Buick introduced the Skylark sport coupé to wide acclaim. With its clean, low lines, Buick finally abandoned the fins of the 1950s for a popular new look. The all-new compact Special models were among the smallest Buicks built since the twenties. In line with the corporate and industry-wide swing to compact cars, the new Buick Special fit into the category known as the "senior compact" car.
These vehicles were slightly larger than the typical small car and offered many features that one would expect to find only in a large luxury car. The Special also offered a V8 engine as standard equipment, an alternative not even thought of in other compact cars. This definitely gave Buick the edge in power and driveability amongst all the new competition. The most interesting feature of the V8 engine was not its power capabilities or design, but the material chosen for construction: aluminum. By utilizing aluminum for the block, Buick engineers were able to create a V8 powerplant that was as dependable as their cast iron V8's, yet weighed only about 320 pounds.
These weight savings and the smaller platform boosted fuel economy greatly. A mid-year Special Deluxe Sport Coupe, dubbed "Skylark," was introduced as an alternative to other sporty coupes being offered. The full-size Buick line was totally redesigned this year, following General Motors' company-wide restyling of the B-and C-body full-size cars. Gone were wrap-around windshields with their accompanying knee-knocker posts, as were tail fins, and non-traditional styling touches. The 1961 Buicks were a very conservative, very fine-tuned car, right from the start. The front styling was a simple grille, with a floating Buick emblem in the center and quad headlights at each end.
The grille ends were capped by the curvaceous leading edge of the front fenders that flowed back into two horizontal body lines-one just below the beltline, and one just above the top line of the rear wheel opening. The two were parallel to each other for the length of the car. At the back, the lower rear bumper area mimicked the front fenders in shape, and single hooded, oval tail lamps were inset into each end of the bumper just below the deck lid line.
Overall styling of the Special was similar with one major exception being that the lower body side line on the Special dropped off as it neared the back of the car, resulting in a rear-slanting top arch on the rear wheel opening, similar to its sister cars, the Tempest and F-85. As for model changes, the Invicta and Electra 225 lines lost their 4-Door Sedan variations, and the Invicta also lost its wagon models, but they would return for 1963.