1970 Pro-Touring Lark

Discussion in 'Pro-Touring' started by BuickBullet, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. BuickBullet

    BuickBullet Well-Known Member

    Hello All,

    I'm Tom, and I'm new to Forums, but here is a little info on me:

    My Car Experience:
    I'm 15, and in 10th grade. The first "Muscle Car" I ever remember riding in is my Dad's 1971 Buick Skylark Convert. Needless to say I wanted one of my own one day. Since my youth I have worked on a variety of cars with my dad. Those include his convert, a 1991 Corvette, a 1982 Camaro Drag Car, a 1977 Ford LTD Landau lowrider, and a couple Trucks. I have R&R engines, transmission and painted cars.

    My Car
    I was offered my dads first car, a 1973 Nova that we would build with a blower, but that wasn't what I wanted. I wanted a BUICK. I got a 1970 Buick Skylark 2-Door Post from a VW/Subaru Dealership. Some guy traded it in during a midlife crises. When we bought the car, it was setup as a mild pro street: 455, Turbo 400, Fiberglass Hood and 10 bolt Posi.

    I was able to track down the previous owner who rebuilt the car. He said that the 455 was bored 0.030" over, had aftermarket pistons and a Poston 112 Cam. It also had Eldebrock Carb & Intake, 67 430 Heads. The Turbo 400 has a mild shift kit. The 10 bolt Posi had 2.90 gears it, but was tight.

    With the Car planned on being a Dailey Driver, Pro touring was the way to go for me. I am posting this on the end of my build, but I'll try and keep it interesting.

    The Modifications that I have done:
    Global West Negative Roll Upper and Lower Control Arms
    1977 Buick Century Tall Spindles & Disk Brakes
    QA1 Dual Adjustable Coil-Overs
    New Moog Steering Linkage
    Global West Front 1 1/8" Solid Sway Bar
    AGR 12.7:1 Steering Box
    Power Steering Cooler
    Currie Axles Ford 9 inch (Detroit Locker and 4.11 Gears).
    Eldebrock Adjustable Rear Control Arm
    Global West Lower Rear Control Arm
    Adjustable Proportional Valve
    Line Lock
    Rear Disk Brakes

    Modifications To Do:
    Purchase and Install New Steering Wheel
    Replace Inner Fender
    Replace Heater Core
    Install Electric Cooling Fan
    Install HEI and MSD
    Fabricate new Shifter Handle
    Fabricate Side Exit Exhaust
    Purchase and Install Tires and Install New Rims
    Purchase and Install Shorty Headers

    Pictures and Documentation of the Work will come later,
    I just wanted to introduce myself on this website so I can ask for help as I get farther along with this project, because I usually end up needing it.
    Feel Free to Comment,
    Thank You For Your Time,

    Skylark Front.JPG Skylark Rear Edit.jpg Skylark Edit.jpg
  2. serb

    serb Active Member

    I think your rear gears might be alittle steep 455 got a lot of torque, 3.42 might be better
  3. GoldBoattail455

    GoldBoattail455 462 -> TH400 -> Posi

    Welcome to the board! You have come to the right place.
  4. Mister T

    Mister T Just truckin' around

    Welcome aboard Tom! :beers2: <- (Soda pop :) ) Plenty of people willing to help you out around here. Sounds like you're well on the way to owning a very kewl ride.

    BUQUICK I'm your huckleberry.

    Welcome. I'm glad to see a young guy with an interest in an old Buick. I love the sedan. I also have a Buick will a 9" and 4.11 gears. It's no fun for long drives. My dad has a 9" with 3.50 gears and it's much better to drive so be prepared to switch to 3.50s if you want to drive on the interstate.

    Good luck with the project and keep us updated on your progress. Keep the photos coming.
  6. BuickBullet

    BuickBullet Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the Response! And admittedly the 4.11's are a little high, but it was my dads, so I'm "borrowing" it to save money and I think it's better then the ten bolt! The higher gearing will increase acceleration though, which is ideal as the car will be mainly competing in SCCA cone style racing, where the longer legs of 3.42's-3.73's won't be needed. Ideally the car would be equipped with 3.73's but that's not in the cards, as My Dad would make me buy my own third member.

