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.
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.