2015 Kuwait Concours d’Elegance – Muscle Cars Class Winners

By Auto News Log • March 8th, 2015

The 2015 Kuwait Concours d’Elegance was held February 11-18 at Marina Crescent on the Arabian Gulf in Kuwait City. Under the sponsorship and presence of His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Kuwait Historical, Vintage and Classical Cars Museum.

Since the first Kuwait Concours in 2010, Kuwait has fast become the ‘leading Classic Car Capital’ of the Middle East and linked Kuwait to the international classic car community. The Kuwait Concours has attracted the attention of major international and regional car collectors, enthusiasts and VIPs to display, compete and judge.

1st Place – 1972 Buick GSX Stage 1

The Buick GSX Stage1 was the optional high performance package available on the GS 455 starting in 1970. The GSX ornamentation package was a $1,100 option on the GS455. The GSX was made to attract attention, and to help showroom traffic in an effort to increase sales.

The GSX was Buick’s answer to Pontiac’s GTO Judge and Oldsmobile’s 4-4-2 W-30. Buick advertised it as “A Brand New Brand Of Buick” and “Another ‘Light Your Fire’ Car From Buick”. It was only available with the standard big block 455 engine or the optional Stage 1 engine the first year. It was not a very popular model, and only 678 GSXs were produced in 1970. Just 278 were equipped with the standard 455, a further 400 being equipped with the optional Stage 1 performance package.

The performance of a GSX (or GS) Stage-1 is comparable to that of the HemiCuda, but in a much more luxurious car. This is partly due to the light weight of the 455 which is roughly 150 lb (68 kg) less than the 426 Hemi or Chevrolet 454. The engine’s performance also relies on the tremendous torque this engine produces – 510 lb-ft (gross) at 2800 rpm. Production dropped in 1971 to only 124, and again to 44 in 1972. These numbers include the available 350-4 bbl option, the standard 455, and the Stage 1 engines.

2nd Place – 1970 Pontiac GTO The Judge

The 1970 Pontiac GTO model year received several updates. Hidden headlights were deleted in favor of four exposed round headlamps outboard of narrower grille openings. The nose retained the protruding vertical prow theme, although it was less prominent. While the standard Tempest and Le Mans had chrome grilles, the GTO retained the Endura urethane cover around the headlamps and grille.

The suspension was upgraded with the addition of a rear anti-roll bar, essentially the same bar as used on the Oldsmobile 442 and Buick Gran Sport. The front anti-roll bar was slightly stiffer. The result was a useful reduction in body lean in turns and a modest reduction of understeer.

Another handling-related improvement was optional variable-ratio power steering. Rather than a fixed ratio of 17.5:1, requiring four turns lock-to-lock, the new system varied its ratio from 14.6:1 to 18.9:1, needing 3.5 turns lock-to-lock. Turning diameter was reduced from 40.9 feet (12.5 m) to 37.4 feet (11.4 m).

3rd Place – 1973 Pontiac Trans Am SD-455

The second generation Pontiac Trans Am debut for the 1970 model year was delayed until February 26, 1970, because of tooling and engineering problems. Replacing the “Coke bottle” styling was a more “swoopy” body style, with the top of the rear window line going almost straight down to the lip of the trunk lid—a look that was to epitomize F-body styling for the longest period during the Firebird’s lifetime. The new design was initially characterized with a large C-pillar, until 1975 when the rear window was enlarged.

The 455 engine available in the second generation Firebird Trans Am was arguably the last high-performance engine of the original muscle car generation. The 455 cu in (7.5 L) engine made its first appearance in the Firebird in 1971 as the 455-HO, which continued through the 1972 model year.

In 1973 and 1974, a special version of the 455, called the Super Duty 455 (SD-455), was offered. The SD-455 consisted of a strengthened cylinder block that included 4-bolt main bearings and added material in various locations for improved strength. Original plans called for a forged crankshaft, although actual production SD455s received nodular iron crankshafts with minor enhancements. Forged rods and forged aluminum pistons were specified, as were unique high-flow cylinder heads.

Learn more about the Kuwait Concours d’Elegance and the Kuwait Historical, Vintage and Classical Cars Museum at:

http://www.kuwaitconcours.com.kw/

http://www.kuwaitcarmuseum.com.kw/

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