1970 Buick Skylark GS455 Muscle Automotive Wagon: Peak Luxurious Efficiency
As Buick’s star continues to rise within the twenty first century as a worldwide participant within the near-luxury phase, few of its worldwide clients have any inkling of the wealthy efficiency historical past the model has loved right here in America. Buick was an early star within the auto enterprise; born in 1899, the model was the cornerstone of Common Motors, which formally frolicked its shingle in 1908. Buicks have nearly at all times had engines with overhead-valve designs, a characteristic that was properly forward of its time and gave it an influence benefit over lesser side-valve flathead engines.
By the point of the muscle automotive horsepower wars of the Nineteen Sixties, nevertheless, Buick’s technical benefit had narrowed, and the model wanted a brand new technique to maintain it within the recreation. What Buick did to leapfrog the competitors was exceptional, and this instance of a 1970 Buick Skylark GS 455—being auctioned on the Mecum Auctions Dallas occasion September 10—is a shining instance.
Rise of the Buick Skylark
In response to the Eisenhower Recession of 1958, GM noticed the creation of the GM “senior compacts” in 1960, with light-weight our bodies and small, fuel-efficient V-8s constructed on the compact unibody Y-platform. By mid-1961, GM’s Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac divisions had begun constructing two-door pillared sedans on the Y-platform, and the Buick Particular Skylark, accessible with the 215ci aluminum “Fireball” V-8 with 185 hp, was on the prime of the pile. In 1964, Buick moved the Skylark trim stage to its personal line on GM’s new body-on-frame A-body platform, which it could share with the Chevrolet Chevelle, Pontiac Tempest, and Olds F-85. The largest Buick Particular Skylark engine in 1963 was a four-barrel, 215ci V-8 with 200 hp, however by 1965, and in response to the explosive recognition of Pontiac’s GTO, Skylark engine sizes and energy elevated, essentially the most potent choice being the Skylark Gran Sport’s 401ci nailhead V-8 making 325 hp.
The Buick Massive-Block V-8 Arrives
Buick had work to do to remain within the muscle automotive fray, and in 1967, assist arrived within the type of Buick’s first big-block V-8. Gone was the 1953-vintage Buick “nailhead” V-8, and instead slotted the light-weight Buick 400 big-block (to not be confused with the nailhead 400 that displaced 401 ci), which rapidly expanded in dimension to 430 cubic inches, then 455 cubes. To propel the near-luxury model’s new big-block muscle automotive previous intramural rivals just like the big-block Chevy Chevelle, the brand new Buick big-block was a thin-walled casting, making it a radical 150 kilos lighter than the 454ci big-block Chevy and solely 25 kilos greater than a 350ci small-block Chevy. As a luxurious automotive engine, engineers focused the Buick big-block for low-rpm torque over high-rpm horsepower, and to extra well-heeled Buick patrons accustomed to an opulent journey with a lot of grunt, this was a bonus, therefore the unofficial Buick slogan, “going quick with class.”
The Buick 455: King of Torque
For 1970, the gloves got here off at almost each Detroit automaker, prompting engine dimension and energy output to swell. At Buick, the dual-snorkel 455ci big-block was supplied in two varieties: the 350-hp four-barrel rated at 350 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque (the model discovered within the Mecum public sale instance above), and the Stage 1, which featured bigger valves, a choppier camshaft, barely extra compression (10.5:1 vs. 10:1), and the identical stump-pulling 510 lb-ft of torque. This is able to make the Buick 455 in all kinds the torquiest V-8 produced in the course of the muscle automotive period. The outcome for the Stage 1 choice bundle was a bump in energy to 360 hp, however consultants agree the distinction was extra like 25-35 further hp. Exhibit A: in 1970, MotorTrend drag examined a inventory 1970 Buick Skylark GS455 Stage 1 and produced a finest e.t. of 13.38 at 105.5 mph, a stage of efficiency not eclipsed till the late Nineteen Eighties, when one other Buick—the Regal Grand Nationwide—snatched the e.t. crown away from Chevy’s lighter, costlier Corvette.
Buick Skylark GS455: Going Quick With Class
1968 was an enormous yr at Buick, in addition to GM’s different divisions, with the evolution of the midsize A-body platform, which noticed a shrinking of the coupe wheelbase from 115 to 112 inches and a transfer to a horny, semi-fastback look. Extra essential for efficiency buffs, the revised A-body was endowed with a extra highly effective slate of V-8 engines, and by 1970, GM’s company restriction on engines bigger than 430 cubic inches had been lifted. This paved the way in which at Buick for the Buick Skylark Gran Sport 455 (typically shortened to GS 455), which featured Buick’s new 455ci big-block that put out 360 hp (4,600 rpm) and 510 lb-ft of torque (2,800 rpm) in Stage 1 trim.
