Monday, July 18, 2016

Personal luxury sleeper from the go-go '80s

Way out on some side street in deepest Brooklyn I passed this primer Regal. Then I noticed the black bumper and decided to pull a quick u-turn to satisfy my curiosity. I'm glad I did!
Would you believe that this was the fastest production car in the U.S. back in 1987? Not only that, but it managed the feat with a V6 engine!
What we have here is a 1987 Buick Grand National that started out wearing shiny black paint all over. This was the final year for the Grand National high performance package based on the Regal. All Grand Nationals sported a turbocharged V6 engine that could (and did) blow the doors off of any V8 powered car of the same year. Even the Corvette couldn't keep up on the dragstrip and that car is made of fiberglass! The Buick GN is old tech; big steel body on a full frame, and an engine up front powering the rear wheels.
There's that proud little emblem extolling the virtues of an under-4 liter engine!
Buick had been experimenting with turbos on their cars since the late '70s. In 1979 you could've walked into a Buick dealership and purchased a Century Turbo Coupe or a turbocharged LeSabre. The Century was a good idea but the LeSabre was too big and weighty for that first generation engine. This example from '87 featured an intercooler and other upgrades for a dramatic increase in horsepower and torque.
Finally in 1982 the GN was introduced looking much like the car above. In addition you could order a Buick T-Type which was a non-Grand National turbo Regal in white or gray. However the all shiny black GN stole the show. After a 1 year hiatus it would return from 1984-1987, with the most powerful and popular being the final year. There was a special top-of-the-heap GN in '87 called the GNX (the X stands for Experimental). At about 300hp and 420 foot lbs of torque they are the holy grail of all GN collectors. 
These wheels and the T-tops are hallmarks of a GN, as are the front and rear spoilers and the wing.
I'm not buying that single Georgia plate at ALL but if you want to park with impunity on the streets of Brooklyn 1 out of state plate is all you need. It somehow makes cars invisible to cops.
I tend to think this body style has held up very well in the grand scheme of things. It's boxy for sure but the long hood, short trunk look is a fine farewell to the cars of old. Almost immediately after this was built domestic cars took on the rounded, bulbous shape of the '90s. This still looks like a car from the previous 2 decades.
I figured I'd close this out with something I rarely do; post a photo from the internet. This is what the GN should look like; menacing, powerful, shiny, and BLACK. They never made tons of these and they've been popular since new so there are no real bargains out there. However you can probably find a decent driving example for under $10,000 and it will only go up.

No comments:

Post a Comment