Image credits: © Buick. GM Corp

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster

In 1953 Buick introduced the Skylark - a vehicle built to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary and intended to be produced as a limited edition off of the Roadmaster line. Designed by the famous Harley Earl, the car had style and performance. The vehicle appeared to be lower than the standard convertibles, this was due to the body design. Ventiports, also known as port holes, were absent from the vehicle. Under the hood was a 322 cubic-inch 8 cylinder engine capable of producing nearly 190 horsepower. Only available as a convertible, this 4300-pound vehicle had a top speed of just over 100 miles-per-hour and a zero-to-sixty time of around 12 seconds. The interior was elegant, with leather seats and many standard features. During the introductory year, 1690 examples were created making it a highly collectible vehicle even by today's standards.

Even fewer examples were produced in 1954, with just 836 examples. The engine was still the 322 cubic-inch eight-cylinder except it was now producing 200 horsepower. A chrome tailfin could now be found at the rear of the vehicle, a unique design that was new at the time. The DynaFlow automatic transmission, air conditioning, and Kelsey-Hayes 40-spoke rims were just some of the standard equipment. Of the 836 examples produced in 1954, it is believed that less than 50 exist today.

The Skylark was not produced in 1955. This limited production vehicle would not be produced again until 1961. When it did return, Buick had used its name on their intermediate sport-coupe model. Under the hood was a 215 cubic-inch 8-cylinder with a four-barrel carburetor resulting in 185 horsepower. A year later the compression ratio was increased and as a result, so did the horsepower. The Skylark had also gone design changes for 1962, one of them being a Skylark badge now adorning the front fender.

By 1963, the 215 cubic-inch engine had finally been tuned enough to produce 200 horsepower. The Skylark emblems could now be found on the vehicle's pillars. The performance increase continued in 1964 with the addition of a four-barrel carburetor attached to the 300 cubic-inch 8-cylinder engine. The result was 250 horsepower.

In 1965 Buick debuted the Gran Sport package which, in the years that followed, would become its own series. The 300 cubic-inch two-barrel option produced just over 200 horsepower while the four-barrel version produced 250 horsepower.

The muscle car era was beginning to heat up. The cars were becoming smaller and the interior was being gutted to take advantage of weight-saving techniques. The engine cubic-capacities continued to climb and the horsepower-to-weight ratio was astonishing. This was true for the Skylark which saw its engine-size and horsepower climb throughout the years.

By 1968 the engine had been enlarged to 350 cubic inches. Depending on the configuration, the horsepower inched towards the 300 mark. The torque was equally as impressive with 375 foot-pounds for the high-performance engine. 1969 was similar and saw little changes in both its mechanics and its aesthetics.

The muscle car era saw its peak in the 1969 and 1970 years. After that, the automobile manufacturers were forced to decrease their engine sizes in order to comply with strict government regulations and safety concerns. Insurance premiums were on the rise and it became economically unfeasible for many to continue to own these high-performance machines. All this leads to the general public craving alternatives such as luxury and fuel-efficient vehicles.

1970 was a great year for the Skylark which saw its horsepower come closer to 300 horsepower. With the four-barrel 350 cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine, horsepower was rated at 285. In two-barrel form the 350 cubic-inch engine produced an impressive 260 horsepower. For 1971 the horsepower began to decline as Buick began complying with the new government regulations. This trend continued in the years to come. By 1973, the production of the Buick Skylark had ceased. It began again in 1976 sitting atop a 111 wheelbase and offered in seven body styles including sport coupe, coupe, sedan, and hatchback. Standard was a 231 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine with a 3.8 bore and a 3.4 stroke and produced 11 horsepower. A 260 cubic-inch eight-cylinder was optional but still produced 110 horsepower. The 350 cubic-inch eight-cylinder brought the horsepower up to 165.

Production of the Skylark continued until 1997.


by Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2008

Related Reading : Buick Roadmaster History

The Roadmasters name first appeared on Buick automobiles in 1936 as a celebration of their engineering improvements and advancements in design. The Buick Series 80 became known as the Roadmaster. The Roadmasters were built on the longest wheelbase Buick had to offer. From 1946 through 1957 they were the most elegant and prestigious automobiles that Buick sold. From 1936 through 1948 the Roadmaster....
Continue Reading >>

1953 Vehicle Profiles

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Buick celebrated its 50th Anniversary in grand style, by introducing one of its all-time great cars. This, of course, was the very limited production Skylark, which cost $4,596, was luxuriously equipped and had a production of only 1,690 units. It ....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Its beauty is just the beginning: The greatest Buick in 50 great years. The Skylark, designed by stylist Ned Nichols, was Buick's 50th anniversary sporting model. 1953 marked an innovative year in convertible styling with three great General Motors....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

1953 was Buick's Golden Anniversary year. In recognition of this milestone, they produced the limited-edition Skylark. Based on the Roadmaster convertible, the Skylark featured an exclusive chopped windshield, rakish full length 'sweepspear' side t....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

