BUICK GRAND NATIONAL IN THE BEGINNNING Buick introduced the first Regal Grand National in 1982 to commemorate and cash in on their back-to-back Manufacturers Cup wins in 1981 and ’82 NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National Series. “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” was the order of the day. They weren’t black however. They were finished in light silver gray firemist paint with red pinstripes and “BUICK” in big lettering. These first-year GNs came with a non-turbocharged 4.1L V6 making all of 125hp. Of the 215 built in’82, 35 got the Sport Coupe Package which included the 3.8L turbocharged V6 good for a whopping 175hp. There were no 1983 Grand Nationals, because they changed the name to T-Type, all turbocharged 3.8s now making 190hp.
BUICK GRAND NATIONAL GOES ALL BLACK
The Grand National name returned in 1984, now without “Regal” in front of it, and from now on, all GNs would be painted all black. The 3.8L turbo V6 was now the only engine, and it was refined with sequential fuel injection, distributor-less computer-controlled ignition and 200hp. There was also a Turbo Regal offered that year, with the same drivetrain, but not all the other goodies. At 10 psi of boost (0.69 bar) the ’84 GN could do the quarter mile under 16 seconds, which was Corvette-territory in 1984. Tuners were getting them down into the 13‘s. Intercooling started in 1986, and by ’87 was generating 245hp (the same as a Corvette with a 5.7 liter V8) and 355 lb-ft of torque.
BUICK GRAND NATIONAL GNX
1987 would be the final year for the Grand National, and so a limited production GNX (short for “Grand National Experimental”) was specially built by McLaren and ASC at a price of $29,900, staggering at the time. Only 547 were sold. While still claiming the standard Grand National’s 245hp and an impressive 360 lb-ft of torque, the McLaren-tuned GNX was actually grossly underrated. Among other unique tuner-tweaks, the GNX had a torque arm mounted to a special GNX-only differential cover to increase traction. The rear suspension geometry was also altered by McLaren to enhance the traction and handling.