True automotive enthusiasts will never forget the 1970 Buick GSX, arguably the greatest muscle car of all time. With 360 hp and 510 lb-ft, it had more torque than any American car ever produced, a title that stood for 33 years until the 2003 Dodge Viper. According to Motor Trend, the car could accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and blaze through the quarter mile in a blistering 13.38 seconds at 105.5 mph. Pristine examples typically bring in $100,000 or more at auctions, and they’re only going up in value.
While my dad has always dreamed of owning one, it likely isn’t happening without mortgaging the house. To keep from breaking his sprit, I came up with a more realistic solution. Little did he know, the GSX moniker was resurrected in 2003.
During this period, the supercharged L67 3800 Buick V6 was starting to make a name for itself as a potent powertrain. Aftermarket companies became cognizant of the growing popularity of the platform and began making parts to satisfy owners. The L67 quietly lurked beneath the bonnet of the Buick Riviera, Buick Regal GS, Buick Park Avenue Ultra, Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, Chevy Impala SS, Chevy Monte Carlo SS and the Oldsmobile LSS, so they wouldn’t have to worry about a low-volume market or demand. While all of these cars were pretty quick from the factory, they didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of their true performance potential. Street Legal Performance (SLP), one of the aftermarket companies that produced parts for the 3800, sought to change this in 2003 with the Buick Regal GS, a midsize sports sedan with a factory-rated 240 hp and a hefty 280 lb-ft of torque.
To generate excitement about the new offering, SLP resurrected the GSX name for the Regal that would be available for order at Buick dealerships across the country. SLP began with aesthetic modifications, replacing factory badges with chrome ‘GSX’ emblems on both doors and the tail light. An aggressive grille and unique lip spoiler gave the car a more sporty appearance while the Z06 inspired chrome wheels and throaty dual exhaust screamed that this was no ordinary Regal.
Next, SLP modified the car’s suspension and handling by lowering it 1.5 inches and adding bigger anti-sway bars and tubular rear trailing arms. As far as engine modifications, SLP let Buick customers dictate exactly how fast they wanted to go by offering a Stage 1 (+15 hp), Stage 2 (+20 hp) and Stage 3 package (+30 hp).
With 270 horsepower and 312 lb-ft of torque, the Stage 3 GSX was the fastest Buick produced since the legendary 1987 Buick GNX. Yes, it had four doors and the Saturn Yellow paint was now gone, but the new GSX definitely didn’t disappoint owners who remembered the name’s performance legacy.
The GSX was only available to order from 2003 until the end of the Regal’s production in 2004. The short two-year production and expensive MSRP resulted in very few factory GSXs being made, and they’re almost impossible to come across today. SLP produced a low-volume number of the GSX’s aesthetic, suspension and performance parts to allow Regal GS owners to do the modifications themselves. As a result, it’s easy to mistake an authentic GSX with a clone. A true GSX will have a chrome SLP label in the driver’s door jamb, which was not available for purchase.
In 2012, I stumbled across a 2003 Stage 1 on eBay and told my father that I had finally found a GSX he could afford. He was currently in the market for a sporty daily driver, and the GSX name was all it took to sell him on the car. Unfortunately, the original owner discarded the factory wheels once the chrome started to peel, but I was able to track down a set last summer to return the car to its original factory appearance. The exceptional handling and supercharger-whine never fails to keep a smile on his face, and he loves the attention it gets at car shows. For about $6,500, my dad was able to satisfy his desire for a GSX. I guess the house will stay, at least for now.
GSX Picture- http://www.1zoom.net/Cars/wallpaper/306603/z1672.3/