The 1953 Buick skylark fuses styling quest from two sources, the XP300 LeSabre show car and stylist Ned Nickle's customized 1951 Buick convertible. It is mounted on a Roadmaster chassis, uses redesigned doors, quarter panels and a 1954 interior. The ....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

The Skylark was Buick's answer to the European sports car and it was a celebration at $4,596. It was the most luxuriously standard equipped Buick produced at that time. The Buick had power brakes, power steering, power seats, and power antenna for th....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

The arrival of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to the White House in 1953 with his vow to end the Korean War, which he did also ending wartime automotive production controls, brought a wave of optimism that swept America. General Motors rolled out its Motoram....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Sedan

The year was a big one for the brand that served as the foundation for the General Motors empire. Established in 1903, Buick celebrated its golden anniversary with the introduction of the Fireball V-8, its first, ending a long tradition of inline eig....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Chassis Num: 17142626

This beautiful 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible with chassis number 17142626 was offered for sale at the 2006 Worldwide Group Auction held on the Hilton Head Island. The estimated value was between $140,000 - $160,000. At the close of the auction, th....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Chassis Num: 17055106

This 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible was treated to a no-expense spared restoration and was finished in the correct 1953 Skylark Color of Osage Cream. The interior and exterior chrome were either triple plated or polished to the highest standards. T....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Buick celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1953 by putting a Motorama show car in production. Named Skylark, this limited-edition was an ultra-luxury, full-size sport convertible. And it was a Harley Earl creation all the way.....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Chassis Num: 53-4767SX
Engine Num: G848

This 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible was offered for sale at the 2007 Christies auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' Under the bonnet is a Fireball V8 engine that measures 322 cubic-inches and capable of producing 200 horse....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Chassis Num: 53 47 89 SX

This 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible was offered for sale at the 2007 Christies auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' ....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Chassis Num: 16977916

In 1952, the Skylark was first displayed as a General Motors Motorama car. The car was based upon the Roadmaster convertible and was essentially a factory-built 'sport custom.' The windshield was chopped four inches and the beltline was cut down and ....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Beginning in 1903, the Buick Motor Company was rolling out new Buicks, and produced 37 that first year.....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

The 1953 Buick Skylark is one of the most stunning Harley Earl design exercises of all time and one of the most legendary GM cars ever built.....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Chassis Num: 16756391

The Skylark was built for the GM Motorama show to highlight what General Motors had to offer. Buick decided to build this custom built Buick with a low cut windshield, lower doors and special convertible top. The body is a rolling work of art.....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Chassis Num: 17057172

This Buick Skylark was given a no-expense-spared, nut-and-bolt rotisserie restoration. Since the work was completed, it has been driven a few hundred miles. It is finished in Mandarin Red with a white convertible top and a two-tone red and white inte....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

The most spectacular Buick for 1953 was the Skylark. The 1953 Skylark was unveiled in July, 1952 as the answer to the European sports car and in conjunction with Buick's 50th anniversary. Only 1,690 were produced. At a price of $4,596, the Skylark wa....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

For 1953 General Motors offered a trio of special, low-production convertibles in their top three auto lines, Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile. This car is one of the 1,690 Buick Skylark Convertibles built as part of that trio and powered by Buick's ne....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Buick, Cadillac and Pontiac all turned 50 years old in 1953, so General Motors Styling vice president Harley Earl created a special 50th-anniversary convertible for each division. Buick's 50th-Anniversar car, a modified Roadmaster called Skylark (des....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

Buick's 'Golden Anniversary' Skylarks were designed and styled by Harley Earl. There were only 1,690 of these cars built, and this example is number 145. The car was built as a sporty, yet luxurious, four-seater convertible at a price of $5,000. The ....[continue reading]

1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Skylark Convertible
Designer: Harley Earl

The Buick Skylark followed the same basic formula as the Cadillac Eldorado but differed even more from the regular Roadmaster on which it was based. In addition to cut-down doors, it featured unique front fenders and rear quarters, the latter with fu....[continue reading]

Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
 
Sedan
 
Skylark Convertible
Chassis #: 17142626 
Skylark Convertible
Chassis #: 17055106 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
Chassis #: 53-4767SX 
Skylark Convertible
Chassis #: 53 47 89 SX 
Skylark Convertible
Chassis #: 16977916 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
Chassis #: 16756391 
Skylark Convertible
Chassis #: 17057172 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
 
Skylark Convertible
 


1953 Buick Concepts

Concepts by Buick

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Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$1,260-$3,350
1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster
$5,000-$12,680
1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster Price Range: $3,350 - $5,000

$2,610 - $3,430

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Buick
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)241,892
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)405,086
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Buick (572,024)572,024
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)738,814
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)444,609
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)488,755
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)303,745
1951Chevrolet (1,229,986)Ford (1,013,381)Plymouth (611,000)404,657
1950Chevrolet (1,498,590)Ford (1,208,912)Plymouth (610,954)588,439
1949Ford (1,118,308)Chevrolet (1,010,013)Plymouth (520,385)409,138
1948Chevrolet (696,449)Ford (430,198)Plymouth (412,540)213,599

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