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455 Stage 1 Swap: 1970 Buick Skylark GS 350

If you wanted some muscle with your 1960/1970s Buick, you ordered the Gran Sport or GS. For the second generation of the Skylark (1968-72), the Skylark GS had become a series of its own. According to the seller, this 1970 edition started out with the standard GS 350 cubic inch V-8, which may have been ridden hard, and was replaced by a 455 Stage 1 motor. The car is a bit beat up and battered, but may be a viable restoration project, if the engine swap doesn’t bother you. The car is for sale in Aurora, Colorado and here on craigslist for $6,000. This tip comes to us compliments of local_sheriff.

Because they were Buicks, Gran Sport models were the most opulent of the GM intermediates in their day. The styling of the 1970-72 Skylarks were squarer in appearance over the distinctive look of the 1968-69 models, which you either liked or didn’t. Buick’s Skylark GS cars were popular, building more than 20,000 copies for 1970. Of those, nearly 10,000 were the GS 350, which the seller’s car purports to be. If it had been a GS 455 Stage 1, the seller’s car would have been one of nearly 3,000 built.

We’re told this Buick was ready to undergo a restoration when COVID-19 came along, and the project never got off the ground. The seller says the 455 is probably year-correct, but not as the car was originally equipped. There is no mention of how long ago the motor transplant took place, yet the 455 is said to run great, but it might need a new top end (why does he say this if it runs great?). Some mechanical work has already been performed, including bushings, bearings, springs, shocks, rear end gearing, and front-end components.

The photos provided do not help the seller make his case. They were taken in low-resolution and make studying what we can see of the car difficult. There may be some rust under the vinyl top, but the sheet metal looks okay save some dents and dings. It’s hard to talk much about the interior with just a single photo, but there are some cheap-looking covers over the front seats, so we assume the worst.

As a GS 350, this car’s value would range from between $12,000 for Fair to $45,000 for Concours, according to Hagerty. A genuine GS 455 Stage 1 would be through the roof. The seller’s car, with its weak presentation, is priced to sell.  And there may be reasons for the low selling price. At 168,000 miles, this car is likely to need a lot of work, so the price of poker will turn out to be the smallest part of the cost to restore this GS.


  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    Love these cars. I’d be shocked if it didn’t need rockers, quarters and lower doors, not to mention what’s hiding under the vinyl roof. I’d try to get it $4-$4500

    Like 5
  2. Rhett

    Being a Colorado car , might be more sold than you expect. Priced right and complete (mostly) could be a great find..??

    Like 3
    • Punish

      I know those stage 1 motors are hard to find. Maybe the sum of the parts is more than the whole. There are a lot of die hard buick stage 1, stage 2, gs and wildcat guys out there needing some parts to finish a project.

      Like 2
    • Travis Keyes

      I know those stage 1 motors are hard to find. Maybe the sum of the parts is more than the whole. There are a lot of die hard buick stage 1, stage 2, gs and wildcat guys out there needing some parts to finish a project.

  3. cmarv

    The hood , hood vents and grill (if not cracked) and the air cleaner are worth $2500 + to the right person .

    Like 2
  4. Chris M.

    How would you determine if the 455 was a true Stage 1 motor? I ask as I have no idea about Buicks codes. If so what’s the motor worth alone? I do know that a Stage 1 455 is a monster as built.

    Like 1
  5. Chuck

    ‘Twould be a shame to tear this car apart! What a fun car to drive! Yes the seat vinyl under that Walmart seat cover is in shambles, as you can see it peeking out.

  6. Troy s

    Without checking I’ll take a guess on the engine swap happening in the mid eighties if the intent was burning rubber all the freakin’ way down the block. Late eighties maybe, but that seems to be the time the Stage 1 455 Buick became well known to folks of all ages, the alleged Hemi killer in a sports coat.
    It’s not a real Stage 1455 GS so the value is elsewhere, on demand seat of the pants thrills and less knowledgeable people staring in wonder at the strange looking Chevelle. Great ride.

    Like 2
  7. RCodeSteve Member

    Chris M –
    A true 1970 Stage 1 motor would have a two letter code “SS” between the 5&7 bank on the block. The carb would be part number 7040246 and the distributor 1112016.

    Like 2
    • Chris M.

      Thank you sir!

  8. Jcs

    And she’s gone.

    Can’t let it go without asking – did some flicted digit really put a three gauge pod on TOP of the dash? Please tell me that my eyes are deceiving me.

    • Chris M.

      Nope, it’s really there. Up high on the dash! And somehow this same car ended up with a supposed Stage 1 455! Lol

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