canadiancatgreen has found a car I’ve been on the lookout for, but with no luck. And a Gran Sport version at that. This was an odd car for Buick to foist on its elderly clientele, and one that seemed to have no family relationship with the rest of the Buick family. One wanted to appreciate that it was trying to be a bit different, but pulling it off is another thing. It was one of the last cars designed by GM stylist Wayne Kady, know for a few other eccentric and less-then stellar designs.
Oddly enough—or not—my father bought a red four door version of this generation Skylark, and kept it to the end of his driving days, which was well past what they should have been, leaving it bruised and scarred. My brother was driving down York Road one day, and saw the red Skylark at a self-serve gas station, with my parents standing and looking at it. He pulled in, and noticed a flat tire and bent rim: my father mistook a curb for an entry apron. Driving with macular degeneration was not a hot idea. Fortunately, he soon was forced to stop, and then just act as navigator for my mother, who could still drive reasonably well, but was having memory problems and would have gotten lost without his guidance. Thus ended their their driving days.
I drove it a few times, including a three-day trip down to Willamsburg and then across the Chesapeke Bay Bridge-Tunnel, and a return up the Eastern Shore. It drove…just like so many millions of GM FWD cars of the era. Adequate transport; reasonably sprightly, with its 3.1 V6; and not very roomy, ensconced in a world of mouse-fur and GM-grade vinyl.
It was a rather surprising choice, given that my father had only ever bought one other GM car ever before, and also at a Buick dealer: a pale-green 1965 Opel Kadett A. It only lasted three years, its premature aging process hastened undoubtedly by my older brother’s merciless floggings.
And the Saturn Ion in the garage next to his Skylark? One day, he drove off in my mother’s beloved Civic, and returned with the Ion. She didn’t appreciate that at all, and let him know it for some time. Last I heard, one of my nieces was still driving it.