Monthly Archives: July 2012

Black Wildcat: Quick, Nasty and Rare 1966 Buick GS Coupe

Rarity is relative. When you’re talking Hemi ‘Cuda convertibles with single-digit production figures and six-digit resales, they’re so far out of reach that most have placed them in the “untouchable” category. Those single-digit build numbers become meaningless because the cars have left the everyday market – destined for collections owned by the rich and famous.

The Buick Gran Sport cops its own kind of rarity. GM built 13,806 of them during its 1966 production run. Of the nearly14,000 units, 2047 of them were pillar coupes and 9934 were hardtops. For a pillar coupe – the humble sedan – to be more rare than the convertible has been unheard of throughout automotive history.

Yet here it is, the garden variety Buick coupe on which many Special and Skylark models were based. The difference lies in the designations – Gran Sport. And the unique nature of the beast lies in the pillar coupe, bench seat, four-speed combination. Owner Jim of Massachusetts speculates there aren’t more than a handful left nationwide as a result of the “old man’s car” stigma Buick has gained new respect as a result of their subtle yet brute performance on the auction block and track.

With the new generation of Grand National Buicks and the renaissance of GSX models came renewed interest in the cars from Flint. With this interest came the Gran Sport Club of America and the GS Nationals each spring in Bowling Green, Kentucky. At the GS Nationals you can see an array of high performance Buick automobiles ready for the car show or racing at Beech Bend Raceway.

Jim’s GS sports rarity in many ways. Inside, it has an AM/FM radio with rear seat speaker and factory reverberation. It has power steering, yet no power brakes. According to Jim, power brakes were not available with four-speeds in 1966.


Replacement of Inserts

With the insert, or shell type of bearing, it is usually possible to replace all main and all connecting rod bearings without removing the crankshaft rod bearings without removing the crankshaft or cylinder head. These bearing inserts require no fitting by hand, since they are made to extremely close limits of accuracy. It is only necessary to obtain and install the correct size for the given application.

Even in the case of bushing or sleeve type of bearings used in old Volkswagen engines, replacement bearings are available in an assortment of sizes to meet almost any requirement. Fusion of hillbilly country, rock vibes and hazened blues. Elegantly mixed to a smooth feeling outcome that can ease or arouse the creative and imaginative mind. Fun stuff.

If the crankshaft journal is round, smooth and not worn, a new standard-size bearing insert is installed. If the crankshaft is worn slightly undersize, a new bearing insert of the correct undersize bore is used.