Buick Grand National

In recent years Buick became an automobile brand associated with older people, who prefer traditional reliable cars. It is almost hard to imagine that decades ago Buick actually built high performance vehicles which the entire generations adored.

In the 1980s Buick Grand National was the flagship muscle car that Americans dreamed of driving. Advertised as a working man's supercar, it was actually a tuned up version of Regal model. In 1982 Buick intended to profit from the NASCAR Grand National Series by producing a limited 215 Regal Grand National vehicles.

With the classic red pinstripe, fundamental grey paint, blacked out wheel openings and rocker panels, it made a positive first impression. As an interesting fact, in 1983 not one Regal Grand National was built, since the company had been investing all their efforts in the development of what would become the true Grand National.

Buick classic turbocharged model became a reality in 1984. The exterior design wasn't anything special for those days, the whole car was finished in jet black. Certain elements such as the grille and Power 6 badges in the fenders and wheel centers hinted Buick.

Interior was equally uniform, to suit working man image. The 1984 Grand National performance was based on a 3.8L turbocharged V6 engine capable of generating 200 horsepower. Engine included an electronic waste gate control for adjusting the engine boost. Engineering ingenuity made this little V6 able to compete with bigger and more popular V8 engines of its time.

Tests showed 15.9 seconds for a quarter mile run, in comparison to Chevrolet Camaro at 17.0 or Chevy Corvette at 15.1 seconds. The model also had for the first time a computer controlled sequential fuel injection system that handled fuel management. With only 425 produced, optional T-Top Grand Nationals are some of the rarest on the market.

Buick made first major changes two year later by adding air-to-air intercooler, adjusting the turbo while modifying the upper and lower intake manifolds and redesigning the exhaust system. These modifications were aiming for a strong power increase, the new boost totaling engine performance at 235 horsepower. This meant Grand National could now reach 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, making the quarter run test faster than Corvette.

There were a few minor design changes as well, like revised front air dam and modern grille with vertical bars. Despite the 20,193 Buick Grand National models sold, 1987 was the last year of production. Power was enhanced again to 245 horsepower while a flashy new detail was completely new set of chrome wheels. Buick wanted to go out in style, so they introduced the limited edition GNX.

Heavily modified with Garrett air-to-air intercooler and a special Garrett hybrid T-s turbocharger, GNX had significantly decreased the turbo lag time. The turbo included special low drag and dynamic turbine shaft seals as well. To handle new 275 horsepower and stunning torque, entire vehicle was strengthened. Only identification on the black exterior were small GNX badges placed on the radiator grille and rear deck lid.

A special numbered plaque was mounted on the passenger side dash was installed to prevent fakes. Final price of Grand National GNX was amazing $29,900 from which the option itself came at $10,995. In any case, Buick Grand National is a piece of brilliant engineering which remains collector community favorite to this day.

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