Stage 1 Four-Speed! 1969 Buick GS 400

“Fast with Class” is how Buick advertised their mid-sized GS performance entry. And this 1969 Buick GS 400 could be referred to as a Fast Blast with Class thanks to its optional Stage 1 performance package. But wait, there’s more! This Gran Sport is a shift it yourself variety courtesy of its four-speed manual gearbox – let’s look more closely. Domiciled in Elk Mound, Wisconsin you can find this Buick here on eBay for a current bid of $16,100.

There is not a lot more that can be said about GM’s venerable, ’68-’72 A-body mid-sized line-up that hasn’t already been said. Four of GM’s five divisions got in on the act and while some parts were shared, many weren’t, and brand uniqueness was still alive at GM back in those years. Buick, in ’68 and ’69, went its own way with the Special/Skylark by virtue of standout styling that did not resemble the Chevrolet Chevelle, Pontiac LeMans, or the Oldsmobile Cutlass even though the dimensions and frame/suspension were basically the same as that positioned under their corporate cousins. By ’70, the Skylark and GS started to reveal a more recognizable profile, one that was similar to that of a Chevelle as opposed to the swoopy design that made the ’68 and ’69 Skylark/GS so notable. According to Hemmings, Buick only assembled 8,132 GS 400’s in ’69, and the Stage 1 performance enhancement package accounted for 1,256 of that 8K+ total.

So what did Stage 1 mean? Some pretty extensive improvements with different heads, larger valves, a more aggressive cam, and a rejetted Q-Jet carburetor, among other enhancements. The power rating for the 400 CI V8 Stage 1 engine was pegged at 350 gross HP, just ten more than the standard 400 mill – seems suspicious as the Hemmings article alludes to some pretty serious underrating considering the nature of the Stage 1’s enhancements. The seller describes this Buick’s operating characteristics by observing, “Runs out great but may need carb or dist work as after a few miles it acts like it loads up. I’m selling several cars and no time to address the situation“. The seller claims that the engine is the original matching number component but the four-speed manual transmission may not be.

Well, this GS400 has my vote, it’s green! It looks fantastic but the seller has little to say about its exterior appearance. He really should as there are plenty of praises here to be sung. There’s no sign of dents, crash damage, rust, or other mayhem. It’s said that the wrong grille is in place but a correct one comes with the sale. The black vinyl top looks too good for a 52+ year-old car but perhaps it is just evidence of this car having been well stored. The mileage recording is 100K miles, or 7K according to the odometer, so the odometer has probably been at least once around and this GS 400’s appearance belies that much use. Rounding out this visual feast is a set of very shiny Buick roadwheels.

The interior seating and door upholstery show signs of little use. The simple, almost austere, instrument panel reveals some fading but the instrument cluster is still quite clear – no dash pad problems noticed either. If you spend enough time looking around the interior, you’ll note little things such as the scuffed steering wheel cover and the stainless trim present on the clutch pedal but not the brake pedal or accelerator – all small stuff. Finally, the original radio with BUICK spelled out across its five pushbuttons is still front and center, right where it belongs.

This GS 400 is being auctioned at no reserve and someone’s going to end up with one of the nicest 1969 Stage 1 equipped cars that I have come across in a long time. I wish that someone could be me but that’s not in the cards right now, but how about you?


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  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I’ve always preferred the streamlined look of the 70-72 Skylarks, but these 68-69’s are really growing on me, plus they have more power. This car is a very nice original example. Extra points for the green with black interior as opposed to the green interior. I know colored interiors are long gone and desirable, but it would be too much green in my opinion.

    Like 12
    • TimS Member

      I’m the opposite and love green over green, but this one is too sharp for me to care.

      Like 7
      • Mikefromthehammer

        I agree with TimS. A light shade of green in the interior would be a nice contrast to the dark green exterior. Conversely, a matching dark green interior would be too much, so I would agree with Bakyrdhero on that.

        Like 4
  2. Moparman Member

    This one looks good, and a 4 spd, to boot! I always thought that the styling of the vinyl top looked awkward on the side profile, and that the car looked better without it. GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 7
  3. Blindmarc

    Already pulled off eBay

    Like 3
  4. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Nice !

    Like 2
  5. Gunner

    This is a very rare GS. Only 415 Stage 1 4-Speeds produced. I have owned 4 66-69 GS’s. I have not seen a 4-Speed for sale in a long time. Someone is going to get a great deal. Beautiful color combo. Just wow. This would be a forever car. The horsepower rating, like others of the time were vastly underrated. It ticks all the boxes. Great write up.

    Like 12
  6. Gus Fring

    Oh yes, the best looking year for the GS…and a Stage 1 4-speed, to boot! These have always been the best looking of any of the Generic Motors A-body iterations. Likely, one of the fastest, if not the fastest, of all of the ’69’s too. It wasn’t long ago that these didn’t bring much but my, my, my how things have changed. Beautiful car!!!

    Like 1
  7. Sam Shive

    The as was closed out yesterday.

  8. joenywf64

    Looking at the tires on this car, i could swear back in the day that the RWLs on BFGs were further away from the center edge of the tire – looked better that way, IMO.
    Are there 3 backup lights on this car? – 1 in the upper center of the bumper?
    Those lace on steering wheel covers don’t seem to be very durable on many old cars with them – shown on this site.
    1st thing, i would bring a new one & swap out the tiny gas filter hiding inside the quadrajet & cut the old one open looking for metal fragments or dirt on the inside. & ck operation of the choke.

    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      Center reverse light on the rear bumper was available on the 69s, not sure about 68s. Loved seeing my grand dad backing his — dark green vinyl over green body with green brocade cloth interior — Skylark sedan out of our driveway just to see that light come on. I was seven or eight years old.

  9. Clay Bryant

    I had the luxury of having two 69 convertibles (one a Stage One) at the same time so I could compare in an honest comparison. If memory serves me right(I’m 76) the regular one was 340 hp and the Stage 1 was 360 hp. No way. The Stage One went like stink. They rated it at 360 for insurance purposes(another story) but it had 488 pounds of torque. Very streetable. ,no rattles either one. And drum tight.

    Like 1

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