• Comprehensive, nut-and-bolt restoration guided by the late Jim Miller
• Beautifully presented and highly correct example of a true landmark
• Finished in seldom-seen Reef Blue exterior with striking two-tone interior
• One year only production as Buick’s Motorama-inspired, 50th Anniversary prestige model
322 cid “Nailhead” OHV V-8 engine, 188 HP, Twin-Turbine Dynaflow automatic transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle, hydraulic four-wheel, power-assisted drum brakes; wheelbase: 121.5"
The early 1950s heralded a dynamic new era for America, captured by General Motors and its celebrated Motorama shows. While Buick’s XP-300 Motorama concept of 1951 was highly exotic and not suited to volume production, public acclaim encouraged Buick executives to develop sportier upscale models. Accordingly, the Skylark prototype of 1952 and its limited-production release for 1953 was a perfect way for Buick to celebrate its upcoming Golden Anniversary. A low-slung and highly luxurious four-seat convertible based on the top-level Roadmaster with design directed by legendary GM design chief, Harley Earl, the Skylark was highly advanced and predicted the “personal luxury” market that emerged just a few years later.
While folklore suggested the Skylark’s rakish design was born of Buick Chief Stylist Ned Nickles’ modifications to his own Roadmaster, experts now agree the Skylark progressed directly from a 3/8th-scale clay styling model to blueprints and then actual production. Skylark bodies were highly customized and largely hand-built with extensive use of lead-filled body seams. Therefore, while the Skylark was officially a “production” model, no two are truly identical, making each survivor that much more interesting and distinctive.
As the sole Buick model offered for 1953 without Buick’s signature “ventiports,” the Skylark featured Buick’s first use of the modern front-opening “alligator” hood. Other stylistic hallmarks of the Skylark included headlamps derived from the XP-300 GM Motorama show car, a sectioned windshield and convertible top, sculpted body sides and doors, full-radius rear wheel wells, slim full-length sweep spear body side mouldings, lowered seats, and Kelsey-Hayes 40-spoke chrome wire wheels. The Skylark’s advanced mechanical features were part of Charlie Chayne’s engineering legacy and included Buick’s first overhead-valve V-8 engine, a 322 cubic-inch unit developing 188 horsepower with the highest compression ratio available from an American marque (8.5:1), plus a Twin-Turbine Dynaflow automatic transmission.
All standard and optional Roadmaster-series features were standard on the Skylark, except air conditioning. Among them were power brakes, power steering, power front seat, power windows, a Selectronic signal-seeking radio with a foot-operated seek button and sensitivity control, a power radio antenna, two-tone pleated leather upholstery, a power top, and reliable 12-volt electrics, rendering the Skylark Anniversary Convertible the best-equipped Buick ever made. An innovative supplementary heater was even installed underneath the front seat. Priced from $5,000, the Skylark was available starting in January 1953, with only 1,690 produced in total. A landmark car in every respect, the 1953 Skylark forms part of the highly collectible and coveted GM “Triple Crown” or “Grand Slam”, along with the Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Fiesta.
Remarkably, this 1953 Skylark is one of the last cars restored under the guidance of Jim Miller, the well-known and respected classic-car collector from Ontario, Canada. Sparingly driven since the restoration was completed, this Skylark is handsomely finished in the rare factory color of Reef Blue. Typical of the quality classics owned by Mr. Miller, this Skylark displays exceptional bodywork, paint, and panel fit, excellent bright trim, and a gorgeous leather-upholstered two-tone interior displaying little wear. The engine bay and V-8 engine are similar in finish and presentation, down to their proper colors, finishes, fasteners, labels, and accessory items, plus a period style battery and glass windshield-washer bottle. The trunk compartment is similarly impressive, including correct panels, floor covering, and a spare wire wheel mounting a period style wide whitewall tire.
Highly equipped and excellent throughout, this 1953 Buick Skylark is a historic GM Motorama-inspired dream car that simply must be experienced. An unquestionable postwar design icon, it continues to demonstrate that “…beauty is just the beginning,” as declared in Buick advertisements.
1953 Buick Skylark Convertible
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