In July 1964, the “it” car of the moment was the Ford Mustang, but my mother didn’t want a Mustang. She wanted a Buick Skylark convertible. I was too young for a driver’s license when my father and I pulled out of the showroom of Deal Buick in Asheville, North Carolina, in her Marlin Blue Skylark, but it was only a matter of time.
As your typical teenage car enthusiast, I was the one who washed, waxed, and maintained the Buick. Mom let me take it on my first date when I was finally able to drive. I had another car at the time, but the Skylark was special.
Over the years, my mom got another Buick, and my dad drove the convertible on business trips. Finally, in 1978, my folks were going to buy me a car as a gift after I graduated from optometry school. American car manufacturers had discontinued convertible production in the mid-1970s, but I still wanted one, so I persuaded my parents to put the money toward restoring the Buick instead. That basically just meant a paint job, a new top, and a few other minor things, so they happily consented.
That fall, the restored Buick took me and my new wife on our honeymoon. For many years after, it was a regular driver in all sorts of weather conditions. In recent years, it has served well in parades and in weddings, including those of our children.
The Buick has been repainted again, and it has a new matching interior. The only non-routine mechanical work done during its 250,000 miles was replacing the timing chain. Otherwise, the car is virtually original, hubcaps and all.
I’ve nurtured this Buick for 56 years, and I’m still convinced that I made the right call back in 1978, when the car my folks wanted to buy for me was a new Chrysler Cordoba.