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Diego’s AutoHunter Picks

Driver’s paradise


Why do some folks hate trailer queens so much? From my perspective, who are you to tell a guy or gal (s)he can’t have the best? But there’s something to be said about drivers, so this week’s AutoHunter Picks are cars that are vehicles that you can just hop in and drive without worrying about pebbles in the tread.

Sorry, Brand X, this week it’s all GM, but maybe you could bring yourself to choose a favorite?

1953 Buick Skylark
When I was a kid, the 1953 Buick Skylark was one of the most prestigious collectibles of the decade. It’s semi-custom look and special-edition status enshrined it with collectors, and it also was more popular than its Oldsmobile and Cadillac cousins. Today, it seems other cars have risen to the top while cars like the Skylark have remained steadfast yet almost forgotten.

This 1953 Buick Skylark looks to be a great driver, something that would elicit smiles from spectators and passengers alike. The inaugural “Nailhead” was not high on horsepower back then (especially when combined with Dynaflow), but I imagine adding vintage speed parts would make this grand ol’ ragtop wake up. If there is a thing about being proud driving a vehicle, this Buick is that car.

1987 Buick Regal Limited Turbo
Here’s a “when I was a kid” moment: my favorite car was a 1969 GTO Judge. Do you know the problem with them? They all seem to be Carousel Red, though they were available in all regular GTO colors. I have the same problem with the Grand National, of which any color was available as long as it was black. A solution? The 3.8L turbo-six was available on other Regals like the fancy Limited.

This 1987 Buick Limited is also equipped with the Y56 “T” package, which included “T” ornamentation, Gran Touring suspension, fast ratio power steering, gas shock absorbers, attractive 15-inch aluminum wheels, and Eagle GT blackwall tires. Perhaps this would be heavier than a Grand National, but it’s also much rarer at 1,035 built versus 20,193. The auction expires today so hurry up and bid!

1965 Chevrolet Impala SS
Forget this is a Chevrolet ’65 Impala for a moment and check out the color. It’s called Evening Orchid, a one-year offering that was shared with Pontiac (which called it Iris Mist). Though somewhat feminine, it’s a color that has shot up to the top of desirability in today’s world. Combine it with the sporty Super Sport model and you have the makings of a very nice full-size Chevy.

This 1965 Impala SS currently has a later 454 underneath the hood, so it’s not for purists, but it’s hard to care when it’s an authentic Evening Orchid hardtop. Per the data plate, the original transmission was Powerglide, but a three-speed TH350 seems to be a nice upgrade. Rally wheels from 1967 look like they were born on this car. A very nice vehicle when Chevrolet was at its peak.

Eckler’s-Bodied 1972 Chevrolet Corvette
Do you know Disco Stu? He’s that Simpsons character who has left the 1970s, but the 1970s hasn’t left him. I imagine Stu drives this Corvette. Though it’s originally a 1972, the widebody kit has given the fiberglass flyer a mid-1970s look thanks to the nose. Stu clearly is not the self-effacing type with this vehicle, but Corvettes tend not to be for that personality type either.

Perhaps you’re not Disco Stu, but do you enjoy marching to your own drum beat? Then here is your new car. The small-block has been replaced by a big-block 402, and I don’t hear anyone complaining. Extra taillights are a great period tweak that tells traffic this ain’t no ordinary Corvette. On the other hand, the retractable headlights are intact, which seems unusual since they were often changed to fixed units.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in the Southwest.


  1. Diego- are you aware that those turbo V6 blocks, Regal to GNX, are strong enough to take 1000hp hits of nitrous with the proper rods/bearings and oil pump? GM knew that these were the new small block Chevys, and they are stout. I have a car club bud that runs 2x66mm turbos and a staged 750hp nitrous hit on a stock block T-Type Regal. It runs high 10s on 10″ slicks and 11s on street tires, idles like gramma’s Caddy. A/C and stereo and velour interior. Only the rims and rubber give it away.


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