What mid 60's engine air cleaner said "Wildcat GS"

Discussion in ''Da Nailhead' started by musclecared, Jun 13, 2003.

  1. musclecared

    musclecared Veteran Muscle Car Driver

    I have one that came on my 66 Skylark GS "L76 Hi Perf Pilot Car" but have never seen this wording on another. Thanks for any help. Ed
  2. Dan K

    Dan K Well-Known Member

    Did you ever take a look to see if you have an MR, MT or MZ stamped on the right front of your engine block(right in front of the valley cover)? Just curious. Dan
  3. musclecared

    musclecared Veteran Muscle Car Driver

    Here's what the Build Sheet shows....L76 ENG HI PERF...The Engine Code block has "RM" x'd out and "RZ" typed in....At the bottom of the sheet it has "L76 PILOT Spec Build" typed in with "PILOT" written in big letters in black marker. The Engine # block is blank on the Build Sheet and there is no number on the block. This was one of 50 built for "Dealer Evaluation" (meaning Drag Strip image building in DS/A class vs GTO, 442, SS396, etc) by So Calif dealers and was not to be sold to the general public. This car was delivered to Terry Buick in Huntington Beach. Alice Terry wife of owner titled the car in her name. As far as is known all the rest were subjected to destructive engineering tests and then crushed by GM.

    Since it was prepared by Buick's "Skunk Works" for image building not sale, I have suspected that it might actually be a 425.....Thought the air cleaner wording might be a clue, but I haven't found anyone who can ID it yet.

    Buick has no knowledge of ever having an L76 Pilot program. I"m hoping someone here can help....Many thanks, Ed
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2003
  4. JohnK

    JohnK Gas Guzzling Infidel

    Dennis Manner is still around, and might be available for just such a question at Flint next month.
  5. Dan K

    Dan K Well-Known Member

    Very interesting engine code....The regular production motor had MR and the 11:1 motors had MZ. Yours must be something special. I would think the Z means 11:1 in either code, but nothing in my '66 collection refers to your car. Dan
  6. musclecared

    musclecared Veteran Muscle Car Driver

    Thanks for the reply, Dan....Yeah that engine code has me baffled too. I've never talked to anyone who has heard of it. The only mention I've ever seen of any "special" set-ups is in the April 66 Hot Rod Mag article "Blueprinting Buicks for Action" mentions a limited number of so-called ''Police Specials'' available to Buick dealers with 11:1, special high lift cam and Q-jet. Other than that, it was kept pretty quiet.

    The story I got was that the Buick performance guys in Flint wanted an image car to kick ass against the 3 deuce GTO, Chevelle SS396, etc on So Cal drag strips.....The result was too good and the decision from the GM ivory tower was to kill this Hi Perf Buick Pilot because the "performance'' marketing budget was committed to Pontiac....It's always sounded plausible to me, but who knows....All I know for sure is that there were a number of trick cars in that era from all of the manufacturers as they tried to one-up their competitors in the performance image race.

    Alice Terry thought enough of the car that she owned it for 22 years (66-88) and she could have had anything that Buick built. It's a great car. Was photographed last Fall for Hemmings 2005 Muscle Car Calendar....and, oh by the way, is REALLY quick...

    Keep smiling and driving those Buicks....Ed
  7. Dan K

    Dan K Well-Known Member

    Hi Ed,
    I own what I am pretty sure is one of the "Interceptors" that were referred to in the article you refer to. I spoke to Jim Bell about it some years back at a GS Nats after a few other '66 guys looked it over and referred me to him. He told me that he was pretty sure I was right, but to be honest, I haven't had the guts to search for the build sheet to confirm it.
    According to Jim Bell, there were only about ten of them made. Reynolds Buick got two of them, because they wrecked the first one. The first was white and the second cream colored, which they repainted white. They were all hardtops and automatics, save one, a 4-speed, that went to a guy in the midwest who wouldn't race an automatic. He said that they were stock bodied with no lightening tricks like acid dipping or alloy panels. He didn't remember who else got any of them, but that they were reserved for guys who raced Buicks across the country. In 1967, they had a similar deal, but called them "Woodward Avenue Specials." I guess in '68, they settled on "Stage 1"
    I don't know if your car is considered one of the Interceptors, perhaps being far more special, or an engineering toy that they used to develop the Interceptors. Mine has a build date of 05A, first week of May. Jim thought that was about right and thought they all had been built in a few weeks of each other. I know it's not much to go on, but it's all I've been able to find out that is worth passing on. Dan
  8. musclecared

