'53-'54 Buick Skylark Club

Skylark - The Name

Skylark – The Name

We all know Buick started producing the Skylark model in 1953 to commemorate their 50th Anniversary, but did you know that the first automobile named Skylark was the Hupmobile Skylark built in 1939-1940 by the Hupp Motor Car Co. in Detroit, MI.  The Hupp Motor Car Co. barely making it through the depression followed by a long union labor dispute.  The result was that the Company was forced to sell most of their plant assets.  In 1938 they acquired the body dies of the Gordon Buehrig designed Cord 810/812 from the defunct Cord Automobile Co.  Hupp hoped to use the striking Cord design in a lower-priced car called the Skylark, in order to restore the company fortunes.  Their advertising slogans were “The Sensational Hupp Skylark –America’s Most Distinguished Low Priced Car” and “Breath Taking Beauty – Built for Action”.  In those days Hupp required a $50 deposit from prospective buyers and apparently initial sales orders were in the thousands, but due to production delays most orders would be canceled.  Because Hupp lacked production facilities they worked out a deal with another ailing car company, the Graham-Page Motor Co. to share the cost of the dies, and to build the cars.  I say cars because the Hupp Skylark had a sister car, manufactured by the Graham-Page Motor Co. called the Hollywood.  The Hollywood and the Skylark had only minor differences.  The Hupp Skylark was produced both as a hardtop and convertible, with a 245 CID straight 6 cylinder 101 HP engine.  The Hupp Skylark was 190 inches long, stood 60.5 inches high, had a curb weight of 3000 lbs., and sold for between $1,095 - $1,400.  The Hupp Skylark emblem was chromed and had the name Skylark resting above an airplane propeller.  Production of the Hupp Skylark started in late 1939, but lasted less than one year with only 319 Hupp Skylarks built when production stopped in the second week of July 1940.  In November 1940 the Hupp Motor Car Company began reorganization under bankruptcy and some of the last Hupp Skylarks built were sold as 1941 models.

I’m sure we have all seen many Skylark Motels, Hotels, Cafes, and Skylark Bars.  If you Google “Skylark” you will find many more uses of the name Skylark;

Bird – The Skylark is “part of the genus of larks with four species found across much of Europe, Asia, and in the mountains of North Africa.  The bird is 14-18 cm long, lives in open habitats and has a characteristic song which it delivers in flight” - Wikipedia.  As you know the ‘54 Skylark emblem has a winged bird under the name.

Aircraft – Cessna produced the 175 Skylark, the Czechs produced a Skylark ultralight aircraft, the British produced both a rocket and a series of gliders named Skylark, there is a Skylark miniature unmanned aerial vehicle developed by Elbit, and even an American helicopter called the Vortech Skylark.

Books – Skylark was the sequel title to “Sarah, Plain and Tall” by Patricia MacLachlan, Skylark (publisher) and imprint of Bantam Books, a series of 4 novels by E.E. Smith which features a spaceship called Skylark, and even a poem “To a Skylark” by Percy Bysshe Shelley in June 1820.

Film – Dave Skylark, host of “Skylark Tonight” in the action-comedy The Interview (2014 film), two films called Skylark (1941 & 1993) with the 1993 film starred Glen Close and Christopher Walken, and Sky Larks a 1934 Walter Lantx film.

Music – the “Skylark” song a 1942 jazz standard by Johnny Mercer & Hoagy Carmichael, Skylark songs on albums done by Renee Olstead (2009), Paul Desmond (1973), and Shirley Scott (1991), the bass player with The Doobie Brothers was called Skylark, there is a Canadian pop group and Italian power metal band called Skylark, and the Skylark Lounge is a world renowned Blues Club in Austin, TX.

Other – The Skylark Group is a North Indian Poultry Company, the USS Skylark is a Penguin-class Navy submarine rescue ship launched in 1946, Skylark is the current name for a fictional comic book character, and “Skylark” is the unofficial name of the Edward E Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction which annually recognizes someone for lifetime contributions to science fiction.