17K Mile 1973 Buick Grand Sport 455 Stage 1

Oh boy! Buick GS? Yes! 455 CI engine? Yes! Stage 1 equipment? Yes! Colonnade body style? What? Seriously? Yes, seriously and for those that aren’t aware there was a continuation of the great Buick GS Stage 1 into the GM intermediate colonnade era (1973-1977). Located in Perrysburg, Ohio and available here on eBay is a magnificent 1973 Buick GS Stage 1 available for a BIN price of $40,000.

GM hit a grand slam with their “A” body intermediate series (Chevelle, LeMans, Cutlass and Skylark) in the years between 1968 and 1972. The reality was that the series was originally planned for the years 1968 to 1971 with the Colonnade design scheduled for introduction in 1972. Recurring labor disruptions adversely affected the 1971 model year so the decision was made to extend 1971 into 1972 and introduce the Colonnade for MY 1973. I have actually seen the original mock-up for a 1972 Chevelle Colonnade and it was peculiar to see it without a 5 MPH bumper grafted on to the front. While the Colonnades were sales successes, their introduction occurred as the corresponding muscle car models (SS, GTO, 442 and GS) were withering under high insurance premiums, strangling exhaust emission standards and a major oil embargo coming right around the corner. But all four were present for 1973 including the Buick GS Stage 1.

The Stage 1 version of Buick’s 455 CI engine is legendary. Stage 1 horsepower ratings were usually just a slight improvement over their non-Stage 1 brethren and truly belied the internals in terms of camshaft grind and valve size. Those differences continued in 1973 as this example of the Stage 1 claims 270 net HP compared to 225 for the non-Stage 1 455 CI engine, which in the emasculated days of 1973 was a pretty significant improvement. The Stage 1 was only available in the GS and came equipped with a dual-snorkel air cleaner which this example appears to be lacking. Too bad, it’s valuable. Backing up this big Buick stump puller is a GM Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic transmission. Four-speed manuals were available in 1973 but they’re rare. The text description in the listing for this GS is really light and there is no mention made as to how or even if this GS runs. I have to believe it does but I would have expected at least a little braggadocio on that front. The seller does reference the lack of AC as a rarity; maybe so but I think it is a detraction.

Now to allay any fears of this Buick GS not being the real deal, you can perform your own sleuthing around by verifying the VIN number in this image (first string of numbers – it’s hard to read). It verifies that the fifth digit is a “V” which is the code for the Stage 1 package. This tag’s printed VIN does match the VIN number the seller has included in the listing. Thanks to Hemmings for the decoding information.

This GS Stage 1 looks fantastic, no surprise as it only has 16,252 miles. It gets an additional thumbs up from me for its Code “G” Jade Green finish – along with Irish Green, my favorite color. The owner states that this GS has been kept in heated storage, I gather for some period of time though that isn’t specifically disclosed. It sounds like the current owner, however, has owned this Buick since 1990. You can examine the door jamb in this included image, a place where rust and corrosion frequently hide, and it looks pristine.

The interior is magnificent! White vinyl seats with black carpet, perfectly balanced and contrasts nicely with the Jade Green finish and blends well with the white vinyl top covering. It’s a sharp combination!

You can go over this Buick GS with a microscope and I don’t think you are going to find any kind of integrity problem with body panels, shunt lines, rust, paint oxidization, tattered roof covering or any of the other foibles that usually adversely affect a 46-year-old automobile.

So, here’s the elephant in the room, this is a fantastic, rare, early ‘70’s muscle car; big price at 40 large but planted on a body style that gets less than optimal respect. I have a lot of experience with Colonnades, I worked for a Chevrolet dealership from late 1972 through mid-1974 and I have wrenched on countless two doors, four doors, station wagons, and El Caminos. My takeaways have always been consistent; they handle, stop and ride really well and are quiet too. Workmanship? OK. Quality of materials? Fair at best. Power? Unless you‘re talking a 454 CI or something like this 455 Stage 1, not so hot. Appearance? Well, um, ah, subjective I guess but 1968-1972 was a tough act to follow, so appearance from a comparative perspective? OK – again, a subjective call on my part. But I have to say, this 1973 GS Stage 1 knocks me out; beautiful and rare and I have to believe it’s got a lot of get up and go with that 455 CI engine. But still, $40K for a Colonnade? Even if it is one of only 728 Stage 1’s assembled in 1973, I’m still on the fence; let’s hear your thoughts.

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Comments

  1. Keith Keith

    I’m popping the B.S. flag, no way this car only has 17k miles. More like 117k miles, buyer beware. Even if it had only 17k miles no way it’s worth 40k. Wow!

