Vehicle
1971 Buick Skylark GSX Clone
350 cid, V-8, 315 bhp

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The vroom! vroom!, tire-screeching, rubber-burning era of the 1960’s muscle car was deep in the winter of its lifespan as 1970 changed to 1971. The federal government had big plans that didn’t include gasoline that would allow these “fire breathing” powerhouses of the past to continue to build compression to relentless heights. The US government’s “Clean Air Act” forced GM to turn to unleaded gas, and that, in turn, reduced compression ratios and robbed potential power, and now add to that rising gas prices and higher insurance premiums, and there was essentially a prescription for doom of the true muscle car. Although not originally a GSX, this GS example from the LeMay Collection features some of the distinctive markings of the GSX. This was an attempt at “cloning” or copy-catting the original GSX with the addition of the spoiler in the back and the imitation hood scoops and the GSX badging. The GSX was publicized in advertising by GM as “another light-your-fire car from Buick”, but sales failed to prove the claim. Sales for 1970 were 686 units, 1971 was 121 units, 1972 was 44 units, These low numbers were probably the result of a sticker price increase of over $1,000 dollars, just to add the X behind the GS, in an era when an average car could be purchased at somewhat over $3,000; this would have been a bitter pill to swallow. The GSX label was a special order that had to be placed by the dealer at the time of sale and could be added to any of the various engines optioned in the GS’s that year. The 1971 had an upgraded suspension and added sway bars, but had the same side stripes and rear spoiler. This car could be spotted with bold black body stripes and hood paint, a special grille, chrome wheels and fat tires. A vast array of options and color choices were available. Many Buick supporters today claim that a GSX optioned with the stage 1, 455 cid engine, will best the Chevelle with the LS6 big block in the quarter mile. The GSX, even though de-tuned due to unleaded gas, still held its own and is considered a true muscle car through 1972. Highlights:
  • This GSX clone was made from a standard Skylark GS model
  • The GSX was Buick’s answer to the Pontiac GTO, advertised as “another light-your-fire car from Buick”
  • Price new: $3,475 (GS price)
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