Fastest Buick Ever?
Rex Gray, Flikr Creative Commons

(WARNING! This intro is tongue-in-cheek)There was a time in America when manufacturers built what folks called “muscle cars”. Decades-long arguments have raged ever since, over this one or that one, which was faster, which was cooler, which was the easiest to modify. You know, gearhead stuff. The kind of subject that makes the wife/girlfriend’s eye glaze over more or less instantaneously.

Well it all sort of came to a head back in 1984. You see there was this magazine called “Popular & Performance Car Review” which published a list of “Fifty Fastest Musclecars”. Now where that particular list created a massive uproar among the gearhead community was in listing the 1970 Buick Skylark Gran Sport Stage 1 as the third fastest musclecar behind the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427, and the 1966 Corvette 427.

The Hemi/MOPAR crowd was fit to be tied. They all started hollaring about how everybody knows that Buick stands for “Big Ugly Import Car Killer” and that the only folks that drove a Buick anyway were all sucking back the Geritol and looking for a place to cash their Social Security checks. The Buick community of course started singing the Etta James hit “At Last” and high-fiving each other because there it was in print that the Buick’s weren’t just grandma’s grocery getter.

To settle all the hubbub, the editor of Popular & Performance Car Review arranged to have a 1/4 mile race between a ’70 Buick GS Stage 1 and ’70 Plymouth GTX a at the Gainesville Raceway. The Buick ran at 12.30 and the Plymouth at 13.03. Much like in politics, all the race did was increase the hubbub and harumphing. One side accused the other of running high performance parts and special motors, the other side was shaking it’s head and saying “Nope”. And like the western TV shows of old, the Buick gunslinger was the fastest draw in the west and was repeatedly challenged to a duel to find out who was faster. That day in 1985 however, the 1970 Buick Skylark Gran Sport Stage 1 was the fastest musclecar on the track.