From The Nailhead to Stage 1
From The Nailhead to Stage 1

1970 GS455 Stage 1  - Model Number 44637 2-Door Sport Coupe

I found this car on Craigslist in Massachusettes in 2014. It was pretty much a basket case but I bought it because nearly all the important Stage 1 components were present and accounted for; The original SS Stage 1 block, 3.42 ratio Positraction axle with "OO" marking stamped on the axle tube, original "BB" Turbo 400 transmission; correct distributor, and heavy duty cooling system components were all there. Only the original carburetor was missing. The original frame looked to be in decent shape. It also had the original Super Sport wheels with trim rings. Much of the trim and glass was either missing or unusable. The body was a mess.

 

I purchased the car from a guy who bought from someone in Kentucky. The car was originally sold in Lebanon, Ohio in 1970 so it probably lived it's whole life in southern Ohio/Northern Kentucky.

 

It is fairly well optioned with the following trim and option codes:

 

MM2 - Sherwood Green paint with Black vinyl roof

188 - Black vinyl bucket seats

D-N - Sonomatic radio with rear speaker and 8-track tape player

F-9 - Wide oval white billboard lettered G70-14 tires

I-6 - Air conditioning

L-2 - Soft-Ray tinted windshield

U-5 - Instrument gapes and tachometer

V-7 - Super Sport wheels

A-1 - Stage 1 performance option

B-C - Turbo 400 tranmission with full length console

C-E - Power disc brakes and power steering

 

The car was built during the first week of December, 1969 in Flint, Michigan. It has some of the features that were only present on the GS cars that were built at the start of the 1970 model year - items like a clear-top radiator overflow tank, pointed lenses on the instrument panel, and a plastic (instead of steel) radiator cover.

 

After purchasing the car, I put it in storage about a 1/4 mile away from where I bought it. It sat there for about a year until I could haul it to Pure Stock Auto Restorations in Mount Brydges, Ontario. The owner Rich Johns helped me remove the engine and I left the car with him for restoration. I brought the engine to Jim Weise at Tri Shield Performance in Minnesota for rebuilding.

 

Based on it's condition it appeared that the car had been a driver all it's life. The engine didn't appear to have ever been out of the car. It didn't appear to have been modified in any way (except for a 1971 carburetor in place of the original carb). It had a broken flex plate which is why it was probably parked one day and allowed to rot. According to Jim at Tri Shield a broken flex plate can sound like a terminal rod knock.

 

While the car and engine were awaiting restoration I began sourcing original and NOS parts for the car. I was fortunate to get lots of support from the people at v8buick, the Buick AACA forum as well as lots of Ebay and Craiglist shopping to find most of the correct parts needed. I was able to find a date-code correct Stage 1 carburetor, an NOS clear-top reservoir, NOS headlight bezels,  along with many other parts that the car needed to be complete.

 

The car is currently undergoing restoration and should be complete by 2017 or 2018.

Before Restoration (2014 - 2015)

During Restoration (2016)

During Restoration (2017)

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