Custom Cruise Friday
The Don Wheaton Custom Cruise Friday blog has profiled some beautiful and unique vehicles over the last month and a half or so. However, this week’s car, a 1962 Buick Skylark Convertible, owned by Edmonton, Alberta resident Gene Victor, is a true rarity in this part of the world. Not only were there very few models of the car built, around 8,000 according to Victor’s research, and of those better than 25 percent were sold exclusively in California. Victor’s path to owning the car was a long one and took a few turns as well as hit a few hurdles along the way.
Victor’s 1962 Buick Skylark Convertible would be likely stand out at any auto show or show and shine in Canada. For fairly obvious reasons, the Canadian operations of most automakers didn’t import or build many convertibles in Canada. The novelty of having a bright blue convertible is still fresh with Victor.
“The technology on this car is amazing,” Victor said. “Young people just love the color.”
There are many interesting elements to the Skylark Convertible. However, the most interesting is the engine. Under the hood of this week’s Custom Cruise Friday feature is a 215 cubic-inch, V-8 inch engine with a factory rating of 190 horsepower. In addition to being very power dense, producing nearly one horsepower per cubic-inch of displacement, the Skylark’s engine is made almost entirely out of aluminum, including the block, pistons, etc. In 1962 this was pretty much the cutting edge of automotive technology. Another, interesting fact about this engine, General Motors licensed this motor to the Rover company in the United Kingdom for use is several well-known British vehicles including Land Rover and Morgan and was used by the various forms of these companies until 2005.
While Victor has only owned the Skylark for about a year, he actually discovered the car three years ago on a vacation to Las Vegas. While on holiday in the States, he came across the car where it was dusty and in need of some TLC. Finally on the third attempt to buy the car, the stars were aligned and the price was right.
“The third time I saw (the car), it was washed,” Victor said. “This appealed to me.”
Over time, the original owner, Mary, had come down significantly in asking price. With nary a bit in negotiation, Victor handed over the money and started driving the car from Las Vegas to Edmonton, a trip of more than 2,300 kilometers. Unfortunately, around Provost, UT, the drive shaft fell out of the car. At this point, Victor had driven about 600 kilometers, just about a quarter of the way home. After being taken to the U.S./Canada boarder and a flatbed trip to Victor’s home, some growing pains became evident. He had to replace a number of parts including the fuel system, brakes and brake lines among other things. Victor made a call back to the original owner and asked if she had been having any issues.
Victor plans to bring the 1962 Skylark to the Rockin’ August Car Show in St. Albert this summer. In the mean time, plans are in the works to completely refresh the engine from top to bottom and to have some small repairs made to the upholstery. However, considering the age of the vehicle, there isn’t much that needs to be done to the vehicle outside of some mechanical overhauling and some serious detailing.
“(The original owner) really only drove the car to church on Sunday mornings,” Victor said.
If you would like have your vehicle profiled on the Custom Cruise Friday Blog, send your information and some photos to Don Wheaton Internet Manager, Melina Beeston by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.