Junkyard Find: 1972 Buick Skylark Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

After seeing this ’72 Ford Econoline one-ton camper van on Tuesday and this ’72 Mercury Monterey coupe on Monday, how about another 1972 Junkyard Find? Here’s a ’72 Buick Skylark that I shot in a Denver yard, all the way back in 2010; I’d been saving these photos until I could come up with a whole week’s worth of GM A-body cars, but the A-bodies have become so valuable (and thus rare in cheap self-serve wrecking yards) that I’ve run out of patience. Welcome back to 1972 Junkyard Week™!

Actually, I shot these photos immediately after moving to Denver to marry my long-distance girlfriend. Hey, that reminds me of a family legend I hear every time I’m around my in-laws, about the time my future wife, at age six, got carsick and barfed all over the interior of the brand-new ’71 Skylark coupe her father had just bought the day before (in her defense, she’d warned the grown-ups that she wasn’t feeling so good). So much for That New Car Smell!

The Buick 350 was completely unrelated to the Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac 350s, but GM ensured many decades of parts-counter confusion by giving them all the same nominal displacement number and doing plenty of mix-and-match engine roulette later in the 1970s. The Buick and Olds 350s were the best for convenience-store-parking-lot burnouts, in my opinion.

Yes, I bought this dealer emblem. I sent it to a Swedish lover of old Detroit cars (along with a few license plates) for garage decor a couple of months back.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • AFX AFX on Dec 03, 2014

    I had a 2-door 1971 Skylark Custom, 350 with a 2-barrel, 350 Turbo Hydramatic, power steering, no air conditioning, and non-power DRUM brakes all the way around. Getting it going wasn't a problem, getting it stopped was, at 65mph I'd have about 2-3 seconds of stopping power then all brake fade after that. It didn't need ABS because it was almost impossible to lock the brakes up unless you were on snow or ice. I bought my car around 1986, it had 57,000 miles on it at the time and was in great shape except for a crease on the fender, and I paid a whopping $750 for it. I drove that thing as a daily driver, and eventually the lack of engine compression and road salt killed it when it had around 175,000 miles on it. All the A-body cars rusted out in the same places, the rear wheel arches, the lower rear quarters, the bottom of the front fenders, the bottoms of the doors, underneath the battery tray, at the lower edge of the rear glass, at the lower corners of the windshield, the trunk floors, the floor pan near the dimmer switch and the brake pedal, and around the floor pan by the front seat mounts. It was an OK car, it really wasn't a muscle car with the 350 2-barrel setup, and the handling was poor too. With the front bench seat and me being 6'3" the top of my head was in the headliner while driving it. We actually had 3 A-body cars in the family, my 71 Skylark, my dad's 1970 Olds Cutlass S, and my brother's 1972 Pontiac Luxury LeMans.

    • NH2VA NH2VA on Dec 04, 2014

      AFX Right there with you brother! My First Car was a 1972 Pontiac Luxury LeMans with the 350, 2-barrel, 350 Turbo Hydramatic, power steering, with A/C and drums all around. I had many fast trips, with harrowing stopping experiences. One involved me approaching a blind curve, and swerving to miss a deer standing in the road, I stood on the brakes, and they only gave me the option of hitting Bambi, or grazing the guard rail - which I chose, only minor damage on the passenger side. I had to sell my LeMans after I took a job which required quite a commute, me needing better than my 8 mpg - I was averaging from my daily driver.

  • Chicagoland Chicagoland on Dec 03, 2014

    "For the longest time I had no idea GM made these cars with four doors," "Why would GM build separate motors?" Young ones, sigh.

  • Varezhka The biggest underlying issue of Mitsubishi Motors was that for most of its history the commercial vehicles division was where all the profit was being made, subsidizing the passenger vehicle division losses. Just like Isuzu.And because it was a runt of a giant conglomerate who mainly operated B2G and B2B, it never got the attention it needed to really succeed. So when Daimler came in early 2000s and took away the money making Mitsubishi-Fuso commercial division, it was screwed.Right now it's living off of its legacy user base in SE Asia, while its new parent Nissan is sucking away at its remaining engineering expertise in EV and kei cars. I'd love to see the upcoming US market Delica, so crossing fingers they will last that long.
  • ToolGuy A deep-dive of the TTAC Podcast Archives gleans some valuable insight here.
  • Tassos I heard the same clueless, bigoted BULLSHEET about the Chinese brands, 40 years ago about the Japanese Brands, and more recently about the Koreans.If the Japanese and the Koreans have succeeded in the US market, at the expense of losers such as Fiat, Alfa, Peugeot, and the Domestics,there is ZERO DOUBT in my mind, that if the Chinese want to succeed here, THEY WILL. No matter what one or two bigots do about it.PS try to distinguish between the hard working CHINESE PEOPLE and their GOVERNMENT once in your miserable lives.
  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.