Pick of the Day: 1971 Buick GS

Out of all the mid-size performance models coming out of General Motors in the 1960s, only one offered a small-block for most of its existence. The availability of such gave the model a larger berth in the market when more folks were gravitating to perennial favorites. That car, the Buick GS, is our Pick of the Day. This 1971 two-door hardtop is listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Sioux City, Iowa. (Click the link to view the listing)

When the Skylark Gran Sport was created in 1965, it was only available with a 401 “Nailhead.” When that engine was discontinued and replaced by the all-new 400 for 1967, the Gran Sport model was renamed GS 400. That model also received an interesting companion called the GS 340. Though the 260-horsepower 340 was introduced in 1966, it was restricted to the Special and Skylark until 1967.

For 1968, with Buick redesigning its mid-size series, the small-block Gran Sport became the GS 350 with 280 horsepower. There also was an interesting California GS pillared coupe that was introduced nationally after a regional introduction the year before.

With the 1970 restyle, the Gran Sport series was tweaked a bit, with the GS 350 becoming the 315-horsepower GS, and the big-block model became the GS 455. Though the latter has been much more popular with enthusiasts, the base GS’s torque rating of 415 lb-ft should be recognized as being quite high for a small-block. In fact, Chevrolet’s big-block 396 featured the same torque rating.

GM lowered compression in 1971 so as to allow its engines to run on unleaded fuel. That was the same year Buick mainstreamed the Gran Sport series under one umbrella – now there was just the GS offering a 350, 455, and 455 Stage 1. The 350 as installed in the GS dropped to 260 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. That wasn’t big-block-style torque anymore, but this engine was perfectly suited for the new environment in the performance market, though it found more competition in 1971-72 when Chevrolet and Oldsmobile introduced their respective 350s for the SS and 4-4-2.

With sporty looks and standard ram air induction, this 350-powered 1971 Buick GS two-door hardtop plays the part as well as any Gran Sport before it. This GS also features a white vinyl top and matching bucket seat interior. Options per the build sheet include automatic with center console, air conditioning, Buick’s trademark chrome wheels, power steering with Deluxe steering wheel and tilt column, power brakes, trunk light, AM radio (replaced by Auto Sound AM/FM/cassette), driver’s side remote mirror, and more.

Though the car is coded for Cascade Blue, it comes off more as Stratomist Blue to these eyes. Nevertheless, a solid, rust-free performance Buick in “amazing condition with all the right equipment and great colors” is a reasonable proposition at $43,900.

Click here for this ClassicCars.com Pick of the Day.