Tag Archives: Buick
An overwhelming majority of sources assert that the Adam of the American muscle car species is the 1964 Pontiac GTO. It was certainly the first muscle car to be marketed toward leadfooted baby boomers, but it was not the first high-performance American passenger car. Nor was it the first American car to combine one of its maker’s big car engines with one of its small car body and chassis.
In short, the history of the muscle car stretches back many years before the O.G. Goat showed up. Just how rich is that history? Take a look at the following 10 factory hot rods and we think you’ll agree it’s pretty doggone rich.
If you wind the clock back to last weekend, you’ll see that we ran a feature on a 1987 Buick Grand National for sale on Long Island. We explained how the GN came to be one of the most formidable vehicles of the muscle car renaissance of the 1980s, and also mentioned how even it was put in the shade by a rare, one-year-only super Grand National called the GNX. The following is its story; by the time we’re done, you’ll understand why we can’t possibly not add it to our fantasy collection.
By the mid-‘80s, the Buick Grand National (and the various other turbocharged Regal coupes that were essentially identical, save for different wheel styles and a choice of interior and exterior colors) was on many a car nut’s radar. Unfortunately, the rear-wheel-drive G-body platform on which the Regal (as well as other GM models like the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Chevrolet Monte Carlo and El Camino, and the Pontiac Grand Prix) was set to be replaced by the thoroughly modern, front-drive GM10 platform beginning in 1988. Buick could have adapted the Grand National’s turbocharged 3.8L V6 to mount transversely and power the front wheels, but it also knew such a car would have been atrocious from a driving dynamics standpoint, particularly with the same kind of power levels the intercooled ’86 and ’87 models were making. So the painful decision was made that the 1987 turbo Regals would be the last; however, work began in earnest on making sure they went out with a bang.