Buick Gran Sport

Back in 1965 Buick developed one exquisite muscle car model named Gran Sport. The company didn't have a strong reputation for making performance cars at the time, but Buick engineers had more than sufficient knowledge and skills to make it a reality.

Gran Sport was initially an option on an existing Skylark model. Buick Skylark Gran Sport was popular under the nickname Wildcat 445, which stood for its torque rating,

Model was offered in hardtop, coupe, and convertible options making total sales 15780 units in the first year. American buyers found the car interesting enough to make it an instant success. Buick management recognized the market potential and decided to offer it as a separate line only two years later.

The change wasn't in the name alone, since 1967 Gran Sport 400 was equipped with a similar engine.

A 400 cu in engine with a four barrel Rochester carburetor generated 340 horsepower, having also many interesting details alongside such as dual exhaust, limited slip differential and the three speed turbo Hydra Matic automatic transmission. Modern design, better road performance and a futuristic air cleaner became the key selling points.

Any grade gasoline could be used in normal driving mode, which was all more than sufficient for muscle car lovers to own this beauty. Buyers could choose between a convertible and hardtop model.

In 1970 Gran Sport 400 was replaced or better to say upgraded once again. In order to keep the pace with competition, Buick designed a fantastic Gran Sport 455 model. Entirely new 455 cu in Buick V8 engine capable of generating 350 horsepower offered increased displacement, larger valves and a hotter cam.

This very expensive and rather rare model actually started a famous media controversy in the 1980s when it was listed as faster than Chrysler Hemi cars in the 50 fastest muscle cars. Fans argued, tests were conducted, however, a definite answered on the speed question wasn't reached. Buick welcomed the positive sales effect from the wide public attention given to this subject.

The most popular Stage 1 power option for extra $115 offered higher compression, unique cylinder heads, a specially tuned 4 barrel Quadrajet carburetor, stronger ignition timing and officially generated 360 horsepower. Impressive GSX high performance package was offered for additional $1,195. Buick Gran Sport GSX was designed to beat the competitive Pontiac's GTO.

Advertised as a brand new brand of Buick and Buick fire car, the showroom traffic was guaranteed. Since only 678 GSX were produced in 1970, the optional model failed its original goal. Production numbers subsequently got worse with 124 units in 1971 and mere 44 in 1972. At the beginning Gran Sport GSX option had two colors, Saturn Yellow and Apollo White, which were later expanded with four additional colors.

All GSX models showed the iconic full body length black stripe that was outlined in red pin stripes. Buick fit right in with the psychedelic look so popular at the time in any sense. Among other standard equipment were interesting wide oval tires, quick ratio steering and anti-sway bars. Sales varied over time because of the ever increasing competition in the muscle car market.

Still, many models survived to this day. In the Buick lover community, Gran Sport GSX is considered to be the ultimate Buick muscle car of all time. History remembers it for the engine with the highest torque rating in the 1970s, being only surpassed by Dodge Viper in 2003. Depending on age and condition, restored versions are estimated to sell around $80,000 at auctions.

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