From the era of General Motors sitting at the top of the world we have what is one of their most solid citizen efforts from 1966. Perhaps this ordinary Buick is the zenith of the American Sedan. Undeniably charming, exquisitely detailed and pretty well assembled are qualities that were part and parcel of any 1966 Buick Skylark.
Credible cushiness and competence helped make the most luxurious of junior Buicks something to pay attention to as the Senior Buicks continued to pack on pounds and even more padding as the 1960’s drew to a close.
Although the least popular of its corporate relatives, the attention these Buicks generated compared to rivals outside of the GM family was genuinely envy endorsing.
There was plenty to envy, however. No domestic rival was able to field an intermediate Four Door Hardtop sedan until Ford attempted in 1970 with their Torino/Montego Hardtop twins. By that point, the shift of focus away from Glamour Family Four Doors had solidly become the territory of General Motors in a waning market that focused on personal coupes and brougham sedans.
Even if there was cheaper corporate cousins from Chevrolet, Pontiac and Oldsmobile, there was incentive enough to plop down money for the 1/2 Cup sized interpretation of the Buick experience. You got the same powertrain as in the larger LeSabre in a easier to maneuver, more spritely package. In an era when most buyers were starting to feel that full sized sedans and coupes were getting too big, the Skylark offered a perfect Goldilocks solution; for the price of a larger Impala or Catalina, you got Tri-Shield snob appeal in a more pert package.
With the 1968 redesign, the Sedans morphed to a 116 inch wheelbase and started packing on the pounds. Later well optioned versions nearly tipped the scales at 2 tons, with oceanic bodywork that emphasized as much girth and width as possible.
The 1973 Colonnade models ditched the lithe Skylark name altogether to re-hash the Century nameplate. Perhaps it’s for the best that the little bird of the Buick line-up wasn’t sullied by the behemoth treatment. When the name returned, it was applied to the “compact” X-bodied based Buick, and remained the preferred entry point into the Buick experience.
Even today, although not with us in name, the concept of diminutive Buick comfort is available to buyers at costs and a hint of prestige comparable to the best of what the more mainstream brands can offer. Some traditions die hard, and fortunately, Buick has a forever possible potion when it comes to entry level luxury.