1977 Skylark S/R

Discussion in 'The "X" bodies' started by notanova, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. notanova

    notanova Active Member

    Hello everyone,

    New member here, seems I've finally found the right place to talk to others about my Buick. I bought it to do some mild upgrades and flip it, but I'm thinking now I'll keep it (my other half wont be happy about this).

    It's a '77 S/R 2 Door Coupe, Limited Slip differential...and the bummer...a 305 Chevy Small Block. It's also an Automatic, but at least I've read these cars came with Turbo 350 transmissions. (Oh and I have A/C, which is cool from a selling stand point but I don't like it, cramps up the engine bay)



    OD says 89,322, my guess is it hasn't rolled over yet; the interior is way too nice for a 189,322 mile car.

    Other than this of course

    Not to worry though, I have new carpet for it and I'm ordering the floor pan soon.

    Replaced the brake booster & master cylinder, gotta do wheel cylinders now because I broke off a bleeder screw trying to bleed the brakes.

    Also I'm installing an oil cooler for the trans because it was free and the lines are leaking at the radiator so why not

    And another shot (I have all hub caps by the way)

    Okay now that I may have some of your attention, I have a lot to ask about this car and what to do with it. When I first got it, I wanted to slap on a 4bbl carb and intake on with some headers & glasspacks, fix the hole in the floor and list it for sale. I figured "Hey, it's a late '70's beater Buick with a Chevy (305 at that), it's automatic, pfff, just slap on some bolt-ons and try and make some huge profit off of it," but now I'm trying to figure out if it's worth more the way it is; low mileage high-trim model, and a LSD/Posi-Trac/Trac-Lok/whatever it's supposed to be called from Buick??? Did some reading and supposedly only 3,000+ were made?? I don't know and I'm confused.

    HOWEVER, I'm starting to find I want to actually do some upgrades that will do further good, but I don't know what to do. Camshaft? Valve train? Which would go with an intake, carb, and exhaust. What are good upgrades that don't require taking the engine out? I'm not looking for easy/lazy stuff like a lot of other people, I just want to know how much stuff I can to do to it, the right stuff.

    Originally I wanted to get:

    -EPS Performer Intake (2701)
    -600cfm Holley Double Pumper (Still up in the air, some tell me it'll work, others say with stock automatic I need Vacuum Secondaries)
    -In the case above; 600cfm Classic Holley (0-80458SA) Much cheaper
    -14" Round Air Cleaner
    -Schoenfeld Headers 166-3 (For the mere fact that they claim to fit in this car)
    -Two Magnaflow 18129 Glasspacks

    But by doing some research I've found getting all of that wouldn't gain a lot of horsepower in respect to price, so I'd need to get a Cam, and modify/upgrade the heads a little bit. What does that entail? :Comp:

    Thank you for looking, and I look forward to learning a lot about this car and what many others have done to them.
  2. jzuelly1

    jzuelly1 Jesse Zuelly IV

    Welcome from Texas. The heads being off a chevy 305 of that year, i'm not sure if they are opened chambered or any good. Might want to figure out what casting they are. The compression will be low on that motor. If the heads were any good or worth working, you could shave them and up the compression. Then make them breath better, polish and porting by a good machine shop and that would allow you to run a more aggresive camshaft to make more power. Then you would want to up the stall converter in the transmission and possible beef it up a little and go ahead and install a shift kit to make it more fun. I'm no expert though. Iust the things I've been told/read and learned from and seem to work. I'm sure others with more experience may chime in. Where are you located. Good Luck.

    Thanks Jesse
  3. notanova

    notanova Active Member

    Thanks for the info! Yeah my boss showed me a bunch of research he did for his Chevy 350, has a list of casting numbers for determining valve sizes. I've heard that it's possible to get heads with 1.94 intake valves versus my most likely 1.84's, but it's expensive enough to take heads to the machine shop let alone pay an upfront cost to get different ones. I still don't know if I should keep the 305, buy my boss's Chevy 350, or swap in a Buick 350. For now I'll focus on 305 upgrades I suppose. Okay so modified heads, new cam, stronger/tuned TH350. By the way, are there manual transmissions that fit this car? I've heard I'd have a hell of a time trying to set it up.

