Fast With Class: 1970 Buick Gran Sport Stage 1

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I guess lots of us had friends in High School who drove cars cooler than ours that we envied, and with my low level on the cool chain, I was even proud on the days when my mom let me take our grocery-getter family sedan to the old alma mater.  I didn’t get my ‘Cuda ’til a couple of months after my Class Of ’82 HS graduation, so I missed the boat on peeling out of our gym’s parking lot and seeking the attention of all my classmates, or the opportunity to provide better transportation home than the bus for the thrill-seeking chicks in nearby neighborhoods.  But I was fortunate that one of my friends drove a bona fide 1970 Buick Gran Sport, and to this day it was my favorite car anybody in our pre-20s crowd ever owned.   If you’re a Buick guy and seeking some vintage muscle, this ’70 model GS is one-notch higher, as it’s a Stage 1 example.  The car is in Oregon City and can be found here on Craigslist, and comes with an asking price of $43,000.

Reader Pat L. spotted this beauty and sent it our way, and we’d like to thank him for the tip!  Two things I remember about my friend’s Gran Sport are, of course, how fast it was and how well it ran.  His wasn’t a Stage 1, but it was quick and would easily blow the doors off most competition even with the A/C running full blast, which I had the pleasure of doing a few times behind the wheel!  The other thing was the unusual rear bumper, which maybe I dreamed of, as it has been 40+ years ago.  But I seem to recollect there were cut-outs on each side where the exhaust tips stuck through.  I’m positive the car came from Frank Davis Buick in Nashville, as it still had the metal emblem on the trunk, but whether or not this was factory or custom is a mystery to me.  Have any of you ever seen the exhaust pipes protruding through the back bumper on a ’70 GS?

This one has inter-continental history, beginning in Colorado when it was new followed by a long residency in California.  Then it went to a collector in Japan for several years, and in 2006 came back to Kansas, where it was disassembled and restored.  The body underwent a soda-blasting and is said to be straight as an arrow with zero rust.  It was repainted in Arctic White and ended up in Mississippi for the next 16 years, and the finish is stated to still look like new all these years later.

Instead of a Skylark options package, the Gran Sport became a stand-alone model for 1970, with the engine growing to 455 cubic inches.  The big block was pretty much a monster in base form, but adding the Stage 1 package for a little over a hundred bucks got you larger valves and more cam, plus increased compression from 10.0:1 to 10.5:1.  Buick claimed this all made an additional 10 horsepower, but a more realistic estimate was north of that number, considerably.  If there’s any bad news with this car, it’s that the engine is not numbers-matching, but the Turbo 400 is the factory transmission.  Outback is a 12-bolt positraction rear-end with 3.73 gears.

Things inside are looking good as well, with some nice features such as bucket seats, a console shifter, and even a tilt steering column.  The air conditioning is blowing cold, and from first-hand experience, I’m sure you won’t even know it’s on when you stomp the gas!  A lien is listed as being on the title, so I’d discuss this with the seller first, but once that’s squared away this one seems like it’s ready for the next owner to enjoy.  What are your thoughts on this 1970 Buick Gran Sport Stage 1, and its $43k price tag?

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  1. Bruce

    After seeing Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee this weekend, sky’s the limit. My 72 GS 455 SCO Convertible jumped at least $50,000.00 this weekend.

    Like 7
    • Dennis OShaughnessy

      It’s a very nice car, but did anyone notice it’s not the original (Stage 1) engine? Right now it’s a nice GS with another engine of unknown details. Is it a 1967 300cu from a skylark, dressed up as a Stage 1? Before buying, it would be nice to know what the original motor was replaced with, i.e. block, heads, carb, manifold? Like I said, nice car, but this wouldn’t go for more than 50K at auction unless they replaced it with an original Stage 1 motor.

      Like 1
      • Rick

        No, that’s probably the 455, and a major clue is the downward angled exhaust ports. The 300 had horizontal exhaust ports. And, for most of the 300’s production it had flat topped valve covers, much like the nailhead’s.

        Like 1
  2. Mike Smith

    The exhaust cut outs in the rear bumper were introduced in 71’ you could not get them in 70’ And unless that is from Canada it would have come with a 10 bolt rear axle.

    Like 8
    • Mike StephensAuthor

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks so much for the info about the exhaust! I guess my friend’s car must have been a ’71 after all, although in my younger days I thought it was a ’70. The car still ran like a scalded dog if it was a ’71, even if it was a lower-compression 455. Always wondered whatever happened to that car, haven’t seen or heard from him in close to 40 years.

      Like 4
    • Michael Berkemeier

      It was the N25 option, which was ’71-’72 only.

      Also, no 1970 GM A-bodies came with 12-bolt Chevrolet rear ends except for Chevrolets. The GM practice of installing 12-bolt Chevy differentials in all high-performance A-bodies that were built in Canada ended after 1969 production ceased at Oshawa, Ontario (near Buffalo, NY).

      I know, I own one. A 1969 Buick GS 400/4-speed with a 12-bolt Chevrolet 3.55 Posi, code on axle tube is LQ and I have the factory build documentation to verify it from the GM Heritage Center.

