The Buick Grand National is one of the most iconic of all ’80s performance vehicles, and among the quickest-accelerating cars of its era. In fact, it was able to outpace the Ferrari Testarossa, Porsche 911 Turbo, Lamborghini Countach, Chevy Corvette and many others in the 0-60 sprint, and was quicker than many of them in the quarter-mile.
All of this was due to the 235-245 hp (depending on year) 3.8L turbocharged and intercooler V6 engine under the hood, paired with the 200-4R and a 8.5-inch rearend with 3.42 gears. The ’86-87 examples were particularly the fastest, typically being somewhere in the 13.9-14.3 elapsed-time bracket in the 1320.’
Mind you, this was in the mid-1980s and this was a time where most mainstream performance vehicles like the OROC-Z and Mustang GT were mid-15 second cars, and the top speed of the Turbo Regals were electronically-limited to 124mph.
However, the aftermarket quickly divulged into these cars as incredibly as the Fox Body Mustangs, and it didn’t take much to turn a 14.2 time slip, into a 12.4. “Twelves for beer money” was the slogan made famous from an auto journalist of times past.
We’ve caught them on the road courses and drag strips across America, had some run-ins on the streets with them, as well as experience the unique soundtrack, the epic spooling and the incredible and surprising torque of the Turbo V6 in our own GN project car.
The owner of this one made some performance and suspension tweaks, and performed a complete restoration, as the result of an unexpected rear-end collision shortly after purchase. The car serves as a tribute to his departed younger brother, and while we could elaborate more on the back story of that, we’ll let him do so himself in the attached video above, courtesy of Combustion Chamber.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.