For the division afterpiece of Roadkill’s Junkyard Gold, Steve Magnante is aback in Graham, Texas, at K&K Motors, attractive through its 10,000-plus cartage for cars that go fast with class—that agency Buick. Despite their acceptability for architecture attainable affluence cars alone earlier bodies like, and the actuality that they alone advertise crossover SUVs in North America today, Buick was a achievement baton and innovator back its birth in 1903.
Many bodies ability not accede Buick to be a achievement brand, but its beef cars from the 1960s and 1970s and achievement cars from the 1980s are some of the best-performing and best adorable cars from their corresponding eras. Buick started the trend of big engines in baby cars with the straight-eight-powered Centurys of the backward 1940s. Buick-powered cars authority some of the fastest condoning laps anytime recorded at the Indy 500. Buick won the 1981 and 1982 NASCAR Cup Series. And the Buick 455ci V8 was the torque baron at the acme of the muscle-car era, laying bottomward a massive (and apparently underrated) 510 lb-ft of the tire-melting, chassis-twisting stuff!
1966 Buick Riviera GS
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The Riviera was Buick’s aboriginal car in the claimed affluence articulation (fullsize, two-door coupes), congenital to anon attempt with the Ford Thunderbird. 1966 was the alpha of the added bearing and saw an access in admeasurement from 208 inches all-embracing to 211. Strato brazier seats, ability steering, ability brakes, and hide-away headlamps all came as accepted on the Riviera, but this car sitting in K&K’s lot has a appropriate option: the $176.82 A9 Grand Sport package, axis this affluence cruiser into a chief beef car. The GS amalgamation upgraded buyers to the 425ci Nailhead V8, authoritative 340 hp and 465 lb-ft topped with a Rochester Quadrajet carburetor. This was a one-year-only admixture in 1966, as the Rochester Quadrajet was a almost new design, focused primarily on ammunition ability and 1967 brought the 430ci V8. By 1970, that aforementioned agent became the allegorical 455. For an added $179, buyers could advancement to bifold Carter four-barrel carburetors that brought ability up to 375 hp—standard accessories on the 1965 Riviera GS—but this ’66 Riviera GS has the accepted Quadrajet.
Although the GS amalgamation brought muscle-car achievement to the Riviera, Buick never offered the archetypal with a chiral transmission. Alike in the GS, buyers accustomed the Turbo 400 three-speed automatic, with accepted cavalcade shifter or alternative animate shifter. But Buick engineers did accept an eye adjoin achievement and the approaching in 1966 and able all Rivieras with the abundant duty, Salisbury-style rear arbor with a 9-3/8-inch arena accessory to handle the torque of the forth-coming 430 and 455 V8 engines. Accepted cars accustomed 3.09 apparatus with an accessible differential, but the GS was able with limited-slip 3.23 apparatus with a thicker arena gear, and all cars were able with Buick’s massive Al-Fin 12-inch finned aluminum boom brakes.
1966 was a banderole year for Riviera sales, with 45,348 affective off banker lots, but alone 5,718 were able with the GS amalgamation authoritative this junkyard acquisition a attenuate treat. Steve Magnante feels affected to accord it a branch restoration, but with one change: he’d clue bottomward a branch dual-quad assimilation and appearance the apple you could get dual-quads from the branch on a fullsize Buick.
1969 Buick Skylark GS400
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By 1960, the muscle-car movement was demography off and Buick was falling behind. The aggregation didn’t acquaint its aboriginal beef car until 1965: the Skylark GS400. Back the second-generation Skylark came about in 1968, sales were bottomward off. The second-gen Skylark suffers from Buick’s polarizing Swept Spear styling—buyers anticipation it fabricated a car attending elegant, or like it was melting. The 1969 Skylark GS400 looked abundant and, back compared to added GM beef cars, the $3,181 amount tag was aloof too much. In 1969, the Chevelle SS was $282 cheaper, the Pontiac GTO was $80 less, and the Oldsmobile 442 came in $31 beneath the Skylark’s MSRP. Because of the boxy antagonism and styling, alone 8,132 Skylark GS400s confused off banker lots in 1969.
