The Fastest U.S. Production Car
by Scott Bianchi
1987 Buick Grand National, picture courtesy of Scott Bianchi
Back in 1987 the fastest U.S. production car ever to be produced was the Buick Grand National/GNX. I have owned three turbo Buicks in the past. They are a really fun car to drive. If you have never driven one, but you are looking for a new toy car to buy, you should really consider one of these. If you have $50,000 you could buy a GNX, other than that you should look into a Grand National or a Turbo T.
What is great about these cars? Easy, their drive train. Other than the drive train, this is no different than you ordinary GM car of the 1980's. The quality of the vehicles leaves a lot to be desired. The paint was poor quality, especially on the Grand Nationals. Depending on how they were maintained and cared for you could often find stress fractures in a couple of places around the car. Some of the interior parts are subject to being torn based on wear and tear, if not cared for very well.
Having said all of that I am still a big fan of these cars. I wanted one ever since I was I was a teenager and they were new in the show- rooms. While most people think they are ugly "old man cars" I have always liked the look of the G bodies from GM. I think the Grand National is a very sharp car. Unlike most sports cars, which are typically cramped beyond belief, the turbo Buicks are roomy, comfortable, and can fit a family of five, even if you need car seats. You cannot say the same for their relative the 1989 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am. The turbo Buick also possesses a large trunk for carrying cargo. You can get them with a moon-roof or T-roofs.
Regardless of what you have to say about their looks and build quality there is no disputing the fun you have driving one. Hearing the wooosh of the turbo as you hit the gas and you pull by whatever car is next to you. And, that is all in the stock form. There is a large aftermarket for these cars as well. With a minimal amount of money you can put some modifications on the car that will increase the power to jaw dropping levels. Jaw dropping for anyone that has never been in one that is. If you are the owner/driver then you just have a smile smeared from ear to ear for hours after you park the car for the night.
I have driven muscle cars in the past. I drove my friend's 67 Barracuda with a 340, his dad's 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner with a 383, my cousin's 1970 Chevy Chevelle with 550 hp under the hood. I also owned a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere in the past. All I can say is this 3.8 liter, six cylinder, turbocharged G body is more exciting to drive than any of the others. Some of the "muscle car purists" are laughing at me for sure. There are still some people out there that would not consider the turbo Buicks a muscle car simply because it is a six cylinder. They clearly have not driven one and they certainly haven't driven one with any modifications.
Jack Cotton is a well-known turbo Buick mechanic throughout our country. He has a turbo Buick that consistently runs high 8 second quarter miles at the track. He has a video on his website, www.cottonsperformance.com, of his car doing a wheelie off the line. His car is no longer street legal but it is still a six cylinder running those times. There are plenty of street legal turbo Buicks out there running 9 and 10 second mile times. If you would like more information on these cars feel free to check out the most popular of the turbo Buick forums, www.turbobuick.com.
Whether you like these cars or not I recommend one thing to you. If you pull up next to one of these cars at the next red light, don't take them lightly. If you are one of those people, like me, that like to race people at red lights make sure you are aware of what you are up against because you may end up looking like a fool. And one favor to ask before I go, please do not call them Monte Carlo's because they aren't.
About the Author: Scott Bianchi operates http://www.best-internet-bargains.com . He writes on a variety of topics. If you would like to be added to his distribution list for his new articles when they are published just send an email to email@example.com
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