Wednesday, December 18, 2013

0.5k: Best Worst Car: 1985 Buick Skyhawk

When DT writer Hunsbloger penned his epic treatise on the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable wagon, I knew immediately it was a challenge.  The gauntlet had been thrown down; now my foot hurts.  To find the best worst car for daily commuting you need to harness all of the evil from ebay's search feature and hope for the best...err...worst.  The 6th generation Buick Skylark Skyhawk (as Type44 points out in the comments...#facepalm) hails from dark days of the oldest American marque still for sale today and is a horrible automobile.  Perfect.  Find this 1985 Buick Skyhawk for sale in Millersville, MD currently bidding on ebay for $499 with no reserve and 5 days to go.

The Buick Skyhawk (1982-89) was built on GM's newly re-designed J-body platform and shared basic components with winners like the Cadillac Cimarron, Chevrolet Cavalier, Oldsmobile Firenza and Pontiac Sunbird.  GM made the unfortunate move of designing the J-body from the beginning as a plastic-y front drive pile of junk.  The only redeeming aesthetic item on the Skylark was the nose that looks like it came off an 80's Z-28.

Pop the hood...and just walk away.  Don't bother trying to get into the details of the 2.0 liter LQ5 inline-4cylinder engine supplied by GM, as 85 horsepower from a TBI setup isn't sweet.  At least this one is equipped with a manual gearbox.

The only redeeming quality on this particular Skyhawk is the apparent minty clean condition of the exterior and interior.  The odometer reads 21k but the seller claims 121k; but it could be 221k for all we know.  Bottom line, it doesn't look bad at all for a $500 car.

Therein lies the lesson from today's Skyhawk feature.  You want to enjoy cheap motoring?  Don't buy the worst example of a good car...instead get the best example of a horrible car and maybe you'll find someone to buy it from you in a year when you want to dump it.  In fact, when the time comes, just email us here:


  1. Its a good thing I telecommute, because our E-i-C would not have survived the day had we been in the same office!

  2. Ah, the GM X-body. We meet again old foe. The flag bearer for GM's campaign to see how much poor build quality and unreliability the American people would tolerate without losing brand loyalty. This flag was later passed on to Saturn, but I digress. Had an 84 Firenza that had ways of reminding you every day of its lack of quality. I recall it saved its choicest cuts for the coldest days of the year. Nothing like playing the "why won't this thing start?" game in a wind-swept parking lot at 5 degrees below. The game was less fun on a college student's budget and before internet and cell phones.
    Is that a AAA sticker I spy on the bumper of the bottom picture?

  3. Not even the seller can read the badges. This is a Skyhawk, not a Skylark. It is a J body. Not an X. This makes it a Cavalier's sibling as compared to a Citation's. And there never was an Iron Duke 2.5 put in a J body.

    Hate to get pedantic, and the J body doesn't mean it's any less of a POS, but may as well get the facts straight...

    1. Sumofagum. You are correct. I knew that wasn't a SkyLARK front I'll need to re-write the entire story by replacing X with J and Lark with Hawk....

  4. If it was a little closer, I'd buy it. $500 is short money for the perfect piece of crap college car for my son to drive. If he wrecks it, so what. As a bonus, I can teach him to drive stick on the thing.

  5. Dudes! That Type44 can unconsciously rattle off the difference between the "Lark" & the "Hawk" and the "X" and the "J" in regards to this small but steaming pile of doggie doo doo is just DOWN RIGHT FRIGHTENING.

    Type44 - Are you writing us from a minimum security federal prison camp (ala Bernie Madoof)? Or, are you the Devil himself sending us a coded message from the deepest depths of automotive hell?

    Begone ye Evil Demon! I curse you and your Citation to an eternity of cold weather jump starts and high school parking lot ridicule!


  6. Cheers to Type 44 i knew something smelled in this ad and not just my day old coffee....

  7. Perry here. Years ago I had this exact year, model, & color in the same color But with the automatic trans, no less.

    It had handicapped plates (probably in reference to the car itself) and a "necker knob" on the steering wheel. The car had already suffered a very hard life & YES, It was a turd. I flipped it later for a profit of a couple hundred bucks. I still have the necker-knob.

    Ya know, I gotta say that I think this one is a score deal. I'm serious. It is amazingly clean, dirt cheap, + it's a stick shift. Somebody clearly cared about this car. They maintained it & it shows.

    I wager you could get many more miles of mediocre transportation out of it. Over-rev the engine--Who cares!?!

    Put on a VOTE REAGAN bumper sticker & accessorize the crap out of it with period swag: Spiral "phone" anteanna, bead seatcover, & those "winglet" plastic things that attach to the wipers.

  8. For $500 it would be a great practical joke car. Get a couple of friends in full old people makeup and just drive around and do stupid stuff like spend 15 minutes trying to park it, be the only car that can make it through a red light. For icing put a monster stereo rig in it booming out something like AM talk radio so freakin' loud that EVERYONE would have to listen to Limbaugh while the passengers just look bored.

  9. I love the Jack Ass style joke car idea! Or you could buy it and present it to a relative as Christmas present. It's the kind of gift you give someone you love (who has a great sense of humor) or the relative you hate. The 4-speed makes the joke even more effective!


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