Our Cars: James Palmer’s Buick Skylark convertible


Endorsement specialist’s perfect mix is summer, ’70 Skylark and family drives


James Palmer scored his first collector car in the best way possible – his 1970 Buick Skylark convertible was given to him by his parents. OK, he actually traded for it – Mom and Dad got his 1996 Oldsmobile Ciera – but both sides were happy with the deal, and now James enjoys taking summer drives in northern Michigan with his wife and daughters, just as his family did when he was a teenager. “The girls love it,” James said of his daughters, ages 8, 6 and 4. “You can’t beat the sound of backseat laughter.” When James was hired at Hagerty, he had just graduated from seminary and was looking for steady work so he could keep up with the bills. But while James still performs some pastoral functions, he never left Hagerty. “I grew to love it,” he said. We aren’t surprised.

Employee: James Palmer

Title: Endorsement Specialist

Years at Hagerty: 5

Car: 1970 Buick Skylark Custom Convertible

Why a Buick Skylark? My folks bought it back in the ’90s from someone my dad worked with who was downsizing his collection.  As the years went by, my parents were driving it less and less, while I was driving it more and more. I finally convinced them to title it over to me and I would take over the maintenance and upkeep costs on it.

Interesting Car Stories: When our family first bought the car, we were asked to be the pace car for the National Cherry Festival 5K run (in Traverse City, Mich.). We followed several police vehicles along the route, with hundreds of runners running behind.  Suddenly, the police vehicles split up and headed in opposite directions. So we had to pick one to follow. It soon became apparent that we followed the wrong police car, because that officer has broken away to answer a call.  So we did our best to pick the best route possible, only later finding out that we had turned a 5K run into a 7K run. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we were never asked to be the pace car again!

Favorite Drive: Driving along the Old Mission Peninsula (in Traverse City, Mich.) is nice.  We also enjoy taking the car to the Cherry Bowl Drive-In (in nearby Honor, Mich.) every summer.

Best and Worst Moments (in the hobby or with this car): No bad times, except I had to wait to finally get the go-ahead from my wife to let the kids ride along in their booster seats.

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