But it wasn’t all bad; the GS400 had a few things activity for it that afar it from the competition. Accepted on all GS able Buicks were a anatomic air-scoop hood. On the 1969 Skylark GS400, that took the anatomy of a ability arch with two grilles that fed algid air into two snorkels on the air-cleaner apartment that closed adjoin the basal of the hood. This was not the case with the Skylark’s aeon from GM; the Pontiac GTO and Olds 442 both answerable added for the Ram Air and W30 cold-air assimilation hoods, and the Chevelle didn’t accept any advantage for cold-air intake. The second-gen Buick 400ci V8 was additionally an advancement over the old 401 Nailhead V8. A agnate Rochester Quadrajet carb as begin on the Riviera and 18-percent beyond assimilation and bankrupt valves, forth with updates to valvetrain added ability from 325 hp to 340. To get all that ability to the ground, the BOP (Buick-Olds-Pontiac) 10-bolt rear arbor was employed, accessible with limited-slip for alone $42.13, but the ’69 Skylark GS400 Steve begin at K&K was not optioned this way.
This car is not alone rare, but additionally absolutely intact. Alike the generally missing bracket that supports the air-cleaner snorkels is in place. Steve thinks this GS400 deserves a apology but wouldn’t go the $100,000 concours-style route. For about $10,000, one could get this ’69 GS400 presentable and admonish the apple that branch ram air systems were chargeless on Buick beef cars.
1970 Buick Skylark GS455 Convertible
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1970 is the year things got absolute at General Motors. All through the 1960s, midsize GM cars were bound to 400ci engines while their competitors at Ford and Chrysler had 428s and 440s. In 1970, Buick not alone bent up but fabricated a huge account with the 455ci V8. Essentially a 0.125-inch over-bored adaptation of the 430ci V8, the 455 became the torque baron of the muscle-car era, putting bottomward 510 lb-ft, up 35 from 1969. Added big-blocks ability accept exhausted the GS455 in horsepower, but not alike the 426 Street Hemi could blow it back it came to that all-important, get-you-off-the-line-fast torque. The Skylark GS455 had to accept special, casting animate agent mounts, too; the accepted formed sheetmetal mounts from bottom Skylarks would breach beneath the ache of all that torque. Steve is afraid to acquisition a GM 12-bolt rear arbor beneath the GS455 Convertible he begin at this Texas junkyard, though. Buick able the GS455 with the BOP 10-bolt, hasty because its baby 8.2-inch arena accessory and the actuality that in the fullsize Riviera, they acclimated the 9-3/8-inch Salisbury axle.
This Skylark GS455 Convertible is actual special. The trim tag verifies that this is one of alone 1,184 GS455 Convertibles from 1970, and it’s loaded with added options as well: air conditioning, ability steering, ability brakes, able Turbo 400 with the console-mounted shifter, this affair has it all. Sadly, the agent and manual are missing, acceptation alike if it is adequate it will never be a numbers-matching car, but it’s still account a apology because it is a rust-free Texas shell. Steve would booty advantage of that non-numbers-matching action and ample the agent bay with a TA Achievement aluminum 455 block with analogous aluminum heads, congenital with a 4.5-inch stroker crank acquiescent 540 ci of Chevelle LS6-chasing awesomeness.
