Tribute 455 V8: 1971 Buick GS Convertible

With the tides beginning to change for muscle cars, Buick only built 165 GS 455 convertibles in 1971 (plus another 81 with the Stage 1 setup). This vehicle began life as a “regular” Skylark drop-top that has been transformed into a GS 455 clone with Kenn Bell hardware. The cloning process may not have been done recently, but the automobile presents well given the dark lighting where it resides. Located in Liberty, New York, this interesting hot rod is available here on craigslist for $35,000. Kudos to Mitchell G. for this interesting muscle car find.

Buick’s mid-size Gran Sports came with two engine choices in 1971: a 350 with a 4-barrel and a 455 with or without Stage 1 tweaking. Production dropped by more than half from that of 1970, thanks to rising insurance premiums on well-known performance automobiles. Though the GS convertibles numbered in just the hundreds, the Skylark Custom drop-top saw nearly 3,200 assemblies with a 350 cubic inch V8 being a common sight with a 2-barrel carburetor.

We don’t know the contributions that Kenn Bell made to the 455 transplanted engine. If you look online, most of the references to Kenn Bell are around superchargers, which would not have been a feature of the factory GS 455. The seller neglects to include a photo from under the hood which might help yet make this a selling point in the car’s description. Ram Air induction is also said to be present. The odometer reading is said to be 20,000, so is that since the transformation from Skylark to GS or 120,000 miles since Day 1?

This is a well-equipped Buick with air conditioning (factory?), power accessories, and a full gauge package which would be something you’d expect of a GS. The paint and striping look good, but not necessarily perfect, suggesting an earlier restoration. And we don’t know if the copper finish is the vehicle’s original color. With a TH-400 automatic transmission, the seller says the Skylark runs great and is one of several other cars for sale.