If a 1965 isn’t the best year for automobiles of all time, then I don’t know what year is better. Take this next car, it is a Buick Skylark that still has a reasonable curb weight and clean styling (later A-Body Buicks were heavier and chunkier) but is modern enough that you don’t have to deal with wacky engineering like a late ’50s car or complex emissions equipment like ’70s junk. It should have seat belts and with the addition of dual-circuit master cylinder (and discs up front) it should be totally drivable in 2020 or 2050 or 2065. Try that with a car from any other year. Find this 1965 Buick Skylark offered for $10,900 in La Mesa, CA via craigslist.
This might seem odd to people accustomed to blistering performance from every car on the street in 2020…but a car with 150 horsepower and a zero-to-60mph time of 7.5 seconds was a quick in 1984. That was faster than a Mustang GT (or SVO), faster than a Porsche 944, faster than an Mazda RX7, faster than a Z28 Camaro, faster than a V12 powered Jaguar XJS, faster than anything from Mercedes-Benz. Now you might ask, what front-wheel-drive car could hit 60mph in 7.5 seconds — and you might be tempted to look for some Honda CRX or something from Shelby’s Dodge years…but this car came straight from the lunatics at Buick, yes the Buick Skyhawk T-Type. The mostly unlikely and forgotten heroes of the sport compact car era. Find this 1984 Buick Skyhawk T-Type offered for $3,500 in Daly City, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
This next feature is a massive shout out to all the people who didn’t fit into the mainstream narrative. Yes. All the oddballs, all the weirdos, the innovators, because life is too short to NOT drive a Buick that looks like a Kia. But the LaCross Super is more than just another front-wheel-drive luxury machine from Buick whose buyers were migrating toToyota Avalons…because the Super means something. The Super on the back means this is the second fastest Buick ever built (the fastest is still the turbocharged GNX)…just let that sink in for a second…this is faster than the rear-drive Buicks with big engines from the 60s or the 90s or the modern all-wheel-drive junk that passes for a Buick in 2020…and this screwy LS4 equipped corporate cousin to the Pontiac Grand Prix GXP is equally at home at the drag strip or parked in a handicap space at HomeTown Buffet (they may have declared bankruptcy in the year of Covid…ugg). So drive this thing for a few hundred thousand stress free miles before someone scraps it to put the V8 into a Fiero. Find this 2008 Buick LaCross Super offered for $6990 in Milwaukee, WI via craigslist.
This next car is something else. It has that sweet 64 Buick Skylark hardtop shape that is undeniably sexy, and a built 327 V8 with a huge gas spewing carburetor, built powerglide 2-speed tranny, and the worlds smallest gas tank. I challenge you to find a car that would require more trips to the gas station than this car on a trip from LA to Vegas. But my kids need to go pee every 35 seconds whenever we are on a road trip, so perhaps this would work okay. I wonder if you could zip-tie a car seat to a roll cage… Find this 1964 Buick Skylark offered for $9,500 in Santa Rosa, CA via craigslist.
The is one of the few times that I’m going to feature a car and rave about it, but advise you not to buy it. Because this car represents a discontinuity in the automotive landscape and not because it is massive enough to start forming a black hole…but because it is so close to being perfect. Let’s start with the good — it is a B-Body Buick Roadmaster that were sold from 1991 to 1996 and it has a gorgeous wood paneling — actually, some people find the wood paneling to be tacky, but this example has “wood” in nice nick. It is also low miles and the ONLY thing holding it back is that it was born one year too early. In 1993 the Roadmaster was powered Chevy L05 V8…which is a slovenly hunk of pig iron, good for something like 180 horsepower, and if it it had been born one year later, it would have gotten a 260 horsepower LT1 V8 which takes it from zero to hero. So, in conclusion, nice car, great shape, wrong engine, don’t buy it. You’ll be better off waiting for a 1994-1996 Roadmaster. Find this 1993 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon offered for $6,999 in Easton, PA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
This next car comes as a tip from BarbPaddles who writes: Dealers are no doubt hungry in this ‘pandemic economy’ for such unique stuff. 5000+ pounds of American family cruising that anyone can service/maintain. Strangely during this coronacrisis dealers have seen used car prices increase, but that shouldn’t stop you from buying something like an undisputedly wood covered Buick wagon. Find this 1990 Buick Estate Wagon offered for $12,900 in Traverse City, MI via Hemmings.
I saw this next car and thought to myself; another 3-row, 8-passenger, wood paneled Buick station wagon from the mid 90s, must be a Roadmaster…except that it didn’t have the space ship styling or the longitudinally mounted V8 engine. Could it be possible that Buick thought the market for 8 passenger station wagons was so great in 1994 that they needed to offer multiple levels of wagonness. This wasn’t 1965…what were they thinking? I’m not sure, but what am I sure of is that I love the idea of an A-body with transverse mounted Buick V6 that was designed in the 1970s (this generation lasted from 1982-1996) was still available for sale in 1994 with wood sides and a set of rear facing jump seats. Find this 1994 Buick Century Wagon offered for $2,850 in Somers, CT via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
The strangest car you could find in a Buick dealer in 1972 wasn’t a Buick…but it did have styling that was hilariously similar to the Corvette and used transverse leaf spring suspension like the Vette. But where the size was 7/8ths scale of the Vette, the engine was only 1/8th the size, so performance isn’t exactly blistering…but GM sold an astonishing 103k example of these little West Germany assembled oddballs from 1968-1973. Today’s example has a nifty looking body kit and is offered at a premium price for a GT. Find this 1972 Opel GT offered for $14,995 in St Augustine, FL via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
When I first started reading about this next car, I have to admit that it got my nose crinkled up a bit. Why would you put a later V6 into a classic American muscle car when V8 power/torque/noise is so affordable…and then I thought…because you can. And because the Buick Grand National V6 was a turbocharged thing of beauty and not some junky Camry/Accord fuel saver. Nose un-crinkled, acknowledging positive head bob engaged. Find this 1968 Buick Skylark Buick V6 Turbo swapped offered for $14,999 in Lindenhurst, NY via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
This next car has an interesting color. I thought it looks like the color looks like a classic rotary telephone or a beige known as cosmic latte…which is what scientists argue is the net average color of the universe if you combined all the photons coming in from visible galaxies. I thought this was a profound answer to this question until Kaibeezy told me this color reminded him of his grandma — who grew up in a very poor part of the universe where tea bags would be reused 3-4 times and tea would be mostly milk (sugar added when she immigrated to America and could afford such luxury) — so the correct color of this is “very milky tea.” Find this 1961 Buick Special Sedan offered for $8000 in Westside Los Angeles, CA (or Lake Arrowhead?) via craigslist.