    13
    • Will Fox

      I dunno Keith. It looks like 17K miles; The writer is correct about door jambs being a sure indicator of TLC over the years. We can’t see the front carpet or pedals to detect wear, but the white plastic trim panels of the interior had a habit of yellowing with age after the sun baked them. I don’t see that. And the trim decal on the door jamb isn’t even faded. That’s not typical at 117K miles; NO WAY. I think we have a very rare, and well babied `73 GS 455 automatic here.
      Now comes the real issue at hand; the price. Yes, these ARE starting to climb in value, but I feel the seller is about $10-$12K too high. He’s banking on the fact that this is a clean collonade when most of them were run into the ground and went to the crusher. I think $28K-$30K is more realistic here. The hard piece it’s missing is the dual-snorkel air cleaner. The `73 units were different due to the emissions era. THAT will be tough to locate, even among Buick Club enthusiasts. Other than that, I dare you or anyone else to find one nicer. The appearance and mileage MATCH in my opinion.

      17
  2. Mrvans Member

    Find another one for sale, anywhere, any price. Super rare and great condition regardless of mileage.

    16
  3. poseur Member

    super rare car with a super rare engine in a super rare color.
    i don’t see anything that makes me doubt the mileage claim other than how the heck do you only drive a car 17k miles in 45 years?!
    would be proud to drive this thing for sure

    17
  4. Dave Rhodes

    not a chance it will sell for that …not even close

    12
  5. Rob

    I think I can believe the mileage claim but not the original paint claim. There are a couple of items on the car that shouldn’t be green. The door striker and the trunk latch mechanism are the ones that caught my eye.

    8
  6. 71FXSuperGlide

    Wow. No idea this was ever made for this year and body style. Learn something new every day around here.

    7
  7. Bud

    Is there anywhere we can see the 72 Chevelle Colonade mockup without the 5 mph bumper ?

    5
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Bud – I saw it in a common car publication in late 1972, after the ’73’s were released and it was such a stark comparison – what it could have been! Obviously long before digitized imaging, so I’d have to dig around and see if it made the jump to cyberspace. It also had the five spoke, 15×7 steel wheels from the ’71-’72 Chevelle SS/Z28 Camaro, it looked good.

      1
    • Jim Jelley

      Here’s one. https://i0.wp.com/www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Chevelle-1973-renderings.jpg if you go to the GM photo store there are also photos of the Monte Carlo (including a fpurdoor mock-up) and the century with the pre 5 mph bumpers.

      2
  8. Thomas Price

    No way is that original paint – Look at the areas as stated already ( door striker, trunk latch ) as well as the overspray in the engine bay and on the door seals.

    LOTS of red flags on this one….

    5
  9. OIL SLICK

    “Honey I am selling it, it’s on Ebay right now” lol

    17
    • Al

      the EXACT line I used for my 05 Chopper on there now LOL! This baby’s going no where unless someone really falls in love, then I’m seriously screwed!

      2
  10. Rhett

    Love the car, ALL the money. years from now though, we’ll recognize the for what it is: The 73-74 Century Gran Sport was the LAST muscle car.. if you define a muscle as a mid size sedan with an optional high HP big block motor not shared with any other models.

    Yep, Pontiac had the Super Duty, but only in the pony car. Olds had a cammed/big valve 455, but only in a stick as the base engine. Chrysler had the Magnum/Super Commando 440, but it was available in everything. Same story with AMC, and Chevy and Ford had nothing.

    The Stage 1 could be ordered stick or auto, but the big valve, cammed version was exclusive to the A-Body. The Riv/Centurian version didn’t have the cam, and was rated at a lower HP.

    Aside from that, these are brilliant cars. They are FAST -legit muscle car fast at 4300 lbs.. NHRA Stock class champs in 73. We’ve agreed they stopped, rode and steered better than anything before them.

    But there are downsides…ridiculous trunk space, propensity to rust and interior materials turned to powder in the sun..and take it from personal experience the Stage 1 is a VERY thirsty motor with 3.42 gears. Notably more so than my other big blocks, even my other Stage 1.

    This car is a real question: if the mileage is truly that low, it was treated very poorly while it was sitting still. I see a lot of work completed that shouldn’t be needed by a 17k car. It’s a great car at about half the asking price..

    11
  11. Superdessucke

    Who could resist driving this big mean green thing over the years! Count me as a mileage skeptic too. But I think even if legit, a Colonnade is going to be hard-pressed to get anywhere near forty grand. A 1970-72 would get that all day. A 1973-74 not so much. So letting it set like that was a waste.

  12. TimM

    Great looking car with all the right boxes checked!! Well almost!! If there was a 4 speed in this car I would say the price point would be closer to the 40 asking!! However I don’t think it’s going to see that price with the automatic!! Good luck!!!

    5
  13. Cadmanls Member

    Something’s not quite right, besides the paint, the price! But honey I did put it up for sale is spot on.

