its ragged out oil leaking 2.8 V6 lol.

    Like 1
  15. AMCFAN

    Chevy/Olds and Pontiac had the same basic car. This car is just a miss mash of parts shuffled together. Each nameplate got different header panels and tail lights and little else. If say Buick were exclusive to get this cool fastback body that was one thing. But all GM dealers all had the same car. They were all basic cars all the same sans emblems and some trim. This is what really started to pull the mighty GM down. Too much of the same old thing.

    For someone who wanted a Buick badged driver this is cool but not at that price. I feel BAT has spoken. If $4500 was bid that is the money here.

    One thing that is certain if this were a low mileage Japanese import in the same condition we would see another sales record.

    Like 4
    • brad460 Member

      What Japanese Import of a similar year would be a fair competition?

      • JCA Member

        This…

        https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1986-honda-accord-6/

        I’d add $2-3k to the price if it had a 5spd instead of an auto to compare the two. So around $14- 15k with a 5 spd.

        When it came to the build quality, engine quality, fit and finish, these 2 cars were worlds apart. The Japanese took high revving well engineered motorcycle engines and transferred that level of quality to building small car engines. Meanwhile, we were lopping cylinders off of V8s and calling it a small car engine. We failed miserably in comparison and the market reflects this.

  16. gary rhodes

    Nice little car but waaaayyyy overpriced. $5,000.00 or so would be about tops, maybe 6k

    Like 5
  17. Buffalo Bob

    A friend of ours had a similar Skyhawk back around 94 or so. Wasn’t nearly as fancy as this one, 2.0 OHC, A/T no air, but it DID have the hideaway lights. Well, he had a penchant for tailgating, & rear-ended someone with it. We still had the body shop at the time & he brought it to us. Nobody, not GM, no wrecking yards as far as we could see, no aftermarket, had the header & parts for the headlight doors. He ended up having us put the much less attractive standard nose on the car & calling it a day. A few months later, he overheated it & lost the head gasket. That’s when he finally put it out of it’s misery.

    Like 4
    • Bick Banter

      Hahaha! He gave it a knucklehead nose job.

      Like 3
  18. Abi

    I always have my doubts about low mileage cars and this one is no exception. The mysterious carfax report only showing history from 2019, the oil sticker from 1988 that says 7500 miles, and for such a low miles car is seems to have a plethora of road rash on the nose and near all the wheels and all the emblems. I suppose the original owner could’ve lived near gravel roads. The shifter has wear as well as the radio controls with 2 buttons missing off the cassette player.
    The question on the bulge in the hood can maybe be explained by not an engine swap, but a nose swap due to accident? If you look at where the R/F fender meets the bumper cover, the fender is damages while the cover is not. Hrmmmm….

    Like 3
  19. Don Page Jr.

    It’s definitely not a turbo. The 8th digit tells it all. If it was a J it would be a turbo. When I saw it was a five speed, I doubted that it could handle the150 brake HP. Also, it is a T-Type and way over priced.

  20. CJinSD

    “The price is WRONG b1+(h!” – Happy Gilmore

    Like 3
  21. Bick Banter

    Without the turbo it is going to have very limited value. The standard 1.8 liter in these only had 88 horsepower, so it’ll be extremely slow and thrashy, even with the manual. It’ll make that 1981 Trans Am equipped with the turd 301 look like a rocket sled

    I just don’t see the appeal of this But there is a lot of dumb money out there now. Seller might be able to trick somebody who’s not all that smart. If you’re ever gonna take a chance like that now is probably the time

    Like 2
    • Bakes

      The 1.8 in these cars was about as durable as a cereal box. It was a great little motor as long as you changed the oil exactly on schedule.

      Like 1
      • Bick Banter

        Whoo boy@ It’s got 60 watchers. I bet somebody bites soon. And it’s certainly gonna be in the 5 figures. I would give a $100 to see the look on the buyer’s face when they merge onto the highway for the 1st time lol! Not only will it be slow but it’s a rough appliance, especially if you’re used to modern vehicles.

    • FenderUnbender

      It got bid to $8100 last week and did not sell, usually if you keep relisting the bids keep going lower so no way is it hitting 5 figures.

      Like 1
  22. Stan

    Bizarre offering from the General lol.

    Like 1
  23. Thorsten Krüger

    Whag an ugly car…..