1970 Buick Skylark GS455 Stage 1 GSX
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Launched midyear, the 1970 GSX was the ultimate announcement of Buick beef car with its block spoiler, graphics, and stripes. But Steve is apprehensive of the GSX that K&K is assuming off at the advanced of the junkyard; Buick alone fabricated 678 that year, and advancing beyond one in a junkyard would be the acquisition of the decade. The aboriginal clue to the accuracy of this accessible GSX is the best obvious: the Fire Red paint. GSX-equipped Skylarks alone came in two colors from the factory: Saturn Yellow and Glacier White. The GSX was generally repainted, though, so Steve wants to investigate further. A GSX should accept a limited-slip differential, and this car does—the limited-slip tag is present on the cogwheel analysis cover. Affective to the central of the car, there’s acceptable account and bad news; the acceptable account is the accepted brazier seats with animate and autogenous GS badges are present, and the bad account is the upholstery is white—the GSX was alone accessible with a atramentous interior. It is accessible that the autogenous was adapted with the paint, and affective adjoin the advanced of the car, Steve spots addition clue.
The Skylark GS455 had advanced boom brakes as standard, but the GSX amalgamation upgraded those to ability disc brakes. Steve begin drums on this car. That doesn’t calculation this Skylark out as actuality a 18-carat GSX aloof yet, annoyance racers generally ran advanced boom brakes in the 1960s and 1970s because they were lighter than disc brakes. Before blockage the trim tag, Steve finds one added clue on the awning of this GS455: the GSX hood-mounted tachometer is gone. Not, addition pulled the allotment off to use for addition vehicle, but the awning was never congenital with the tach in place. Driving the final attach in the coffin, the trim tag on this car shows acrylic cipher 75—Fire Red—meaning this GS455 is not a absolute GSX as the cartoon and addle-brain imply, but someone’s clone.
There is acceptable news, however. The car does arise to be a 18-carat GS455 with the alternative Stage 1 amalgamation that additional agent achievement to factory-claimed 360 hp (in reality, it was apparently afterpiece to 390 to 400 hp). This Skylark additionally has some nice Day Two modifications: continued tube headers, an Edlebrock B4B dual-plane assimilation manifold, Holley four-barrel carburetor, but Steve does not like the open-element air cleaner—totally defeats the purpose of the GS Ram Air hood. It would still be fun to restore, though: respray the Fire Red paint, accommodate the white interior, alike alter the white vinyl roof, aloof not as GSX-clone—Steve would get annoyed of bodies allurement questions.
The Ponycar Buick Never Congenital
What would a Buick ponycar attending like? As Steve comes beyond a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Esprit at K&K, he wonders what Buick would accept alleged its ponycar and why the aggregation never fabricated one. Pontiac had the Firebird, Chevrolet had the Camaro, why couldn’t Buick accept the Wildcat? The absoluteness is that by the aboriginal 1970s, the ponycar bazaar in America was not accomplishing well. Sales were bottomward beyond all makes but one: Chevy Camaro bottomward 8.6 percent, AMC Javelin bottomward 4 percent, Ford Mustang bottomward 24 percent, Plymouth Barracuda bottomward 66 percent, Dodge Challenger bottomward 64 percent, Mercury Cougar bottomward 13 percent, but the Pontiac Firebird was up 9 percent in 1971.
The VIN on this Firebird shows 100006, acceptation it was the sixth car to appear off GM’s Van Nuys, California, accumulation band in 1971, authoritative this a pilot car aloof like we saw in adventure 23 with the No. 125 ’67 Camaro. Pilot cars were congenital in apathetic motion to acquiesce accumulation band workers a adventitious acclimatize to new layouts and generally accommodate ancestor genitalia and markings, sometimes authoritative them added admired than their full-production counterparts. Could GM accept fit a Buick ponycar in that pilot program? The apple will never know.
Buick Small-Block 350 Spotter’s Guide
Both the Chevy 350ci small-block and Buick 350ci small-block debuted in 1967 and both were corrective red back new. To added abash junkyard pickers, the 1967 to 1971 Jeep Wagoneer was accessible with the Buick small-block 350 as the V8 option, but in 1972 (after AMC purchased Jeep), they acclimated AMC 360ci and 401ci V8s, which looked about identical to the Buick small-block V8. So how does one actuate if they begin a Buick 350 small-block?
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