©2007 Publications International, Ltd. The 1969 Buick GS 400 was the season's only GM muscle car intermediate to come standard with functional hood scoops. Convertibles accounted for 1776 of 8132 GS 400s built that year. See more muscle car pictures.
There was no special edition of the 1969 Buick GS 400. That contrasted with the goings on at GM's other divisions, each of which was maneuvering to increase its midsize muscle car profile. Chevy uncorked some special-order super Chevelles. Olds headlined Hurst editions of the 4-4-2. And Pontiac's big news was a pop-culture-inspired version of the GTO.
That didn't mean Buick was standing pat, however. In fact, the GS 400 got standard functional hood scoops for '69, something none of its higher-profile corporate siblings had. The "Cool Air" induction system used a twin-snorkel air cleaner with two foam muffs that sealed against the scoop openings. Buick said the system increased peak horsepower by eight percent and peak torque by six percent over the entire rpm range, though the car's base 400-cid V-8 retained the 340-bhp rating from '68.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. The Stage 1 option package was rated at 345 bhp vs. 340 for the base 400-cid V-8. Note the standadrd foam air-cleaner muffs that met the functional hood scoops.
But now, the base engine wasn't the only GS 400 mill. New for '69 were Stage 1 and Stage 2 option packages. Stage 1 boosted output to 345 bhp. It had a high-lift cam, 11.0:1 compression instead of 10.25:1, a special carburetor and fuel pump, and larger low-restriction exhausts.
Positraction was included, and four-speed cars got 3.64:1 gears. The optional three-speed automatic was modified for higher shift points and used 3.42:1 cogs. The rare Stage 2 made up to 360 bhp with an even hotter cam and other assorted enhancements.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. An upscale interior was part of the GS 400's premiumm performance car persona.
True to Buick's nature, the Stage 1 was energetic but untemperamental. Even the advertising line -- "Buick builds a premium performance machine" -- seemed high-toned.
"The Stage 1 engine feels like a good supercar compromise," Motor Trend concurred. "Power is all there for street running, especially when you put your foot in it and open all four barrels. Downshifting acceleration really puts you back in your seat. One distinct characteristic of the engine seems to be its smoother idle with a big cam. It's not nearly as rough as similar supercars with similar grind cams."
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For more cool information on muscle cars, check out:
- Buick, GM's "gentleman's car" division, was an unlikely source of some of the finest muscle cars. See profiles, photos, and specifications of Buick muscle cars.
- Muscle cars came in many shapes and sizes. Here are features on more than 100 muscle cars, including photos and specifications for each model.
- Muscle cars created their own culture. To learn about it, read How Muscle Cars Work.
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- Beep, beep! Make way for one of the baddest muscle cars of all time, the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi.
- The 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am combined sports-car handling and muscle car power.
- An all-aluminum, race-proven V-8 defined the rare and wicked 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
For related car information, see these articles:
- The engine is what gives a muscle car its flamboyant personality. To learn everything you need to know about car engines, see How Car Engines Work.
- Muscle cars wouldn't have much muscle without horsepower -- but what exactly is horsepower? How Horsepower Works answers that question.
- NASCAR race cars embody the muscle car philosophy of power. Read How NASCAR Race Cars Work to find out what makes these charged-up racers go.
- Are you thinking of buying a 2007 muscle car, or any other car? See Consumer Guide Automotive's New-Car Reviews, Prices, and Information.