Most race fans have seen Jason Line behind the wheel of the blue Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stocker. But the three-time Pro Stock champion also campaigns a 1970 Buick Gran Sport with a 455 cubic inch Stage 1 engine in Stock Eliminator—the car in which he scored the 1993 Lucas Oil Series Stock Eliminator title.
In fact, Line has always had a soft spot for Buicks, particularly 455-powered GSs. So it was no surprise to us when he debuted his latest street ride, a fully restored 1970 GS 455 convertible, at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Chicago just after the Auto Club NHRA Finals.
When he found the car for sale on eBay around four years ago, he knew he had to have it. There were only 126 Buick GS 4-speed convertibles produced in 1970, and this car was the only one produced with Stratomist Blue paint—the same color as Line’s Stock Eliminator car.
“This is a very rare car, and you’re not going to find another one like it,” said Line. “It doesn’t have air conditioning—instead it has good ‘ol crank windows, a basic radio, a 3.64-geared, Buick-specific 10-bolt rear axle with positraction, and manual front disc brakes.”
Line entrusted the restoration to Kurt Anderson, Todd Miller, and the guys at Autokraft Race Cars and Restorations in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. To say the GS was rough would be an understatement.
“I remember the day Jason called me and told me to check out the car online. I brought it up, took one look, and thought, ‘no way.'” laughed Anderson. “But then I started looking at the ad a little closer and saw the cowl tag, and I realized it was a special-order paint car. I started digging a little deeper and couldn’t believe how rare this car was. [It appeared to be] the only 4-speed convertible GS in this color. Jason won the bid, and next thing you know, they shipped it to my shop. That’s when I realized I probably shouldn’t have talked him into buying it.”
The GS was built with a Burnished Saddle (aka brown) vinyl interior, which Line had restored to factory spec.
“The original owner thought it would be really cool to have a blue car with brown interior,” Line explained. “I’m not sure if I agree with him, but it’s growing on me.”
While Autokraft handled the restoration, Line dug into the 455 big block. He built it to factory spec, but couldn’t resist adding a few “improvements” from Summit Racing.
“There’s just something about hearing that rumble of a V8 and feeling it when you step on the gas,” said Line. “There isn’t anything like it.”
Although it was much more work than anticipated, both Line and the guys from Autokraft were confident they had made the right decision. The crowd’s reaction at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals show confirmed their judgement. When it was all said and done, the Buick scored 999 out of a possible 1,000 points in judging, earning a Concourse Gold Award plus the Outstanding First Time Shown Buick award.
“There were many cars there that were every bit as nice or even nicer, I felt,” said Line. “It was a great experience to show the car, especially after so much work had gone into the restoration.”
After putting so much time and effort into the GS, Line has no plans to part with it anytime soon. But being a gearhead, we’re sure Line will get the itch to find a new project sometime soon. Any guesses as to what make it will be?