If you were to get a group of traditional car lovers in a room together, it’s a safe bet that they would all agree that the musclecar ceased to exist after 1972. They would be adamant that once the horsepower ratings were permanently switched to net and the compression ratios had dropped, it was all over.
Despite the increase in vehicle size and the apparent drop in the pony count, there were a few examples of American musclecar iron that simply refused to go quietly. One of those is the 1973 Buick Century Gran Sport. For the first time, the GS package was applied to the Century as opposed to the Skylark model like in previous years.
All GM A-body intermediates received the new Colonnade body style that year, so it was completely different than any Buick that had come before it.
Although a 350ci. mill was standard fare in the GS, it was the 455ci. Stage 1 package that got all of the attention, and that appealed most to the core audience. That core audience of course is none other than the musclecar enthusiasts.
With a rated 270 [net] horsepower on tap, the Stage 1 would cruise down the ‘strip in the low 15-second range and produce a trap speed of over 90 mph. Today that may sound like a typical family car, but back in those days, it was still relatively quick. As a result of the first energy crisis that very same year, only 728 Stage 1 Buick GSs were built.
The low production numbers of 1973 and the new interest in compact import cars would ultimately end Stage 1 production for good. We found this example on eBay with a current bid of $10,100 at press time. It’s incredibly clean and sprayed in Jade Green, a fine example of the last holdout from the days of Sunoco 260 and high compression.