1-of-16: 1970 Buick GS 455 Convertible

When an owner makes a rarity claim about a classic car, it is often viewed with skepticism. However, the one made for this 1970 Buick GS 455 Convertible does stand up to some scrutiny. Its overall presentation is pretty stunning, and it is a classic that seems to need nothing more than a new owner who will appreciate its outstanding combination of beauty and performance. If you feel tempted to become that next owner, you will find this classic located in Hayward, California, and listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a sale price of $44,000 OBO for this wonderful survivor. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for referring this amazing Convertible to us.

There’s a bit to unpack with this beautiful Buick. The first thing to consider is it appears that he wears Regal Black paint. This shade was part of the Buick color palette for 1969 and 1971 but did not appear on any color charts from 1970 that I have seen. That suggests that if the paint is original, this car may have been a special order vehicle. Regardless of the truth there, it does present beautifully. The paint holds a wonderful depth of color and shine, with no apparent blemishes or problems. The panels are laser straight, and because this vehicle has spent its life being garage kept in California, its rust-free status is no great surprise. Adding to its menacing appearance, the original owner ordered this classic with a Black power-top. Its condition is as impressive as the rest of the exterior, with no evidence of wear or damage. The trim and chrome are in excellent order, as is the tinted glass. The car rolls on a set of Magnum 500 wheels, and these are in perfect condition, with no signs of physical damage or stains.

The feature that defines this Buick is revealed when we lift the hood. Occupying the engine Bay is a 455ci V8 that pumps out 350hp and an incredible 510 ft/lbs of torque. The original owner also chose to equip this classic with a three-speed manual transmission, power steering, and power front disc brakes. It is this engine and transmission combination that brings the owner to claim that this car is 1-of-16. There’s no doubt that the 455/three-speed combination is rare, and while his figure of 16 sounds plausible, the resources that I have seen suggest that the figure could be 18. However, the owner states that he does hold documentary evidence to confirm his claim, so I am willing to believe him in this situation. Overall, the presentation under the hood is extremely impressive. There’s no evidence of any dramas or long-term fluid leaks and no signs that somebody has gone ballistic with the dreaded detailing sprays in the engine bay. Thankfully, it doesn’t flatter to deceive. The owner says that the car runs and drives exceptionally well and that its beautiful V8 sounds fantastic. It appears that this is a turn-key classic looking for a new owner.

If considered as an original survivor, this Buick’s interior appears to need nothing. The carpet shows some fading, but the remaining trim and upholstery are in excellent condition. The plastic has avoided the type of deterioration that can plague vehicles of this age, while the dash and pad are spotless. It’s refreshing to see that nobody has added aftermarket components. The factory radio still occupies its rightful place in the dash, while bucket seats, a console, a tilt wheel, and air conditioning should make this a wonderful place to spend long periods on those sunny days.

Whether the actual figure for this 1970 Buick GS 455 convertible is 1-of-16 or 1-of-18 cars, it still remains a rare classic. Total GS production for that model year was 20,096 cars, making this Convertible a tiny slice of what was a pretty delicious pie. Its general presentation is hard to fault, and there’s no doubt that this car is still capable of turning heads more than five decades after it rolled off the line. When you consider its overall condition, the owner’s asking price looks highly competitive. This gem has only been on the market for a couple of days, and I think that somebody will snap it up pretty quickly. The big question is, could that person be you?

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Comments

  1. Jon.in.Chico

    Way back in 1970, I and a buddy would put on our ROTC fatigues and hitch-hike from Hammond, LA, to Memphis on a weekend, just to see if we could and who would pick us up in the fatigues … one night on the way back a guy in a GS Convertible on his way to New Orleans picked us up … in a few minutes he was cruising a steady 100mph … I didn’t mind the speed but it changed my concept of Buick cars … they were no longer “your daddy’s car” like the Olds commercial said …

    Like 11
  2. gbvette62

    This is one of those situations where rare, doesn’t necessarily mean more desirable. There’s nothing wrong with a floor shifted 3 speed, but most buyers and collectors would still buy a 4 speed, or even an automatic instead. Still it’s a nice car, and if you’re planning to drive it, the best thing to do would be swap in a 5 or 6 speed in it anyway, and put the 3 speed on a shelf.

    When I was in high school, a local cop had a black, white interior, 70 GS 455 Stage 1, automatic coupe. That think was fast, I never saw him street race it, but he was a regular on Tuesdays at the local drag strip’s Grudge Night.

    Like 7
    • Jack M.

      There’s enough torque behind that 455, that I don’t think a four speed would be any quicker. GearVendors overdrive would help out on the highway.

      Like 7
    • Evan

      GB, I’ve done some research, and generally speaking, GM’s optional 4-speed was a sub-$100 option in this era. It always seemed like an odd place to cheap out on a powerful muscle car, especially on a fancy Buick.

      OTOH, as Jack points out, there was enough torque so you didn’t really need 4 gears, and at least theoretically, one fewer shift would lead to faster acceleration.

      Like 5
  3. Abi

    What I’m always skeptical about is when sellers of cars with 5 digit odometers claim the “low” miles are original when in fact the odometer rolled over, especially when they offer no documentation at all to back it up.
    Just because a vehicle has been garage kept and babied all its life isn’t proof enough it hasn’t been driven.

    Like 1
  4. Mike K

    The first four speed I ever drove was a GS 455, convertible, but I can’t remember whether it was a 70 or 71. I stalled it a couple times putting it into the service bay, but got it in eventually. The gas station I worked at did service on a used car dealerships cars, and the guy loved old muscle. Nice car, 3 speed or not !

    Like 6
  5. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car.

    Like 6
  6. Phil D

    A very nice write-up, Mr. Clarke, with one exception: those aren’t Magnum 500 wheels. Buick (along with Cadillac, Lincoln, and Imperial, off the top of my head) are among the very few American makes that never offered Magnum 500s. The Buick chrome road wheels look very similar to Magnum 500s — especially these, which fit the smaller GM bolt pattern used on compact and mid-sized cars — but the spokes are more narrow and have a slight concave curvature, where the Mag 500 spokes are straight.

    Like 9
  7. Rixx56 Member

    I believe the Stage1 455/auto was the
    quickest American car one could buy
    in 1970… This one should be mine!
    3 spd stick doesn’t bother me abit.
    A convertible w/ac is perfect for me!

    Like 5
  8. Poppy

    I’d like to see a photo of the trim tag. Black over brown/saddle interior smells like a color change to me. Seems like a good value for what it is if the seller can document it.

    Like 3
  9. Ratrod.john

    First of all, the torque on this engine is ridiculous. The 3 speed is definitely a FASTER FACTORY OPTION.
    I had one with factory 3 speed, swapped it for a 4 speed..couldnt wait to put the 3 back in. 4 speed smoked tires through 1st and alot of second.
    The exra yraction and the lack of that extra shift cost me a couple of defeats at the track.

  10. Howie Mueler

    Cash only, and bring a mask. No photos with the top down.

  11. bone

    Is it just my old eyes, or is the ID plate missing on the firewall ?

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