In case you haven't heard, muscle Buicks are red hot right now. Finally gaining some financial parity with their Chevrolet and Pontiac brothers, it's proof of what I've known for years: the big, bad Buicks are flat-out awesome cars. With timeless styling, potent power plants, and a load of luxury features that will cost you thousands more on a Chevelle, Buicks are screaming bargains. But I don't think this will be the case for much longer.
However, there's no question that this 1971 Buick GS tribute convertible is an awful lot of car for the money. It's beautifully restored and very accurate, and probably cost at least twice the asking price to build. But if you like to drive your muscle, this is one that was built for the open road and you won't have to think twice about taking it out of the garage on the next sunny summer day.
Buicks always wore more sophisticated colors than their corporate cousins, and the code 55 Coronet Gold on this ragtop is definitely cool. Applied over very nicely done bodywork, this car features all original sheetmetal throughout—no cut-up quarters, no replaced fenders, just genuine GM parts from the factory. And while a lot of original GS Buicks were abused, raced, and left for dead, this one appears to have led a very easy life prior to its transformation into a GS body-double. Gaps are good, and for a 40-year-old convertible, it feels amazingly tight and well assembled. The paint is, of course, two stage urethane in the correct color, and things like the GS hood and wing are OEM components that must have been a challenge to locate. The end result is a gorgeous, subtle classic Buick that whispers high performance instead of screaming it like some of its less mature corporate stable mates.
The chrome on this car is all new throughout, and the correct GS trim was sourced from a variety of vendors to give it an authentic appearance. From the unique GS grille to the special taillights, someone took care of the details, including the red rocker panel moldings. The windshield is new, and the convertible top is so beautifully fitted that we almost felt guilty folding it for the photo shoot.
Power comes from Buick's unique 350 cubic inch small block V8, which shares exactly nothing with its corporate cousins. Why GM would build three different 350 cubic inch V8s, I can't say, but I have to say the Buick has a voice of its own. With an emphasis on torque production, the small block moves this convertible with real authority, and you need to be gentle on the throttle in first gear to keep from spinning the fat radials. Just as they did in 1941 on their hottest models, the engine is bright red and nicely detailed, including a correct ram air housing for the air filter. It's nicely detailed, with things such as correct reproduction decals, a Delco battery topper, and freshly plated metal components such as the power brake booster. And as a Buick, things like power steering and A/C were available and almost expected at this level. The exhaust manifolds do not appear to be correct for a GS, but that's an easy thing to fix, or, if you're the kind of guy who just likes to drive his car, forget about it. This engine still makes great torque and that unique Buick sound through the reproduction factory-style dual exhaust system.
Another Buick tradition is a TH350 3-speed automatic, which snaps through the gears precisely in response to your right foot's commands. As a frame-on restoration, the chassis of this car is remarkably clean, although not necessarily in show condition. Brakes and suspension have been properly attended to, including correct GS sway bars, and the car drives like new, with an unmistakable Buick-like burble from the dual exhaust system. Newer shocks stiffen up the ride, and the rear end is bolstered with a newer cover that features the GS initials cast into its face. 14-inch Buick road wheels wear 225/70/14 Uniroyal white letter radials.
Exceptional is the only way to describe the black and white bucket seat interior of this Buick. With everything being new in the last few years, it is crisp and nicely detailed throughout, with highly accurate components. The white seats feature correct materials and patterns, and look awesome against the black carpets and dash. A restored center console features that stylish horseshoe shifter as well as some upscale-looking woodgrain that matches the dash. The gauges are basic, but with the hood-mounted tachometer, you won't be looking for information there anyway. An original AM radio still lives in the dash and works as it should. Overhead, the convertible top frame was stripped, sandblasted, and repainted in high gloss black for a highly detailed look. When folded, the entire top stack is hidden underneath a glistening white boot that matches the seats.
If you've been disappointed by cobbled-together Chevelles, or the price of GTOs has started getting out of hand, this Buick is a great alternative. More unusual than either of its cousins, the GS was an upscale hot rod from the #2 division at GM. With good power, beautiful lines, and that sumptuous interior, it's a nice change from the standard bright red Chevelles you see at all the shows. If you're ready to try something different take this GS home—like the ad says, wouldn't you rather drive a Buick? Call today.
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