The 1953 Buick Skylarks were a limited production car built by General Motors. All of the Skylarks during the 1953 model year were built as convertibles. The 1953 Buick Skylark convertible is considered to be a specialty car and helped to mark the 50th anniversary of General Motors. The automobile was one of three specialty cars built by GM during 1953 with the others being Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs. The best selling of the three was the Buick model. The fact that the 1953 Buick Skylark convertible was a limited run edition makes it a very popular collector's car. The Buick Skylark went into production in January of 1953 and was in the showrooms by spring.
The 1953 Buick Skylark Design
The overall design of the 1953 Buick Skylark was essentially taken from the Roadmaster model. The Skylark had the same dimensions as the Roadmaster with the exception that the car's height. The Skylark was based on the big 1953 Buick Roadmaster convertible, which because of it's bulk and size couldn't really be considered a sports car. Regardless of it's large size, Buick did refer to the auto as a sports car. Cited were it's low lines and wire wheels. The front seat was lowered to the point where the seatback sat level with the tops of the doors. What the Buick Skylark didn't have were the front fender "portholes" to keep its styling clean. The car did have special body side emblems ahead of the rear wheels.
1953 Buick Skylark buyers were able to enjoy just about any luxury available on a car that year. These included soft-tanned two-tone cowhide seats and the buyer could have his or her name engraved on a gold-colored emblem plate on the steering wheel hub. All of these accessories came as standard equipment which even included tinted glass, whitewall tires, power seats, power windows, power steering and power brakes.
Of special note is that the Buick Roadmaster Skylark sported genuine Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels. The Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels made to Buick specifications and sported red, white and blue "50th anniversary" emblems in their hubs. Another standard feature mentioned above were a leather interior and reshaped wheel openings.
As if this wasn't enough, Buick put in their "Selectronic" signal-seeking radio with a power antenna and a floor-button control that changed stations. This truly was an auto accessory ahead of it's time. The radio had a "more/less" knob that when adjusted would stop the radio at more or fewer stations.
Buick's Skylark was sold for two years with sales for 1953 being 1,690 units. The car sold new in 1953 for about $5,000. Interestingly enough, and because of it's relatively steep price, only a little over 800 cars sold in 1954 and at a reduced price of around $4,500. To give you an idea of the high price of the Skylark convertible, a 1953 Cadillac convertible cost even less than the Buick Skylark convertible. In a way, this limited production over two years made the Buick Roadmaster Skylarks even more of a popular rare collector automobile.
Total Buick Skylark sales in 1953 represented a small portion compared to other 1953 Buicks however this special edition auto created a publicity bonanza for Buick. The car in essence was an auto show concept car in every regard that was available to the average buyer who could afford the price.
1953 Buick Roadmaster Skylark Convertible Specs
The engine was a four-barrel-fed 322-cid V-8 that produced 188 horsepower. This was considered a fairly powerful engine in 1953. The engine was called the "Fireball V-8". The new engine replaced the inline eight cylinder engine that had all cylinders set in a row. Official top speed for the vehicle was 105 MPH. The automobile's official weight came in at 4,315 lbs.
The car's wheelbase was 121.5 inches, the total length of 201 5/8 inches, a width of 79 7/8 inches and a height of 63 inches. Front suspension were independent coil springs and a rear suspension of coil springs. The transmission was a "Dynaflow" automatic and the 1953 Skylark could seat six people.
Collectors Car Information
Auto auctions show that the 1953 Buick Roadmaster Skylark Convertible sold for prices of $100,000 and up even to near $200,000. The condition and restoration performed dictated the selling prices.
(Photos from author's private collection)