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Buick purposefully purveys performance in this 1966 Skylark Gran Sport ad

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1966 Buick Skylark GS. Artwork provided by the Automotive History Preservation Society.

I believe that this advertisement really stands out among other Buick GS ads of its era for evoking emotion and provoking action. It shows a 1966 Skylark GS at speed, not a rendering, as many other ads employed prior to 1966. It depicts interaction between the driver and the car, and best of all, it reveals the equipment that’s included to create the Gran Sport, as well as a few of its more interesting options.

We see a Carter and a Quadrajet carburetor, a floor shifter being rowed through the gears, a tach (note it doesn’t divulge its poor placement, but an out-of-focus glimpse of it appears in the floor-shifter shot), a redline tire going up in smoke and the GS negotiating a twisty road. It even makes mention of dealer-installed equipment like metallic brake linings and a rear stabilizer bar. The latter was likely offered in an attempt to keep in step with the handling qualities of the competing Oldsmobile 4-4-2.

It appears that with this ad, Buick may have finally torn a page from Pontiac’s successful print ad campaigns for the GTO, as many of the same visceral elements appeared in GTO ads dating back to 1964. Nevertheless, the Buick wears it well, like the GTO did.

Buick joined the dramatic-performance-photos-in-advertising fray just as it was ending, however, as little did we know then, soon after GM would stop using these aggressive displays of power and speed in its ads to satiate safety groups. This occurred despite the fact that the muscle car era was just three model years old and would continue, arguably, through 1972. (Yet Buick didn’t kick well-being to the curb even in this ad, as the standard safety features are listed along with a plea to wear your seat belt.)

Does this ad make you want to drive a 1966 Buick Skylark Gran Sport? Tell us why or why not.