1972 Buick Skylark GS – the last powerful Gran Sport

The Buick Skylark had six production runs in one form or another, spanning a total of 46 years – that’s quite some production numbers. The last of the Skylark’s (without badging as another model or designation) was in 1972.

It was the usual recipe of muscle car back in the 70’s – large (ish) V8, bad handling, long hood and vinyl.

1972 Buick Skylark GS brochure

1972 Buick Skylark GS Design

Usual early 70’s American muscle; long and low. Line up a dozen classic muscle cars and you’d think that one designer had been responsible for them all. But this was before aero packages, dynamics and streamlined design. There was never a great urge for top speed, more how quickly it could get to 60 from a stoplight Grand Prix – handling was never a strong point – you really didn’t want to find yourself the wrong side of 80 MPH without clean underwear.

1972 Buick Skylark GS design

The face of the Buick gave it quite an aggressive look; twin headlamps and sculpted hood all gave the impression of menacing, even if the motor couldn’t quite live up to it that promise.

1972 Buick Skylark GS Interior

Similar to the styling, think of any classic muscle and throw in some chrome, wood, vinyl and bucket seats and you get the idea.

1972 Buick Skylark GS interior

While that sounds a little harsh, we would guess that unless you’re a real gearhead, you could sit in a GTO, Skylark, Mustang and the like without actually being able to tell the difference (apart from the badging).

1972 Buick Skylark GS Specs

Available as a 2-door hardtop coupe and a 4-door sedan, the Skylark came with a reasonable list of equipment fitted as standard. There were plenty of options for upgrades as well, including air conditioning and full electric packs.

1972 Buick Skylark GS specs

1972 Buick Skylark GS Performance

Fitted as standard was a 350 cid (5.7 liter) V8 with a double barrel Rochester carburetor, however, thanks to ever tightening emission control, power was dismal.

The powers that be wanted better emissions, Buick complied by reducing the compression ratio, retarding the ignition timing and removing the ignition vacuum advance on the lower gears. This meant that the massive 5.7 liter made a huge … 145 BHP.

1972 Buick Skylark GS collectibility

The actual engine performance wouldn’t have been that bad without the strangling regulations; it made 230 BHP before the legislators got their hands on it.

1972 Buick Skylark GS Collectability and price

The 1972 Skylark was the last of them, so despite the lowly performance, they are quite collectible. Average prices are in the region of $20,000 but we’ve seen them as high as $50,000 for a full resto version. Parts are still plentiful and for those of you that want the look but would like a little more go, there are plenty of performance upgrades available.

1972 Buick Skylark GS images

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  • Joseph G Heasley

    Well, I am always appreciative of information of Buicks unique place in the muscle car world during the 1960’s and early ’70’s . It seems that very few know that the Stage 1 Gs is the 3rd fastest muscle car of the era (1966 Corvette #2 and I am certain if you do not know the 1st, you shouldn’t be reading this)…broad hint..it’s a killer.
    Anyway, the era did not end in 1971 . With a Stage 1 package , over 500 lbs. of torque and over 420 claimed horse power these polished beauties were running in a luxurious mid 13’s. With the available (but rare) ‘u-bolt-on’ stage II system those numbers slimmed down to mid 10’s. As to value? A matched set , GSX 455 Stage 1 brought in over $160,000 . With time and a Stage II’s rarity, it isn’t unlikely that one will one day (if found) go for ,5 million or more.
    Funny thing, when my brother got his Stage I, a chocolate brown of white interior, I was a tweener and knew little enough about cars to be VERY unimpressed. Frankly, I wasn’t even aware of it being a Buick’s division 455 under the hood. Worst of all, it was an automatic ! It all changed when he took me to get a flying saucer, or cone, at Carvel’s and we were motioned to by a pampered ‘pretty-boy’ of the town. I believe his dad was old money wealthy with an ownership of a S&L. This kid, who was driving a drop dead gorgeous 1969 Chevy Chevelle was at the point of waving his arms and shouting from his seat urging my brother to race.
    To my shame and embarrassment my brother calmly drove at listed speed, we got our treat and frankly…I felt like throwing it up. Finally I couldn’t contain myself any longer and asked him “why did you chicken out” ? ” ” you don’t understand”…,”when I came back from serving in Vietnam last year, after having spent three tours of duty doing God awful war orders, I told myself that no one was going to make me act in any way, at any time, anywhere…that I don’t choose for myself.” “Rich (made up name), tried to show off that he has the best car in town at my expense, on a short street which is far too dangerous to drag on,,,especially with my little buddy next to me.”
    I was glowing with the idea that I was his buddy..he HAD been gone for what did seem forever, and every day I prayed that he wouldn’t be like one of those soldiers that I saw coming ‘home’ on the news,,,,,,,, in a box with a flag.
    It didn’t take me long to excuse my brother’s behavior as I knew he was a brave soldier and all; but the reason I changed my view was because Rich and a couple of his leeches had followed us to Carvel it appeared and started talkieng to each other about “big brave soldier boy being afraid of eating dust..etc., ad. nauseum.
    Rather than getting upset, my brother walked over to Rich, pointed out it had been a long while since he’d known of him through school, etc…and then calmly suggested that they take a sprint down acre (rd.) , passengers out of the cars and waiting at the finish point..side of the road. A gentleman’s bet of one dollar was suggested by my brother..sneered at by Rich who declared $100 dollars”if you can afford to lose it” .
    ” No, but I sure can afford to win it.” Fifty Acre road was approximately one mile long. The marker for a finish was set at slightly less than 3/4 mile which allowed stopping distance. Three seconds into the race my brother took off————————————————————————————–reeled Rich in with less than 20 yards to go, he passed him and both cars comfortably stopped less tha 50 feet before the huge Oak that is directly across the ‘T’ at the end of the road. Tears and screams of cheating (one strongly issued / serious statement) and $100 later my brother and I were back on the road getting a steak dinner this time..and I DID feel like eating.