Steve Anderson still remembers his 1956 Buick powered by the Buick "Nail Valve" 264-cubic inch, eight-cylinder engine, which was first introduced by Buick in 1953 to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
Two things raced to the line for Anderson: Metal spark plug wire covers that when worn would short out the plugs and cause a "stumbling" miss and the beautiful sound that the set of continental glass pack mufflers made.
This engine's big brother, a 322-cubic-inch powerplant, came standard in the very luxurious 1954 Buick Skylark, last week's Guess the Vehicle. The first Skylark was made in 1953 and both only came as convertibles.
Morris Olson of Brainerd submitted this photograph. Can you guess the year, make and model as well as any other information about this vehicle? You can respond by calling 855-5888 and leaving a message. You can also e-mail Clint at email@example.com.
Correct guessers were Tom Erickson, Harry Austin, Kyle Bollig of Florida, who was visiting his brother in Brainerd, Russ Moore, Larry Olson, Rosemary Petrich, Larry Knutson, Ted Toensing and Clem Belcher.
Erickson said that this car also was the first to have a wraparound windshield.
Moore said that these Skylarks cost $4,483 new. Only 836 were built.
Petrich wrote that standard equipment on a 1954 Skylark was power steering, power brakes, power seats, wire spoke wheels and white sidewall tires.
Toensing wrote that this '54 Skylark was built on a Century frame instead of the Roadmaster frame that the 1953 Skylark was built on.
Olson said that the Skylark weighed 4,260 pounds.
Unlike most Buicks, these early Skylarks didn't have the trademark Ventiports or "port holes" on their front fenders, said Petrich and Toensing.
This 1954 Buick Skylark convertible, No. 320 of 836 built in 1954, was last week's Guess the Vehicle. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood
These portholes, introduced in 1948, allowed children to identify a Buick by how many portholes it had, and have been taken on and off Buicks ever since. They were discontinued in 1958 only to be re-introduced in 1960 as small, elongated chrome decorations. They appeared on at least some Buick models into the early '80s. The 2003 Park Avenue Ultra also had portholes.
The idea for these portholes came from the World War II fighter planes.
This week's trivia
This week's trivia question is "When was the last year you could order a full-size Buick with a standard transmission?"
The answer to last week's trivia question, "Which car was named Motor Trend's Car of the Year in 1971?" was the Chevrolet Vega.
The magazine reported that the Vega won over nine other candidates and its testing of the winner that year was one of the most thorough analyses it ever had on a Car of the Year.
Rosemary Petrich, the first correct guesser, wrote that the '71 Vega had a single carburetor that produced 90 horsepower or a two-barrel carburetor that produced 110 horsepower. This year, Vega also was the first General Motors vehicle to offer front wheel disc brakes, she said.
Other correct guessers were Larry Roscoe, Olson, Erickson, Toensing and Mark Kargel.
Roscoe wrote that he did not like the way a Vega's floor shifter operated. "I had to push down on the lever, like pushing it into the floor, and then over and back to find reverse," he said.
He said the Vega's strange engine design prompted a salvage yard owner to state it was "only good for those building their own woodsplitters."
clint wood, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5869.
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