Thank you to William Oliver
A genuine survivor. Learn more about the recent past (April 2019) of this long-lived Buick from earlier CC articles:
Paul’s original article: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/cc-capsule/cohort-capsule-1978-buick-skylark-new-york-brownstone/
William’s followup: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1978-buick-skylark-the-dauntless-little-buick/
A nasty bump on an otherwise decent looking survivor. Being a four door there is a low likely hood of being fixed.
As a child growing up in the NYC suburbs and taking frequent trips into “The City”, this is what I remember virtually every NYC car looking like. The City was hard on cars, and people bought cheap ones, knowing they would be thrashed in a few years. Darts and Valiants were particularly popular NYC cars for this reason.
I’ve seen this survivor parked in the village for at least ten years. It’s relatively rare. It’s most often parked by the Village East Cinema on 12th and 2nd Ave. someone bashed the front in not too long ago but it’s definitely still kickin. I’ve never seen it in motion.
As much as I complain about how terrible GM cars were in the late 70’s and 80’s, this is the kind of vehicle that they did really, really well. Front engine, rear drive, automatic. Handsome styling, and plenty of room for four. This Nova (sorry Buick Skylark) is like a pair of old but good work boots; beat up and ignored, but still great for slogging through the mud and snow.
Sure, by this era we’re into the cheap interiors that break into pieces, and the bumper-gap covers that vanish, and the powerless engines that hate to start when they’re cold, but this is the kind of GM product that started the meme:
“GM cars run bad longer than most cars run at all”
We’ve seen this car before on CC but it’s always good to see it again. As plentiful as these were, it’s sad how few remain.
Only a matter of time before this one vaporizes off the roads of NYC. Rot holes, busted lamp.. some inspection station has been turning a blind eye on this one per their regs.
There was a beat-up ’78 Phoenix that hung around Forest Hills for a few years. Saw the owner/driver once – the guy was not in great shape.
Could this be the most featured car on CC? It’s a good one that somehow survived 40+ despite having nothing desirable about it (year, model, # of doors, engine, etc). I love the lead photo with no other cars in it. It’s like stepping back in 1988, when this was the typical old, rusty car you’d see curbside in places like Manhattan.
I hated this whole era from GM for many reasons; one of which was the 1971 Buick Skylark that my dad bought new. Like this one it had four doors, which to me ruined the styling of that particular model. However, it was rock solid, handled well for what it was and had a strong long-stroke 350 Buick V8. To think that seven short years later, this is what passed for a Skylark, just made me shake my head.
In 1979 when I graduated college, I bought the only GM car I still saw as desirable – a new Corvette. Bad build quality and reliability cured me of GM for the rest of my life up till now, with the exception of a 2002 Tahoe I bought used in 2007 to tow a boat. That vehicle was actually not too bad, because it was essentially a truck – IMHO, the only decent vehicles GM still makes.
My uncle owned this exact car in light blue with the Buick 231 V6. They had it for what seemed like forever until he decided to trade up for a dark blue 1985 Park Ave in the later 80’s. The 78 Skylark was a great daily driver for them and reliable but it was nowhere near the car the 85 Park Ave was. They thought they died and went to heaven with that Park and kept it until my uncle passed away in 1997. His grandson then inherited the car, which was still in good shape, and had it a few more years until he totaled it in a crash.
I remember my uncle commenting that he wished he waited until 1979 for a Skylark because of the free breathing improvements made to the 231 and how it felt livelier and a bit smoother in a few he drove at his service station.
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