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Buick Grand National 1987 plus “T” type and the GNX

Buick saved the best until last. The Buick Grand National is a Regal; on the Regal platform and made from 1982 until 1987. The 1987 Grand National looks much the same as previous years, a vision of black, inside and out; with only some minor grill modifications to tell it from previous versions. There were 27,590 Turbo Regal models produced in ’87 and of those 1,547 units are a lighter WE4 (Turbo T) which is offered as an option package. The WE4 option differed from others in its weight-the bumper support brackets are aluminum and the rear brake drums are also aluminum making this version lighter and quicker. This version also sports an interior trim package, exterior badging, and special wheels, although there is the further offer of a rear spoiler but this was only available as a dealer installed option.

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The options vary greatly and are mixed and matched, so it is possible to see a Landau Limited edition with a vinyl roof sporting the LC2 Turbo option hood bulge. Very rare is a Turbo Regal Limited edition with only 1,035 to roll off the assembly line; although it is not as rare as the GNX version. Limited’s all come with a sumptuously appointed interior including deep pile carpets and thickly padded pillow seats. There is a choice of a bench style seating with a column shift available as well. These also vary between each unit with a chrome exterior trim package being a fairly commonly chosen one. Another thing on the table is the “black out” option for the interior-for an extra 35 bucks onto the bill if this exceedingly rare choice appeals to you . The production of the Grand National is extended into November ’87 just to meet the demand.

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Buick also introduces the limited production of 547 units of the GNX with a special interior package and performance upgrades. The interior of the GNX has a serial number on the dash, its own specific instrument cluster with analog Stewart-Warner gauges which includes a turbo-boost gauge. The “Grand National Experiment” (GNX) in 1987 has a sticker price of $29,900.00.

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This car is the Grand National to end all Grand National’s and is taken directly from the assembly line to McLaren Performance Technologies where the modifications are performed. The alterations include the addition of a Garret T-3 turbo charger with a ceramic impeller to blow though an enlarged ceramic/aluminum intercooler for the high performance engine. The car also gets a reprogrammed 200-4-R Turbo-Hydramatic transmission a custom torque converter with inter-cooler, differential cover with a panhead bar, with the high performance additions completed by the installation of the exclusive E-EPROM low restriction dual exhaust system. The panhead bar changes the suspension geometry and is for traction but uniquely GNX equipment. The GNX exterior has some distinctive attributes with vents installed on each front fender, 16 inch black mesh rims, VR-high speed tires, and the factory installed exterior logo’s and other markings are removed.

All the Buick line receives an under rated with a factory power rating for the GNX V6 placed at 245 hp (183 kW) and producing a formidable 360 lb-ft of torque. This car does a standing quarter in 13.2 seconds achieving 104 mph (167 km/h) and will do 0-60 (97 km/h) in 4.3 seconds  The prototype GNX #001 is still owned by Buick and can occasionally be seen around the US at varied events. The furtive GNX with its V6 appearing when V8 engines ruled the pavement.  The GNX, has given this all black car the moniker of “Darth Vader car”-arriving the same year as the movie Star Wars.


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I had three Oldsmobiles: 1954 Olds Super 88 with a 324 Rocket engine with a four speed hydramatic transmision; A 1964 Olds 98 with a 394 Rocket engine and a three speed Hydramatic transmission and a 1970 Delta 88 with a 350 Rocket engine and a three speed Hydramatic transmision. I worked for GM Hydramatic (now called Powertrain) for thirty one years and retired from GM in 2006. We had a museum in Hydramatic plant and saw all the Hydramatic transmissions that GM used in their vehicles. We also made transmisions for fifteen foreign makes including Rolls Royce, Ford, Jeep, Checker, Nash, Hudson, Volvo (at one time), Lamburguini, Studebaker, Jaguar and a short list of others. There is now a museum in Ypsilanti Michigan that features some of these vehicles and features the various Hydramatic transmissions that were used in these vehicles.

It can actually go for more than that

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Now cars all look alike and made out of plastic.

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