“Granny” Is The Nickname Of This 1965 Buick GS

Each of the classic vehicles owned by Mike Peters of Burlington, CT has a nickname. His 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo goes by “Rodney,” while his 1968 Mercury Cougar is known as “Freddy.” 

Even his 1977 Datsun 720 pickup has a playfully scatological moniker, “Chitbox.” The reasons are “because it’s a tin can” and was acquired from the village of Chittenango, N.Y. 

Peters also has “Granny.” It’s a 1965 Buick Gran Sport muscle car that he’s owned for about five years. “I was saving for years to buy my dream car. I wanted a red car. I wanted a big block. I wanted AC. I wanted standard,” he recalled last fall.

Mike Peters and “Granny” – a 1965 Buick GS

The GS was purchased from a man in Mississippi. It has a 401-cubic-inch “nailhead” V8 engine and four-speed manual transmission. “This is a numbers matching, 80,000-mile original,” said Peters, who estimates that Buick only built 250 examples of the model in a two-door version with a four-speed and vinyl top.

“It really drives like a Buick. The Monte Carlo’s got it beat. The Monte Carlo you’re sitting in a couch, but it drives very well for the day,” said Peters. 

The 1965 model year was the first for the Buick GS, which was the brand’s response to Pontiac’s GTO. “It’s not quite a GS yet. It came out in ’65½. It’s on a Skylark platform, so it shares the Skylark VIN, but it has the GS badging which means it has a heavier frame, it has the big block whereas the Skylark would be a 350 (-cubic-inch engine).”

Peters attributes his love of old vehicles to his father and brother. When he was young, his father owned T.P. Auto Center in Burlington and used to build stock cars that raced in Plainville, Danbury and at Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass.

Peters wasn’t as hands-on as his father or brother. “I’m the floor sweeper and I just grew to love these cars. My father and my brother have passed away so when I go to shows … it’s a way of being with my family,” he said.

“Freddy” and “Rodney”

Giving his cars nicknames just sort of happened. Rodney came to be because of what would happen at cars shows when it was parked next to the GS. “People would walk by and even lean on the car to, say, take a picture of Granny, so I said, ‘Rodney doesn’t get any respect,’” he said, recalling the catch phrase of standup comic Rodney Dangerfield. 

Freddy’s name was inspired by the 1984 slasher flick “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” whose villain is the disfigured Freddy Krueger.  After all, “Krueger” and “Cougar” sound the same.

The origin of “Granny’s” name is obvious. “Gran Sport, Granny, and she’s the oldest one,” said Peters. He has owned the Monte Carlo the longest, though. He got it in 1979 for $600. “I never thought I’d still have it. I drive that all the time. Very happy with it. If you told me I had to get rid of all my cars, the Monte Carlo would have to stay,” he said.

Peters said he probably looked 2½ years before finding the GS and considered at least 3,000 candidates. It was a model that was overshadowed in the muscle car arena. “This is what grandpa and grandma drove to the grocery store. This is what they bought and that’s amazing to me because if you drove it or heard it, it’s like grandpa was like a gear-head,” he said.

Spending time in his garage is a common activity for Peters. “It’s connected to my house. I mean sometimes I’ll be out at two o’clock in the morning,” he said, adding that his devotion to his toys can be time consuming. “I would say close to 20 to 30 hours a week easily I’m playing around. Every week, if I’m bored. I just love it. 

“It gives back and I don’t have to do it for a living and it just gives me enjoyment. The hunt for the parts. Even looking at all the other cars and being in with all the other people, and the driving and going for cruises. It’s just for me, it’s what I live for really. That and grandkids.”

Check out the video of the 1965 Buick GS from RIDE-CT’s YouTube channel…

About Bud Wilkinson

Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" classic car feature in the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. A graduate of Vermont Academy prep school, he holds a B.A. degree journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University. He is the recipient of a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award in 1992 and a 1991-92 regional Emmy Award for commentary. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville and drives a 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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