Junkyard Find: 1980 Buick Skylark Limited

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

We saw a Cadillac and an Oldsmobile as our last two Junkyard Finds, so how about another member of the General Motors family? Yes, it’s a rare example of the Buick sibling to the Chevrolet Citation, the first of the front-wheel-drive Skylarks.

The Skylark name had already endured the 1975 through 1979 model years on Buick-badged Chevy Novas, but that humiliation was nothing next to the misery of the Iron Duke engine. The worst car I have ever experienced was the Pontiac version of this car, so I admit having some anti-X-Body/Iron Duke bias.

They spell it this way over there in England, so Detroit switched to the “litre” spelling on its displacement badges during this era. Those 2.5 litres produced 84 horsepower in the ’80 Skylark’s Iron Duke, by the way.

Inside, much blue and purple Nearly Velour™ fabric, much aggressively fake wood, and many LIMITED badges.

The MSRP on a new 1980 Skylark Limited sedan was $5,306, or around $16,500 in 2017 dollars. A Duked Citation sedan was just $5,153, the Oldsmobile Omega version was $5,266, and the Pontiac Phoenix listed at $5,251. Fortunately, the rear-wheel-drive Nova-based Skylark was available through the 1988 model year … in Iran.

This car managed to outlive 95 percent of the Hondas and Toyotas sold for the 1980 model year, so there’s that.

“They made their efficient smaller cars luxurious, and their luxurious larger cars efficient!”

“Skylark also gets a lot of votes for its stand on the economy.”

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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  • Bobmaxed Bobmaxed on May 11, 2017

    Limited: "restricted in size, amount, or extent; few, small, or short" To me a car that brags that it is limited has never made any sense.

  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on May 24, 2017

    This is one of the very first rental cars I remember riding in. My Dad was working out of town and we went to visit him. It was certainly an Skylark in this color. These cars were everywhere in Pittsburgh, all X bodies were, and then suddenly they weren't. But every once in awhile, you'll see one that has survived.

  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.