    Like 1
  24. charlie Member

    I wish people would stop maligning the Cimmaron, yes, it cost twice as much as the Cavalier, and it was not worth twice as much new, but used, with the V6 or the 4 it was an extrodinarily good car, I paid $2000 including two new snow tires and an inspection sticker. It was a great communter car. Ours, when our Phoenix died, (the worst new car I ever bought, toast at 130,000 miles) and all I had was $2000 lasted 10 years and 120,000 miles over the 83,000 it had when I bought it. Nimble, leather, easy to park, easy to drive in Boston traffic, great on gas, had been maintained by the book and I continued that, changed oil filter at every change, still ran great when sold, but wiring for power windows had broken at driver door, and power door locks kept locking and unlocking all by themselves, replaced by another $3000 car, a used 4 cylinder Mustang fox body, another unappreciated reliable every day transport. Both a lot better financially than my $55,000 Audi which has been sitting at the repair shop for 3 weeks waiting for a rear engine seal, an 11 hour by the book, job. These GM’s could be great cars if well maintained, handled well for the time, and the body was solid.

    Like 6
    • scottymac

      charlie: From my one experience, didn’t know anything was “…easy to drive in Boston traffic…”. I kept wishing for a M-1 Abrams, but wishing for an afterburner.

  25. MOTRV8D

    What a strange little car. A T-Type with only 10k miles WITHOUT the turbo, what’s with that? DEF some shens going on here the seller is not divulging.

    Like 2
  26. fran

    “You can make a lower offer…”
    YEAH LIKE $3500.00

    Like 2
  27. Chris

    How is this a T-Type without a Turbo? What does the T stand for? Terrible?

    Like 2
    • Bick Banter

      With the turbo these are pretty cool. With the base engine they are coarse and slow machines.

      He’s got 60 watchers so he may fet it, or very close. Whoever buys it is going to be very sad the 1st time they drive it and that little motor is moaning and shaking desperately to work up enough speed to avoid getting squished merging onto the highway!

      I love Radwood iron but this is nuts. Just go little extra and get a new Civic Si, sheesh. Low interest rates so you can invest the 15 elsewhere, snd get a 1,000x better car. But it’s not my money.

      Like 1
  28. Phil

    I’m not sure anybody really loved this thing if they only put 10k miles on it.

    Like 5
  29. Mark

    We had a 85 cavalier 2 door 4 banger 5 speed, i sold it in 2001 with 276,000 on her, not using oil between changes, but needed again doors (the second set we put on rotted out) door pins (replace every third year I think was the routine maintenance) and another new drivers seat the second one broke exactly where the first one let go at! But reliable as heck and before selling still getting 25mpg back and forth to work!

  30. Bob

    Had a new 82″ J2000 with 1.8. Worst new car ever. 2 new AC rubber hoses replaced near the manifold. Later models has steel ones? Started using oil at 20 k because of leaking lifter guides. Was told by dealer, these were all normal and not covered by warranty. Was the last new car I ever bought.

    Like 2
  31. Wjtinfwb

    I worked for a daily rental car outfit in the early 80s. Our fleet was mostly Fairmonts and K-cars, very boring but both pretty durable. For ‘82 we got a new, all GM fleet as they were trying to earn more of our fleet leasing business. G-body Bonneville V6s we’re fine, but the compact was Buick Skylark Custom sedan, base 1.8 4cylinder/3speed automatics. When new they drove decently but we’re extremely slow. They couldn’t stand up to daily rental duty however, of the 40 Skyhawks we had easily 15 of them were out of service at any time. Stupid stuff like CEL lightest, dead A/C systems and grenading transmissions were common. The FWD architecture was densely packaged and the cut rate body shops never put them back together properly after a front end wreck. That led to malfunctioning cooling systems and fans which in the hands of a renter, led to blown head gaskets and warped heads. The whole fleet was junk in less than a year. They were replaced with more Fairmonts and the upscale version, the Granada. Eventually we got A-body Celebrity’s and 6000s, troublesome but nowhere as fragile as the J-body Skyhawks.

    Like 2
  32. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I had this same car – ’86, 5 speed, hatch – in stripped Cavalier guise. Was a good car for the 6 months I owned it, but eventually traded it on on a new ’86 GLH-T.

    This just wasn’t enough fun for me

    Like 2
  33. Jonathan Q Higgins

    Jamie, mentioning the Grand National et al in the context of this article is sacrilege. I had an’83 with a 5 speed. Anemic acceleration at best. Can only imagine how bad an auto would be. Worst car I’ve ever owned. A good car for a teenager. Looks sporty but not enough power to get into trouble. This one has the 2 liter which was more reliable than the 1.8 in mine.

  34. Larry D

    Terrible pictures!

    Like 3
  35. Bill

    I wish people would learn how to take pictures so you could see what the car looks like

    Like 2
  36. FenderUnbender

    The owner was trying to sell this on facebook a month ago for $20k and was a total jerk to many people about his rare priceless collectors car. It got bid up to $8100 last week on eBay last week but did not hit the reserve. He was foolish for not taking that because it is not getting that high again, especially for being
    a girl’s car that no one wanted to buy in the 80’s.

    Like 3
  37. Sam Shive

    This POS got a lot of comments

    Like 2
  38. Mike H

    No Turbo, no sale! What a waste of a good hood hump.

    Like 2
  39. rustylink

    but cassette tape storage draws….

