10 November 2014

Car Stuff: Random Sighting #32

Back in September I found myself in Arlington Center one day, looking for some used paperbacks at the used bookstore The Book Rack. I was unsuccessful, and on my way home I got stuck in a gap between buses on Boston Avenue in the vicinity of Tufts, so I decided to walk to where I could get a different bus. It turned out to be a fortuitous circumstance because I found three cars worth photographing during that walk, two of which I'm sharing today.
Along Boston Ave. there's an auto repair place, and those tend to be good places to spot interesting older cars. In fact, we had passed this place in the car and I'd caught a glimpse of this car, but didn't expect it to be there again several weeks later, but it was, which suggests to me that it may belong to one of the employees.
It's a 1971 Buick Skylark Gran Sport (GS), which was Buick's counterpart to its corporate cousins the Chevrolet Chevelle SS, Pontiac GTO, and Oldsmobile 4-4-2. The different models shared many mechanical components but had their own styling, interiors, and instrument panel designs. Back in '71 silver wasn't the ubiquitous color it is today, so this is an interesting sighting for that reason too. (Buick called this shade "platinum mist.") As with the '72 LeMans convertible near my house that I wrote about back in late March, production of '71 GS models was pretty low. The GS was available as either a hardtop like this or a convertible, each with three engine choices: a 350-cubic-inch V8, a 455-cubic-inch V8, or a higher-tune 'Stage 1" version of the 455. There was also a GSX package which added a spoiler and black striping on the hood and sides, so we know this isn't a GSX.
These iPhone pics don't have the resolution for me to be able to tell what the fender badge under the GS says, but it doesn't look like the Stage 1 badges I found online, so it's probably either 350 or 455. The production numbers on those were 5986 and 1481, respectively. I apologize for how the right edge of this got cut off; I was trying to avoid getting the car next to it in this shot. Once I realized what was parked next to the GS I took a separate pic of it, plus you can see it in the first two pics above.
The bonus car, which is surely owned by a senior citizen, is a Chrysler Imperial, which was made only from 1990-93. The Imperial name has a long and complicated history as part of Chrysler, starting in 1926. In its most significant period, from 1955-75, it was a separate brand, meant to sit at the top of Chrysler's brand hierarchy as a competitor to Cadillac and Lincoln. This car, however, was merely a New Yorker Fifth Avenue with different front and rear ends and a plusher interior.

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