Nineteen seventy-one was an unusual year for General Motors because it lowered the compression on all its engines a year ahead of the government mandate. Over at Buick, the brand also anticipated changing times by reducing the mid-size Gran Sport series to one model instead of two. The Pick of the Day, this 1971 Buick GS convertible listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by an Iowa dealer, demonstrates what was going on in Flint, Michigan at the time.
In 1970, there were two Gran Sport models: GS and GS 455. The GS was previously known as the GS 350 and was only available as a 350-powered hardtop; the GS 455 was the former GS 400 and was available as a hardtop and convertible. However, in 1971, Buick folded them all under the GS banner. Now one could buy a GS, GS 455 or GS Stage 1 as a hardtop or convertible. In fact, this was the first time that a small-block GS convertible was available. Considering high-performance was on its way out, this helped sustain GS convertible production because out of 902 GS convertibles, only 246 featured the big-block. Considering 1,416 GS 455 convertibles were built in 1970, the 350 certainly helped muffle the thud a bit.
This Verdemist Green 1971 Buick GS convertible features the optional 455, which was situated between the standard 350 and Stage 1. “The paint on this car has been done very well and the car is in overall great shape from top to bottom,” say the seller. “Very nice interior with all new seats and carpet.” Note the bench seat with column shifter seat was the standard configuration, with buckets requiring a special order for some reason. Also note the N25 bumper/exhaust extensions on this GS, an unusual option that seems to be inspired by the Olds 4-4-2. The classic Buick chrome wheels with Cooper Cobra Radial G/T tires complete the package.
For 1971, the new 8.5-compression engine was rated at 315 horsepower, down from 350 the year before. Only 165 were built with this engine, with 147 featuring the TH400 automatic. Seller claims 33,000 miles on the odometer, but it’s not being claimed they’re original miles.
In a world where people are paying ridiculous prices for muscle cars, this 1971 Buick GS convertible is a lesson in restraint because it will take only $39,000 to bring muscle car style and performance to to your garage.