Stored 30 Years! 1971 Buick GS 455 Four-Speed

Buick’s sales brochure boasted that their 1971 Buick GS had “Power to please or pass. Performance to believe in,” and this GS did not disappoint. Its optional 455 cid V8 made 315 HP and a brutal 450 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers dipped a tick compared to the 1970 GS 455 thanks to a two point drop in compression ratio, but most cars on the road wouldn’t notice the difference as the GS’ tail-lights vanished into the night. After 30 years of slumber, this Gig Harbor, Washington GS, desperately listed here on Los Angeles, California Craigslist, adds an extra dose of “performance to believe in” with its original four-speed manual transmission.

While this sight in your rear view mirror may not immediately induce fear and incontinence, this generation of Buick GS means business. This one has come a long way since leaving the factory, but most of its original parts have come along for the ride. Kudos to the seller for decoding numerous number-matching parts and optional features. Thanks to for some details.

My Aunt had a Skylark hardtop coupe of this vintage, red with black vinyl top and black interior, and the 350 engine. She called it her “Red Bird,” and it may well have been my first car, but it was thoroughly rusted when she traded it on a 1983 Mercury Lynx, a ridiculous and horrible little car. I was not consulted on the topic of possibly ending up with the Skylark, but I’m likely to buy one some day, and it will definitely have the 455 and a four-speed. It seems some interior work will be required on this GS. I believe this is a bench-seat car, further bolstering this Buick’s no-nonsense street fighter flair.

The factory red valve covers, along with nearly everything under the hood, long ago traded their sheen for this familiar barntastic monochrome pallette. While the seller has it running and stopping well enough to load, this Buick needs holistic attention. The $14,500 asking price certainly warrants an in-person inspection, but this was Buick’s most serious muscle car in 1971, and I’m not the only person tempted to buy one. Apparently the seller has no faith that potential buyers know, as posting on a remote craigslist is about as classy as peppering your listing with the names of other cars and models. Despite its being possibly one of 103 four-speed 1971 hardtops, this car would be a hoot if put right mechanically and dispatched on a tire-frying tour of local roadways before receiving its somewhat-inevitable complete restoration. What would you do with this primer-clad bruiser?


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  1. Miguel

    “While this sight in your rear view mirror may not immediately induce fear and incontinence, this generation of Buick GS means business.

    The reason for this is because somebody would think it was a regular Skylark.

    The grille is missing the GS badge.

  2. Rock On Member

    Good luck on your hunt Todd. In 40 years of attending car shows and cruises I have seen only one Buick GS 455 4 speed in person. You may want to take a look at this one if you are serious.

    • Chris

      Agreed. I looked for 2 years before I found mine. Worth the wait though. Get a 70 too. You can feel the torque difference.

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Thanks, Rock On – I had a “moment” after submitting this, wondering the same thing. I never realized how few were made until doing this write-up. I recently acquired a project car – one I intend to sell. I might have to settle for a non-GS, or just cobble one together. I’m picturing stealth brown with black vinyl top, as slow-looking as possible. :) However, if you were going to spend a lot of time on a 455 Skylark, a stock restoration on a GS would be the best investment. This one will have to go to someone else!

      Like 1
  3. supernova72

    Pretty sure this car in located in WA state (Gig Harbor). That’s what the map shows and also the license plate. Could not completely see the reference to LA area and shipping in the ad? Nice find. I happen to live in WA state about 40 miles from Gig Harbor. Cheers.

  4. Gunner

    It looks to have the Stage 1 badges on the fender if I am not mistaken. If this is the case, it is interesting that he does not mention it other than in a search name. Very rare indeed, and worth restoration for sure in spite of the rust. Great find.

    • Mike

      I just found a 4speed convertible 1970 Gs 455 been seating for 30 years, 1st one I’ve ever seen come up for sale

  5. Buick Fan

    Not a stage one, also has 455 emblems added in the wrong location on the front fenders. I wish it was a little rustier and the price a little lower so I could swap the goods into my 72…

    • Rodent

      Edumacate us on why it isn’t a Stage 1. The 455 emblems are definitely wrong, and I get that.

      • Buick Fan

        I was simply going by the owners description, he was savvy enough to research the production numbers, so I’m sure he would have been hollering from the hills if it was a stage-1, and used the stage-1 only in the notes to draw searches. I believe all Stage-1’s came with chrome valve covers…

  6. ACZ

    This is one car that will put the fear of God in a hemi ‘Cuda

    • glen

      I read that a Hemi fears nothing, I thing it was carved in a stone tablet.

  7. Settinonmyass

    If it is a Stage 1 4 speed, it is 1 of 114. I would definitely vote for this one to get a proper restoration especially if the numbers match. Gorgeous, factory hotrod.

  8. Steven Noren

    Met a guy last year in cardiac rehab who still drags his (with an automatic). Runs low 13s. Said he goes at least 300 runs before he thinks about a rebuild.

