The Beauty of a ’67 Buick Skylark
It may not be English or even European but it certainly does classify as special
interest, especially considering Buick is one of the oldest automobile brands in the world and the oldest in America. Buick was founded in 1899 by David Dunbar Buick in Jackson, Michigan. It was founded as the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company and was an internal combustion engine manufacturer. Buick continued to steadily make vehicles from the year 1899 and continues to this day. The first two “Buick” vehicles that were produced were made in 1899 and 1900 by Buick chief engineer Walter Marr. However, David Buick was reluctant to start making vehicles having been satisfied with stationary and marine engine production. In March of 1904, the company was purchased by Benjamin Briscoe, who in return sold it to James H. Whiting who was the owner of Flint Wagon Works, in Flint, Michigan. Whiting moved Buick to Flint that summer with the idea of adding Buick’s engines to his wagons. David Buick stayed on as a manager and re-hired Walter Marr as chief engineer, and the rest is automotive history.
The Buick Skylark first hit the scene in 1953 and was revered alongside the Oldsmobile 98 and Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado as a top of the line limited-production specialty convertible. As the years progressed it gained more and more momentum and quickly became four-door as well as one of the best and finest cars you could buy. By the time 1967 came around the Skylark was offered as a four-door with the option of a soft or hard top and the option of a 300 or 340 V8 engine. The 400-401 V8 engine was only stock with the ’66-’69 Gran Sport 400.
Mike purchased his 1967 Skylark in North Carolina in the mid 90’s while he was in the 82nd Airborne Infantry. The car came with a 455 Buick Big Block, as opposed to the 340 V8 that more than likely came stock with this model, and was a sea foam green with rally wheels. He looks back fondly reminiscing about how they would race cars behind the base during their lunch break, and can you blame him? Who wouldn’t love to be able to race around in a Skylark fitted with 455 Big Block?
After the Army, Mike made his way back home to New Hampshire and decided it may be best to get a better vehicle for winter time, so he sold it to his father. They then further decided that it need a new paint job among a few other things. Luckily Mike was employed at a good auto shop and was able to get the paint mixed to his specifications, he settled on the super rare Ford blue that you see on it now, the paint actually changes tones based on the light and time of the day. They painted every inch of the car, under the hood, trunk, door jambs, everything! They then installed a carpet kit, re-upholstered the back seat, installed a new custom dual exhaust and last but not least put all new rims and wheels on it. The end result is breathtaking and truly shows that American cars can certainly have the potential if you have the vision and put the time into it.
What’s going down This Week in the Shop?
Last week was a very busy week, in the garage as well as the office. Cars are coming and going as the season is starting up. We got another Jaguar E-type in, a new MG and Gary just went and picked up a beautifully conditioned beige Morris Minor.
The E-Type that just came in is a 1965 Series 1.5. It’s a beautiful gunmetal gray with a gorgeous crimson leather interior. This car belongs to a very frequent customer and we happened to be the original people who first got this car restored in its final condition and on the road. The gentleman usually sends this immaculate Series I E-Type to us every year in order to go through it to prepare for the season. We will diagnose any problems that need to be acknowledged and we will then fix them accordingly.
We also have a very nice MGB that is currently in for miscellaneous repairs. It’s a beautiful fire engine red 1965 MGB. It’s here for the same reasons as the majority of our fleet, basic check up after being stored all winter. This car’s owner likes to drive this car a lot so it needs to really be on the up and up for the season.
Now to check back on the fire engine red ’63 Series I E-Type we talked about a couple weeks ago, she’s doing well and has all new brakes as well as new cooling hoses all around. Next week we’re going to break down the whole process that Mike will be doing in order to reset the triple carb system. As already stated in past articles resetting carb systems, especially triple carb systems, is not easy and it is, in fact, a lost art that not many auto bodies will do.
Let’s take a look real quick at this gem we found with the MGA that we had in our shop. An extremely interesting concept in an electrical system protection. Can you tell what’s wrong with this picture? I wonder why my wiring is burned up, is the Prince of Darkness being framed again?
