Cohort Classic: 1968 Buick GS California – Far From Home

The CC Cohort is full of goodies; way to many to all show here. But this rather battered survivor of a 1968 Buick GS California posted by jwflynn cannot be denied. Especially so since it’s so far away from its namesake state, having been found in Massachusetts. Only 4,831 of these were built in 1968, and apparently they were available nationwide the full model year or just the second half, having been CA-only in ’67 and early ’68. Given its survivor status, this is an excellent find. Let’s celebrate it!

The GS California arrived in 1967 as a stylish and but less overtly sporty alternative to the GS 400 and GS 340, which was adorned in bold stripes.

The GS California was a bit more subdued, for those wanting some of that sporty look bit not the kind that screams it, as was becoming the style.

I searched in vain to find an ad or brochure shot for a ’68 GS California. They were not in the ’68 brochure, but apparently a two-page foldout was issued when it went national in the spring of 1968. These are technically not true GS’s, as they are a package based on the Special DeLuxe (VIN43327) thin-pillar coupe, and have a GS hood, badges, trim, HD suspension and the 350-4V engine. They are not the same as the GS 350, which had its own codes, although it shared engines and the HD suspension.

The GS 350 was a fairly bare-bones muscle car, in the vein of the Road Runner, although not really competitive with it. The GS California came standard with an automatic (ST 300; THM 350 in ’69), vinyl top, styled steel sport wheels and unique trim. Apparently option choices were limited; the idea was to create a package without the need for a lot of tailoring.

This poor car got hit pretty hard in the ribs, but that’s hardly a fatal blow. Whether it will ever get fixed is another matter.

I’ve never been a fan of Buicks’s take on the ’68-’69 A Body coupe, as it looked too fussy at the rear and a bit heavy on the sides due to those large hips and low-cut rear wheel openings. But it’s still good to see one doing battle on the streets.