American car companies were flush with cash in the post-war early ’50s era. Buick, in fact, was ready to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. To boast about its success, GM’s Buick Motor Division of Flint, Michigan decided to produce the 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible, a progressive sports car that would capture the imaginations of the space age Americans for whom it was designed. The 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible was to be the car of the future, and would incorporate advanced design and function that would set the standard for a decade.
GM was to build three outstanding fresh models, the Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta, the Cadillac Eldorado and the Buick Skylark for 1953. By far, the 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible was the most expensive. The Buick Skylark served as the flagship model for the Buick brand, however the expensive price tag of $5,000 back in 1953 outpriced some Cadillac models, and the Skylark went on to only sell 1,690 units. And they say that Buick lost money on every one they sold since the cost to put it in production that first year was estimated to be $10,000 for each car. To the collector however, this low production number makes this car very desirable. The longer, lower and sportier Skylark captured the spirit of post-war America. It stands as one of the top automotive achievements of all time.
The 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible you see featured here is being offered for sale by Legendary Motorcar Company, and they say it comes from the esteemed Triple Crown Collection. It is presented in Majestic White exterior paint and luxuriously fitted with “soft-tanned choice cowhide” in a two tone black and white pattern. Legendary Motorcar Company tells us that the interior trim and switches all have a very polished and solid feel. Chrome is well suited to this 1950s era car with exaggerated embellishment at the front and rear bumper as well as a unique spear trim piece running down the side of the car to the rear wheels. The wheels are completed with chrome plated wires, made up of 40 individual wire spokes and fitted to classic white wall tires. The Skylark was designed to be more sporty, in response the small European sports cars which started to land in the United States during this time. As a result, the Skylark featured a lower “belt line” and boasted that “with the top up it stands less than 5 feet high.”
The 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible had tremendous appeal to the American car buying public. Even those who couldn’t afford one had to admire its progressive features. Under the hood sits the 322 cu. in. 188 horsepower Fireball V8 engine with an airpower carburetor. Buick’s new Fireball Eight had its largest-bore engine in the past 25 years. “Perhaps the most interesting feature is the combustion chamber,” wrote John Bond in Road & Track. “Valves are arranged vertically and in line. This requires a specially shaped piston crown to achieve the desired compression ratio, set at 8.5 to 1, the highest in the industry. The basic block served Buick until 1970. Transmission on Skylark is the twin turbine Dynaflow drive which featured two speeds. Other luxury options included power brakes, power steering, easy eye glass and “selectronic” radio. Because it was a convertible Buick decided not to offer air conditioning on this model even though it could have. In both 1953 and 1954 the Skylark was only available in a sporty convertible version.
Legendary Motorcar Company says the body-off-frame restoration was conducted with utmost attention to detail and professionalism. Click through to the ad page and you will see that the same level of professionalism continues on through the interior; the black and white leather upholstery is stunning. The instruments, chrome, and carpeting all appear to be virtually flawless with only minor flaws in the horn emblem and driver’s side vinyl. The workmanship in the door jams is impressive as well, with proper fit. In fact, the car’s many special features, including factory clock and radio, Continental Kit, twin mirrors, as well as power top, antenna, windows, and seats all function seamlessly, according to the ad copy.
From its beautiful grille to its trendsetting curvaceous design, the Skylark was truly a luxury convertible with styling to be admired and desired. It represents a rare opportunity to own a milestone car in Buick’s history, exemplified in black and white elegance. Everything about this Buick Skylark has a luxurious flare and makes time stand still as it captures perfectly a moment in automotive history.
Thank you for this e-page’s photos & commentary on the 1953 Buick Skylark. Though it was not a commercial success the spirit of this elegant, sporting beauty lived on in the Chevrolet Corvette C-1’s of the same vintage. The Buick Skylark emits the Alpha-Male aura of its era. Designed with room to share the conquest on what lay ahead on the newly expanding U.S. highway system. Whereas its junior C-1 stablemate exudes a playful, diminutive appeal that resonated with more of the market who sought escape from wherever they were to wherever they thought they should be. Gravitas in a state of being in the former over the latter’s fleeting sensations that leaves one to eventually arrive as has been foretold “No matter where you go, there you are.”
Fair enough. Many pursue the checkered flag while only a few organize and sponsor the races.