1969 Buick GS Convertible Needs It All

“Looks pretty good from the passenger’s side.” That’s what you’ll say if you check out this 1969 Buick GS 400 convertible, available in Tyngsboro, MA and sold here on eBay. It’s priced at a low $7,401, but the reserve is not met. You can pick it up for a Buy-It-Now price of $12,500. But don’t do that before you think through what you’re getting here.

The GS (Gran Sport) series first came out in 1965, and the GS came with a variety of engines over the years. In 1968 and 1969, Buick offered the Gran Sport with a 400-CID engine. Body styles included coupes and convertibles, like our offering here. The next year, the company would offer the GS 455, but that’s a story for another day. Leave it to say that even with the “paltry” 400, you were going to get up and go. Torque, which is what you feel (horsepower is the work the mill can do), was 440 ft-lbs. This was often run through a three-speed automatic transmission, the Turbo Hydra-matic, for which there was, and is, no shortage of accolades. The car in question, however, has a standard-shift transmission. No word as to its originality.

In fact, this one has little prose describing it, but some expensive-sounding needs nonetheless. For example, “Not running. Engine turns over. May need a rebuild.” Pictures show a crusty looking underhood presentation, so count on doing a lot of cosmetic work as well as whatever mechanical attention the Buick needs. At least the car is said to be numbers matching, though we all know that there are various definitions of that used by different people. To look at the bright side, it’s “all there” (except for some emblems, it would seem), and when done, given that it’s a convertible, will be worth a decent price, although likely short of what it will cost to get it there.

The other scary comment in the ad is “typical rust/rot behind the rear wheels,”along with the claim that the frame is good. What about the floors? Anybody taken up the carpet in the last, oh, thirty years to see the state of the pan? And while this comment about the rust is made, the pictures actually show that the front fender, at least on the passenger side, is rusty and likely Bondo’d behind the front tire. Add to that an interior that’s seen much better days and a top that is trashed, and you’ve got a total re-do on your hands. Looking at the progress of the auction, maybe it’s a good thing that there’s a relatively modest buy-it-now price, so that someone doesn’t go crazy for a car that looks better than it is and will need total restoration.

Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    One of my all-time favorite body styles.

    Like 12
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    No pictures of the driver’s side,or underside.

    Like 10
  3. Big_Fun Member

    Closer inspection reveals an ‘H’ pattern on the ‘Consolette’ (Buick speak for a manual transmission ‘mini console’. The automatic transmission got the full length console with storage). I wonder how many GS400 Convertibles had a 3 speed manual?

    Like 10
    • Blue

      Every GS I saw with the 400 ci was manual 3 speed on the floor, but that was only 5 or so.

      Like 3
    • Scott Williams

      I’ve seen a ‘70 Stage I with the 3 speed manual. Odd, but to each his own!

  4. Howard A Member

    Does everything today have to be a stinkin’ 4 speed? Grow up, would be the “Ramblings” for today. TV auctions, that give a pretty good representation of the status of the hobby, I swear, 95%, are 4 speeds. Oh sure, the exhilaration, the raw feel of being in control,,,, gets mighty old. Maybe its because, as a truck driver, I shifted my right rotator to the bone, and a car like this, seems like an unlikely candidate for a 4 speed. My son-in-law who lives in S.Cal. is looking for a nice classic, preferably a ragtop, I suggested a GS like this. No fire breathing, wheel stander, just a nice car to cruise the PCH. The 4 speed is an instant downer, and in the future, more and more won’t want a stick, or know how to drive one,,,you’ll see. It’s a fact, 4 speeds are generally beat to death, as this one shows. Remember, at one time, this was just a beater with a 4 speed, and every subsequent owner beat the crap out of it. 4 speed rant aside, they are very nice cars.

    Like 24
    • Mark Member

      Howard,

      To each his own. I happen to love manuals, wouldn’t have a ride like this without one and I am in the middle of restoring an Alfa 1750 Spider with a 5 speed. Just wouldn’t be the same car with an automatic.

      Like 11
    • Gary Chamberlain

      I feel as you, I’ve (3) Pontiacs, ALL automatics. (2) Safari’s & a Firebird conv I just bought. It’s 68k orig mi, clean as a pen. The others are ‘63 Bonneville & ‘64 Tempest wagons. The Bonneville has the super hydra-matic 4 spd & shifts beautifully! The Tempest has its orig as well, the 2 spd auto, not a power glide(that was Chev. verbage) & in its own right, shifts very nicely. I hired a semi to bring the wagons from Ca. when I left that gawd awful state for good, & came back home to southern Ohio. Gary

      Like 1
  5. angliagt angliagt Member

    Yeah,I remember seeing cars like this years ago,& thought it was cool that they had a 4 speed,especially full size cars,because they were rare.To me,there’s nothing that screams “REDNECK” more than seeing an auto-
    matic converted to a 4 speed that looks like it was done with a Sawzall &
    a 12 pack of cheap beer.

    Like 15
  6. mike

    Makes you wonder how bad the drivers side is.