    Thanks for the warm welcoming :TU:

    If anyone has any questions on the previous things or things I plan on doing, Let me know, I'll do my best to answer!

    I'd also like to gather an opinion on the Grant 404-405 steering wheels. As my Gauges are black, and some other items are black I am leaning towards the 404.


    Does anyone have any experience with side exit exhaust? I am trying to move the Muffler out of the way so I can install Chassis Stiffeners, and the easiest way to do that would be to move the muffler towards the front and have it exit in front of the tire (which would also get rid of the Axle-Backs weight and flow restrictions). I am wondering if it'll be too loud or hot.

    Thank You For Your Time,

    BUQUICK I'm your huckleberry.

    When I bought my Buick sedan it had side exit exhaust. It was really loud! However much of the noise was due to the 3" 1-chamber Flowmaster mufflers. The exhaust was 3" with an X-pipe. I absolutely hated it. It was the very first thing I changed about the car but it actually wasn't because of the volume. I changed it because in my opinion side exhaust sounds strange (terrible) on any car. The reason is because a person only hears four of the eight cylinders. Have you ever heard a Cobra or old Corvette with side exhaust? If you have you'll know what I mean, it sounds like the engine is running rough because your only hear four cylinders hitting. No offense intended to any others here that have side exhaust, or that like the sound of only four cylinders at a time, but I just couldn't stand it.

    MM76 likes this.
  8. BuickBullet

    BuickBullet Well-Known Member

    Hey Sorry Guys I didn't your post :Dou: I had forgotten to refresh.

    Mister T: I love the Name! Thanks! I hope it's "kewl" too. I must say though, I think the 1965s are Kewl cars too! Especially in a 4 Speed... :3gears:

    BUQUICK: I also love the name. That'd make a cool license plate! I'm glad I'm not the only one with a 4.11 9". I will try to avoid taking my car on the highway, but for cruising around town and stuff is it bad? My dad was running it in his convert, but I can't really remember. Thank you for your quick and thorough response on the side exhaust, I hadn't thought of it like that, and I have 2.25" exhaust, with flomasters so it hopefully wont be too loud, but the tone matter does cause concern. A relative of mine has an early corvette. It's so loud you can hear it way before you see it...

    Now for some pictures..

    Front Suspension:
    The front suspension was all stock and featured sagging springs, stock A-arms and Drum brakes.
    These were the old A-Arms that I took off
    thomas iphone 019.JPG
    That left behind surface rust...
    thomas iphone 018.JPG
    So I wire brushed, coated, and painted the frame
    thomas iphone 022.JPG
    Next I proceeded to installing the upper and lower A-Arms (those things are freaking beefy! they will never break and look to be great quality.. Welds were pristine, as were the billet caps.)
    thomas iphone 035.JPG
    Then I put in the Dual Adjustable Coil-Overs
    thomas iphone 036.jpg
    Next came the disk brakes
    thomas iphone 037.JPG
    Finished Front Suspension Underneath
    IMG_0417 (Medium).JPG
    And the temporary stance on a 15 x 7 235/60/R15 (I got new 17 inch Billet Rally Wheels more on that later)
    thomas iphone 055.jpg

    Up Next was the steering, as you can see in the picture above I rebuilt the linkage, with Moog Tie rods, and QA1 Connectors
    Then AGR steering box was next (The part seemed to be of good quality, and it takes three turns lock to lock)
    IMG_1753 copy.JPG
    Here is a view from the front (Also you can see the massive 1 1/8" sway bar)

    Rear Swap:
    I know there is some rust (I have now scraped treated and painted), and the exhaust needs to be changed "One Step at a Time...". But here goes!

