This 1970 GS Stage 2 could be the baddest Buick ever
People talk a lot about the Grand National and the GNX, but to many Buick faithful, the 1970 Stage 1 455 is the apex of Buick performance. That’s where this story of this badass 1970 Buick GS Stage 2 begins.
Originally handed to Motor Trend magazine for testing ahead of its January 1970 issue, this four-speed, Stage 1-equipped car ultimately ran a 13.38-second quarter-mile ET at 105.5 mph. It also managed to lay down a 5.5-second 0–60 while keeping the 510 lb-ft torque in check. When all was said and done, Motor Trend dubbed the Stage 1-equipped GS the fastest muscle car it ever tested. And at the time, few cars were capable of beating those numbers.
So what do you do when you’re on top? You build an even more brutal engine. Buick had its power-crazed engineers working on a successor to the Stage 1. Dubbed the Stage 2, this engine upgrade was meant to be a heavily upgraded 455. With improvements to 11.0:1 compression, forged TRW pistons, redesigned heads, and a valvetrain capable of 7000 rpm, the ultimate intent was to release the Stage 2 as a Super Stock racing package. It is estimated that the Stage 2 package was good for 500+ horsepower.
Two cars were selected as testing prototypes for the Stage 2. A white GSX was sent to Reynolds Buick in California, where “Pappy” Kennedy and Jim Bell (Kenne-Bell) tweaked and tested the car. Our hero car—the red, four-speed GS featured here—was sent to racers Doug Jones and Dave Benisek. Then, somewhere during the testing process, the full weight of pending emissions standards came crashing down and Buick was forced to axe the entire program. The cars were sold to their respective testing partners, and the limited run of heads, pistons, and camshafts were sold as over-the-counter performance packages for privateer racing teams. The Jones-Benisek team successfully campaigned its Stage 2 Buick in Super Stock events through the 1970s. And while time slips are not publicly available for the Kenne-Bell car, the team reported quarter-mile times in the 10s.
Decades after its racing career ended, the Jones-Benisek Stage 2 received a frame-off restoration back to its racing configuration. The four-speed transmission is long gone, but the original Stage 2 hood scoop remains. Mecum is claiming 162 miles total, with 60 miles on the odometer since restoration.
Mecum is currently offering the Jones-Benisek 1970 Buick GS Stage 2 at its Las Vegas sale on Friday, November 16. We estimate a sale price of $175K-$200K. It’s a rare occasion when a factory test car with an experimental engine is offered for public sale, and the opportunity to take home a documented example of maybe the baddest Buick ever made.
To keep track of the results for the Stage 2 Buick GS and all the other great cars at Mecum Las Vegas, download the free Hagerty Insider app, which allows you to access Hagerty’s price guide, follow along with live auctions, and see details of recent sales of your favorite cars.