1965 Skylark GS was a first-year star

Buick described its 1965 GS as “a howitzer with windshield wipers.”

 “There is mounting evidence that our engineers have turned into a bunch of performance enthusiasts,” said one ad. “First they stuff the Wildcat full of engine. Then the Riviera Gran Sport. And now this, the Skylark GS, which is almost like having your own, personal-type nuclear deterrent.”

With a 400/325 V-8, a four-barrel carburetor and a 10.25:1 compression ratio, the Skylark GS tested by Motor Trend in May 1965 cranked out .81 hp per cubic inch and fed it through a two-speed Super Turbine 300 automatic transmission with a floor-mounted shifter. (A floor-mounted three-speed manual shift was standard.)

The magazine reported that its 3,720-lb. test car reached the 60-mph mark in a mere 7.8 seconds. It did the quarter-mile in 16.6 seconds at 86 mph and had a top speed of 116 mph.

Buick engineers said that the Skylark GS was completely different than the regular Specials because all three body styles — coupe, hardtop and convertible — used a beefed-up convertible-type frame that resisted torque flexing. It was fitted with heavy-duty shocks and springs and a stiffer anti-roll bar in front. Buick’s marketing people claimed that the Skylark GS was like “a howitzer with windshield wipers.”

Other features of the first Skylark Gran Sport included heavy-duty upper control arm bushings, dual exhausts, 7.75 x 14 tires and a choice of 2.78:1, 3.08:1, 3.23:1, 3.36:1, 3.55:1 and 3.73:1 rear axle ratios.

To show what a Skylark Gran Sport could do set up with 4.30 gears and cheater slicks, Motor Trend mentioned that Lenny Kennedy’s race-prepped example clocked a 13.42-second, 104.46-mph quarter-mile run at the Winternational Drags.

“It seems to us that Buick has another winner in the Skylark Gran Sport,” said Bob McVay, Motor Trend’s assistant technical editor. “The point is that better cars are being built — and Buick is building them!”

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