Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1953 Buick Skylark Hardtop

1953 Buick Skylark Hardtop Prototype

1953 Buick Skylark Hardtop

Photo By: Douglas Wilkinson
Date: March 14, 2010
Location: Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, Amelia Island, Florida

The 1953 Buick Skylark fuses styling queues from two sources, the XP300 LeSabre show car and stylist Ned Nickle's customized 1951 Buick convertible. This one-off Skylark hardtop is mounted on a Roadmaster chassis, used redesigned doors, quarter panels and a 1954 interior. The intent was to compete with European sports cars. It mates convertible styling and flash with the practicality of an all metal roof.

The result yielded the first real luxury coupe of the post-war period. Although its high production cost was prohibitive, the project was considered an overall success. The car toured America's Buick dealers and was spared the fate of most show cars, which were systematically destroyed. Eventually, it landed in the garage of the wife of Ivan Wiles, Buick's General Manager. After many years and 60,000 miles of use, the one-off car was returned to the factory where Hal Rancroft restored it to its original glory. It remains a wonderful example of the Harley Earl era styling as well as a unique piece of American automotive history.