Understated Sleeper Buick GS 455 Stage 1 Takes On The Mighty Trans Am 455 H.O. - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Understated Sleeper Buick GS 455 Stage 1 Takes On The Mighty Trans Am 455 H.O.

Not only are the performance numbers close on these two, but so are the 1/4 mile times

For today’s drag-race special, we have this closely fought battle between two cars from the early 70s. Both these models were at the top of their game back in the day and you’ll see why, in this stock head-to-head, that was staged during the annual PSMCDR at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex in Stanton.

1971 Buick Gran Sport 455 Stage 1

Understated Sleeper Buick GS 455 Stage 1 Takes On The Mighty Trans Am 455 H.O.
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Both these cars are quite evenly matched in terms of spec

In the green corner, we have this gorgeous Buick Gran Sport from 1971. The early 70s as you may recall was a time when we began to see stricter emissions norms come into force and as a consequence horsepower numbers did take a hit. Even with the optional Stage-1 package, the ’71 GS 455 V-8 went from pushing out 360- to 345 ponies and 460 pound-feet of torque. The compression ratio on this thing was 8.5:1. It features a TH400 three-speed auto and 3.73 rear gears. The Buick tips the scales at 3,788 pounds.

1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 455 HO

The ’71 Firebird had the biggest engine that Pontiac ever put in the Trans Am. Now the H.O. or High Output V-8 didn’t suffer from the reduced compression ratios and power outputs as some of its competitors did at the time. Working within the new norms, the Trans Am still managed to produce 335 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque from the low 8.4:1 compression ratio. The Trans Am also features a three-speed suto with 3.73 rear axle ratios and tips the scales at 3,580 pounds.

Understated Sleeper Buick GS 455 Stage 1 Takes On The Mighty Trans Am 455 H.O.
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Also mated to a 3-speed auto and 3.73’s at the rear, the Firebird is the lighter of the two coming in at 3580 pounds

The Races


The numbers between these two cars are pretty close, and their 1/4 times are also indicative of the same. Both cars took one round each, so there wasn’t really a clear winner here.

Results
1971 Buick GS 1971 Trans Am Firebird
Race 1 13.04s @105 mph 13.15s @107 mph
Race 2 13.27s @105 mph 13.07s @107 mph

Final Thoughts

Understated Sleeper Buick GS 455 Stage 1 Takes On The Mighty Trans Am 455 H.O.
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To be honest, with the Trans Am, being the sports coupe that it is, you sort of expect it to have stellar performance and Pontiac engineers sure did put in their best efforts to work their magic and retain the magic during those challenging times. But, the real surprise here has to be the Buick, which was essentially a luxury car with a performance package.

Khris Bharath
Khris Bharath
Khris is a classic car aficionado and adores his Jags and Alfas, although he keeps tabs on everything from super exotics like an old EB 110 to the latest from Lucid. Formula One is very close to his heart, and he diligently makes time to tune in for the Grand Prix on Sundays. Khris also loves his road trips and he prefers stick shift over an Auto any day.  Read full bio
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