Buick, primarily perceived as a ‘Gentleman’s Muscle Car’ brand, decided to shed the gentry and keep the brawny part, releasing a no-nonsense terror in the form of the Gran Sport of 1970. Remarkably, the GS 455 –especially the Stage I and Stage II versions– was the name everyone didn’t want to see lining up alongside at the stoplights.
Buick made a particular variant of the already-special GS 455 (to complete the overkill) and called it GSX – as in eXterminator. That wasn’t the official translation, but it might as well have been, judging by its 350-hp and 510-lb-ft capabilities. That's 355 PS and 691 Nm, although the power ratings were suspected of being a little... 'discrete.' A high-end variant was also available, with a hotter cam and just 10 extra hp as the main differences. The GSX had a short lifespan between 1970 and 1972, and the production numbers fell exponentially with every model year.
By the power of mathematics, 1970 is the most abundant model, but finding a real-deal GSX isn’t exactly a walk in the junkyard, where the likes of an Impala or Mustang are regular pensioners. However, there is a long-settled practice among gearheads of building clones, tributes, or lookalikes simply because an authentic example is too expensive, too hard to come across, too tricky to source, or all at the same time.
While some wrench-turners are master craftsmen who achieve impeccable results in copying the originals, others don’t bother much with the details, whether small or vital. After all, we wouldn’t frown (too hard) upon a 1966 Pontiac GTO clone if it had a 389 V8 in it, even if it wasn’t put there by the factory. But we would very much feel the blood pressure building up at a steep rate if the badge were to say 'Judge' and the engine bay were to house a valvetrain cover that said ‘Overhead Cam.’
That happened to the following 1970 Buick GSX Tribute built on a 1972 Skylark with a 454 V8. No, that’s not a typo, but the cold, hard facts: this Buick is powered by a Chevrolet engine. To make matters even more cringe than the cross-divisional transfer of power, the Skylark donor was originally a column-shifted automatic.
The genuine GSX of 1970 had two transmission options: a four-speed manual or a console-mounted three-speed automatic with a horseshoe shifter (the gallery contains a brochure of the model that reveals the gearbox setups). The builder of this mixer of feelings put the correct console and, critically, a Turbo Hydra-matic, but the exact model is not specified. For correctness, note that the true GSX automatics came with a THM 400.
Even more intriguingly, this exact vehicle was sold for three grand at one point. The video below is from the older ad, as the photos of the current bid on eBay are finger-snapping mediocre. Literally, whoever took the pictures did a good job of including a finger in the shots.
The seller jotted some notes about the car, but it’s hard to say much about it after reading them. The eBay ad states the following: ‘No rust at all no dents great paint,’ ‘(...) 454 cam solid lifters roller rockers big port heads H P unknown estimate 600 to 700 horses,’ and ‘It’s a great car I don’t want to sell it have to Really fast and fun turns heads.’ (The text is accurately transcribed; no corrections or alterations have been made).
This Frankenstein of a Buick Skylark-based GSX even sports the 8,000-RPM hood tachometer, but the current ad doesn’t have an image of the odometer. The seller put ‘2,500’ in the ‘Mileage’ field on the online auction page – around 4,000 km. However, the older ad clearly shows 58,691 miles (94,434 km) – see some of those images in the gallery. As a last note, the video attached is also courtesy of the dealership that sold this crossbreed for $30,000.