Mailbag: Getting a 1975 Buick Skylark to Fly

1975 Buick Skylark

Q: We have a 1975 Buick Skylark. Under the hood is a 350 bored over .030, with a 750 cfm Holley carb, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Federal-Mogul pistons, a 284°/284° Melling cam, 1.6 ratio Summit Racing roller rockers, a Pete Jackson noisy gear drive, and headers. The cylinder heads, rods, and crank are all stock, and it has a TH-400 transmission.

The car sounds great, but it has no low-end power—it can’t even burn rubber from a dead stop! We’d like it to lay a nice patch, run strong from low to midrange on the quarter mile, and still run on pump gas.

We’re thinking about the Summit Racing street-and-strip cylinder heads, along with some Keith Black performance pistons. Where will that put our compression?

We’re also planning on adding a 3,000-rpm stall converter and an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake. Should we keep the cam and rockers?

A: We have a few ideas to help your existing setup. Try advancing the cam for more low-end power, and then jet the carb down a bit, as the 750 is too big for your application. Once you tune everything up, the car should run much stronger.

Next, if you use those Summit Racing street-and-strip heads and the Keith Black pistons, you should be around 10.5:1, which is another big step toward the performance level you want. However, the stall converter and intake you have in mind are both too large for your car. Instead, we’d recommend an Edelbrock 7101 Performer RPM intake and a B&M 20412 Holeshot torque converter.

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  1. First thing to do is yank that generic engine a put what belongs in there, a Buick 350! B-)

  2. Too much Carb, and your dead in the water with a stock stall that is the biggest problem you have. I have some tricks that can help your distributor and the issue of the carb and save you some money so you wont need a Carb or purchase a too much expensive stall converter.

  3. Brian Thompson says:

    I agree with the above statements. However dont forget the rear axle. What ratio gears are in it. My 77 nova (chevys equal) to your car)had 3.08 gears in it. So low end it was a little slow. If it wasnt for my muncie 4speed I had in it and 8000 rpm holeshots I am sure it would have struggled catching rubber. 3.73 gears would be a great all around gear ratio for performance and gas consumption

    • Bruce Lee Clingerman says:

      Excellent advise ! Do this first !! You should be satisfied with the engine /Trans. Combo but don’t put in a single track rear axle !!

      • David Roloson says:

        3:73 gears in a 12 bolt posi would do wonders.3:73’s are what I feel is the best overall street gear ratio.

  4. All those ideas from everyone are great. Follow up on this and the car will run fine. One big thing is the carb, way too big. Get rid of it.

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