General Motors created a hierarchy that catered to a wide audience of buyers and price points, providing various sizes and configurations to meet nearly every consumer's wants and needs. For a while, every General Motors division designed, developed, created, and tuned its own engines, and Buick was one of the more imaginative within GM. From their earliest years, most Buicks have used overhead valves (valve-in-head) configuration with valves set at a 45-degree angle to the block deck. The 'Nailhead' nickname was in reference to the row of vertical valve stems on Buick's V8 engines, but it was the performance that earned the company the most respect. The Nailhead's inclined intake valves lined up neatly with the intake manifold and ports, allowing them exceptional breathing characteristics.
As the years progressed, Buick engineers expanded upon the Nailhead's free-breathing valve layout with additional developments in combustion chamber design, keeping Buick at the forefront of performance. It can be argued that Buick was one of the first Detroit marque to build a muscle car by installing the largest Roadmaster straight-eight engine into a smaller Special chassis to create the Century. In this guise, it was one of the few vehicles of the 1930s capable of achieving 100 miles per hour.
Buick was renowned for luxury, and performance was often an unheralded attribute.
Buick used the name 'Skylark' beginning in 1953 in celebration of its 50th anniversary with production being exclusive, with 1,690 units offered in 1953 and 836 in 1954. The name was retired until the middle of the 1961 model year when the Buick Special Skylark was introduced. It was offered as a two-door sedan (a.k.a. coupe) and essentially a luxury trim level with a vinyl-covered roof, lower-body side moldings, turbine wheel covers, taillight housings, three Ventiports on each fender, and Skylark emblems. They had a plush all-vinyl interior with bucket seats being optional. Power was sourced from a higher compression ratio four-barrel V8 with a 215 cubic-inch displacement and offering 185 horsepower.
The Skylark became a model in its own right for 1962 and now offered as a two-door convertible coupe and a two-door pillarless hardtop. Its 112.1-inch wheelbase was shared with the Special and Special Deluxe and was from the Special, but with a higher 11.0:1 compression ratio and delivering 190 horsepower. A new, boxier styling theme was introduced for 1963, retaining the same chassis and wheelbase as the 1961 and 1962 Skylark, but with a five-inch longer length and its 215 CID V8 now offering 200 horsepower. This was the final year of the 215 CID aluminum-block V8, and the associated tooling was later sold to the British manufacturer, Rover. Their Rover V8 engine was manufactured for many uses, powering sedans, trucks, and Land Rover sport utility vehicles until 2006.
1964 Buick Skylark
The Special and Skylark moved into the 'intermediate' category for 1964, with a 115-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 203.5-inches which it shared with the Pontiac Tempest, Chevrolet Chevelle, and the Oldsmobile F-85. The Special was devoid of bright ornamentation while the Skylark had bright rocker moldings, wide bodyside molding with a brushed metallic insert, a round Buick emblem on the grille, and a Skylark emblem and signature on the roof quarters and the deck. Body styles included a sedan, convertible, and sport coupe, with the sport coupes wearing twin bright strips on the roof.
The well-equipped Skylark had a Skylark steering wheel, Skylark wheel covers, Step-On parking brake, dome lights, electric windshield wipers, directional signals, ashtrays, full carpeting, paddle-type armrests, and instrument panel safety padding. The sedans had a cloth and vinyl interior with an all-vinyl setup optional. The Sport Coupe and convertible had an all-vinyl interior with bucket seats.
Both the Special and the Skylark came standard with a 225 cubic-inch V6 with a cast-iron block, a Rochester two-barrel carburetor, hydraulic valve lifters, four main bearings, 9.0:1 compression, and delivered 155 horsepower at 4,400 RPM. The optional V8 had a 300 cubic-inch displacement with 9.0:1 compression, a cast-iron block and aluminum heads, a Rochester two-barrel carburetor, hydraulic valve lifters, five main bearings, 9.0:1 compression, and delivered 210 horsepower at 4,600 RPM. The 225 was essentially a Buick 300 CID V8 with two fewer cylinders. A high-performance version of the V8 with a four-barrel carburetor and 11:1 compression boosted output by forty, to 250 horsepower at 4,600 RPM. For 1965, the engines would use cast-iron blocks and heads.
