Many of the questions received by our Technical Advisors
and here at our ROA office is what constitutes a Gran Sport/G.S./Stage
1? The questions usually revolve around how can I verify the authenticity
of the option and what is included in the package? We publish this
article with some hesitancy, as we don't want to make it easier for
the unscrupulous to create G.S. clones. It is our hope that this article
will assist those who are looking to purchase one and to give you
the tools to make an educated decision. In the March/April 1991 issue
of the Riview we published an article on how to verify a 65 Gran Sport..
This new feature article will cover all of the years when a Gran Sport,
G.S. or Stage 1 was offered. We would also encourage you to contact
the ROA office or the Technical Advisor, who covers that year for
additional advise before shelling out large sums of money for a G.S.
Keep in mind that the Gran Sport was not a separate model, but an
option, therefore the option was not reflected in the Vin#, except
in 1972-1974. The G.S. option was first offered on the Riviera in
1965 and continued through 1975. A dual 4-barrel engine option was
available in 1964 with an engine code of "KX" however; these
64 Rivieras were not identified as Gran Sports and did not have any
GS emblems. Buick installed this engine option in only 2,122 Rivieras
in 1964. The G.S. option was not always an engine option it varied
from year to year. In some years it included a modified engine, while
in other years it was only a handling package.
1965 Gran Sport
The subject of the 1965 Gran Sport has been extensively researched
by several ROA members including Technical Advisor Leonard Scott,
ROA 125, and the late John Hirsch ROA #47. The supportive data and
references are too extensive to include in this article, but are in
the ROA library if there are specific questions.
The Gran Sport option (A-9) listed for $306.38 and included
the 360 hp Super Wildcat dual 4 bbl engine, modified exhaust and transmission,
positive traction differential with a 3.42 rear axle, ornamentation
and wheel covers. A separate Ride and Handling package (H-2) with
15-1 steering ratio and heavy-duty suspension was available for an
additional $37.63. The Gran Sport option did not include the chrome
wheels, upgrade interior, ribbed rocker panel or any other accessory.
The engine was a 425 ci (code LX) with two AFB carburetors (front
#3645, rear #3925) and distributor (#1111058) with a different throttle
curve.. The engine package included a large fully chromed twin snorkel
air cleaner, with a metal monogram that read "Super Wildcat,"
finned aluminum valve covers with "BUICK" in raised letters.
The package also required a different upper AC bracket (#1367411)
to fit over the taller valve covers. The exhaust pipes were increased
from 2" to 2 ¼ "inside diameter and had less turns
to reduce backpressure. The modified transmission had a "BS"
code on its ID plate. The 3.42 positive transmission was standard
but other ratios from 2.78 up to 4.45 could be special ordered.
The red letter and black background "Gran Sport" emblems
were initially small 3" x1 ½." In mid December
1964 the emblems were changed to a larger 5 ¾" x1
5/16" size. The front emblems were mounted with studs onto
the front fenders below the Riviera script. The rear emblem was
mounted on the right side of the rear deck, below the Riviera
script. When the larger emblem was used it was mounted on the
left side of the rear deck. It should be noted that the 1965 was
the only year in which Gran Sport was spelled out and the only
one to use rear emblems.
The glove box emblem also included "Gran Sport" next
to the typical Riviera script. The wheel covers that came with
the package were the standard cap with a large spinner attached
to the center. The medallion used in the center of all 65 wheel
covers and chrome wheels was black with silver "R"
The Ride and Handling package was commonly used on the
Gran Sport, but was a separate option. The modified steering improved
the turning ratio from the standard 17 ½:1 (approximately 3
¼ turns) to a 15:1 ratio ( approximately 2 ½ turns).
The springs were stiffer and caused the car to sit an inch lower.
The shocks were firmer, causing different weight distribution. Although
it has been suspected that the front and rear stabilizer bars and
bushings may have been stiffer, this cannot be confirmed. Since most
cars have by now received new springs and shocks the handling is based
on the replacement parts.
In 1965 Buick built 34,586 Rivierias, of these: 28,467
were equipped with the standard 401 ci engine (LT), 2,311 with the
optional 425 ci (LW) and 3,808 with the Super Wildcat 425 dual 4 bbl
(LX). There were 3,354 Gran Sports built in 65. The remaining 454
dual four engines were installed in standard Rivieras as an A-8 engine
option. The A-8 option was also available on the, Wildcat and Electra
225. I do not have productions figures for the Wildcat or Electra
225 with the A-8 option.