    Like 9
  7. jangus

    Back when these cars were new, the auto was an OPTION because people knew how to drive a real car. BTW, collectors love stick shift cars because they can sit for extended periods of time without puking trans fluid all over when the torque converter drains from not being driven. Thats why you see so many cross the auction block. Frankly, being a GM A-body, converting a stick car to auto is a no brainer. Likewise, selling a complete A-body stick setup is stupidly simple.

    Like 9
  8. CCFisher

    This writeup comes off as a bit harsh. This car is one of only 1,176 1969 GS400 convertibles built, so it’s not like there are a lot out there to choose from. No question that it’s a project car, and it definitely has some rust, but it’s complete and in far better shape than many of the project cars featured here.

    Like 26
  9. Lincoln B Member

    Howard you are probably dead on, but as a farm boy growing up in the 60’s I lived a life of long box pickups and manual transmissions. I have never seen one of these beauties with a 4 spd but it appeals to me in a way I find difficult to resist, but I’m to old to fix this and cannot afford a nicer one. The bold style of the 69 + rag top + 400 + 4spd someone wants it.

    Like 10
  10. Idiot Boy

    This car will clean up and make a fun, carefree daily driver. Rather have the genuine original interior somewhat in tatters than refitted with the repro junk made in China any day. The insulation under the hood remains intact right down to the still perfect circular air cleaner nut cutout, not having become a residence for critters like so many others which is a very good sign. Wish I had the room for it, this car is a great find.

    Like 6
  11. Gunner

    I am with CCFisher on his comment of this being a harsh write up. The BIN price is only $12,500. Wow. This is indeed an exceedingly rare car and I have seen much worse Detroit Muscle go for a lot more. 213 4-Speeds were produced and 48 3-Speeds. It is a complete car. I would have concern as it appears the inside has been wet. I have owned 4 GS’s from ‘66 to ‘69 and this car is a unicorn. If I was in the market I would hire someone to inspect the car and if it checks out, jump on it. The Seller states that the frame is solid. Rust behind the rear wheels is typical and can be fixed. I am not certain why there is no picture of the driver’s side. Man, this really is a buy though. Seller also states that it is numbers matching. Someone needs to hit the BIN button and take this very rare GS home. Truly a find.

    Like 18
  12. Brian Scheel

    Nice GS Vert
    Owning a 68GS Vert 2456 I believe we’re made in 8 so this GS hopefully being a 44667 VIN is a rare car
    Parts are not being reproduced like Cutlasses or Chevelle’s
    When was last time you saw one at a car show?
    MCACN yes but not many are left!
    Not even a consolette, floor mounted with I think should be a Vacuum gauge, not a 4sp, 3sp
    Floors are usually rusty as well as trunk pan, those are available!
    Good luck to the new Owner/s

    Like 6
    • Erich Scheel

      Hey, another Scheel on Barn Finds?!? From where do you hail? Western New York here and I don’t know any other Scheels around here besides immediate family. Just thought I’d ask.

      Like 1
  13. RalphP

    Several holes in the floor in just 1 photo, so I would question the frame’s condition as well.

    Like 2
  14. space GREGORY POLLACK

    I find that most ads that say not running it’s usually a timing chain.

    Like 1
  15. Jack Barley

    This is a great car. 400, 4 speed, PS, PB, buckets/console. It still has the functional air cleaner which is worth $500-$750 pending condition. Most of these were ditched in favor of an aftermarket unit.
    I have a fairly loaded ‘66 Chevelle that I have owned for 50 years but now wish it had a four speed instead of the automatic.
    I always try to buy NOS if I can.
    I don’t buy China made product if I can at all help it.

    Like 2
  16. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    On paper this is pretty rare set up but, not showing the left side .. what is the seller hiding? What’s under the carpet? We see the the rot in the truck not good. Under the hood. That alternator rust and rust inside the air cleaner,valve covers and God knows what else. And why show the car wet. Is the paint that bad? Too many questions not enough answer’s pass on this. Buyer beware big time here..🐻🇺🇸

    Like 3
  17. Jack Barley

    At this price you know that the motor and trans will need to be pulled and rebuilt and new floor and trunk panels ala ‘69 Chevelle will need to be put in.

    Like 1
  18. V12MECH

    Once a desirable car, this has the remains of some nice options, looks like some parts are of value, a correct #1 restored value of $ 70k +, market can be fickle. This fright pig will need a total deal , needs careful inspection by a pro, if you have ALL the skills and equipment, you will be ok, at a pro shop, after $50k + purchase, you will have your carefree motoring.

    Like 2
  19. Brian Scheel

    Hello Erich;
    My Mother is from your city, went to St Brendan’s, Father from Pennsocola, 26 years Navy Master Chief PO Submarines,
    I’ve been all over the country, reside in Minneapolis now!
    Oddly enough when I bought the 68GS Convertible in Wisconsin, and looked at the title, from Wisconsin with Marie Scheel having been previous owner, no relation to my knowledge, had been a barn find sitting since 78, I bought in 15
    More cars than I should have, oldest a 39 Packard 2dr Opera Coupe!
    Enjoy your day
    Brian

  20. John Leinen

    If powertrain is correct for a 400 GS , then price is a bargain just for the engine and Trans, sheet metal can be replaced figure on spending 35-45 k to properly restore it then its worth 75k easy, 4 speed GS cars are rare.

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