The Morris Minor that Gary went to purchase this weekend is in great shape. It is a beautiful off color white with a gorgeous interior. The Morris Minor first hit the scene at the Earls Court Motor Show in London, on September 20, 1948. It was designed under the leadership of Alec Issigonis and well over a million were manufactured between 1948 and 1972. The Minor was released in three separate series: the MM released from 1948 to 1953, the Series II released from 1952 to 1956 and finally the 1000 series which was released from 1956 to 1971.
Some more excellent and exciting news that we have is this follow up from the California Mille! The Jaguar XK120 we prepared for our client in order to participate in the California Mille, has not only successfully completed but has overall done a great job all around performing flawlessly for the whole rally. Rain and shine.
The Beauty of the Jaguar E-Type
Happy Friday to all our readers new and old, hopefully, everyone had a great Easter Sunday as we all did here at Sports Car Services. Today for our weekly “This Week in the Shop” I’d really like to take the time to touch on the Jaguar E-Type and give a brief history of this significant gem.
A couple of weeks ago I briefly touched on this gem and told you that The Jaguar E-Type is an English Sports Car, which was manufactured by Jaguar Cars Ltd between 1961 and 1975. Its combination of beauty, high performance, and competitive pricing established the model as an icon of the motoring world. the E-Type pounced on the scene with a top speed of 150 miles per hour, an acceleration of 0 to 60 mph in 7 seconds, monocoque construction, disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, independent front and rear suspension, and unrivaled looks.
“Monocoque construction”, if you’re like me you probably read that and vaguely had an idea of what it meant and that it had something to do with the outer shell being a supporting member of the vehicle itself. Basically, in all essence, that’s exactly what it means. The E-Type was based on Jaguar’s D-Type racing car, which had won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for three consecutive years (1955–1957), and therefore employed the racing design of a body tub attached to a tubular framework, with the engine bolted directly to the framework.
The Jaguar E-Type was an amazing feat of automobile engineering, on its release in March 1961 Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made” and he was not exaggerating. The E-Type dominated the foreign car market in its day and quite honestly, in my personal opinion, it still does. There were three different series in the course of its reign from 1961-1975:
The E-Type Series I was produced from 1961- 1968 and featured the triple SU carburetted 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine from the XK150S until 1964 when the 3.8-litre engine was increased to 4.2 litres in October 1964. All E-Types featured independent coil spring rear suspension with torsion bar front ends, and four-wheel disc brakes, in-board at the rear, all were power-assisted. Jaguar was one of the first vehicle manufacturers to equip cars with disc brakes as standard from the XK150 in 1958. The Series 1 (except for late models) can be recognized by glass-covered headlights, small “mouth” opening at the front, signal lights and tail-lights above bumpers and exhaust tips under the number plate in the rear.
The E-Type Series II was produced from 1968-1971 and introduced a number of design changes, largely due to U.S. design legislation. The most distinctive exterior feature is the absence of the glass headlight covers a wrap-around rear bumper, re-positioned and larger front indicators and tail lights below the bumpers, an enlarged “mouth” which aided cooling but detracted from the Series I design purity, twin electric fans, plastic rocker switches in place of the Series I toggle switches, and, of course most importantly, a material downgrading in performance resulting from a switch from the three SU carburetors used in Series I models to a mere two “smogged” Stromberg carbs, reducing horsepower from 265 to 246 and reducing torque from 283 to 263.
The E-Type Series III was produced from 1971- 1975 and featured a new 5.3 L twelve cylinder Jaguar V12 engine, uprated brakes and standard power steering. The choice of an automatic transmission, wire wheels and air conditioning were available. The brand V12 engine was equipped with four Zenith carburetors. The final engine was claimed to produce 272 hp, more torque and a 0-60 mph acceleration of fewer than 7 seconds. The short wheelbase FHC body style was discontinued, with the Series III available only as a convertible and 2+2 coupé. The newly used longer wheelbase now offered significantly more room in all directions. The Series III is easily identified by the large cross-slatted front grille, flared wheel arches, wider tires, four exhaust tips and a badge on the rear that proclaims it to be a V12.
