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Lot 457: Buick Skylark Convertible

Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia, Bonhams (3 June 2012)

Three special convertible models graced General Motors' 1953 catalogs. Cadillac's Eldorado featured standard chrome wire wheels and a top hidden, when lowered, by a body-color metal cover. The Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta came with every conceivable factory option except air conditioning. Both cars presaged the wraparound windshields that GM would usher in on the upscale marques for 1954. A model apart from the two was Buick's 1953 Skylark.

While the Eldorado and Fiesta were based on standard convertible bodies, the Skylark was something completely different. Although on the Roadmaster chassis, it had its own distinctive fender lines, and unlike the sibling specials retained a simple curved windshield. Called the "Anniversary Convertible," it commemorated Buick's 50th birthday and came standard with virtually all options, including Kelsey Hayes chrome wire wheels. With 1,690 built, the Skylark outsold the Eldorado and Fiesta by nearly three to one.

For 1954, the Skylark became a series unto itself, and the body was substantially redesigned. Rear fenders were bobbed, sloping gently down, and large chrome taillight nacelles were added. Finally there was a wraparound windshield, as on all '54 Buicks, and the wheel cutouts were enlarged and elongated, their contrasting color providing a visual accent. At $4,355 it was the most expensive Buick, priced more than $800 above the most expensive Roadmaster.

This Matador Red 1954 Buick Skylark is a very original, well maintained example with 74,153 miles showing on the odometer. The paint shows very well for its age, although it has been polished through a bit in places. The interior, finished in two-tone black and white is also indicative of continued efforts at preservation. Out back, a very uncommon 'continental kit' has been installed, with a lengthened rear bumper and trunk mounted spare. Its 322 cubic inch overhead valve V8, also used in the Roadmaster, develops 200bhp and appears quite tidy. Transmission is Buick's Dynaflow automatic. The car is equipped with all the standard Skylark equipment, including power steering, brakes, windows and seat, Selectronic radio with electric antenna, and the signature Kelsey Hayes wire wheels. The rarest 1954 Buick, with only 836 built, it is a fine example of the last of the Skylark sports models.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia
Bonhams, Greenwich, Connecticut
TypeCar
Lot Number457
Estimate$80000-$90000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1954
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number7A1057212
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2