Visit The Dirt Forum for More Information

Author Topic:   71 Buick Skylark
Dirt Newbie

Total posts: 2
posted October 15, 2005 07:18 PM  
Hey guys i am new to the racing scene. I have found a 71 buick skylark roller. I was wondering if the drum front brakes can be swaped with disc from another type car? The body is kinda ruff can you beat out most of the dents? or know where cheap skins are>? Thanks

redneck racing
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 892
posted October 15, 2005 09:27 PM  
Welcome to the forum, you will learn alot on here, I had a 73 Nova with the front drums on it and just switched them out with a Chevelle I believe that was disc, as for the dents you can bang them out or build your own panels out of 22ga. Eddie

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 5510
posted October 17, 2005 06:49 PM  
I am getting the whole car for $200 with not even half a season on new fuel cell, seat, safety harness, aluminum radiator, 6 bart wheels with tires, all gauges and a new cage in it. I dont think i can go wrong with it for my first car. I have already found a 70 Pontiac tempest parts car for 100 bucks so i think i might make a year then i plan to go to a metric. Just want to get some wheel time in a car that can take a lick or two. Thanks for the input Racer17J

Originally posted by racer17j:
you might want to hold off if you haven't bought it yet parts for those are hard to find and cost an arm and a leg you could get the entire front end for a metric car for what a a frame on that will run you. check your rules before you start building and swapping stuff out alot of places don't alow homeade panels

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 191
posted October 18, 2005 05:59 PM  
remember those old cars are led sleds....gut it to the max!

Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 68
posted December 04, 2005 04:56 PM  
We've had lots of Success with a car like this, Ours a 1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

Disk brakes from 1968-72 Chevelle, Monte Carlo, Cutlass/F85, Tempest/LeMans will be a direct fit. 68-74 Nova, Appollo, Ventura will fit but you'll have to change the steering arms on the spindles (Nova has rearward steering box location). By the way, if you are running dirt only the drums aren't all that bad, just keep up with adjusting them and remove the glaze from the shoes every few weeks. One advantage to front drums is that you can "bias" the front brake by adjusting the left side tighter than the right so the car pulls left at corner entry.

As a side note:
I believe that these cars are much better chassis-wise than the newer Metric chassis. Rear control arm lengths and angles are better and front end geometry is better (when GM downsized the intermediate cars they had to compromise on all the suspension design to make the car shorter and more narrow). The 112 inch whhelbase also can handle rough track conditions better.

The engine doesn't set back much, but that makes these cars handle very well entering the turns, usually they'll go wherever you point them. Of course they're a little loose off the corners, but by then you've already passed the Metrics and Camaros that are drifting all over in the corners.

These cars (Skylark & Cutlass) have an excellent 10 bolt rearend with bolt in axles (no pesky c-clips).

Couple of things to be aware of:
1. Front springs are 5" diameter, not 5.5" like Metric and Camaro.
2. Buicks and Oldsmobiles were built for comfortable cruising, so the stock steering box probably has a high ratio. You're better off swapping in a quick ratio one from a Z-28 or Trans-Am.
3. If it's got power brakes, eliminate the booster and go to standard non-assist braking.

If you end up successful with this car and body panels become an issue, the 81-88 Monte Carlo body fits well on a 112" chassis (if your rules allow you to upgrade) just trim all of the tire cleaance from in front of the front tires and none from in back of the front tires and it should fit well (those cars used 108" wheelbase but they had a lot of overhang in front of the front tires).

Good Luck!

dirt maniac1
Dirt Roller

Total posts: 10
posted December 05, 2005 06:36 AM  
Thanks for the info John! Do you happen to know where a disk brake setup is? If i don't find one very cheap i will keep the drums like you mentioned. What year camaro's and firebirds have the quick ratio steering box that i need? The control arms and spindles look kinda small on this car. Smaller than the metric stuff. Is the stuff on my car very strong?

Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 68
posted December 05, 2005 06:46 PM  
I don't know of any used disk stuff available at the moment, but if I run across some, I'll keep you in mind. I'd say your best bet is to ask around some of the guys that have been racing awhile, sometimes they have spares laying around for a car they got rid of long ago. Lots of guys used the 68-72 Chevelles.

The spindles are shorter and they have bolt on steering arms. The drum brake steering arms tend to get bent easily. Once we changed over to the disk brake spindles and steering arms it seemed as though the centerlink became the weak point. The upper control arms have a lot of curvature to them to start with, so they bend kind of easily too (compared to metric or Camaro). Overall the stuff is pretty durable, but it sure won't take the pounding that Camaro stuff will. As far as steering boxes go, just about any year GM passenger car from 1964 up to 1988 (maybe newer Impala??) will actually fit on the frame, but there are variations in the type of fittings and the steering column splines. Up until around 1981 the PS boxes used flared fittings, the newer ones have an o-ring seal at the fittings. Splines aren't a big deal unless you have a racing u-joint replacing the stock rag-joint. You'd probably rather not keep buying different u-joints and changing your column over. I think there are basically two different common ones (13/16 & 3/4). As for ratio, the quickest boxes came in the high performance cars (IROC Z, GTA Firebird, etc..) they are about 2-1/2 turns lock-to-lock. Older Camaro & Firebird and many of the Metrics are about 3 turns, stock Buick is probably around 4 turns.

oceanridge motorsports
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 50
posted December 05, 2005 10:35 PM  
3rd gen camaro z's have the quick box (#624?), got mine out of an 88 z-28 , real easy to find in the j-yard. I took the whole thing , pump lines everything , To keep it simple . Went back to the old style , metal resv. , pump out of a 72 cutlass , had a line made at the local hyd. shop .the plastic resv. cracked was the reason I changed back. Ran a 72 cutlass my first year , it was a battle wagon . Loved that piece of junk. Check out my website for a picture .


Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 38
posted December 06, 2005 05:13 PM  
these are great old cars i run a 72 gto handles great once you figure them out. just put disks on my got them from a tempest. these cars are pretty strong my has been race for 4yrs now and is still straight and has been beat on pretty good. but like some guys said drums will work good ran my that way until now, only reason i put disks on is cause dirt track closed and had to switch to asphalt i knows ***** but can,t stop racing!only had to change brakes once a year.

James Ott
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 177
posted December 06, 2005 05:29 PM  
Hey oceanridge motorsports good website!!

oceanridge motorsports
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 50
posted December 06, 2005 06:32 PM  
Thanks James .

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 7
posted December 20, 2005 09:11 AM  

Hey oceanridge You run sumter? I'm new to this forum, Used to run sumter 8 yrs ago. Trying to put something together for next year. (got a 77nova that I need to re skin and add motor/trans/seat and a few other things.

oceanridge motorsports
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 50
posted December 21, 2005 09:50 PM  
Todd07 , we will be there next season about 90% of the time , gotta chase the $'s every now and then . Your nova is going to have to run purestock or prostock , they only let full frame cars in the purestreet . The rules on the web site for the purestock are WRONG . The rules for the purestock are pretty much the same as pro stock , except , street rubber , any 70 series , steel intake , q-jet , no rollers , steel production body , 3500 pounds , no rear disc , no floaters .Good class, short on cars. Good place to start .


Back to the Archives