Pricing and Production
The Sport Coupe had a base price of $2,680 and was the most popular, with 42,356 examples built. The sedan was priced $272 higher than the Buick Special sedan and about $10 less than the Sport Coupe, at $2,670. Production was similar but higher than the 17,983 sedans produced of the Special, eclipsing it by 1,652 units, with 19,635 examples built. The convertible was priced at $2,835 and 10,255 examples were built. 1964 was the first year the Skylark was offered with a four-door sedan body style.
1965 Buick Skylark
The muscle car revolution was in full swing by the mid-1960s, fuel by the Pontiac Tempest, LeMans, and GTO. While not a traditional muscle car, Buick endowed its Skylark with plenty of performance in a nicely appointed package for a reasonable and respectable price point. Available with several options and styling choices, the Skylark could be custom-tailored to the buyer's tastes, needs, and budget, and its styling and stance was something that appealed to the youthful market.
The sound of power could be heard from Buick with its mid-year debut of the Skylark GS with power sourced from the 401 'Nailhead' V8 on the reinforced mid-size Skylark chassis. Standard equipment included dual exhausts, a heavy-duty radiator, Gran Sprot badging, and a heavy-duty suspension. Buick had also introduced the Gran Sport Riviera to the full-size market, and Buick had officially entered the muscle car arena.
The Skylark continued its perch above the Special and Special Deluxe, offering additional standard amenities and brightwork. It wore specific full wheel covers, full-width taillamps, a unique cove treatment, and bright rocker and wheelhouse moldings. Skylark badges rested on the deck lid, roof quarters, and front fenders. On the convertible, the emblem was placed on the rear fenders.
The list of standard equipment included dual horns, carpeting, a padded instrument panel, electric windshield wipers, directional signals, paddle-type armrests, courtesy lights, glove compartment lights, Step-On parking brake, ashtray and lighter set, dual sunshades, and foam-padded seats. The two-door body styles had rear passenger courtesy lights.
The 225 cubic-inch V6 powering the Special could also be found in the engine bay of the Skylark. It had overhead valves, a Rochester two-barrel carburetor, four main bearings, hydraulic valve lifters, 9.0:1 compression, and delivered 155 horsepower at 4,200 RPM. The 401 CID V8 had overhead valves, hydraulic valve lifters, five main bearings, a Carter or Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and delivered 325 horsepower at 4,600 RPM. Since General Motors, at the time, limited engine size to no-greater-than 400 cubic-inches in its intermediate vehicles, Buick literature listed the engine as a 400 cubic-inch unit.
Price and Production
The Skylark pricing decreased slightly compared to the 1964 model, with the Sport Coupe priced at $2,620, the sedan at $2,610, the two-door sedan at $2,480, and the convertible at $2,775. The eight-cylinder engine added approximately $70 to the base price, and most customers equipped their Skylarks with eight-cylinder power. The most popular continued to be the Sport Coupe with 46,698 examples of the V8 and 4,501 with the V6. 22,239 examples of the V8 Sedan were built along with 3,385 with the V6. 10,456 examples were V8 convertibles and 1,181 had the six. The newly introduced two-door sedan reached 11,877 units with the V8 and 4,195 with the six.
The combined six-cylinder Skylark production for 1965 was 13,262 units. The combined eight-cylinder production for the 1965 Skylark was 91,270 units. Combined six- and eight-cylinder Skylark production was 104,532 units, an increase of 32,286 units over the 72,246 units built-in 1964. The 104,532 Skylarks built-in 1964 represented approximately seventeen percent of Buick's production.
by Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2021
Related Reading : Buick Skylark History
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1965 Buick Skylark
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6 cyl., 225.00 CID., 155.00hp
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8 cyl., 401.00 CID., 325.00hp
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|1967||Chevrolet (2,206,639)||Ford (1,730,224)||Toyota (1,068,321)||562,507|
|1966||Ford (2,212,415)||Chevrolet (2,206,639)||Volkswagen (1,168,146)||553,870|
|1965||Chevrolet (2,375,118)||Volkswagen (1,174,687)||Toyota (1,068,321)||600,145|
|1964||Chevrolet (2,318,619)||Ford (1,594,053)||Toyota (1,068,321)||510,490|
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|1962||Chevrolet (2,061,677)||Ford (1,476,031)||Fiat (957,941)||399,526|
|1961||Ford (1,338,790)||Chevrolet (1,318,014)||Volkswagen (807,488)||276,754|
|1960||Chevrolet (1,653,168)||Ford (1,439,370)||Toyota (1,068,321)||253,807|