    • The One

      cardio rehab? take my personal advise, go vegan. 8 weeks ago my BP was 165/90. went vegan immediately. I’m 63. My stats were up and down for about 6 weeks, just took it, 122/74 Amazing! No meds, at all. :)
      Go to forks over for I think, $90/ year, you get recipes. The most important aspect is to insure you have enough protein. Guys n gals, I am not affiliated with these people. I Just want to live a looooooooooooooooong time. It isn’t easy! ya gotta give up the stuff you like! Heck, last night we were at holiday amusement park. Waddya got there? Churros, hot dogs etc. I had popcorn, without butter. How I cope is I just say, I’m allergic! Oh yea, lost 25 pounds.
      Nothing is for everybody, but this is working for me. Good luck!
      Oh I forgot to mention, I failed my treadmill test and my MD wanted me to take all kinds of drugs. Obviously I refused… I’m gonna have another test next year, I’ll letcha know how that turns out..

      Like 1
  9. Jay C Calk

    The stock Stage 1 engine was I believe 365 hp 510 torque lbs.

    • z28th1s

      The ’70 Stage 1 455 was rated at 360 HP and 510 TQ.

      This car would be a nice ride after doing a restoration on it!

      I had a ’69 GS 350 automatic, ’70 GS 350 4 speed and a ’70 GS 455 automatic. All 3 were very strong runners!

  10. Supernova72

    This is actually from Gig Harnor WA vs cali. Cheers

    • Supernova72

      I live just 40 miles from this Washington state location. I might go check it out

  11. Troy s

    Not as warm as a ’70, but still plenty BAD! I always liked the ’70-72 Buick GS versions better than earlier models, as far as striking fear in a hemi’cuda owner that would depend on whether the hemi was tuned right and set up or if it was bone stock. Both cars factory stock, that Buick would be hard to catch.

    • Mike

      I found a 1970 Gs 455 4 speed convertible, 2019 , getting it drivible now

  12. Ryan Shanahan

    I had a 71 Skylark custom 350 convertible. That car was a lot of fun and a head turner. I wonder how much more fun it would be with the power of the 455…

    Like 1
  13. Bill Bonjour

    Owned a 72 GS Stage I blue with black interior black vinyl hardtop. Bucket seats console auto on the column. Speed warning 8 track rear window defogger. It was one of the best driving cars I owned of that era.

  14. jerry meiergerd

    Owned a 71 stage 1 4 speed, very bad!!! 1 of 114. Also a 71 stage 1 4 speed convert. 1 of 9.

    Like 1
    • john

      jerry I also owned a 71 stage1 covert 4 speed in 74 turned 14s at the drags stock, car stayed in my town till about 78 then was involved in ins.scam job, 4th owner saw it on ramp truck the day the insurance co.picked it up. have pics with trophy at NEgland dragway 1975, also when I bought it 1075$, it came with buick poverty caps red rims 14 inch, rear rims were wider I couldnt understand it at the time 14 inch rims gave better than 3.42 rear ratio it was red with black top. low optioned car motor ,trans conv. had the boot corvette steering wheel and gauges John.

  15. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Ah ha! Here’s one GS with the exhaust through the bumper from the factory. Sweet!

  16. Pete

    My second car was a 72 Skylark Convertible 350 with a factory 4 barrel and automatic single exhaust pipe. After driving it a while I had a buddy who was exceptional do a tune up and he rebuilt my 4 barrel. Now it ran like you would expect. Then I had it made into a dual exhaust with some cherry bombs. Now it ran even better and sounded good. Then I blew the Tranny. I had Aamco rebuild it and lucky for me a guy who drag raced mustangs was my mechanic. He suggested that I put a speed shift kit in it for an additional 75 bucks worth of parts nothing extra for labor since it was part of the rebuild. Once I got it out of the tranny shop he showed me how to drive it with the variations of flooring the gas peddle. OMG that car would fly after that. 160 MPH right quickly if I wanted. Well one day I got challenged to a race by a guy with a 65 Skylark said he had a 300. I thought ok if you wanna waster the gas to get beaten lets do it. Now he had 4 guys in the car with him. So we got on a straight away and we punched it. Well I did. I was about a car length ahead of him for about a mile. Then I hear this deep roar to my left and all of a sudden this guy is 2 car lengths ahead of me and he just flat out ran me. When we got back to my buddies house. I said that is no 300. He just laughed and said nope it ain’t it is a 455 Stage 1 which was not correct for that year. I found out that his dad ran the shop at the local Buick Dealer and had the car built up for him. I got suckered. But that was the only car that ever beat me in a race and I raced a lot of muscle cars back then.

  17. Ryan Shanahan

    160 mph in a Skylark??

    • z28th1s

      In a low compression 350-4V convertible too!


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