Buick Skylark Model Evolution
Externally, the 1970 Buick Skylark was the topic of stylistic evolution, with the famed Buick sweepspear physique line eradicated in favor of a extra streamlined physique crease. Furthermore, all hints of Buick’s fender ventiports had been gone and the recess within the rear bumper was eradicated in favor of a easy horizontal slit for the taillights and Buick lettering. These had been modern, elegant vehicles with braggadocio stored at a minimal—their powertrains did the speaking and did it in spades.
Inside, the Buick Skylark was decked out in luxurious style relative to most muscle vehicles—in spite of everything, the Buick Skylark was the penultimate mannequin constructed on the GM A-body platform. In Gran Sport trim, the luxo-dial was turned as much as 10 with a tri-spoke racing steering wheel, gauges in chrome-trimmed sq. binnacles, and upscale vinyl trim on both bench or bucket seats. This bench-seat instance additionally consists of energy steering, energy brakes, pushbutton AM/FM radio with 8-track participant, tachometer, and column-shifted Turbo 400 three-speed computerized.
Whereas the Buick Skylark GS 455 was a comparatively soft-riding automotive attributable to its luxurious function, the added energy and efficiency that the big-block 455 offered did require that Buick carry out some chassis upgrades to make that energy usable on the road. In that division, GM supplied the F41 suspension improve in a number of of its A-body performers, however every division had a barely totally different formulation for the F41 bundle. At Buick, the Skylark’s F41 suspension contained a larger-diameter entrance anti-roll bar, rear anti-roll bar, high-rate springs, firm-ride tuned shocks, boxed decrease rear management arms, rear body stiffeners, and relocated rear-axle snubbers. These would all be required tools on a 1970 Buick Skylark GS 455 like this one.
What’s a 1970 Buick Skylark GS455 Price?
In response to Hagerty, a 1970 Buick GS 455 in good situation has a price of $43,900. By comparability, the worth of a 1970 Chevelle SS454 (thought of a lesser mannequin in its day) in good situation is $97,200—a distinction of $53,900. This highlights the underdog nature of the Buick muscle automotive and reveals what a price the Skylark GS 455 is in at present’s collector house. This instance being auctioned in Dallas even has documentation from the Sloan Museum in Flint, Michigan, which is the physique that maintains the historic manufacturing data of Buick for the reason that firm’s early days. The one selection bidders should make is deciding to bid on this GS 455 or ready it out till a extra fascinating Stage 1 or super-rare GSX turns into accessible. Let or not it’s famous, nevertheless, that even the GSX—a fully-optioned, striped, and bespoilered model of the understated GS 455—supplied the identical powertrains because the GS 455.
1970 Buick Skylark GS 455 Restoration
The vendor of the Dallas lot claims that this GS 455 has been the recipient of a restoration and has earned 390 factors out of a attainable 400 on the Buick Nationals, an occasion we’re acquainted with that’s recognized to be the premier Buick gathering of its form. The one potential snag we see from a valuation standpoint is the vendor’s admission that in the course of the automotive’s restoration it was repainted Fireplace Crimson as an alternative of its authentic Mist Inexperienced. At problem right here is the unpopularity of muted inexperienced metallic hues in at present’s high-impact coloration world. We just like the metallic greens of the period, however we’re within the minority, so the vendor could in the end come out forward on that non-original “resale pink” selection. (Word: Fireplace Crimson was an authentic Buick coloration, simply not on this automotive.) Wish to see this lovely Buick GS 455 cross the public sale block? Tune in to the Mecum Dallas public sale protection Saturday, September 10, 2022 on the MotorTrend channel, or the MotorTrend+ app!
1970 Buick Skylark GS455: Mecum Auctions Lot S119 Highlights
- partial build-sheet
- scored 390/400 factors on the Buick Nationals, incomes Gold
- level deductions from the Buick Nationals judging have been corrected
- complete restoration
- matching-numbers 455ci V-8 engine
- column-shifted computerized transmission
- energy steering
- energy brakes
- manufacturing facility Mist Inexperienced automotive refinished in Fireplace Crimson with black vinyl prime and inside
- bench seat with fold-down armrests
- pushbutton AM/FM radio with 8-track participant
- tachometer and gauges
- twin chrome mirrors
- 5-spoke Buick Rally wheels
- Goodyear Polyglas GT G60-15
- Sloan Museum documentation
- mileage reveals 40,755 on the odometer
- bought new at Timmons Buick, Inc. in Zanesville, Ohio
Watch the New Automotive Craft Video Collection!
To kick off the YouTube video collection, hosts Kevin Tetz and John McGann immerse themselves within the activity of swapping a Gen 3 Hemi right into a 1972 Dodge Challenger. And this is not simply any previous Hemi—we’re dropping a 707-horsepower Hellcat into the automotive and placing one in every of Tremec’s brand-new TKX five-speed transmissions behind it. The Challenger can be getting a model new coilover suspension and a brake improve. The purpose is to make it run and drive like a brand new Hellcat-powered Challenger, however with the stylish beauty of the unique E-Physique. After you’d accomplished with episode 1, watch EPISODE 2 and EPISODE 3, then signal as much as the MotorTrend YouTube channel for extra nice automotive content material!