    I'm located in Oregon, thanks for the welcome!
  4. jzuelly1

    jzuelly1 Jesse Zuelly IV

    You could get a manual but a well built turbo 350 with a manual reverse valve body could be just as fun IMO. Converting the car would be some work to go manual for sure. I'm partial to the Buick motors. My Skylark had a Buick 350 when I got it and it was a peppy little motor for being 43/44 years old. It would still light them up and turn heads. It had an aluminum intake, headers and an unknown performance cam. It seemed like a mild cam meant for low end torque. I would say the boss's Chevy 350 or the Buick 350 are the better options. I would not put a lot of faith in the 305 if you beat on it hard.
  5. notanova

    notanova Active Member

    Are the 305's known to be less strong? And yeah I've heard great things about TH350's so I'm going to leave it in there.
  6. jzuelly1

    jzuelly1 Jesse Zuelly IV

    The 305's were not meant to be performance engines. You can make them one but if you can get a well built chevy 350 for a good price it would be the better avenue. If funds are tight you can squeeze some more power from the 305. The parts are abundant for the Chevy 305 and 350. They are not abundant for the Buick 350. There are parts manufacturers for it but not as many.
  7. TheSilverBuick

    TheSilverBuick In the Middle of No Where

    305's aren't so much as less strong as their narrow bore shrouds the valves and hurts air flow when you put better heads on one. People make "okay" power out of a 305, but you'll make a decent amount more with essentially any other small block with a 4" bore or bigger. The parts cost and work are essentially the same for a 305 as a 350 or 383, etc. You can get heads, intake, headers and such to bolt to a 305 and not loose any dollars swapping them to a 350/383 later, but if you buy pistons, do crank work or block work, you'd be leaving power on the table with money that could of been spent on a 350/383 and make a fair amount more power for the same $$$.
  8. notanova

    notanova Active Member

    I appreciate the input, and it has kind of got me thinking. I think I'm going to look for the build sheet (under the rear seat right?), and buy my boss's 350. I'll slowly build it up, then swap out the 305 for it. I'll store the 305 with the build sheet and if I ever sell the car they'll go with it in case the next person wants to go back to factory stock (which I am usually a big fan of, but I want to do something different this time).

    Does anyone know of any thread or link to a good/common 350 build up? I was thinking of boring it, getting a can w/lifters pushrods rockers springs along with straight up rebuilding it, but I don't know of any great combos of parts out there. Anyways thanks again, this is awesome!
  9. TheSilverBuick

    TheSilverBuick In the Middle of No Where

    You aren't likely to find a whole lot of Chevy 350 information on this board (or Chevy engines in general). But car magazines and Chevy forums have certainly beat the small block Chevy builds to death. There are probably about nine dozen ways to build one up and google will easily help you find at least 8 dozen of those. There are stroker kits, a dozen different aftermarket heads, intakes, headers, and nearly uncountable cam options.
  10. notanova

    notanova Active Member

    Right, I'm sorry! Sheesh what am I doing, I should have realized what I was asking and where I was asking it. Haven't had my coffee yet this morning. Okay well, I'll continue posting progress and whatnot here but it's off to google for me, again thanks for your help. I actually have some direction now that I know what I want to do!
  11. wormwood

    wormwood Dare to be different

    did you buy this car in/near salem Oregon? looks exactly like the one I saw on craigslist and I was gonna buy it for my son.
  12. notanova

    notanova Active Member

    I bought it in Philomath
  13. wormwood

    wormwood Dare to be different

    where is that?
  14. notanova

    notanova Active Member

    A little over an hour South of Salem. Pretty small town really
  15. austingta

    austingta Well-Known Member

    Pretty rusty for Oregon, isn't it? Don't spend much on it if you want to flip it. Very little to no collector value. 1977 Regal S/R...different story.
  16. BadBrad

    BadBrad Got 4-speed?

    My dad had a '76 S/R with Buick 350/4bbl power. It was a pretty nice car. Sold it with 289k miles on original/never opened engine. Torquey - not much in the horsepower department though - seemed to be all done at about 3,800 rpm as it got older. I think the cam timing went away from wear in the chain - at least that was my theory. I recall it going through at least two transmission rebuilds.
  17. skylarkgp

    skylarkgp Member

    I was thinking the same thing considering that I am in southern Oregon but I have crusty, rusty quarters and holes around the rear window big enough to stick ball point pens into. Thanks vinyl top! That floor, core support and more look much worse than mine.
  18. wormwood

    wormwood Dare to be different

    yeah! that's the car! it was on craigslist, was gonna get it for my son for us to rebuild, good luck with it, keep me posted.
  19. notanova

    notanova Active Member

    Wow! Well yeah I'll for sure keep up with the forum on the build but I feel kinda bad haha. That's cool though that we saw the same ad

    And yes that's a lot of rust for Oregon, and rightfully so, too, because I'm pretty sure it was an eastern car for most of its life. The VIN says it was built in Tarrytown NY, and there's also this:


    Not quite sure what it designates but looks like it definitely lived in Michigan for a while, explaining the huge rust hole in the floor!
  20. 25yrBuickTECH

    25yrBuickTECH Well-Known Member

    305's built in the late 70's were notorious for valve guide and valve seal problems. Just throwin' it out there...

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