This is a road test of a 1972 GS 455 Stage 1. It made CARS Car of the Year award for its balanced nature. Again the times are not corrected for altitude/atmospheric conditions which can have a huge impact on performance. In 71 and 72 the original engines were 8.5 to 1 compression, which really kills the power, and 72 also had the AIR system for emissions (Canadian cars did not get this). You can see it on the drivers side of the engine compartment shot. You can also see why the 72 GS air cleaners had the drivers side intake modified in shape (even if AIR was not installed). Note the car in the article has a hood tach; front and rear bumperettes; N25 through bumper exhaust; rare "super sport" wheels; buckets ands console and might have rear shoulder belts (very uncommon). It also has air conditioning and cruise control, so you know this car is heavy. Note the big white letter tires.You can also see why upgrading your suspension should be one of the first things you do if you push your car hard, the factory parts are pretty weak for hard handling by todays standards. Even though hp was down, the big torque of the Buick 455 still works well.
When you read these reviews, it is important to remember that this was the first time performance was on sale for the masses....many of today's cars will easily beat these old cars in acceleration and of course run rings around unmodified cars in handling, comfort and safety. You can't argue with technology. But it is a different kind of power, and the old musclecars have a character that nothing can touch. They were much more affordable than today's hot rods, even accounting for inflation. They are also very easy to modify if you desire to do so, and are a lot of fun.
In October 2015 Hemmings ran a small article about personal experiences during this time. Notice the picture is the same car as above.
back to Stage 1 page
back to convertible page