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1962 Buick Skylark hardtop

Matt Harwood

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I've known this car for many years, as it was owned by the same gentleman who rebuilt my Century's straight-8 engine. What makes it cool isn't the two-owner history, nor the 100% original interior, nor the fact that it has been repainted but never restored. No, what I love about this little black hardtop is the all-aluminum V8 under the hood, the 4-speed manual gearbox, and the Positraction rear end--pretty much the sole options on the car. It's fast, fun, agile, and bulletproof reliable, having been on several long-distance road trips in the not-too-distant past.


It has been repainted in its original code A black, probably 20 years ago, and the bodywork underneath is straight enough to carry the black paint. Not perfect, but pretty darned nice. The chrome and stainless trim is in excellent shape, being almost entirely original, and it's full of original glass, too. The car was originally delivered to Minnesota, so it probably spent a few years in winter weather, but there's no major rust or rot that I can find and the unrestored undercarriage is commendably clean. Doors close properly and it seals up well. 


The interior is almost entirely original save for the carpets, which were probably replaced when the car was painted. No splits or tears and even the driver's seat is firm and not all crushed down. Options are minimal, mostly just the engine and the transmission, but it does have a working AM radio and a [reportedly] very effective heater. For a small(ish) car it's pretty comfortable for four people and I know for a fact that the trunk will carry a week's worth of luggage for two people without any problem. 


Buick's innovative 215 cubic inch all-aluminum V8 is a neat piece of engineering and enjoyed a remarkably long life powering all kinds of British vehicles, including Land Rovers well into the early 2000s. In this car, its specs are modest but it weighs almost nothing and with the 4-speed, performance is brisk, especially since this is the high-compression 4-barrel version. It makes muted V8 sounds and rips through the gears with authority when you really prod it. There's a posi rear end, so it scoots pretty well, and even with manual steering and brakes, it never feels overwhelmed. Can you tell I love this car? 13-inch wheels and tires look a little lost in the wheel wells, but that's how it was built so I can't complain, although I do think it deserves some better rolling stock or perhaps just some blackwall tires.


It also includes the original manuals, build sheet, and a window sticker. 


You either get it or you don't with this car. You can put me firmly in the column of "love it" and since we know it has been loved mechanically, you should have no qualms about using it as intended. It's solid, clean, and a little bit unusual. Price is $24,900 and I can think of a lot of cars that cost more that aren't this much fun to drive. I might even bring it to Hershey to drive around town because it's just the right size. Thanks for looking!


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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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