1953 Buick Skylark Convertible 50th Anniversary Edition Motorama Dream Car Rare

Price: - Item location: San Clemente, California, United States
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: Buick
  • Model: Skylark
  • SubModel: Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Rare
  • Type: Convertible
  • Trim: Convertible
  • Year: 1953
  • Mileage: 74,857
  • VIN: V990397
  • Color: Yellow
  • Engine size: 322 Fireball V8 "Nailhead"
  • Number of cylinders: 8
  • Power options: Power Windows, Power Top, Power Drum Brakes
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Drive type: RWD
  • Interior color: Yellow/Black Leather
  • Options: Leather Seats, Kelsey Hayes Chromed Wire Wheels, Selectronic AM Radio
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1953 Buick Skylark Convertible

1953 Buick Skylark

“General Motors Motorama Dream Car”
Buick’s 50th Anniversary Limited-Edition Convertible

Model 76X

1 of 1690

30 Year Ownership

Rust Free CA Car Always

74857 Miles

VIN #V990397
Chassis #16902742

(on Driver’s Door)

322 (5.3 L) Fireball V8

Twin-Turbine Dynaflow 2-Speed Automatic
Engine #V990397

Power Windows

4-Wheel Power Drum Brakes

Power Top

Selectronic AM Radio

Kelsey-Hayes 15” Chromed Wire Wheels
Brand New Coker Wide-Whites


10-Bolt Rear Axle

Original CA Large Black Plate

(the original plate comes with car)

Body Plate Decode:

Style # 53-4767SX - 1953 Anniversary Convertible

Body # G 690 - (G) Flint (690) Factory ID #

Trim # 67 B Blue with Black Trim

Paint # 74 - Majestic White (read below)

(color appears to be Osage Cream/Yellow)



Note: All pictures are hosted on my Photobucket account and load below the text of this ad. If your computer or internet connection is slow it may take some time for all the pictures to load. If you are having difficulty you can access them directly through this link:


I am helping a friend sell this rare 1953 Buick Skylark. Just as a matter of reference, I have been judging cars at all types of show levels for over 25 years and have extensive experience in restoration of many marques. I am extremely picky and probably grade more on the lower side when evaluating vehicles. I would consider a 10 on my scale to be a Concour Quality vehicle, just so you have a reference. This example is collector quality and is a solid #2- Condition vehicle from my perspective.

This gorgeous ’53 Skylark is a unique combination of totally original survivor type car with restoration in some areas. The overall feel of the car is that it is a show car, but it is not concour level. It’s what I would call a Show-Driver. This would be a wonderful car to take to local shows and parades, but would not stand up in a concour level judging format.

What mostly grabs me about a survivor type of car like this one is the overall feel and sense of a car well cared for; displayed by the character in the paint, emblems, upholstery, etc. This “feels” like an older car… not a brand new restored car. This is my preference as I want to enjoy a car; driving it without the worry of what might happen to a perfect car. If you like a nice shiny collector car with a little of that worn couch feel to it, then you are going to love this car.

If you are a top shelf collector looking to build a concour vehicle, this would be a really fine specimen to start with, as the body panels are nearly flawless and being a CA car it’s whole life there is not one spec of rust anywhere. The body panels are all original to the car. All the pieces are there, no inferior reproduction anywhere to be found. Take a look at the frames rails; all completely original, with what appears to me to be the original paint on it. I will rate the different areas of the car below.

Brief History

The car was originally sold in 1953 to a Mr. F.L. Steve Marquess. We believe he was in the dry Sacramento area of California, but we have no absolute proof. His name is etched in the steering wheel, on the left side inscription reads “Customized for”, the right “F L Steve Marquess.

This was the case with all of these cars as they were basically custom cars at the staggering price of over $5000 each. They were considered instant classics. Both Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason owned one of these cars new.

Interestingly, according to the body plate, this car was “supposed” to have been Code 74, Majestic White. But, I can tell you that I have been all over this car and cannot find one spec of white anywhere. And I have looked with my magnifying glass. My suspicion is this car was on the assembly line and ready for paint when the call came to change this to a custom color, close to that of Osage Cream, a factory Skylark color.

Things that just cannot be covered over without finding some evidence of white are just not there. This has me completely perplexed and maybe one of you Buick guys car chime in to me with what you think.

My friend Paul has been an avid car collector from a really young age and this has always been one of his favorite cars. He purchased the car in December of 1987. Leisurely weekend drives and a couple of trips up the CA coast have gathered but 6K miles under his stewardship. It’s never been neglected and having spent everyday of its life in a garage in dry Southern California has preserved this rare example to near perfection.

The car was purchased from a local gentleman at the time and the car had been recently restored. This was obviously a frame on type of restoration to what I believe was a very original survivor car with about 68K miles at the time. At that time it was believed to have been repainted and reupholstered.

