Featured is a beautifully restored and upgraded 1969 Buick GS 455 Convertible. The Buick Gran Sport was the result of GM’s effort to create sports models during an era where muscle cars were the hottest thing on the streets. The powerful Buick 455 was introduced for the 1970 model year. Our featured vehicle is an upgraded 1969 example.

1969 buick gs photos
1969 Buick GS Convertible

The Buick GS

The Buick GS came out in 1965 and like many other automobiles was a buyer option on an existing model. Other examples include the Oldsmobile 442, Pontiac Grand Prix, Ford Torino and Chrysler Sebring.

Interesting note is that Buick, ranking under the Cadillac in the GM stable, was not necessarily considered a performance car as it was a luxury automobile. Buick liked to use the term “affordable luxury”.

This changed when in 1967 Buick began building a big block V8 as its most advanced engine option. Over the next few years the big block V-8 grew from 400 cubic inches to 430 cubic inches. Eventually in 1970 Buick unveiled their 455 cubic inch big block putting out 350 HP.

1969 buick gs convertible specifications

Buick Gran Sport California

There were about 4,000 Buick GS California Editions produced for 1969. The California Edition actually was introduced for 1967 and was only available in California that first year. The California Edition for 1969 had a 350 cubic inch V-8, a bench seat interior, a vinyl top, chromed  wheels, chrome-plated air cleaner lid, functional hood scoops, a three speed automatic transmission and it’s own special badging.

The Introduction of the 455

Prior to 1970 GM had a requirement that these higher displacement engines be kept to its full- e sedans and coupes. In 1970 this changed. That was the year Buick would introduce it’s most powerful engine to date. This was the 455 cubic inch V-8 and it be seen in many of the automakers cars. The only problem was that this engine came out a bit too late in the golden muscle car era.

After just one year of high popularity, the great Buick 455 began to fall. Understanding that there would shortly be a mandate for lead free gasoline, General Motors began to reduce engine compression for nearly all of it’s models. Buick and the 455 would be the first to feel this change.

Buick GS Stage 1

Staring out as a parts addition and/or a dealer installed option, the Stage 1 became a full factory option in 1969. It served as a terrific promotional tool with some engine tweaks and badges along the hood scoop for all to see. In the world of muscle cars during the late 1960’s, the Stage 1, although positive for the Buick image, was really not a performance show stopper compared to the competition at the time.

1969 Buick GS Specifications

Engines available for the 1969 Buick GS were 350 and 400 cubic inch V-8’s.  Horsepower ranged from 280 to 390. As mentioned above, the big 455 V-8 would come out with the 1970 models. This featured car’s original 400 was replaced and upgraded with the larger 455 engine.

Transmissions available were a three speed and a four speed manual along with a three speed automatic.

1969 buick specifications

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums. Front disc brakes were optional.

Dimensions include a wheelbase of 112.0 inches, overall outside length 200.7 inches, width 75.6 inches, height 53.4 inches. Curb weight 3,540 lbs.

Total 1969 Buick GS 400 production was 8,132 vehicles. 1,256 were Sport Coupe Hardtops built with the Stage 1 engine. Remainder were Convertibles. Total 1969 Buick production was 665,000 vehicles covering all models.

Related Auto Museum Online article are found on the links below…

1969 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible

1969 Plymouth Barracuda Convertible

Reference material for this article includes…The Buick: A Complete History (90th Anniversary Edition) (Automobile Quarterly Library Series) by Terry B. Dunham..The Hemmings Book of Buicks (Hemmings Motor News Collector-Car Books) by Terry Ehrich.

 1969 Buick GS Collector Popularity

69 buick gs convertible specs

At first glance, many might not connect Buick with muscle car type performance. With that said. Buick’s muscle cars from the latter 1960s and into the 1970s are some of the most desirable muscle car examples from that era. Today they are quite popular with collectors.

Current values and auction results for the 1970 Buick GS 455 Convertible are found in a range of between about $30,000 to $95,000 depending on condition, degree and age  of restoration and originality. A Concours example might be in the $80,000 area.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)