    The 10 Bolt was a 2.90 Posi with drum brakes but that wasn't what I was looking for.
    thomas iphone 054.jpg
    thomas iphone 058.jpg
    thomas iphone 064.jpg

    Out with the old, In with the new. The star of the Rear is a Currie Axles Ford 9" Detroit locker with 4.11's and disk brakes
    thomas iphone 065.jpg
    thomas iphone 072.jpg
    Hanging by my Global West lowers and Eldebrock Uppers
    thomas iphone 073.jpg
    The Rear Buttoned Up with 15 x 10 275/50R15 slicks
    thomas iphone 079.jpg

    I plan to shoot some interior Pictures tomorrow!
    Also there is more to come, I just think this post is long enough..

    As always Thank You For Your Time

    BUQUICK I'm your huckleberry.

    Thanks. I agree about it being a great plate. I've had this on some Buick at all times for nearly 20 years.

    Thanks for posting photos. Looks like you are doing it right. Also appears that you have access to the right tools to job. Keep up the good work.

    The 4.11s make a car really peppy but they are really only suited for the track. I would like to switch to 3.70 gears at some point.
  10. breakinbuick11

    breakinbuick11 Platinum Level Contributor

    Welcome to the board Tom! I bought my GS when I was 15 and I hope to have it finished in the summer. I'm really interested to hear about your pro-touring mods becuase it is something I plan on doing with my next project. Keep us posted!

  11. BuickBullet

    BuickBullet Well-Known Member

    Hello All,
    Tom here, and I was wondering if people could weigh in on what steering wheel to run.

    I am looking at the Grant GT Challenger Series 404-405.


    View attachment 279616

    View attachment 279617

    View attachment 279618

    Sorry for the poor quality pictures, but I was in a hurry. Also on the pictures of the shifter the ugly wiring and some insulation are hanging because I am removing the heater core to repair the heat

    The Current steering wheel is too large, both from a diameter standpoint and a dish depth standpoint, as it is a 15 inch wheel and it sits too close to my chest,

    I would like to go to a 4 spoke, because I feel like 3 spoke wheels are overdone, and I want to be different.

    I am currently leaning towards the black 404, because the silver seems to close to white and the black is also different, and more aggressive.


    View attachment 279615


    View attachment 279627

    I'd like to put up a poll, but I don't know how to at this point, so if all those who decide to view this thread, could just list off an opinion and reasons I'd appreciate it!

    BUQUICK: I'd also like to change the gearing as well, but that'll come later.

    breakingbuick11: Most of my modifications for pro touring and handling are done! I have to add my new wheels and tires, and I want to add chassis stiffeners, but in the handling department that's about it.. Weight and Balance are my next objectives that will correlate with "Pro-Touring". However if you have any questions ask away! Later in life I'd want to upgrade the brakes to 12.88 wilwoods with 4 pistons, but for now that's it.

    Thank You For Your Time
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  12. nekkidhillbilly

    nekkidhillbilly post whore

    your better to run the small spindels and tall ball joints.
  13. Willby70

    Willby70 Well-Known Member

    I have a grant, and I have to say, the quality is poor (from what they use to be). I have the 1130 Collectors Edition 14"..to small for me and the car. Just looks small in the car..didn't think 1" would cause the visual effect. Also wheel isn't thick like in the photo, and the chrome is bad plus the metal is weak, I can bend the steering wheel.:shock: the wheel your looking at is 13.5", those are good in Camaros IMO. The only reason I'm keeping this one for now, is I'm looking for another steering wheel LOL!!! Good luck, and have fun.

