Its a shame so many enthusiasts overlook the Buick Skylark when shopping for an A-body toy. Chevelles and GTOs, sure, but everyone seems to forget that the big Buicks, like the GS455, made more torque than any other gasoline engine GM built until the arrival of the latest supercharged Corvette ZR1. By 1972, compression was down, but the Buick was still a strong performer as the GS nailed 14-second quarter mile times at better than 100 MPH. And it did so while loaded with luxury features that were not available on its corporate cousins. This stunning Flame Orange GS is one of only 81 Stage 1 convertibles built in 72, one of only 66 built with an automatic transmission, and is believed to be one of 25 identically optioned Buick Zone Office cars. With a Concours Gold-winning restoration and full documentation courtesy of the Sloan Museum, this car is NOT to be missed.
With a full package of paperwork from the Sloan Museum, this highly optioned GS Stage 1 is a coupe for the muscle car fan who doesnt want to give up, well, anything to get his performance fix.
Check out this options list, which added more than $2,000 to the bottom line and brought the total to $5,556.67-dangerously close to 1972 Corvette territory:
ZZ: Flame Orange
1: White convertible top
245: White notchback bench seat interior
B2: Turbo Hydramatic 400 transmission
CF: Power disc brakes and variable ratio power steering
DN: AM Sonoramic radio, rear speaker and stereo tape deck
E6: Through bumper exhaust extensions
F7: G60-15 Firestone Wide Oval white letter tires and chrome plated wheels
G1: Performance axle with positive traction (standard with Stage 1)
I6: Air conditioning
J1: Custom seat belts
L2: Soft-Ray tinted windshield
NF: Front and rear bumper guards and bumper strips front and rear
O6: Sport outside rear view mirrors
S7: Tilt steering
UD: Full Rally Gauge package with clock and Convenience Group (trunk light, mirror map light)
V2: Chrome plated wheels (standard with F9 Firestone Wide Oval tires)
X2: Rallye steering wheel
The car was treated to a frame-off restoration in 2006, and has recently been freshened for competition at the highest levels, including an all-new fully functional factory A/C system. Flame Orange is an incredibly rare color on an already shockingly rare car, and the bright hue was so far outside Buicks comfort zone that only a handful were built. Nevertheless, it looks fantastic on the Skylarks handsome sheetmetal, which is so perfectly proportioned that its quite likely impossible to make it look bad. Then Now Automotive in Marietta, Georgia handled the bodywork, and the results are, obviously, show-stopping. The paint is now two-stage urethane which looks about a mile deep and has a shine that no 70s finish could match. Just look at the way the panels line up, the way the light reflects off the paint, and the care with which it was all assembled. Its not surprising that this one has racked up some pretty impressive wins.
All the details are correct as well. Although the basic body shape didnt change, Buick adjusted the detailing on the cars every year, making things like the grille unique from year to year. All the chrome on this one has been restored to concours condition, the stainless is fully polished to match, and yes, that grille is original and correct. Proper GS Stage 1 badges were installed, and details like the original T3 headlights and cool through-the-bumper exhaust tips help separate this car from its brothers.
The engine is a date-code-correct WS-stamped warranty replacement block that was installed not too long after delivery. Why, we cant say for certain, but its probably easy to guess. But theres no doubt that its a correct GS Stage 1 block. The engine bay has been detailed for national competition and given the list of awards it has already won, its clear that everything is correctly restored. It may show a few signs of use, most notably in some discolored paint around the exhaust ports, but thats how they looked the moment they were driven off the transport trucks and into the dealers showroom. Please note that new A/C system, also installed by the guys at Then Now, who obviously have some expertise with this car, and which uses 100% original components and blows ice cold today.
While you could get a 4-speed in your GS Stage 1, an automatic really seems like the better choice in a Buick and suffers no performance penalty behind the big block. The TH400 in this ragtop is the original, numbers-matching piece, complete with a crystal clear VIN stamp on the drivers side pan rail and a Stage 1 specific code BB tag is riveted to the passengers side. Out back theres an indestructible 12-bolt full of 3.42 gears on a Posi-traction limited slip, which deliver neck-snapping acceleration and remarkably comfortable high-speed cruising abilities. The frame wears a correct coat of satin black, and the beautifully finished floors are the perfect background for the restored suspension and braking systems. And if theres a more beautiful muscle car wheel than the Buick chrome Rallys, I havent seen it. On this car, they are also wearing correct G60-15 Goodyear Polyglas bias-ply tires.
The glittering white vinyl notchback interior is bright enough to require eye protection. The white is the ideal choice in a convertible, especially a bright orange one, because it avoids two common problems with black interiors: excessive sweating on a hot day and the appearance of the Great Pumpkin. Theres fresh foam under those new seat covers, so the car feels like new from behind the wheel, and the dash pad and instruments have been completely restored. New black carpets show no signs of wear, and the door panels dont even have that slight depression where the driver might rest his elbow. As I mentioned, the A/C system is brand new and blows ice cold, and this car also carries an optional 8-track tape player, which is mounted below the dash and separate from the AM radio. Overhead theres a professionally fitted white power convertible top that stashes itself behind the seats in seconds, where its hidden by a matching white boot.
Thanks to the archives at the Sloan Museum, theres a lot of factory documentation with this Buick. In addition to the original owners manual and warranty booklets, we also have a 1972 Buick/Opel advance information booklet, a reproduction window sticker, a copy of the original build sheet, and a letter stating that this car may have been a special test vehicle used by GM; which might explain the replacement block and the low VIN number and options package believed to be shared with 24 other Zone Office cars. Theres also a beautifully presented display board with a complete listing of this cars features and options as well as a CD full of restoration photos. Youll also get the Concours Gold award from the GS Nationals-winning first prize there is as good as it gets. The car also won a gold award at the 2010 Buick Performance Groups 2010 national meet and is officially registered with the GS Stage 1 Registry. Finally, it includes receipts for much of the restoration work, detailed right down to the transportation charges getting it to the facility before the work even started and totaling more than $90,000 ...For more information please call the seller.