Car Show Outtake: 1979 Buick Skyhawk Road Hawk – Saddest Car Ever Made?

(first posted 7/30/2017)      We all know that cars are inanimate objects, but if they were capable of feeling emotions, I would nominate this 1979 Buick Skyhawk Road Hawk that I spotted at a recent car show as the saddest car of all time.


Paul has already gone on record calling the Buick Skyhawk “The Saddest H-Body. ” I will go a step further, and call the Road Hawk special edition of the Skyhawk one of the saddest cars ever. Here’s what I see when I look at this car:


William Stopford has already covered this limited (presumably by demand and not supply) edition Skyhawk here, but it is worth briefly recounting this car’s tortured lineage. The Road Hawk was a special trim package of the Buick Skyhawk for the 1979 and 1980 model years. The Buick Skyhawk shared its 2+2 bodywork with fellow H-Body stablemates Chevrolet Monza and Oldsmobile Starfire. The H-Body, in turn, traces its origins back to the 1971 Chevrolet Vega, so sadness is deeply imbued in the Road Hawk’s DNA.


While the Road Hawk included genuinely useful upgrades such as better tires and wheels, as well as improved front and rear suspension, the package is unfortunately overshadowed by the crudely integrated rear spoiler and bodywork. Pay particular attention to the panels affixed to the rear fender meant to widen the rear, but only widen the top half of the body and partially cover the tail lights. A Ruf 935 this is not.


50 Shades of Sad


The Road Hawk also had the added burden of carrying Buick’s performance banner during a relative low point in Buick’s performance offerings. The Wildcat, GS, and GSX (and their associated Stage 1 and 2 455 V8s) were distant memories by 1979. Yet the Grand National, GNX, and various T-Type models of the ’80s renaissance were still over the horizon. So Buick was left with an H-Body in drag to carry Buick’s performance mantel.


I’m not sure what Buick was really aiming for here: They missed so badly that it is hard to tell what their original target actually was. In any case, I am genuinely embarrassed for this car.

The buying public apparently agreed with my assessment and stayed away in droves. In the two model years the Skyhawk Road Hawk was available just over 2,000 were sold.

Related Reading

Automotive History: Shockingly Low Volume Production Cars – The Buick Edition

Top 10 Obscure Special Editions and Forgotten Limited-Run Models: Buick Edition, Part I