    Also, can't open your attachments.
  14. Nothingface5384

    Nothingface5384 Detail To Oil - Car Care

    Nice car and progress,
    I'd go with a stock size 16inch wheel since you have a fast ratio box
    Rule of thumb is to only go smaller then stock wheel size if you have 14:1 box
    fast ratio box with 13.5-14.5 wheel may feel too squirrely
    but may not be bad or noticablt since you got a variable box vs constant

    Only thing I'd change to make it more pro-tour/daily driver material would be to switch out the rear gear/carrier ffor something 3.50 or under and ditch the locker for a torque sensing torsen/gear type unit such as Eaton Tru-trac, Strange S-Trac or DPI Platnium Track
    I dont recommend the Wavetrac for ford rears due to having to modify one axle shaft...also dont recommend wave track for full floater rearends either :)

    cant hurt to install a johnny-joint or Rotor joint bushing kit in axle ears to eliminate rearend bind(these are not rubber/poly bushing...actually spherical bushing that goes in ears..about 120$)
  15. hwprouty

    hwprouty Platinum Level Contributor

    Welcome from Washington State! I seem to remember that car on Craigslist in the past in the Seattle area? Nice job so far!
  16. BuickBullet

    BuickBullet Well-Known Member

    It's been a while, and I thought I might finally get back to posting.

    Thank you for your advice, although it is a little late. I will say the the car handles extraordinarily well, with a similar feel to (in my small experience) a BMW three series and a C4 Corvette. I am beyond satisfied with the suspension, and to us it was a more economical option because we already had some of the parts on hand.

    Thank you for the heads up! Upon driving the car again (I drove something else for the winter) the steering wheel is great and matches the look of the car. I don't see a true need to change it, so I'm gonna stick with it. I honestly don't know the model (it came with the car) or I would try and make a recommendation, because it works for me.

    The car is mostly driven around town and rarely on the freeway. Up to 70 miles per hour it drives straight! And the steering box is actually constant.

    Thanks! Appreciate it!

    So some updates with the car (I am at school right now so I don't have access to photos)

    Installed the MSD and HEI, Electric Cooling Fan, Subwoofer, Cleaned the Rear Taillights (worked great!), fixed some Electrical, and installed 17 inch Buick Rallye Rims (running 245/45R 17, and 315/35R17 Sumitomo HTRZ), and Replaced the passenger inner fender

    My hard work has for the most part paid off, the car is very enjoyable to drive. The car is settled and smooth, transitioning and turning without the sway that used to occur, and easily navigates through bumpy patches of roads. Like I said earlier the car rides similar to some other steeds I have experience with.

    However the engine seems to be having some issues. The car sat for the winter in a garage, and upon driving it again I experienced some issues. The car had begun idling low, and surging. However it seems to be remedied (i hope) by treating the gas and adjusting the idle. We still may have to tune the carb.

    Finally for the true problem that is plaguing the car, we are experiencing what we believe is to be valve float at 4,000 RPM. We have purchased new stage one valve springs from T/A and hope that installing them will fix that issue. The car pulls strong, but when it hits 4,000 it does not seem to produce more power or get higher in the RPM Band, if anybody has any advice please let me know!
    Pictures to come soon
    Hope you enjoyed this post & Thank you for your time!
  17. 69GS400s

    69GS400s ...my own amusement ride!

    gas these days goes bad in 3 months if not treated - the ethanol the gov't makes us buy acts as a sponge for water vapor in the air

    What is your fuel system and ignition system ?
  18. Hey Man Greg

    Hey Man Greg Gold Level Contributor

    Welcome. Awesome first car! I still can't believe there are people out the that would trade that car into a Subaru dealer. His loss but definitely your gain.

    I'm sure as you are finding out that anything you want to know these guys will know the answer. If you need parts just post that you are looking for it and will have at least 2-3 people that have one or more. Good luck with you build. Looks like you are making great progress.
  19. BuickBullet

    BuickBullet Well-Known Member

    Hey All,

    69GS400s: I'll be honest I haven't really been living long enough, all I know is gas that's 3 dollars a gallon (at least), and made with corn

    Hey Man Greg: Thank You! I agree, I think he was just looking at a different time in his life, I want to say he picked up a little impreza or something like that.
  20. cjp69

    cjp69 Platinum Level Contributor

    Buick Bullet,

    Where are you located?

    There is an all Buick show on June 20, downtown Puyallup, you should come!

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