    6
  14. Gunner

    Only 728 built with the Stage 1 option. Even less in 74 at 478. Great looking body style and desirable to the right buyer. Of the 728 Stage 1’s, only 92 were 4-Speed (close-ratio muncie). Additionally, there were 45 Stage 1 Sun Coupes produced! These are very rare and a automobile is only worth what someone is willing to pay. As someone who has owned several GS models, this one is pretty special.

    5
  15. Paul L Windish

    This car brings back memories to 1975-78. My wife, who I met in 1975 had a ’73 LeSabre identical in color to this one. It was affectionately referred to as the “limon” due to the motor replaced from a fire and it’s occassional shut down when driving down the road. Finally tracked down the shutdown, after dropping the gas tank and replacing the nylon sock type filter on the gas pickup tube, the problem disappeared.

  16. Miguel Member

    I had a car like this back in the ’90s. It was a 1973 with a 455 and a floor shift automatic. It was weathered from the sun.

    I doubt it was a stage 1 or anything like that, but it was a cool car.

    2
  17. ccrvtt

    The 1973 GS is the most desirable of all the colonnade cars imo. There is one pictured on the internet in dark blue that I prefer, but this green is actually quite stunning. To say they’re less popular than a SS 454 from a few years earlier is a massive understatement. But who really needs to see another Chevy?

    3
  18. Angrymike

    A friend has a 73 Chevelle SS454 in this color back in the early 80, what a beautiful car that was, till he wrapped it around a poll. He let me drive it once, and I wasn’t as impressed with the power, but it was a sweet ride.

  19. TimS Member

    Green. Auto. If I’ve got the coin I’m clicking buy it now. Yum.

  20. Maverick

    I know.of.one that is rotten in.a field 4speed car ..it was a magazine car..what a waste.

    1
  21. Rex Carpenter

    I have a 73 GTO that I bought new & I do drive it. It has just a bit over 80K on it right now & looks to be in about the same condition of this green car. I would be very hard pressed to say this car has the 17K on it . I would say more like the 117K. it has been repainted or touched up a lot as there again to much that should not have paint on it where it does. The pics of the engine & interior are very dark & you can’t see it very well but what you can see does seem to be just a bit off. it says no A/C but there are some A/C brackets on the engine you cab see in the dark. I can see the asking price if the true miles were told as it’s a very nice car, at least what we can see. But still , just a bit over priced by about maybe 7K to 10 K. But you have to tell the truth about the car to make it believable so the buyer knows what they are buying for real. I again own a 73 GTO & would love the prices to be up that much,,, but were not there yet.

  22. FordGuy1972

    I’ve always felt the colonnade cars were a disappointment after the beautiful 1968-72 styling. They were bigger, heavier and had less power. I agree this car is in great shape and the exterior and interior colors are eye-catching but I can’t see anyone paying what the seller is asking. Sure, it’s rare but this is a car worth around $20k at best.

    The styling of American cars after 1972 was particularly uninspiring and along with diminished performance gave us the Malaise Era. Never cared for any of the cars from that time period and never will.

    4
  23. BitNippy

    THIS is what I wanted my Buick to be! My second car was a 73 Century base auto with the 307, iirc. My grandfather gave it to me in 1985. Green/Green w/Green vinyl on top and all over the inside! For whatever reason, it was a step up from the family station wagon, a 1975 Chevy Impala w/SB400 that could haul the entire crew to Saturday night parties! I sold the Buick for $200 in 87, it needed a transmission and tires. :-) The Chevy was stolen from our driveway and abandoned 5 miles away with an empty gas tank. My parents had split, and never recovered it. 30+ years later, I wish I still had BOTH of them..

    1
  24. Comet

    For 40K that running rust on the rear inner wheelhouse (see trunk pic) dictates a closer look. The rear window channel is either rotted out or leaking. The seller isn’t shy about his asking price, seems awfully high.

    2
  25. Del

    Hagerty does not price any GS after 1971.

    Nada says high retail is about 23 grand.

    Is certainly an eye catcher in that green.

    As usual I would want an inspection first as people have pointed out some discrepancies.

  26. bull

    15 years ago I had a Black/Black 4 Speed 1973 Buick GS Stage 1. Numbers thrown around at that time were just 7 four speed 73 GS Stage 1 cars were built.

    If I am not mistaken that low number has been proven not true however it was still a very rare car with a numbers matching 455 Stage 1, Hog leg 4 Speed, buckets console and factory black with black interior!

    Sold it for $15K which was considered STUPID MONEY back then!

    2
  27. JoeNYWF64

    Pollution air pump may be just free wheeling – i don’t see any tubes going to the manifolds, i think.
    What’s with the half crooked Buick emblem on front?
    The monstrous heavy front bumper probably costs 2 mpg. & the 2.5 mph one in back another 1 mpg. lol.
    No tach? With that dash layout, i would think it would have to be hood mounted & over the counter from the dealer?
    White fan shroud?!