  40. CCFisher

    I had a turbo Sunbird. The turbo was on the front side of the engine, and the crossover pipe occupied the same space as the fresh air intake on the naturally-aspirated engine. The hood bulge is for looks only.

  41. Michael Berkemeier

    This is a turd, but… a good friend of mine, back in high school, got a brand spankin’ new one of these. It was silver though, and loaded, and was a Turbo T. Let me tell you, dump the clutch and hang on for dear life! She let us all drive it many times and I will admit, it impressed me. Non-stop front tire smoke and massive torque-steer for days. I had a ’72 Stage 1 at the time (1987) and I remember thinking that, even though I hated these things, hers was actually a bada** little ride.

  42. joenywf64

    In the past, didn’t we decide that the hidden headlite version was Canadian only? I don’t remember seeing any of these HIDDEN headlite front drive buicks
    or the 4 door version like this …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:%2787_Buick_Skyhawk_Sedan.jpg
    I only remember seeing 1/2 hidden headlite sunbirds …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:90sunbirdgt.jpg
    Plus, looking at
    https://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/cc-cohort/cohort-sighting-1986-buick-skyhawk-t-type-et-tu-buick/
    why would Buick create 2 front ends in the same model year for the same market in ’86? Unless maybe the car for sale here is actially an ’87 or ’88?

  43. Wayne Graff

    My second car (my 1st was a Datsun PL620 in orange with bizarre “wheat stripes”) was a manual ‘85 Skyhawk T-Type in two tone Red and Grey (awesome combo) that my best mate and I drove from Champaign Illinois, 7700 miles to hit both coasts and as many cool AF places we could squeeze in. We had a Union Jack 🇬🇧 that said “Brits on Tour” in the back window. That car was a bloody blast to drive and we drove it like we stole it with zombies in pursuit. Unfortunately, in the final leg of the journey home, we rolled the car to avoid a pack of zombies just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming. I was gutted as they had to total the car: it was 1990 and I bought the car for $5300 with only 9k documented, service, oil change, and EVERY single gas receipt logged into a book with miles driven, conditions, mpg etc.)
    I was gutted when it went to Carhalla! Still am!

  44. joenywf64

    Today’s leather steering wheels have 1, 2 or even 4 visible seams.
    This steering wheel has NO seams in it – a lost art? I don’t get it.
    I’m surprised this small car has a strut to hold up the hood, instead of a prop rod.

    • Larry D

      Hey, it’s a Buick!

  45. Robert Hewitt

    I owned a couple J’s. First was an ‘84 Sunbird hatch with a four cylinder and a five speed. It was an ok car. In ‘86 I upgraded to a loaded Sunbird SE. I unloaded it two years later following two warranty engine replacements and a host of other warranty work for faulty electronics. In two years of ownership it spent 8 weeks at the dealer. It was a comfortable, fun car to drive when it actually worked. I certainly wouldn’t be looking for any J car as a collector.

  46. DD

    The 80s were dark days for GM – poor engineering and build quality. Visited GM Lordstown plant in college and mused at how they would park a Civic beside a Cavalier for comparison. My Dad purchased a new ’84 Cavalier Wagon that developed a host of issues (valve leaks, seat springs and clear coat to name a few). All the GM “J” platform makes were made in the same plants – just different front/rear clips, badges and decals. The rare turbo models would are just that – rare. To deem this car collectible is in error – it’s a running (that’s the rare part) relic from an era most car enthusiasts want to forget. The Dodge Shelby Omni-Charger series from this time frame would be the car to own. The collector car market is rife with people who have more money than sense or real knowledge – and yet, we have instant access to more info than ever before. Show us the buyer who drops five figures for a Pinto.

    Like 1
  47. Larry D

    @DD
    I don’t think you’re right about all the J body cars being built in the same assembly plant. This Skyhawk was built in a plant with the letter ‘K’ for where it was made.

    I ordered and bought new a Cavalier Type 10 in 1985. It had the letter ‘J’ because it was built in Janesville, WI. One reason I remember that is that power windows were on hold when I ordered my car but they said they should be available shortly. I kept checking with that plant to see if they ever were. And sure enough!!! My car came loaded to the gills except it had NO power windows.

    I imagine someone years down the line wondered what the hell that was all about.

    Like 1
  48. fran

    WOW there is a lot of Cavalier comments about this car, what a Firenza this little Sunny Bird has caused a Cimarron of water in a river flowing E from NE New Mexico to the Arkansas River in Oklahoma!!!

  49. Geo

    Which motor was worse? The infamous ht4100 Caddy motor. Or the Brazilian 1.8 seen here. Used dealers would trip over themselves running out of auction lanes with these cars coming up. Not a bad looking car, but mechanically a very bad design. The only thing that would make this worse would be having a turbo on it. Guaranteed to pop a head gasket every 5k.

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