This Poor Beater Buick Has Seen Better Days

Illustration for article titled This Poor Beater Buick Has Seen Better Days

Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.


Every so often you come across a car that's a little bit of a mystery. Whether by placement, or a mishmash of parts, or by ownership, something doesn't make sense. And that's the case with this poor little Buick I saw on the streets of SoHo earlier this week.

If you know anything about SoHo, and of course you know everything about SoHo because New York is the goddamn center of the universe amirite, you'd know that not only is it way too close for comfort to the Gawkerati Global Headquarters, but that it's also one of the toniest places in all of Manhattan. Expensive boutiques vie for your hard-earned dollars with expensive chain stores, when it doesn't really matter because you're spending all your hard-earned dollars on your expensive apartment with no kitchen and beautiful views of a brick wall.

So that's why this Buick is a mystery.

Illustration for article titled This Poor Beater Buick Has Seen Better Days

It's got New York's new-ish and ugly yellowy-orange plates, and its registration hasn't expired so it probably hasn't been sitting long, and there it is, all beat up like it wronged Walter from The Big Lebowski. Maybe a kid left their homework in it or something. It doesn't seem to belong in the neighborhood. Not that I don't think it being there is stupendous.

It's also a bit difficult to pin down which Buick this is exactly. This particular example is a 1963, and I believe it's a Buick Special. You early-1960s Buick obsessives should feel free to correct me, but Buick made two-door convertible versions of almost its entire model line in this period. Cannibalization, what's that?

Illustration for article titled This Poor Beater Buick Has Seen Better Days

I'm led to believe this is a Special because of its relatively compact size, and the fact that those most certainly look like the base offering of wheels. As the Special wasn't very special at all and was actually the base model, ipso facto Buick Special.


But I could be wrong. It could be a Skylark, which was actually only a trim level of the Buick Special until 1963, when it became its own (albeit very similar) model.

Here's a Fun Fact about the early 1960's Buick Special. It featured a 215-cubic inch V8. That doesn't sound very special, until I tell you it's other name: The Rover V8. Yes, the venerable Rover V8 wasn't actually a Rover V8 at all, but rather a Buick engine. It was a bit ho-hum when it was first offered to Americans in their country called America, but once leaping across the pond it was basically offered in every single car ever made. I'm sure someone, somewhere, has shoehorned one into a Mini.

Illustration for article titled This Poor Beater Buick Has Seen Better Days


Raphael Orlove

This car used to hang out in my favorite neighborhood for carspotting, the Williamsburg-Greenpoint Industrial Business Zone, or the IBZ for short.

In particular, it used to hang out at the very best corner for carspotting in the IBZ, right by the import motorcycle shop off Wythe or wherever. I took these back in April '09.

That truck might look familiar.

Fr some reason I can't dig up my pictures of it, but this thing got bashed in not that much later after I took those pictures. Probably late '09 or early '10. I saw it on the corner of Bedford by the park over there and yes, I held back my tears. I assume someone nailed it going around a turn.

But, it's still running!

EDIT: The wheels are different, as is the license plate number. Odd. Might be the same car, might not. In any case, I did see this nice Skylark 'vert back in '09 then saw what was definitely this crunched version not long later.