  28. Rustytech

    After looking at the paint on the trunk latch, & door striker. Add the rust on the engine block and intake manifold, then the numerous scratches on the body and I think what you have here is a nicely maintained 117k car with at least one repaint. Not worth nearly $40k. I’d be hard pressed to put this in the low $20k range. Nice car though.

    3
  29. David Ulrey

    I’ll jump on the bandwagon with most of the other guys. Way cool car that I’d totally love to own but I just don’t see ot being worth more then 25k. If someone is able to buy it at a reasonable price, good for them, would be really cool to own and drive!

    1
  30. Pontiactivist

    I’ve been helping a buddy restore a 74 stage 1 in black with red interior. 5th from the last produced in ’74. His only has 22’000 on it. Completely original interior and codes matching drivetrain. Never was a huge fan of these centurt GS models, but they are growing on me. Don’t believe this is anywhere near a $40,000 dollar car. 25-30 maybe if mileage is correct.

    1
  31. Pete Phillips

    No air conditioning in a car that has no front vent windows, and fixed rear windows (don’t roll down at all), plus a large back glass = brutal heat on a sunny summer day. By 1973 & 1974, the Buick GS package was just an option on the Century coupes, and not a separate model as in 1970 and 1971.

  32. bull

    It appears we all can agree that the “Price Does Match the Condition”!

  33. George Mattar

    Plenty of negative comments about some of the best looking cars GM ever built. Far better than the junk it builds today. To the comment about the white fan shroud. Buick used them. I owned 3 Colonnade coupes to date. Best looking. Best handling and most reliable cars I ever owned. I miss them all. The after market has completely ignored these cars. Is it worth $40,000? It is worth what someone is willing to pay. Good story. I worked at Chevy Olds dealer when these cars were new.

  34. Pete

    Performance oriented Colonnades are some of the most interesting, reliable and enjoyable cars to own. Now that they are old cars, the styling lines are cool to look at. These 73 car concepts were born during the muscle car peek and it shows, if you look at them that way. Super low production numbers on these; GS, GTO, 442 and SS cars make them very collectible. If you need more power, that is easy to do with subtle modifications. 40k is High now. In most cases, Colonnades can yield some really great cars for the money, at this point in time. Prices will for the rare ones are sure to climb, as they continue to get more attention.

  35. Bob McK Member

    My first question to myself was…is this really worth the asking price? Thanks for your help guys. I best pass in this one.

    • Rhett

      No reason to pass, it’s a great car!. Just pay the right price for it! It is NOT an A/C car with components missing, it’s nice and solid, rare and FAST, and has the potential to clean up to a show winner. Go look at it, and offer a fair price. I bet you’ll be happy you did.

  36. Stevieg Member

    I agree that it is a great car. I also agree that it is either a well loved 117,000 mile car or a somewhat neglected 17,000 mile car. Either way, it is still a nice car.
    The issue I have is the price. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around any of these cars actually selling for more than $10,000 lol.
    If I could get over that, I would agree that this should be the high water mark car regarding price. But am I that far out of touch lol?

    1
    • Al

      Nope! Your smart. Having had several of these style cars, $10k would be a stretch for myself as well. My fav I had in these styles was the ’74 Monte with the rare factory LS4 454/270 eng.

  37. Macon Michaux

    I will follow this auction to see where it ends. To me just not visually appealing enought for that money, but it is nice and clean. Looks like a repaint though.
    definitely been kept out of the sun its whole life if original.

  38. Stevieg Member

    Hey Al, that Monte sounds like it might have been a bit of fun for back in the day. I always liked the more formal roofline of the Monte, GrandPrix, Gutless Supreme & Regal over the fastback roofline of this car (not that xss I dislike this car, just prefer that roof better).

    1
    • Al

      I hear ya, I just liked the lines of that year Monte I had. The larger egg crate grill. I had the full burgundy vinyl top & the red velour int. But it was so much red that I hadn’t owned a red int car of 40+ cars since lol. The lines on the side I think were the best as well as liked the round headlight before they doubled the square ones up.

  39. Stevieg Member

    Yeah, I had a 1977 Monte like that, but with a 305. All red. A lot of red. Red everywhere lol. Nice smooth ride, neat car, but way underpowered.
    The sculpting on the sides the 1973-1977 Monte had was really neat. The cars now just have no flair.
    I too preferred the single round headlight of the 1973-1975, but when I bought the 1977 I bought for budgetary reasons, not style. This was when they were 15 year old beaters.

  40. Paolo

    My best friend’s mother bought one of these brand new. Exactly the same color and interior. She was about 5’2″. The car was a beast and she loved driving it fast.

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