      Like 7
      • Shawn Genge

        1970 Olds 442 came with a Oldsmobile 12 bolt rear end

        Like 1
      • Michael Berkemeier

        Shawn, the Oldsmobile 12-bolt was not the same thing we are discussing here…it was a 10-bolt with a 12-bolt cover, Oldsmobile only, and had nothing in common with a Chevy 12-bolt. It was not a great rear end.

        Like 3
    • Ed

      That’s correct. I had a ‘70 GS 445 Stage 1 and it didn’t have through-bumper exhaust. The stated axle ratio puzzles me, however. The standard ratio for my 4-speed car was 3.64 or, with the trailer towing package, 3.91 was available. I went with the 3.64 due to the engine’s 5,000 rpm redline.

      Some the option prices of that era are laughable today. For example, I paid a whopping $75.00 extra for 1964 Corvette Daytona Blue Irredescent paint. It looked almost black at night, especially with its white interior.

      It was the ultimate street sleeper as it was, after all, a Buick with “only” 360hp but no one thought about its 512 lb/ft of torque. It came off the line HARD and with 90/10 front shocks, would carry the left front wheel for a few seconds from a rolling start.

      It too lacked its original engine as the short block was replaced under warranty; on hard acceleration blue smoke would roll out if the tight tailpipe due to a spun camshaft bearing.

      But if all the high performance cars I owned it was the most fun.

      Like 2
  3. Gunner

    The GS became its own model in ‘67 with the GS340 & GS400. I owned a total of 4 GS models between 66-70 plus two Skylarks. Buick was so underrated for the time. I beat the daylights out of mine and they never failed me. The engine block was thicker and took the punishment. Even in our day, we knew that the Stage 1 was special. Don’t forget the ‘69 400 Stage 1 either. Slightly under 700 made. My mistake was letting one of these slip past me in ‘83 for $300. We all have our stories. This ‘70 is beautiful. Love the Arctic White.

    Like 6
    • Trey

      I believe 1500 or so Stage 1 cars were built in 1969

      Like 0
  4. Mike76

    Pretty Stage 1. And one you can drive without worry. The owner said in another ad that the rear axle was swapped out thus the 12 bolt and 3.73 gears, the block is not from 1970, and other parts such as distributor and carb are from other years as well. Not a full matching #’s Stage car, which is reflected in the lower asking price I believe. #’s matching or not, I’d drive the wheels off her.

    Like 14
  5. Robert Teager

    I had thought the bumper was n71 from 1971. Someone else came up with a different code. But it is 1971 rare option!!

    Like 0
    • Mike Smith

      The bumper option is N25, it’s very desirable and sought after. The chrome tips are hard to get hold of.

      Like 3
  6. RHETT

    I know this car, it’s super clean and legit. I should have bought it when I had the chance.

    Like 5
    • Donnie L Sears

      You still have the chance.

      Like 0
  7. CadmanlsMember

    King of torque!

    Like 3
  8. Vince

    Olds 12 bolt was an 8.5 inche same as the 10 bolt rear end. A 10 bolt in a 12 bolt housing.

    Like 3
  9. Joe richard

    I have a 70 GS 455 for sale beautiful car all matching numbers is anyone is interested restored inside and out and underneath bamboo cream color 909-455-68 two six in Southern California can send pics and info

    Like 4
    • Michael Berkemeier

      Come on, Joe…you know none of these readers here actually buy cars, they just profess their (lack of) knowledge and criticize them, lol.

      Like 10
      • Dan Huber

        Not true , I’m in the market for a 70 stage 1 a/c , #s car

        Like 0
  10. Maggy

    Be real cool if it was a 4 speed but I still like it.Fair price nowadays.

    Like 3
  11. Ashtray

    The paint on the driver’s side door doesn’t even come close to matching the rest of the car. Plus, that same door is misaligned or warped to the point that it could never be properly aligned again?
    Mismatched paint, misaligned door, the wrong rear end the wrong engine and who knows what else is wrong? And still waiting $43,000.00. I personally would never buy a vehicle on Ebay or craigslist etc. Without first seeing it in real life. It’s hard enough to make a wise investment when you can actually see it?
    Just my opinion!

    Like 4
    • Michael Berkemeier

      Yet, ironically, you come here to view the ads from Craigslist, EBay, and Facebook Marketplace. Have you priced a correct, numbers-matching ’70 Stage 1 lately?

      Like 7
  12. Ashtray

    I did say, it’s just my oponion. I would buy it then if i felt that positive about it?
    It’s still for sale!
    If i wanted a vehicle like this i would pay the extra money and get one nice and correct. It is cheaper to purchase a vehicle complete than try to make it back to original?
    You can find nice vehicles somewhere other than Mechams or Barrett-jackson? I would never base a vehicle value from the two previously mentioned auctions?
    As to the reason i view different listings, i find some of it humorous at times.
    Again, just my opinion!

    Like 4
  13. mongoose

    Did. Everyone forget. ABOUT THE STAGE ll model that was short lived???

    Like 2
    • Andypm1

      Aftermarket heads!! Cool

      Like 0
  14. Car Nut Tacoma Washington

    Awesome looking car. I’ve always found the 1970-71 Buick GS better looking than the standard Special and Skylark. $43k is a bit much for me, even given its condition and rarity. I’d be willing to pay between $25k-$30k for a car, that would leave enough money for upgrades.

    Like 0
  15. Robert West

    I never noticed that the GS had the Camaro style horseshoe shifter.

    Like 0

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