Paint & Body

First, the Body is near perfection in my opinion. There is no evidence of damage to any body panels and every panel appears to be original to the car. I have taken a magnet to every inch of this car and it sticks with authority in every area. I can find no evidence of bondo anywhere in this car. The body is not “lumpy” or wavey, it is flat and near perfection.

The Paint is in overall great condition. It “looks” period. It’s not a super shiny two stage modern paint, which just looks WRONG on these cars. This looks like old lacquer or enamel. There are just a couple of small cracks in the paint right behind the passenger door on top of the “hip” coming into the door. There are no dings or any dents in the car. The paint is slightly faded on the hood and the truck. I don’t know why as it has always been in the garage. It’s very slight and in the overall context of the car you really don’t see it unless someone points it out. I would rate the condition of the paint at a solid 8.5.

PLEASE NOTE, pictures were taken over two days with varying lighting conditions from shade to full on sunlight. The color DRASTICALLY changes depending on how much sunlight is on it. It looks like a very light yellow is bright sunlit conditions. In the shade it takes on a darker tint.

The Chrome is a solid 8.5 overall with the bumpers being in the 9’s. The only reason I rate it lower overall is the chrome around the quarter windows looks to be all original and is probably a 7. Presentable certainly, but not “done” like the bumpers. All the emblems appear to be completely original to the car, as well as the screws that hold them in place. I really like emblems in this type of condition over perfect reproductions, but I am a survivor freak.

Motor & Drivetrain

The Motor and Trans are believed to be original to the car, but I have to admit that I have not dug into it enough to state unequivocally that this is the engine that the car was born with. Based on the story from Paul, I can see no reason why it would not be. And, it certainly looks to be original to the car to me. I have a 1957 Corvette survivor with just a few less miles on it and the condition of the original paint on the block and valve covers looks absolutely identical.

The Motor starts right up and idles like a sewing machine. It does not smoke or cough or hesitate in any way. The transmission shifts smooth and effortlessly. I believe the top end of the motor was probably rebuilt when it was restored sometime in the 80’s and has simply always been maintained to the highest standard by Paul.

The Motor Compartment feels completely original, including all the wiring and original painted surfaces. All hoses and belts have been replaced consistently over the years and are in like new condition.

The car drives straight down the road with hands off the wheel at 70 miles an hour. It brakes very well. The car is ready to be driven with no mechanical issues at all.

Three of the four windows work well, the top works perfectly. The passenger side rear window goes up but does not want to release down. It has to be mechanically released. We believe it is just the spring that has come off or broken.

The original Selectronic radio is in the dash and Paul said it worked, but I turned it on and got nothing, so maybe a fuse. There is another Selectronic in the trunk that goes with the car. The car rides on a brand new set of Coker Wide Whites. I actually had the distinction of removing the blue goo off of them when the car came to my house.

Paul is the type of owner that does not skimp on anything. He has the means to take care of a fine automobile to the highest level. He is also a very talented businessman and his time is dear. He kept a file folder on everything he has done with the car, brakes, tune-ups, etc. However he moved a few years ago an and misplaced the folder. Hopefully he will find the folder and it will be included with the car.


The Interior is done in Black & Yellow Leather and is in exceptionally nice condition considering it was restored over 30 years ago. The style used in the seats and doors is an exact duplicate of how the original interior was done. Again, the color code called for Blue with Black Trim and this is Black & Yellow with Black Trim. Was this done at the factory or was this done later when a color change was possibly made to the car. It’s really hard to know for sure. Without question, the interior material is of very high-end quality standards, equivalent in every way to the original materials that were used in these cars.

The carpet is like new, would rate at a 9.5. Seats are slightly discolored at the corners but I would rate at a solid 8.5 with no tears, rips or much wear at all. Door panels are a 9. Dash and trim are a 9 and completely original. Gauges look completely original and would rate at a solid 9 and a 10 on the survivor scale. The entire interior is in over great shape.

The Top is a very thick and rich material, probably from the 80’s, high-dollar and in extremely good shape. It needs a good deep cleaning to bring it up to it’s potential. It’s a 8.5 now but would certainly be a 9.5 with a thorough cleaning. The boot does not line up to perfection with the buttons on the body on the passenger side and the buttons will need to be repositioned. It may have shrunk doe to age, but is in very nice condition and is of high quality material.


The Undercarriage is very original, looking like it is most certainly completely original. It is the undercarriage of a car that has 74K in minimal rain and dirt. It is very typical of how a lightly driven CA car looks. I would rate it at an overall 8 and a 9.2 for a survivor car. There are no signs of rust anywhere. The exhaust system looks to be like new.

In the trunk is the jack which appears to be original and the spare tire.

Four Poster Style (10 x12) period magazine advertisements. An original Buick 1953 Manual and a 1953 Service Bulletin Manual comes with the car.


