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Real-deal GS, 455/auto, buckets with console, clean, solid car!

1965 Buick Skylark

Condition: Used
Make: Buick
Model: Skylark
SubModel: Gran Sport
Year: 1965
Mileage: 57,825
VIN: 444375H267497
Color: Black
Engine: 455 cubic inch V8
Cylinders: 8
Transmission: 2-speed automatic
Interior color: Black Vinyl
Vehicle Title: Clear
Item location: Macedonia, Ohio, United States

Description for Buick Skylark 1965

Within minutes of the first-quarter Pontiac GTO sales reports arriving at GM headquarters in 1964, the other divisions decided that the burgeoning muscle car market was just too hot to ignore. Cars like the Oldsmobile 442, Chevelle SS, and yes, the Buick Gran Sport, rolled out as quickly as engineers and marketing departments could assemble the packages. It was a glorious time if you were into performance and style, and the variety of cars, options, engines, and colors was truly staggering if you were just starting to shop for a performance car. If you were a person of means, perhaps a little luxury with your muscle was preferable and you went to the Buick store, where you'd find a take-no-prisoners Skylark with a bigger motor than any other GM intermediate (a 401 Nailhead, which broke GM's "400 cubic inch" rule by one cube) and a pretty healthy dose of luxury to go with it. It was fast, yes, but it also cruised quietly and looked like a grown-up's car so you could drive it to the office every day.

The first question many ask about this handsome black-on-black GS is whether it is a real GS. All the signs point to yes, including the code "S" on the trim tag. While there don't seem to be any definitive answers, the guys who study these cars day-in and day-out all confirm that all GS cars have that "S" while no garden-variety Skylarks do. At any rate, the price isn't such that there's any upside to faking a GS—they remain eminently affordable and if this particular car were a GTO or a Chevelle, we could safely double the price. With a Buick, you get a heck of a lot of car for your money, even today.

The restoration is a few years old, so it's no longer perfect, but when it was done, it appears to have been a very high-quality job. The cowl tag is vague on the car's original color, but we can find nothing but black on it today, so the repaint was obviously a full disassembly job that was sure to get every nook and cranny. The sheetmetal underneath is in very good shape and since there are no reproduction panels for these cars, you know it's OEM throughout. Site down its flanks and you see an unbroken line from nose to tail, that gentle crease that defines the Skylark bodywork, and the gaps are good all around. We detailed the car and brought out the shine, and a deeper cut and buff would make it look better still. Black is tough to keep perfect, but for casual cruise nights and driving, this car has the right look. All of the irreplaceable trim is in excellent shape, with good chrome on the bumpers, bright stainless trim around the windows, and the unique red Gran Sport emblems in their proper places. Out back, the full-width taillight is just plain cool, and it, too, works like it should. You don't see many of these cars, but this one certainly makes a statement.

Black buckets with a console is how this one was originally delivered and that's what's in there today. It was surely reupholstered at some point because it's just too nice to be 52 years old. The seats wear correct patterns and durable vinyl, just the way the factory did it, and the carpets are excellent. Even the door panels, with plenty of bright trim (the chrome around the armrest on both doors is showing some age but the rest is new), look almost factory fresh. Buick's center console was incredibly stylish and uses the same artistic shifter you'd find in the Riviera, a little piece of sculpture that's a delight to use. The factory gauges cover only the basics of speed and fuel level, so someone thoughtfully added a tachometer to the steering column and a temperature gauge under the dash, both perfectly acceptable in a performance-oriented muscle car like the GS. The steering wheel is wearing a leather wrap, but it appears to be in good condition underneath. Buick called their radios "Sonomatic" and the original AM radio is still in the dash, but while it powers up it doesn't make any sound so an upgrade is probably a good idea. Otherwise, everything works: gauges, heater, lights. The trunk is in good order with correct spatter-finish paint and a full-sized spare tire with cover, and it's just a reproduction mat away from looking its best.

While the 401 was a good engine, this car now carries a thundering 455 cubic inch V8 from a later Buick. Rebuilt and topped with a 4-barrel carburetor, it makes the kind of effortless torque for which Buicks are rightfully famous. No heavier than the Nailhead, it's a nice bonus if you like to run fast. It's also an easy fit in the Skylark's spacious engine bay so no cutting was required to get the big block in there. It starts easily and idles well, with a muscular V8 burble from the twin tailpipes out back. They seemed to put a little extra effort into the swap to make it look as OEM as possible, including the factory-style air cleaner assembly, Dante Red paint on the engine itself, and HEI ignition to light it up. Both power steering and power brakes are included, and we just replaced the steering gear box so it drives quite well.

The original 2-speed PowerGlide automatic transmission doesn't seem to mind the big torque running through it—it's one of the most durable automatic transmissions you can own. The shift is crisp and once it's in high range, it's content to cruise all day at modern highway speeds. We believe there are 3.23 gears out back, which explains its exemplary high-speed manners and as a Buick, you know it rides beautifully. There's also a recent dual exhaust system that sounds muscular without being obnoxious and Buick road wheels are some of the most handsome wheels of the period. With 215/60/15 BFGoodrich rubber, they look suitably sporty without diluting the Buick's upscale image.

At this price, you know this isn't a perfect car, but it is a screaming bargain. Big block power, a good pedigree, awesome colors, and plenty of performance mean that it's ready to enjoy and will stand out in a field of garden-variety A-bodies. A big black Buick will always be a desirable car and this Gran Sport more than delivers on the promises made by its handsome good looks. Call today!