Auburn Fall

Auburn Auction Park
1 - 5 September 2020
Lot 6174

1953 Buick Skylark Convertible

The Roadmaster Collection


$72,600 USD | Sold

United States | Auburn, Indiana



Chassis No.
  • Offered from the Roadmaster Collection
  • Top-of-the-line Buick from 1953
  • Older frame-off restoration
  • 322 cubic-inch V-8; automatic transmission
  • Finished in Majestic White over red and white leather
  • One of just 1,690 built

The Skylark was first displayed as a General Motors Motorama car in 1952, and it was essentially a factory-built “sport custom” based on the Roadmaster Convertible platform. The windshield was chopped four inches, while the beltline was cut down and notched at the rear fender line, and the rear-wheel cutouts were rounded and raised to match those in the front fenders. These were all techniques being used by California’s customizers during the same period. The model was noteworthy for lacking Buick’s trademark “ventiports” on the front fenders, and also introducing the marque’s first modern overhead-valve V-8, also called the “nailhead,” which could produce a capable 188 hp and 300 pound-feet of torque.

A production version of the Skylark was introduced the following year together with the Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Fiesta, with each limited-production top-of-the-line model representing the very best of 1950’s styling and luxury. Celebrating Buick’s 50th anniversary, the Skylark was essentially a hand-built car customized for each new owner with a $5,000 price tag helping to keep sales to just 1,690 units. While the Skylark name would continue as a limited-production model for 1954 and reappear in Buick’s hierarchy for decades, the 1953 model is generally considered the most prized amongst collectors as a heralded member of the “Triple Crown” showcasing what many consider to be Harley Earl’s finest production convertible design.

Inside, the near-vertical dash features chrome trim lines paired with a distinctive checker-like pattern that extends into the door panels. The steering wheel’s horn cap depicts a 1953 Buick, a delightful reminder of the automaker’s past. A similar icon can be found on the front bumper Befitting its luxurious status, the Skylark’s interior was commonly trimmed in upscale leather and typically boasted then-rare accessories such as power windows.

Finished in Majestic White with a white convertible top over an interior trimmed in red and white leather, the car wears its Earl-penned curves, chrome, and details exceptionally well after a frame-off restoration performed around 1994 at a cost reportedly exceeding $250,000. The Skylark is equipped with power windows and steering. The interior features a clock and radio, and a red boot cover conceals the convertible top when down. Powered by Buick’s Fireball V-8 linked to a Dynaflow automatic transmission, the older restoration now shows patina expected from occasional use, none of which detracts from its show-stopping presence. The Kelsey-Hayes forty-spoke wire wheels wrapped in wide whitewall tires complete the look.

Bearing the unmistakable signature of Harley Earl, this 1953 Buick Skylark is a rare icon of style that will instantly transport its next caretaker back to the height of General Motors luxury and design.