Weekend Driver: 1967 Buick GS 340 California

This weekend driver rejoined the land of the living sometime after changing hands at an estate sale four years ago. This 1967 Buick appears to be a “GS 340 California,” a factory-built special model. Delivered only to California dealers, 1577 GS 340 Californias were built with unique details, all based on the nationally available GS 340 package. Buick marketed the GS 340 as a low-cost sporty alternative to the top dog GS 400. GS models came with these non-functional hood and fender vents. This one awaits your bid here on eBay and resides in El Dorado, California. Because the sellers states, or should I say SHOUTS IN ALL CAPS… “THE VIN DECODES AS A V6 PILLARED COUPE AND THE BODY TAGS AS A V8,” I’ve endeavored to note what may or may not be consistent with a GS 340 California.

This post at TeamBuick.com explains how 1967 Buicks followed a different logic in the VIN decoding than used in ’65 and ’66, which may clear things up. The 8th digit “1” decodes as an original V8 car. The VIN tag rivets and position appear original, but the die punch on some digits (not the build sequence) looks different. I’ll let the buyer or one of our Buick Expert Readers sort that out. The vinyl top appears to be in good shape except… it’s actually been removed and what you’re seeing in its place is black brush-on bed-liner! While that may be big fun to remove, at least it’s keeping the rust at bay, and you don’t have to worry about scratching anything when you set your basket of rutabagas on the roof. “Thin pillar coupe” refers to the pillar or “post” between the front and rear side windows. Car pillars are named alphabetically from front to rear i.e. the “A Pillar” at the windshield, the “B Pillar” between the side windows, and the “C Pillar” between the rear side windows and the rear window. Cars with no B Pillar are generally referred to as hardtops though this phrase is not as common today as in the ’50s and ’60s.

The black vinyl bench seat might have come on a GS. This car’s Buick Rally wheels may have been added sometime after purchase. Hemmings states that all GS 340s came with fancy red-trimmed steel wheels and red GS-specific stripes. This would have been a sharp car indeed. Only one automatic transmission was offered with the GS 340, the Super Turbine 300 two-speed automatic.

Check out the Ahooga horn! It would not have been a factory piece but would make an awesome attention-grabber for sure. Later GM HEI ignition swap (coil inside the distributor cap) is a reversible upgrade to improve ignition spark and reliability. The original GS brochure at MyClassicGarage.com confirms that power brakes and power steering were optional on the GS, and this car has neither. The original motor would have been entirely red and black. This air cleaner may be a 1967 unit but the GS featured a fancier finned chrome air cleaner housing. What do you think of this regional special-model Buick?

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Comments

  1. 68 custom

    wonder how much a star wars aircleaner would cost since this was originally equipped with one. these are sharp looking cars with the factory wheels which look a lot like 67 chevy rally wheels with the one year cap. and I am not wild about the bed liner vinyl top. but if its rust free it may be worth the asking price which is 7.5k.

    • Dallas

      The GS 340 (non Cali) came with the chrome flat top air cleaner with louvers that was offered on the GTO and Firebird of the same year. Also the seat from the factory was the stamped vinyl version used on the base Special.Also the car used the GS 400/Special grille. Picked up a running and complete car for $ 400.00 or so in the early 90’s. Still have the air cleaner, wheels and engine trans combo.

      Like 1
    • JOhn

      The GS 400 only came with the “star Wars Air cleaner” The Cali GS is a low tier car with 340 CI engine, base interior bench seat column shift with option for a/c.. The Vin number shows the car to be a v6 post Buick Special to fool the insurance co’s giving the owner muscle car insurance at v6 price coverage.. The car was a low cost “muscle car” offered at $3232.00 only in Cali..

      Like 1
  2. sparkster

    California Buick without air conditioning.? ? ? My 1966 Buick Lesabre 400 came with a 340 backed up by a turbo 400 transmission.

  3. Ken Carney

    My FIL had a GS 340 in the late ’80’s. And
    while his wasn’t a California, it was still one sweet ride. Like this car, his had the
    red pinstriping on the body, along with
    red racing stripes that ran between the wheel arches along the lower part of
    the car nearest the rocker panels. His
    car also had a black vinyl roof, the fake
    hood scoops (painted red, with the 340
    decal on the outward side of both scoops) and the fake side vents too. I
    seem to recall that the car also had the
    rally style rims on it too. The black interior was clean and rip free, and surprisingly for Florida, the dashboard
    padding and steering wheel were not
    cracked! The car was Pop’s daily driver
    from ’87 to ’91 and the most memorable
    thing about his car was that very healthy
    rumble that came from the dual exhausts
    out back! The car ran well, but the Turbo
    200 tranny sure sounded like a powerglide to me. When he told me that
    he was going to sell it, I immediately tried
    to buy it. Instead, he sold it to an outside
    party to keep peace in the family. I’d seen
    the car several times since then, and last I heard, it had been put into storage 20 years ago. Sure would like to find it now,
    and reclaim it again as part of our family
    history. And while reading this post, I
    heard that sweet exhaust once again
    Thanks for all the great memories it
    brought me.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Ken…I can relate for sure. My oldest Brother built a 70 Ford E200 van during the van craze. Subtle, but very cool. When he was going to sell it, I wanted it in a bad way. He ended up selling it to someone else at the same price for the same reason…to keep peace within the family. Little does Big Brother know…I still hold a slight grudge.