    musclecared Veteran Muscle Car Driver

    Hey Dan.....Wow that's neat that you have one of the Interceptors....I didn't realize there were only ten made. Do you have a copy of the Hot Rod Mag article?....If not e-mail me your address and I'll make a copy for you....

    My Build Sheet has a date of 2-21 at the top so it is possible that it was an early test of your car...or could be totally different...so many games were being played by the factories with no records kept .....seems a shame now but guess it was a case of "don't ask, don't tell"....They were all pretending to be concerned about excess horsepower from a PR standpoint, but also understood very clearly the "Win on Sunday / Sell on Monday" concept.

    I will try to take a picture of the Build Sheet and post it, but I am seriously tech challenged so may not be successful.

    By the way you can see the car at http://www.ohioconcours.com/2000/index.html .... just click on American Performance 61-71 and click on the car.

  9. Dan K

    Dan K Well-Known Member

    Hi Ed,
    I checked out your car's pics a long time ago, and have been following your posts around the web. I am glad you decided not to sell it. It is very likely one of a kind, especially with the phrase "Pilot" attached to it. I think you really should contact Dennis Manner about it. I am sure he will remember it, especially if it was an engineering toy. Make haste, though. He is getting older, and is a treasure trove of Buick information from the musclecar era. Dan
  10. musclecared

    musclecared Veteran Muscle Car Driver

    Thanks, Dan...Do you know how I could contact Dennis Manner? I could send him copies of what I have.....Yeah, I'm glad I didn't sell the car last year too...A moment of weakness with two kids in college to pay for....You know it's funny, I had it priced WAY too cheap in hopes one of our GS cult friends would give it a good home, but everyone thought I was lying about the car and trying to screw them...Thank goodness I came to my senses and took it off the market!.......Wish I was closer to TX...would LOVE to see that cool collection of great GSs you have.....Keep smiling and driving those Buicks....Ed
  11. Dan K

    Dan K Well-Known Member

    I am not sure how to get in touch with him, but I know there are some on the board who know him well. You might post a request in the Bench section.
    As for people thinking you were lying, I am sorry to hear that. I didn't. I just don't have the spare cash lying around. My collection is more "in the making" stage. All of them need varying degrees of work, because I drive them regularly. It seems they all need a few nicer pieces of trim or paint or, or, or.......but they sure are fun. One thing I have never understood is the low values of our cars, compared to the cost of parts. I can buy them very reasonably, but I have to get a second job to fix them up.If your car with its provenance was a '66 Chevelle SS, it would be on the front cover of Car Craft, etc, and would command 100K to the Chevy faithful(where do the Chevy, Chrysler and Ford guys get all that money, anyway?) Be that as it may, there are very few truly "special" cars out of the many thousands built each year, and yours is doubly so, because it's a Gran Sport, and a Pilot car. I think of the guys shelling out 120K for the exclusivity of owning the newest Eurotrash leathernaut, and only have to open my garage door to know I've got them all beat. I and my bank account rest easy every night.
    If you ever make it to Texas, give me a shout, and we'll solve the world's problems over a plate of BBQ and a schooner of Shiner beer. Cheers, Dan
  12. txgwildcat

    txgwildcat Well-Known Member

    Which Nailheads had the specially ported heads?
  13. Dan K

    Dan K Well-Known Member

    I think you may be referring to the D-port heads. They were more or less an experiment that wasn't really successful. They weren't ported, but had a redesigned exhaust runner, that I think was only marginally better than stock. As far as I know Buick didn't make an exhaust manifold specifically for them. I don't know if they were even offered on any production cars.
    Buick also made a few pairs of aluminum heads that weren't available to the public. Carmen Faso knows where at least one of the sets is, and he said it's not for sale(as of about twelve years ago. I don't know if they were ported, but they sure would look good on my car. Dan
  14. DualQuad55

