1971 Buick Skylark GSX; The Luxury GTO Judge

1971 Buick Skylark GSX Front View Left image1971 Buick Skylark GSX Front View Left, click to enlarge

The Buick line was mostly associated in the years previous to 1965 as a luxury Fathers car, a car that was for families to enjoy. Not so when the Buick GS models came forth bringing performance and luxury to the family car, squeezing the largest possible engines that GM would allow in a mid size coupe, or just a performance package in a full size Buick.

1971 Buick Skylark GSX Grill Emblem image1971 Buick Skylark GSX Grill Emblem, click to enlarge

In 1970 the Buick Skylark had transformed into a performance car that GM was proud to have as part of their line. The GSX version of a GS Skylark was Buick’s answer to Pontiac’s GTO Judge providing all the power and bells and whistles the Judge had but with luxury and ride that was to be expected from a Buick. When you ordered a GSX version of the GS Skylark you were adding an $1100 performance and appearance package rivaling anything the competition had to offer.

1971 saw the Skylark GSX having to comply with new emission laws and 1971 was the beginning of the end for a performance midsize from Buick for another 13 years in the rebirth of the Regal in he form of the Grand National.

1971 Buick Skylark GSX Rear View image1971 Buick Skylark GSX Rear View, click to enlarge
  
The Buick pictured here is a rare bird in this day and age, a 1971 Stage 1 455 Buick Skylark GSX beast with automatic transmission. Rare is an understatement, being only 1 of 124 built in 1971. For 1971 the GSX was available in 6 colors instead of the standard 2 of the previous year and this one being black with gold stripes has a great menacing appearance. It is a well restored numbers matching car sparing no expense to make it as showroom perfect as possible.

1971 Buick Skylark GSX 455 Stage 1 Engine Bay image1971 Buick Skylark GSX 455 Stage 1 Engine Bay, click to enlarge
 
Power is as stated, a Buick 455 cid V8 engine making 345 bhp at 5000 rpm, and 460 ft-lbs torque at 3000 rpm. Power was down from by 15 hp for 1971 as mentioned above, but the GSX was still a force on the roads. The stage 1 has a performance camshaft and other valve train and ignition goodies that help keep the lower compression engine still making huge horsepower in a street machine of the day. The carburetor is a huge QuadraJet automatic choke 4 bbl sucking air from dual snorkel ram air hood scoops. The Stage 1 option adds a lumpy camshaft and free flowing exhaust manifolds that then exit the gasses into big dual exhaust pipes. The only drawback of the 455 Buick engine was simply its bottom end wasn’t strong. It was a 2 bolt main bearing cap engine and was prone to breaking under stress.

1971 Buick Skylark GSX Interior image1971 Buick Skylark GSX Interior, click to enlarge
 
The interior is all luxury, with premium vinyl high back buckets seats and nicely trimmed center console with a large ratchet handle for the transmission shifter. Gauges galore decorate the dash offering all the needed information for the engine vitals. All the power goodies were ordered for this car, power windows, power drivers remote mirror, air conditioning, AM/F/M stereo with 4 speakers and 8 track cassette unit ( ?separately installed below the radio). In this particular car I couldn’t find a single flaw in the interior, right down to the perfect padded dash exhibiting zero signs of age.

1971 Buick Skylark GSX Rear View Right image1971 Buick Skylark GSX Rear View Right, click to enlarge
 
It of course wouldn’t be a GSX without decals and emblems announcing the fact. Distinctive body side strips with GSX decals pointing out this isn’t a typical GS Buick. Grille and and spoiler mounted gorgeous GSX emblems announce the coming and going of this beast. It can be said most people when racing a GSX usually only saw the rear spoiler receding into the distance. Relative performance saw 0 to 60 times of 6.9 seconds and the quarter mile came in at 15.9 seconds at 96 mph. Doesn’t sound like a 1960 muscle car performance but for 1971 this was a blazing fast car. And for all the luxury items and other goodies this car offered , the relatively light weight 455 engine helped keep the curb weight of the car around the 3400 pound mark.

1971 Buick Skylark GSX Rear Spolier Emblem Detail image1971 Buick Skylark GSX Rear Spolier Emblem Detail, click to enlarge
 
The car here is as stated, ultra rare at 124 cars built that year. But even so, these cars still haven’t broken then $100,000 mark as yet at auction with a yellow car coming across the Barrett Jackson block in 2010 at a mere $60,500. This car was not very original, as the engine had been replaced and upgrades made to add power windows and a hood tachometer which I am certain greatly reduced its final price. These cars should easily sell for $80,000 plus if it is an unmolested original car. You have to be careful however, there are many clones out there so it is always buyer beware and do you homework before you purchase. Happy Hunting! :)

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