Unless they’ve been kept in a hermetically sealed lab and built during a few-week period where there wasn’t a worker’s strike, driving classic cars is usually a case of don’t meet your heroes. Luckily for us, John Cirone’s Buick Skylark GSX is the opposite scenario. Partly because this immaculate, loud, yellow beast was ordered fresh from the factory by his grandfather fifty years ago- the man who was a colorblind butcher from Jersey.
So, why the fuss? Let’s let the car do the talking. When it came out in 1970, the GSX variant of the Buick Skylark cost around the equivalent of $32,000. Maybe just a bit more, as this car is 1 of 400 examples of the Stage 1 Performance Package. Crucially though, that thirty-two grand bought you the fastest and most powerful production car on the road. That is Bugatti Chiron status! The Chiron can’t even boast a hood-mounted tach. What a poser! Producing that kind of power comes from a 7.5 liter V8, which lives under the long, sloping hood. GM claimed that this monster growled out 360hp at 4,200rpm, but the actual number has proved to be much higher than that. Realistically, the Buick is sitting at around 425hp at 5,200rpm and pushing more than 510lb-ft of torque at 2,800rpm. What does that sound like getting off the line? Well, it’s somewhere between a throaty roar and the Red Sea parting for Moses. General Motors seems to have looked out for their few valued customers who got one of these as that fib about the power specs lowered insurance premiums dramatically.
Let’s get back in the mind of the man who ordered this car. Cirone’s grandfather Francis, was a colorblind butcher in New Jersey. Only five-hundred-seventy-some units were sold in the U.S. in 1970 and offered strictly in white or yellow. Despite not knowing exactly what the car would look like to everyone else, the butcher, wanted something to park outside the shop to show that business was booming and he was a man to be reckoned with. The best way at the time was to get the fastest, loudest damn thing that GM has ever made. A car with a torque figure that wasn’t topped by another American production car until the early 2000s.
But, let’s say you want to get a similar vibe across in 2020? Where would you start? A good idea would be to get in touch with model Cherie Noel. Seen here, she may be one of the few humans who can match the GSX’s raw sexual magnetism. Cirone, a professional photographer, has found the perfect blend of smoking hot and smoking tires.
The exterior of the Buick is far from the end of its beauty, however. With a flowing center counsel, leather everywhere, and zero restoration work, the interior is simply a walk back through time. The smell of worn leather washes over the driver and blends with a hint of gas to make a scent that I would like to see marketed as cologne. It reeks of badassery. The gauges are shrouded in silver and look like the kind you could tap on to change their readings.
There’s also a beauty to the simplicity of this car: yellow or white exterior, four-speed automatic or stick shift. This GSX is the four-speed auto with a U-handle shifter. Even without having three pedals to play with, the shifts are strong enough under load that it’ll break free at almost any speed.