Bringing in the Spring
Spring is finally upon us and that can only mean two things, that summer is right around the corner and the season for exotic cars is finally upon us. The weather in our hometown of Keene, NH has been absolutely beautiful all week, with the exception of one rain day, and everyone is very happy to see winter on it’s way out. We also had ourselves a great weekend, we finally sold the green Austin Healey that we had posted in our classifieds. Gary met the buyer at the Sports Car Services garage Saturday and finalized the deal and they will be picking it up in the near future. They will now be able to enjoy a beautiful English car all season long that was well kept and in spectacular condition.
We’ve gotten a new customer car in this week as well, a red 1963 Jaguar E-type Series I, here for a basic check-up, the list is growing but nothing too serious. The Jaguar E-Type is a British sports car, which was manufactured between 1961 and 1975. Its combination of high performance, competitive pricing and elegance established the model as a staple of the motor vehicle industry. At a time when most cars had drum brakes, live rear axles, and mediocre performance, the E-Type burgeoned on the scene with 150 miles per hour for a top speed, and 0 to 60 mph acceleration time, monocoque (structural skin) construction, disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, independent front-end and rear-end suspension and unsurpassed looks. The interior of the E-type is beautiful and the body and mechanics of the car, in general, are in great condition and nothing too serious is wrong with it. The check-up is specifically focusing on mechanical aspects and Mike has been working for the better part of the week diagnosing what is necessitated with it from basic wear and tear. He’s also going to be re-tuning the triple carburetor system and there is a small issue with the driver’s side caliper, which is causing it to stick, and the best option for that is to rebuild the caliper in general, both of which are lost art forms that not many garages will do.
The Crosley is still here in the Sports Car Services garage and should be making its trek home shortly. Everything that we were asked to fix on it has been done, and its running great now. We did not fully restore this car and there is still plenty of work that could be done on it, but we at least got it on the road. A fully restored basic Crosley is worth anywhere from 10 to 15 grand. A Crosley H-Mod classic racer , on the other hand, is worth much more, anywhere from 25-35 grand.
We also have a very cool ’61 MGA Mark II on our hands as well. This Mark II is going to eventually be fully rebuilt from the frame up. The MGA Mark I replaced the MG TF 1500 Midget (like the one I wrote about a few weeks ago) and represented a complete style change from MG’s earlier sports cars, the Mark I was of course eventually replaced by the Mark II. Announced on September 26, 1955, the car was officially launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The MGA design dates back to 1951 when MG designer Syd Enever created a streamlined body for George Philips’ TD Le Mans car. The problem with this car was the high seating position of the driver’s seat because of the limitations of using the TD chassis. A new chassis was designed with the side members further apart and the floor attached to the bottom rather than the top of the frame sections. Road & Track magazine reviewed the MGA Mark II in the September 1961 issue and reported a top speed of 105 mph and a 0-60 acceleration of 12 1/2 seconds. The frame on the MGA Mark II that we’re working on is just like brand new, the engine is in mint condition and has been rebuilt to standards of a brand new engine and the drive-train, as well, is in very good condition. Albert spent a good part of the week running brake lines, as well as fuel lines for it, the next step will be to finish the body.
Jason and Rod are still busy in our brother shop, G&R Autoworks LTD, getting the Jeep rebuild finished. There has been a lot of modifications on this project. Utility boxes have been added all around it as well as a new winch. That isn’t even half of it though, they have Installed new ball joints , the front axle U-joints, replaced both front axle seals, full E-brake service requiring a redesign to the original automatic adjusting system that everyone complains about, installed new wheels and tires, installed headlights. The list is just starting to grow and who knows what else we’ll be modifying next.