Year of Buick Skylark
Buick Skylark photos, specs - Car Pictures & Images
The Buick Skylark was a passenger car produced by the Buick division of General Motors. The model was made in six production runs. In each run, the car design varied dramatically due to changing technology and tastes, as well as new standards implemented over the years.
Introduced to mark Buick's 50th anniversary, the Skylark (a name previously used by short-lived Hupp for its sporty 1939 Cord 810-based Skylark) was one of three specialty convertibles produced in 1953 by General Motors; the other two were the Oldsmobile Fiesta and the Cadillac Eldorado. All three were limited-production vehicles promoting General Motors' design leadership. Of the three, the Skylark had the most successful production run with 1,690 units. This was considered an amazing sales feat, since the car had a list price in 1953 of slightly in excess of US$5,000. However, many of these vehicles languished in dealer showrooms and were eventually sold at discount.
All 1,690 regular-production Skylarks built in 1953 (and all in 1954) were convertibles. The 1953s were based on the two-door Roadmaster convertible, having identical dimensions (except height), almost identical convenience and appearance equipment, and a Roadmaster drive train. In 1953, the model designation for the Skylark was 76X, while the model designation for the Roadmaster convertible was 76R. The few options available on the Roadmaster convertible were standard equipment on the Skylark, albeit the base price for the well-equipped Roadmaster convertible was only about US$3,200.
The 1953 Skylark featured V8 power and a 12-volt electrical system, both a first for Buick, as well as full-cutout wheel openings, a styling cue that would make its way to the main 1954 Buick line. Also making its way into the 1954 Buick line was the cut-down door at the base of the side window line that bounced back up to trace around the rear window (or convertible top). This styling stayed with Buick for many years and can be found on any number of automobile brands to this day.
The 1953 Buick Skylark was a handmade car in many respects. The stampings for the hood, trunk lid and a portion of the convertible tub were the same as the 1953 Roadmaster convertible (and Super convertible, model 56R). The stampings for the front fenders, rear fenders, outer doors, and a portion of the convertible tub were unique to the Skylark. All Skylark convertible tubs were finished with various amounts of lead filler, so it is not unusual to find a substantial amount of the substance just behind the doors near the bottom of the window line. The inner doors of the Skylark were made from the inner doors of the 2-door Roadmaster and Super by cutting the stamping in half approximately parallel with the ground and then welding the two pieces back together in a jig at an angle that produced the necessary door dip (see photos of finished car).
Although there were many unique design features of the 1953 Skylark, one that goes almost unnoticed today is that the top and seating of the car were lowered a few inches below the Roadmaster and Super convertibles. This was achieved not by changing the frame, body or suspension, but by cutting the windshield almost three inches shorter and lowering the side windows and convertible top frame. To accommodate people without bumping their heads with the top up, the seat frames and steering column were lowered.
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