  4. DrinkinGasoline

    Restore the steering wheel and replace the dash pad. Ditch the GS emblems on the sail panels as they don’t belong there. Depending on how well the bed liner material was applied to the roof, you could use a reducing agent with a 3″ brush to “grain it” if removing it seems like too much work. Aircraft grade stripper in the hot sun along with a 4″ putty knife would work for removal. I would keep the rims with a restore along with tri-bar knock-off spinners. For My personal taste, the body would be painted either Sea Foam or a pale Aqua. In 67, the GS (not the California) could be optioned with fender skirts (no hood louvers) or hood louvers (no fender skirts). I would put skirts on it along with the hood louvers. Under dash, add-on A/C for sure. I realize some may not agree with my tastes but it would be my money, my car and my taste in keeping with the spirit of the vehicle.
    Oh, and stainless dual exhaust with a subtle deep growl.
    No need to go shredding rubber…just cruise.

  5. SpeedyBuick

    the California GS came with that air cleaner standard. the engine would have been all red and the bench seat was the only available seat in a GS340 and California GS. only GS340’s had the red disc brake wheels and the GS California came with the chrome 14″ rally wheels standard. the sail panel GS emblems are 67 California only and are in the correct location. I’ver owned several of these cars over the years and while rare they are mostly just a skylark in GS clothes

    • DrinkinGasoline

      For my taste the sail panel emblems detract from the look of the clean roof line…and seem redundant with the quarter emblems. That’s why I said they don’t belong, even though correct. :)

  6. Ted Nagel

    One would have to love a GS CA to put much money into it…I do and did on mine!
    VIN nuber on the body does decode to a base “Special V6”. The CA emissions 340 has the matching VIN stamped on it. They all came with 14″ chrome wheels, GS emblems on the sail panel and the qtr panel, Super Turbine 300 “switch pitch” transmission and California smog equipment-black air cleaner and air pump.
    Fun car. I tried to live with the 2-speed ST300 but ended up upgrading to a TH350.

  7. Bald Menace

    while the 67 California GS had the same drivetrain as the 67 GS340 it was actually a lower level car and came with the stock black air cleaner as seen in the picture. they also came with the Base interior which meant no deluxe rear arm rests and a full width back seat.

  8. Tenspeed

    My first car, fresh out of college in 1980, was a white 67 GS400 post coupe with a turbo 400 and it had the Star Wars air cleaner. It was a lot fun and, in street racing, surprised quite a few people that didn’t know what it was. Unfortunately I had problems with the harmonic balancer failing, which led to crank snout issues, so I traded it for an orange 72 GS350 coupe that was a lot of fun too.

    I have seen a few GS340’s in my time, but they sure aren’t really common.

  9. john

    nice write up on this automobile… and of course, always good to learn from all the regular posters (buckeyes too (-; )) irregular posters like myself (former buckeye), and good when the seller follow up with answers during the sale. A fine site !!

    • Angrymike

      Why must ppl crap on buckeyes, Kalifornia is the toilet of the us, us them !
      Nice car !

  10. Oingo

    I see no value in the california package now and would not have when it was new either unless it really was insurance categorized as a 6 cyl which I find improbable.

  11. Heat c

    The 67GS340 non California only came in white Or silver with the red rally stripes on bolth.the white one came with 14″ red steel wheels and chrome beauty rings while the silver came with the 5 star buick wheels . I was in Carlisle Pennsylvania 5 years ago looking for a Camaro when my wife spotted a white 67GS340 and she fell in love with it as much as I can not being the biggest Buick fan getting the blessing from my wife sure helped in my decision… We still have the car and absolutely love driving it especially my wife

    Like 1
  12. Steven

    In 1967, Buick sold many distinct models which originally came with GS letters, and none of these series overlap:
    -the California GS, which always was a post coupe with 340-4 V8 (NOT part of
    the GS 340 series),
    -the GS 340, which always was a pillarless two-door hardtop with 340-4 V8,
    -the GS 400, a two-door post, hardtop, or convertible with 400-4 V8, and
    -the “GS ornamentation option” applied to the Special post with 225 V6, 300-2
    or 340-4 V8. BTW that’s all of them! (no small V8 67 Buick “GS” convertibles)

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