The Rare 1954 Buick Skylark Convertible

The Buick Skylark Series 100 came on the market in 1954 as it’s own series of cars. The car had been originally designed by Harley Earl as a part of the 1953 Buick Roadmaster series and was available as a convertible only as was the 1954 model. Both Flint Michigan built cars were planned for very limited production runs.

1954 Buick Skylark Convertible

1954 Buick Skylark Convertible

General Motors claimed that their Skylark Convertible was their answer to the European imported sports car which appears to be a stretch.

This was something both Ford with their Thunderbird and Chevy with their Corvette also claimed but probably a little more convincing story. It’s hard to see an automobile weighing in excess of 4,000 lbs being classified as a sports car. By the same token the 1954 Buick Skylark had terrific pep and a new engine.

The Skylark was brought out in 1953 to commemorate Buick’s fifty years in business. In fact, three convertibles were brought out in 1953 to celebrate Buick’s fifty year mark.

1954 Buick Skylark Design

The contrasting colors of the 1954 Buick Skylark wheel wells

The contrasting colors of the 1954 Buick Skylark wheel wells

The 1953 Skylark was originally intended to be offered only for one year but GM elected to carry it over into 1954 as it’s own distinct series. The low sleek design, round wheel openings and sloped trunk put together by Harley Earl in 1953 was pretty much intact on the 1954 Skylark. The Skylark also offered contrasting colors for the wheel cutouts which really made them stand out from the car’s body color. Probably the biggest difference from 1953 to 1954 was in the car’s rear with the addition of chrome tail fins and new tail lights. The car appeared lower than most convertibles at the time and the interior was luxurious leather.

It’s thought that some of the styling in the 1954 Skylark came from the XP-300 which was Harley Earl’s show car experimental LaSabre project. many might say that the 1954 Buick Skylark represented the top design of Buick’s styling history.

Distinctive 1954 Buick Skylark Badge

Distinctive 1954 Buick Skylark Badge

The chassis was new for 1954 departing from the Roadmaster chassis used in 1953 and adopting one that was used with the Century and Special Buick models which was shorter. The powertrain was the same as on the Roadmaster and Century models.

Harley Earl is known as GM’s first design head and used the first sculpted clay models for automotive designing. His trade was that of a coachbuilder. During the Second World War Earl worked on camouflage vehicle training and research for the Army and General Motors. He is also credited with signing off on the 1948 Cadillac design which some say was the first use of tail fins on automobiles. Earl retired from GM in 1958.

1954 Buick Skylark Specifications

The 1954 Buick Skylark was built with a 322 cubic inch V-8 engine delivering 200 horsepower. This was a new GM engine and first appeared in the Buick Skylark. The engine came with a four barrel carburetor.

1954 Skylark headlight design

1954 Skylark headlight design

Zero to 60 MPH was reported to be in 12 seconds and the car could reach a top speed of 105 MPH. Pretty good statistics for a 4,300 pound automobile.

The car’s transmission was a Dynaflow automatic which was standard with the model as were power seats, steering and windows. A power convertible top was also standard.

Brakes were four wheel power drum.

Front suspension was independent coil springs with rear suspension of a longitudinal leaf spring.

The 1954 Buick Skylark’s dimensions included a 122.0 inch wheelbase, an overall length of 216.8 inches, a width of 79.8 inches and a height of 64.4 inches. The car’s weight was about 4,300 lbs.

1954 Buick Skylark grille

1954 Buick Skylark grille

New car price for the 1954 Buick Skylark two door sport convertible was about $4,500.

You may enjoy comparing this 1954 Buick Skylark Convertible to the automobiles on the links below…

The 1955 Cadillac Coupe

The 1954 Pontiac Star Chief

1954 Buick Skylark, A Popular Collector’s Car

The 1954 Buick Skylark, Buick’s top of the line model that year, was a car with a total production of just over eight hundred. Talk about rarity. Both the 1953 and the new 1954 Skylarks were limited production models. In 1953, 1,690 vehicle were produced and in 1954 830. After this two year limited production run, the Buick Skylark disappeared and wasn’t seen again until 1961.

When the Skylark reappeared in 1961 it was a an intermediate sport coupe and with a 215 cubic inch V-8. The designs of the 1953 and 1954 Buick Skylarks were a world apart from the 1961 model.

Engine on this 1954 Buick Skylark

Engine on this 1954 Buick Skylark

As of this writing, car auction prices for the 1954 Buick Skylark in mint showroom condition have been over $100,000. Not a surprising price at all for this rare limited production vehicle. One such price asked is at $165,000 and another is $129,000. You’ll see that over the past few years the average sales prices have been at about $120,000 with the highest recorded price being almost $250,000. One thing for sure is that both the 1953 and 1954 Buick Skylarks are near the top of automobile collector’s lists.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)