If you were a muscle car aficionado that was alive in the 1980’s you might remember a controversial article in the November 1984 issue of Muscle Car Review on the 50 fastest muscle cars of all time. It stated that the 1970 Buick GS Stage 1 was a tenth faster than the fastest Hemi powered muscle car of a ’68 Dodge Charger. This simple story ignited a debate that still rages on nearly thirty years later between the Hemi faithful and the GS 455 cult following. Regardless of where you stand on what is the nastiest muscle car of all time, when you look at a legit Buick GS455 Stage 1 like this 1971 Stage 1, it’s understandable why they were such a force to be reckoned with at the drag strip.
While Chevelles, Hemis, and GTOs get a lot of attention, they certainly aren’t the only game in town. Their tri-shield cousins have more curves and more cubes, lending them a lasting appeal that resonates in today’s collector market. This clean GS, the beneficiary of a professional, road-ready restoration, is a great example of why ALL GM muscle cars are so incredible!
But before we get too far lets decode the VIN and body tag.
•34: Sports Wagon/GS
•37: 2-door hardtop
•H: Flint Michigan assembly plant
•105577: production number
Now for the body tag
•ST71: Model year 1971
•43437: GS -2-door coupe hardtop
•49: Verdemist Green
•166: Saddle Vinyl interior
•09A: built first week of September, 1970.
•016615: Production sequence
Born with classic good looks, this Buick’s current condition comes courtesy of a complete, ground-up restoration that’s both fresh and thorough. As evidenced by the body tag, it originally left the factory in a Verdemist green paint, however a previous owner already had a green muscle car so during the extensive restoration he decided to cover the car’s rock-solid sheetmetal in a glossy coat of GM Regal Black, fitted with red-lined rocker trim and detailed with red-inlayed emblems. At the front of the body, four headlights surround the nice pointed grille that sits behind a body wide front chrome bumper. Dramatic curves and lines on the hood with the help of a functional ram air create a sinister look. Make your way down the sides of the body and you’ll see how the black hue was, naturally, topped with show-quality chrome, new glass, straight stainless trim and Stage 1 decals.
Speed is provided by an original, 455 cubic inch Stage 1 V8 that creates a stout 360 horsepower. The whole assembly is covered in bright red paint and seated between correct, Satin Black fenders. And everything, from the car’s dual-snorkel air cleaner to its dent-free oil pan, presents with prestige and authenticity. At the top of the engine on the huge air cleaner that rests on a 4-barrel carburetor, you will find ''GS 455 Stage 1'' badging. Chrome valve covers accent the red engine and black engine bay quite nicely. The Stage 1 Buicks were feared not only for their near 400 horsepower, but also the insane 460 lb/ft of torque they would leave the factory with. This Stage 1 has a bit more pop under the hood then when it left the factory thanks in part to porting of the heads and exhaust manifolds when the engine was rebuilt.
Put the Stage 1 on a lift and you’ll see that the big mill is backed by an original GM Turbo-Hydramatic 400 3-speed automatic transmission, which spins a traditional GM 10-bolt. The car’s original double A-arm front and 4-link rear suspension, which has been completely rebuilt to factory specifications, features correct power steering. Spent gases flow through aluminized pipes to throaty, dual-chamber Flowmaster mufflers. And at the corners, 14-inch Magnum 500s twist 245/60R15 BF Goodrich Radial T/As. Behind the tires power front disc brakes, and rear drum are responsible for slowing the muscle car.
Open the doors and inside the car, you’ll find more great Buick styling wrapped in a mixture of black vinyl, bright stainless and rich wood grain applique. A luxurious combination of bucket and bench seats sport fresh covers that, judging by appearance, haven’t seen much road time. That upscale aura continues onto the dashboard, which offers rebuilt factory gauges and a correct AM/FM radio. And in front of the driver, a satin-spoked steering wheel laps a subtle “BUICK” horn script. Behind the front seats is an additional bench seat capable of housing two more of your closest friends. Above the seats is a taught black headliner, and below like new black carpet finishes off the look of the interior.
The market for authentic, investment grade Buicks is incredibly strong. These Buick 455 Stage 1’s have a cult following that swear by their monstrous horsepower and torque numbers, and revere them as the fastest muscle car of all time. Whether that statement is true or not is up for debate, but what isn’t is the fact that these machines are still today some of the most mean pieces of American Muscle ever to be around in the 70’s. Don’t miss your chance to own this incredible piece of American muscle car history.