We've seen some beautiful beater Down On The Street cars in recent weeks, cars that proudly show off their battle scars and thumb their collective noses at their trailer-queen hyperrestored counterparts. Then we have the other kind of vintage beater, the cars that depreciated to 2% of their purchase price within several years of rolling off the showroom floor and were so unloved that nearly all of them went to The Crusher before they even made it to age 15. This Skyhawk is such a car.
Given how common the GM H-Body cars (Skyhawk, Monza, and Sunbird) used to be, it's a bit of a shock that you see so few of them now. But, like the once-ubiquitous Pinto, they just didn't maintain enough value to be worth fixing when they broke.
I spotted this '76 in the landfill neighborhood near the beach (where the subject of Robert Bechtle's Alameda Gran Torino lived).
The Skyhawk for '76 came with a 105-horsepower odd-fire 231 V6; if you threw in $244 you could have either a 5-speed manual (yay!) or a 3-speed automatic (boo!).
This one definitely has some weathering; if the apocalypse comes and Alameda's version of Lord Humungus takes over, he might consider adding this car to his fleet. The Skyhawk, for all its crummy build quality and underpowered engine, wasn't such a bad car when it was working, and its appearance certainly was ahead of its time. A friend of mine in high school had a '76 with the 5-speed, and it handled respectably well with the addition of stiffer springs and fatter sway bars
Of course, my friend's Skyhawk went to The Crusher at age 7, when the front subframe simply broke- while the car sat there parked! Think any Japanese cars from that era did that?
The wedge shape helped the Skyhawk get 30MPG on the highway, which was pretty decent for a Detroit car of its era.
I think what this car needs is a coat of black Rustoleum and a very large amount of turbo boost. Then it wouldn't have evaded The Crusher for three decades for nothing.