Friday, August 26, 2011

More Reynolds Racers: 1968 GS400

Pop Kennedy and Pete Reynolds with the brand new 1968 GS400

One of the most important Buick racers in our history is our 1968 GS400. You will recall that the new 400 engine family made its debut in 1967, and which just happened to coincide with Pete Reynolds' two year cycle for the racing cars. But only one year later the totally restyled 1968 intermediates made their debut, so Pete retired the '67 and ordered a new 1968 GS400.

The car was registered on the Reynolds log book on January 23, 1968, It was painted in the same special gold color as the 1965s and 1967 had been, and was a very good looking automobile. These photographs were taken shortly after its arrival to the dealership. Pop Kennedy was very fond of this car because the restyled fenders would allow this one to run on wider racing slicks than the others (Pete Reynolds wasn't so keen on whacking the fender wells with a hammer, you know.)

Pop Kennedy and the new ride.

Pop and the kids- the '67, '65 and '68 Reynolds Buick racers.

This faded bottom photograph was hanging on the office wall of none other than Jim Bell himself and shows the 67 and 68 as the torch is being passed, and in the middle, none other than the second '65, which was purchased by Pop Kennedy himself in 1967. He loved the '65 and drove it for years.

The '68 is more significant to Buick than almost anyone else. Denny Manner, Buick Powertrain Engineer Extraordinaire was developing the high performance Stage 1 and Stage 2 engines and was banned from racing by GM dictate. But he was allowed to supply parts to outside racers for testing and validation, for example, Jim Bell at Kenne-Bell Racing. And so our '68 GS 400 became a very important link in the development of the ultimate Buick Gran Sports of the era. A beautiful car, which we remember with much affection.

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