Inspired by GM’s futuristic concept cars starring in the corporation’s dazzling Motorama roadshows, the Skylark Anniversary Convertible debuted as a Buick’s limited-production image leader for 1953. Essentially a factory-built custom car based on the Roadmaster, the Skylark introduced Buick’s powerful new overhead-valve V-8 engine, a 12-volt electrical system, full-radius rear wheel openings, “sweepspear” bright body accents, and numerous power accessories. Priced from $5,000, just 1,690 Skylarks were produced for 1953.
The Skylark returned for 1954, now based on the slightly shorter chassis of the Century with a more-powerful engine. The body now featured a fashionable wraparound windshield and dramatic wheel-well cutouts finished in contrasting colors, while the rear quarter-panels were cut down and re-formed with chrome extensions for the taillight housing. Again lavishly equipped, the 1954 Skylark carried lower base pricing of $4,483, yet it was still more expensive than both the Cadillac Series 62 and Buick Roadmaster convertibles. Just 836 of these striking cars were produced, with each survivor highly prized by today’s collectors.
The 1954 Buick Skylark Convertible shown here holds a very special place in my heart as my very first auction consignment and sale in 2010. I had met the former owner’s brother at the 2009 AACA Fall Meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and we hit it off as fellow classic Buick enthusiasts. The car was owned by his brother, who owned the Skylark since inheriting it from his grandfather in 1965. It received some restorative work during the mid-1970s and while nicely preserved, it was comprehensively detailed prior to auction with the front bumper re-chromed, new carpeting fitted, and selective paint touch-ups. In addition, the radiator was re-cored and new heater hoses and new hydraulic lines for the power window lifts were installed.
As offered, the Skylark was perfectly enjoyable in sound condition, or as the basis for a Concours level restoration. I was thrilled to watch the car drive up the auction block on the live auction feed and when the hammer dropped for the last time, this quintessential American drop-top classic drew a winning bid of $65,000 plus buyer’s premium. Not a bad start in the auction life!