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A ’66 Skylark Stands Out in a Brigade of Buicks


Bama

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IMO this is a  good looking car with few equals.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-66-skylark-stands-out-in-a-brigade-of-buicks-11568726143

A ’66 Skylark Stands Out in a Brigade of Buicks

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Jimmy Shiels, 54, a general contractor from Franklin, Mass., on his 1966 Buick Skylark Gran Sport collection, as told to A.J. Baime.

One of my first cars was a 1966 Buick Skylark convertible. In 1985 I went to a car show and I said to a friend, “I really want to buy a Gran Sport,” which was the high-performance Skylark. The guy standing behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I have one of those for sale.”

I bought that car on Sept. 5, 1985, and that was the beginning. I started thinking, I want a convertible 1966 Skylark Gran Sport. I want one in every original factory color sold in 1966.

Today I have about 25 unrestored examples I keep in a barn. Some took me 18 to 20 years to buy. It has been about building relationships with owners all over the country.

‘It is the history of each of these cars that I love,’ says Jimmy Shiels, pictured here in one of his 1966 Buick Skylark Gran Sports.

There was one owner I met at a car show in 1987 in Connecticut. I was young and he said I was not ready for his car, but I kept in touch. Eighteen years after I met him, I wrote him a letter saying I wanted his car. Coincidentally, he wrote me on the same day I wrote him, saying he was ready to sell, and the letters crossed each other in the mail. What are the chances of that?

The green convertible pictured is another car I pursued for a long time. I found the owner in Ohio and went to visit him three years ago. He did not want to sell his car, but I gave him my business card and promised him I would take good care of it. He said, “I’m going to give your business card to my sister and when I pass, she’ll contact you.” Which is exactly what happened last year.

What is a 1966 Buick Skylark Gran Sport? At the time, it was basically a gentleman’s race car built during the early years of the muscle car era. The car was more expensive than most other muscle cars, and fewer were built. When you drive one today, you feel how different it is from today’s cars. You can hear the engine and feel the power.

I am at the point when I have had to ask myself: Should I continue buying these cars? I’ve decided to keep going. I have a son and a grandson and I hope they will pick up where I left off.

 

66-2.thumb.jpg.c7256d70d7858843e4413085750af974.jpg

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cookie47

I guess I was born in the wrong country.. 

I love muscle cars. Australia had a short foray with muscle cars and fortunately I arrived right in the midst) . 1966 to "about 1973 when, GM, Ford, and Chrysler all  were vying for top spot. Ford had the Falcon range starting  with the 289 then 302, then 351 Cleveland ,, GM Had the Monaro, which started with the imported American chevy 307 but later had an Australian produced 308,,,, and Chrysler or Valiant as we called it had the 6 cylinder Charger. With the 245ci and then the mighty 265ci with tripple weber carburetors.

A combination of the fuel crisis and what is said to be government intervention with concerns that manufactures were making cars faster and faster (haha nanny state) saw the demise of the V8 and only 6 cylinders were  made from late 70s early 80s onwards. The Falcon GT did make a return in the 90s but was a limited edition and I feel by that time Australians had got used to smaller engines. 

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HeyMike
22 hours ago, KID said:

Love the old muscle. For me it was first and second generation Camaros and Firebirds

 

Same here... but I was a mopar man with a 1970 Plymouth Duster; 340, 4 bbl, 4 on the floor, hurst shifter... loved that car. Later, I had a 1966 Mustang 2+2, 289.

Now when I am in the States, I drive a 1990 Chevy Celebrity wagon. I had this car for years... the most dependable car I have ever own. Not exactly a chick magnet, though.

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22 hours ago, KID said:

Love the old muscle. For me it was first and second generation Camaros and Firebirds

As someone who made my living working on cars for many years, I loved all the old muscle, from Mustangs, Mopar,  and Camaros, to Rivieras, even the Cadillacs! 

Edited by shadow
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cookie47
4 minutes ago, shadow said:

Cadillacs

Back in 1965.. 

Having had some work done on it I was asked to refuel a 19....?? ..Cadillac Coup Deville.(The model Elvis Had) 

I was only 17 and wandered around that vehicle for 10 minutes trying to find the fuel filler. Fortunately the manager walked by and pressed the button on the rear tail lamp assembly and up it popped Haha,

What a dummy..... 

 

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HeyMike
1 minute ago, cookie47 said:

Back in 1965.. 

Having had some work done on it I was asked to refuel a 19....?? ..Cadillac Coup Deville.(The model Elvis Had) 

I was only 17 and wandered around that vehicle for 10 minutes trying to find the fuel filler. Fortunately the manager walked by and pressed the button on the rear tail lamp assembly and up it popped Haha,

What a dummy..... 

 

My mom had that same Caddy... and yep, if you didn't know about the filler pipe, you would never find where to put the gas in.

The people I hung around with all had muscle cars and if you brought the car to a mechanic, they would never let you live it down. You break out ye ol' Chilton manual and always did your own work.

The one time I brought my car to a mechanic was when I could not find out what was causing the car to backfire. I went through everything with no luck. I explained to the mechanic everything I checked and he figured it out pretty quickly. The distributor cap had a hairline crack in it that wasn't noticeable, but was there causing the problem. The easiest fix, but I needed a mechanic to find the problem, after hours of me looking for the problem.

 

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15 minutes ago, HeyMike said:

You break out ye ol' Chilton manual and always did your own work.

We could never afford to pay a mechanic so we just broke out the book as you suggested and dove in.

A friend had a 71 Camaro with a 350 in it. We noticed that if you put a timing light on one of the cylinders it appeared that the plug wasn't firing. The car was stupid fast but how could this be on 7 cylinders ? We tried everything. At one point we put another 71 Camaro right next to it and swapped every part we could think of. The problem never moved nor changed. We decided then just to leave well enough alone and let it be. Perhaps it was a worn cam lobe---IDK.

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HeyMike
31 minutes ago, Bama said:

We could never afford to pay a mechanic so we just broke out the book as you suggested and dove in.

A friend had a 71 Camaro with a 350 in it. We noticed that if you put a timing light on one of the cylinders it appeared that the plug wasn't firing. The car was stupid fast but how could this be on 7 cylinders ? We tried everything. At one point we put another 71 Camaro right next to it and swapped every part we could think of. The problem never moved nor changed. We decided then just to leave well enough alone and let it be. Perhaps it was a worn cam lobe---IDK.

I'm not sure but I think the timing mark would be jumping up and down on the timing plate if you are not hitting on all 8 cylinders. Shadow would know better than me. But it sounds like it was hitting on all 8 the way you describe it. 

It's funny that on my block where I lived, all you had to do was open the hood of the car and the men neighbors would stop what they were doing and congregate around the car giving all kinds opinions and asking... anyone wanna beer, while you worked on the car. I miss those days. Opening the hood of the car was a neighbor magnet...lol.   

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1 hour ago, HeyMike said:

I'm not sure but I think the timing mark would be jumping up and down on the timing plate if you are not hitting on all 8 cylinders

I don't recall an issue with the timing mark moving around but it was a long time ago. To me (us) it always seemed to be the one that got away as far being repaired. Anyway,not important now.

 

1 hour ago, HeyMike said:

Opening the hood of the car was a neighbor magnet...lol.   

It sure was.

I hung with a group where everyone had a ride and we were constantly fixing them,racing them,going to car shows,etc.

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Cool article, thanks for posting!

Personally, I prefer the 1965 or 1966 Olds 442.

But being a FORD man, I have a 1966 Fairlane GTA sitting in the garage. :cool:

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