By on December 3, 2014

DOTJ-72Skylark-03After 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™!
DOTJ-72Skylark-11Actually, 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!
DOTJ-72Skylark-02The 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.
DOTJ-72Skylark-07Yes, 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.

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39 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1972 Buick Skylark Sedan...”


  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    I’m with you. Have always been a huge fan of Buick and Olds engines over sister brand “C”

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      The Olds 350 (at least the ones built up to 1977, before GM cut costs with a thinner block, lighter crankshaft, and fragile, poor-flowing heads manufactured by Pontiac) was a tough and torquey engine. While I love the 455, I think I’d be perfectly satisfied with a nice 350 Cutlass as well.

  • avatar
    DM335

    It’s hard to imagine that it was ever acceptable to screw a dealership nameplate onto the trunk of a car, but I think it was somewhat common in the 60s and 70s.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Lotta rear-seat legroom now.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Aside from the non-matching front clip, the few remaining interior bits in this car appear to indicate that this car was in pretty good shape prior to being junked. Pity…

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    For the longest time I had no idea GM made these cars with four doors, because the coupes were the only version I ever saw. I still think they’re baroque grotesqueries in any form, possibly because they were all clapped-out mullet cars by the mid-late ’80s when I started paying attention.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You know there’s something to that. It’s much easier to find Olds/Chev/Caddy sedans than it is Buicks from this time period. I mean how often do you see huge old Electras?

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I have found a surprising number of older Oldsmobile 88s on Craigslist and in classifieds books, yes…hell, I even found a 1969 98 at an auction being held at a junkyard!

      • 0 avatar
        cajunmedic

        The last good one that was affordable I found, I snagged in ’98. ’74 Electra 225, 2-door, Landau roof, fully loaded, mint condition, with original poly bag with all the manuals, paperwork, original invoice, etc. It was at the original selling dealer for 1500 bucks-75,000 miles. It had been traded in on a Caddy by the 1st owner-actually met her. Family used it while I was in the military. Destroyed it. I swore if I got one more letter saying something was wrong with it, I was going AWOL!

  • avatar
    YotaCarFan

    What’s the purpose of the big steel gear attached to the front of the engine fan? Is that where you stick the crank to start the engine?

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      Its the fan clutch. The round portion is filled with some sort of oil and as it heats up the fan is engaged.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Fan clutches (the thermostatic ones) were a pretty good idea. (Well, as long as they work and don’t burst, just like any mechanical invention that has to spin around very fast.) The fan didn’t move much air when the engine was cold (save power plus let the engine warm up sooner because it’s not blowing cold air on the block), but the pulleys could be sized to move a LOT more air when the engine got hot (or you were running the air conditioner on a hot day, etc.).

        Question for the B&B, is it just me or is that fan facing the wrong way? The concave surface looks like it’s facing where the radiator would be. ??

  • avatar
    Birddog

    68-72 (and 73-77) A body sedans are pretty rare anywhere now. Mainly because the coupe styling didn’t translate well to 4 doors.
    Basically, they’re fugly.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They are not elegant when compared to other styling (like Fords) from this time. I don’t care much for it at all.

      However, it has the most paneling on the doors of any car I’ve ever seen.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Just look at that upright windshield, with a gentle curve around the sides so you can see kids darting in front of you! Notice also the tall side windows that let you see that idiot passing you on the right, and would you look at the huge trunk lid that would allow you to put a big box in the trunk! Whatever happened to those features?

    • 0 avatar
      ex-x-fire

      My parents had some mid 70s fords when I got my F-85, I couldn’t believe how much the hood on the fords blocked the front view compared to the olds. The olds was much like a Honda in that respect.

  • avatar
    psymark

    I had this exact model back in the ’80s inherited from my grandfather..Was always amazed how strong the 350 2 barrel was. always chirped the tires from a standing start and was brisk around town…meager horsepower rating..but ultra quick…I always felt it was a combination of favorable throttle linkage ratio and rear axle ratio…It was actually a fun car for the day..until the transmission took a dump.

  • avatar

    Dang, I could use that 4-barrel intake for my Wagoneer.

    Yes, Kaiser (prior to being bought by AMC) put Buick 350s and TH400s in Wagoneers and J-trucks as the top-spec engine in the 60s.

    The fun part is they have a BOP pattern on the trans, so you can drop in various 455s or Caddy beast motors with relative ease.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Was that slab of plastic woodgrain on the door panels stock, or someone’s later “enhancement”?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    That front bench seat wore incredibly well.

    This was for quite some time a well cared for, loved car.

    Alas the crusher finds most of them.

  • avatar
    otsegony

    All the different flavors of this car from Chevy through Buick were popular in my neighborhood. My family had the 1971 Pontiac LeMans version of this with the 350. Virtually all of them were equipped with the same combo of a 350, Turbo Hydramatic three speed transmission, A/C and AM radios. It wasn’t until years later that I found out that each of the engines was made by the different divisions and were not the same. Why would GM make four supposedly different cars all at virtually the same price?

    • 0 avatar
      ex-x-fire

      They were not the same price, $500 difference in price could keep you out of an olds or buick. Anyways, GM was that big were they could offer that many models under each division. Olds had a basic A body that they called an F-85, it was priced to compete with chevys & fords.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    “Why would GM make four supposedly different cars all at virtually the same price?”

    You’re just gonna rip open that old wound, aren’t you? ;)

  • avatar
    AFX

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      NH2VA

      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.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    “For the longest time I had no idea GM made these cars with four doors,”

    “Why would GM build separate motors?”

    Young ones, sigh.

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