    DualQuad55 Well-Known Member


    YOu are correct on the "D" port heads athough they did manufacture special manifolds for the heads I can only imagine how rare they were:eek2: ) I heard that there were something like 47 sets of heads produced(don't know how many exhaust manifolds).

    My father had a set of the heads in the late 60's but never got around to using them and sold them to someone in the Detroit(?) area back then...If I only had them now:stmad:

    I know of a guy who has some aluminum heads he is planning to use in Mass. and have heard of at least one set a guy has out on Long Island but is keeping for whatever reason.

    Wish I had some...:rolleyes:
  15. txgwildcat

    txgwildcat Well-Known Member

    Yes. When were they made?
  16. Kiloton

    Kiloton 1966 Skylark GS

    Wildcat GS

    Regarding the original question about an air cleaner marked "Wildcat GS". There's a book which contains all of the old writeups about Gran Sports. In the 1966 section, they had an old article entitled "Tale of two Buicks" in which they compared a stock GS to one that was worked (heads, headers, 4.11 gears, slicks,etc etc. The worked one had that air cleaner. I never saw that emblem on any other GS.
  17. wkillgs

    wkillgs Gold Level Contributor

    Wow!!, Awesome car!!! Wish it was mine!
    As far as I know, the 'Wildcat GS' logo came on the optional Q-jet carbed models. I've seen it pictured in a few old road tests...
    Motor Trend July 1966
    Modern Rod March 1966
    Car Craft May 1966
    I also have one on my MU code GS.
    There was a mid year 'A9' option which included the Q-jet, special distributor, and different cam. Cost was a whopping $26.14 extra...:pp
    There were 132 (or 136?...I'll check) cars with this option. This number was confirmed by Roberta thru the Sloan Museum...
    However, there was a 10.25 CR (code MU), and a 11.0 CR (code MS) version available, so I don't know which were included in the production numbers given....
    There was a car on the GSCA board which was supposedly one of 13 cars built with a special stroked 401....I wonder if yours is one of those???? I think that thread is dead, but I did save a few pics.

    Wanna trade???
  18. musclecared

    musclecared Veteran Muscle Car Driver

    Thanks for the info kiloton and Walt....It's info like this that's helping me slowly piece this whole story together...Walt, your the first person I've found who had ever even seen that Wildcat GS air cleaner....Can you imagine that A9 option for $26.14?...Heck you have to shell out almost that much for a good pair of fuzzy dice today...You could by all the car you could handle for less than $3500...Sounds like a great collection of cars you have,,,would love to see some pics...Let me know if your "Rosetta Stone" is able to crack the code anymore for me....Best regards, Ed
  19. Babeola

    Babeola Well-Known Member

    Stroker Engine

    I saved the pictures of the stroker on the GSCA site. I also saved the write up somewhere on one of the computers around here. Attached is a picture of the engine compartment as he found it with a spun bearing in storage. Note the wording on the aircleaner. :Brow:

    Cheryl :)

    Attached Files:

  20. musclecared

    musclecared Veteran Muscle Car Driver

    Thanks, Cheryl!.....That's it...the same as mine...I took mine off because it had the typical 35+ years of wear and put on a new re-production 445 decal.....It's printed on pretty heavy aluminum and was glued on to the air cleaner....It's in perfect shape except for the wear spots...Maybe I'll luck out and find someone who can restore it....I'd love to find out more about the car in the picture... Thanks for your help....Ed

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