The Vin# on this example is taken from the motor number, which was sometimes done back in 40’s and 50’s. The Chassis number is an embossed style tag on the driver’s door. The car has the old style CA Pink Slip with an issue date of 12-25-1987. ONE of the original Black and Yellow Plates that we believe came with the car originally in CA comes with the car and is pictured. Since the other plate is missing, it is possible to have another plate made to match and reassign in CA to the car, under the year of make program. It says 1951 on the tag, but all tags up to 1955 that were issued in CA said 1951, so this would be correct for that car in CA in 1953.

With the exception of the few small items mentioned that the car needs it is ready to go. It is reliable and wants to be driven. If you are in the Southern CA area, or if you can fly in and look at this car, I would highly recommend it, as it is a wonderful driving example of this rare collector Buick.

For further questions please feel free to call Frank at 949-310-6262. I am available seven days a week from 8AM til 11PM Pacific Time. Paul’s number will also be available, just ask.

Some History on the 1953 Buick Skylark:

For 113 years Buick has provided substantial, unpretentious luxury to everyone from Wall Street bankers to professional athletes. You might say the storied brand has done it all. It's the foundation for today's General Motors Company. It's the foundation for America's growth in the world's largest automotive market. And, in the '50s, when Detroit was at the top of its luxury game, fine automobiles like this magnificent Skylark gave serious credibility to the line "When better automobiles are built Buick will build them". Commissioned to celebrate the brand's 50th anniversary, this fully sorted cruiser is 1 of only 1,690 Skylarks assembled for the 1953 model year. Visually, it's some of the coolest metal to ever roll down an assembly line. Thanks to a remarkable combination of smooth power and world-class style, the car sits at the pinnacle of luxury engineering.

The 1953 Roadmaster Skylark was one of three specialty convertibles created to promote General Motors' leadership in design and innovation. Like its Fiesta and Eldorado stablemates, the Skylark was a limited-production, hand-made halo that was overwhelmingly admired by the public and rewarded with a very successful sales rate. Today, roughly 63 years later, the car's world-class design characteristics can be found in pretty much every modern automaker's aesthetic DNA. And its unique blend of optimistic swagger and unmatched exclusivity make it one of the most coveted classics on the planet.


The car is for sale locally and we reserve the right to cancel this auction at any time before the end of the auction. We do not have a Buy It Now Price listed.

The car will be made available for inspection by serious bidders throughout the auction. Please e-mail us if you would like to see the car. If you prefer, we can arrange to have a qualified, independent, professional mechanic perform a pre-purchase inspection for you (at your expense). It is the buyers responsibility to verifythat all of the sellers information and claims about the car are true and correct prior to the sale of the vehicle. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL NOT ACCEPT PAYPAL AS A FORM OF PAYMENT. THIS IS TRUE FOR BOTH THE INITIAL DEPOSIT AS WELL AS THE FINAL PAYMENT.
Winning bidder must contact us within 24 hours of auction end, and make arrangements for payment at that time. A $1000.00deposit is due within 48 hours of end of auction. The deposit can be made by cash (please do not mail cash!), bank check, cashier's check, or bank transfer (preferred). The remainder is due within 7d days of Auction end. The remaining balance must be made in the form of a bank transfer (preferred) Cashier'scheck, or bank check (all forms of payment subject to verification). PayPal will not be accepted as a form of payment for either the deposit or the final payment. If no contact is made within 24 hours we reserve the right to re-list the vehicle, sell it to the next high bidder, or sell it otherwise. Please arrange financing prior to bidding. Once the final balance has been paid, title transfer paperwork will be initiated.
Buyer is responsible for pickup or shipping of this vehicle. If you wish to have it shipped using a service, we will gladly cooperate, you can locate shippers by doing a search for “auto shippers”. We have relationships with both domestic and international shippers should you need some assistance.

This vehicle is being sold as is, where is with no warranty, expressed written or implied. The seller shall not be responsible for the correct description, authenticity, genuineness, or defects herein, and makes no warranty in connection therewith. No allowance or set aside will be made on account of any incorrectness, imperfection, defect or damage. Any descriptions or representations are for identification purposes only and are not to be construed as a warranty of any type. It is the responsibility of the buyer to have thoroughly inspected the vehicle and to have satisfied himself or herself as to the condition and value and to purchase based upon that judgment solely. The seller shall and will make every reasonable effort to disclose any known defects associated with this vehicle at the buyer's request prior to the close of sale. Seller assumes no responsibility for any repairs regardless of any oral statements about the vehicle. Please Check My Feedback- I value my 100% positive rating, and will do my best to keep it.

The winning bidder should have the car insured from the time the final payment is made to us. Once final payment is made, we will exercise a generally accepted standard of care, but the buyer assumes all liability and risk once the final payment is made.
Before delivery of the vehicle, the winning bidder must provide a photocopy of a valid driver’s license. Delivery is defined as the time at which physical possession of the car is transferred from us, the seller, to the buyer or the buyers’ agent or chosen transport company.
If you are not sure about something, Please ASK. Do not assume anything not listed is included. We reserve the right to cancel bids for excessive negative feedback. We reserve the right to end the listing if the vehicle is no longer available for sale.