Cruisin' the Coast

Cruisin' Car of the Day: 1965 Buick Skylark Gran Sport

Owner: Charles Bruton of Hattiesburg

What's it got in it?: A 325-hp, 401 cu. in. "nailhead" engine with a dealer-installed optional dual Carter four-barrel carbs, a 3/4 race cam and headers. The transmission is an M-21 Muncie four-speed with a Hurst shifter and a stock rear end. Back in the day, Bruton said, "the engine was also referred to as a 445 Wildcat."

What's been done to it?: The car had been restored with a new interior, a new vinyl top and "burgundy mist" paint when Bruton bought it three years ago. He has since added 15 X 8 American Racing Torque Thrust wheels all around, shod with P245 60 R15 BF Goodrich radial TAs to replace the original Rally wheels and redline tires.

The Gran Sport is highly under-recognized and easily underrated among the muscle cars. Of all the Skylarks built, only 3,077 were equipped with the four-speed and only a handful of those got the dual-quad option. That option, along the the 3/4 cam and headers, most likely pushes the horsepower up past 360. Many unsuspecting victims had their doors blown off by this potent combination.

What brings you here: "I just live for this every year," Bruton said. "This is where I take my vacation."

-- Lawrence Wheeler, Special to the Sun Herald