If you are reading this, you may be asking yourself: What even is the Buick Grand National? Well, my friend, you are in for a ride down memory lane, into the story of a car that shocked the scene of slick 80s vehicles and almost took it by storm.
In the 80s, everyone wanted a muscle car; everyone wanted a Camaro, a Corvette, or a Pontiac Firebird. That is until the Buick Grand National came into the picture. Buick is a company that prides itself on its class and comfortability. Many of their cars are large, curvy, and have a sense of luxury and safety. That is not the case for the Buick Grand National. While the Grand National is definitely a classy car, it exudes excitement and, dare I say, danger. The 80s culture of muscle cars was built around the idea of speed, adventure, and the squealing of tires spinning in place. And the Buick Grand National embodied this culture with absolute confidence.
Although it’s no longer available at your local Buick dealer, in this article, we will be talking about the Buick Grand National and its unforeseen rise to legendary status.
A History Like None Other
The history of the Buick Grand National is interesting, to say the least, but its roots are something you may be surprised to learn.
The Art of the Boy Scouts
That’s right, you read that correctly. In 1973, an up-and-coming engineer at Buick named Ken Baker embarked on a new project called The Boy Scout Explorer. The purpose of this project was to intertwine the art of the Boy Scouts into the design and engineering of Buick’s automotive craftsmanship. The outcome was a turbocharger fitted to Buick’s all-new, oil crisis-friendly 3.8-liter V6 engine, and the results of this were staggering. The power this produced was massive, and the idea of the Grand National was in motion.
The Work Along the Way
Now, this new V6 engine wouldn’t be given to the Grand National until its release in 1984. Before this, the engine was used in the unreleased Regal Grand National for racing purposes in the Manufacturers Cup. Until its release in 1984, Buick worked on tuning the engine and getting the image right for this masterful vehicle.
A Long-Awaited Arrival
Finally, in 1984, the Buick Grand National was released to the public. The public responded accordingly and accepted this new muscle car into their ranks. Everyone wanted the turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 with 200 horsepower and 300 lb of torque and great aesthetics. In 1984 and 1985, Buick produced just 4,102 and sold every single one.
When Corvette attempted to up their speed in 1986, Buick upgraded the engine to reach 235 with their all-new air-to-air intercooling. This allowed the Grand National to hit their zero to 60 in just 5.2 seconds. Not only was this an entire second faster than the V8 Corvette, but it was rivaling the Ferrari Testarossa, which was hitting their zero to 60 in 5.1.
In 1987, Buick decided to stop the production of this beautiful vehicle. But before they did, they built their strongest version yet, the GNX. The final horsepower reached 276, and the zero to 60 time was 4.7 seconds. Astonishing.
Looking back, it was the entire story of this vehicle that earned it the title of legend. Not only was it faster and more impressive than its peers, but it was one of the cheapest muscle cars available. Now that’s American.
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