Return of the Buick Grand National and GNX

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Buick GNX 3This ain’t your old Granddaddy’s old Buick. The last two decades have seen this familiar General Motors line primarily relegated to early bird dinners, checker matches, and Saturday nights at the bingo hall but 2015 promises to get Buick performance back on the right track. In the mid-to-late 1980s Buick hit its stride not only providing the foundation for much of the performance technology used in today’s powerful cars but also accomplishing some pretty impressive feats of performance on and off the track.

Riviera touchscreenIn the middle of the decade the Buick Riviera shocked consumers with the very first interactive LED touchscreen in an automobile. It seemed so modern at the time, yet so primitive now. They also offered cars with such groundbreaking innovations as integrated cell phones, sequential electronic fuel injection, distributor-less ignition systems, and turbochargers with ceramic impeller wheels.

87 GNIn 1984, when Buick delivered a car V6 powered Grand National that could out do the GM flagship Corvette in the quarter mile, they created “We brake for Corvettes” bumper stickers. Turbocharged Buick V6s qualified in the top two spots of the 1985 Indy 500 and Buick built the fastest production American automobile in 1987; the turbocharged and intercooled V6 powered GNX.  In independent testing performed in May 1987 a Buick GNX laid down a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.7-seconds and ran the quarter mile in 13.5-seconds at 102 mph.

BuicksThere is something to be said about bloodlines, particularly where competitive automotive endeavors are concerned. Families like the Pettys, Earnhardts, Allisons, LaBontes, and Waltrips have proven that blood is thicker than water on the stock car circuit for nearly a half century. In the early 1980s, when Buick began to develop the technology that would give them a foothold in the world of performance engineering, a man named Lloyd Reuss sat at their helm as general manager. Currently the North American President of General Motors is his son, Mark Reuss. It is good to see that Mark has introduced some fresh Reuss blood back into Buick and we hope that his actions will continue to help GM as a whole.

15 Buick GNXIn 2015 Buick has plans to reintroduce these two stellar rear-wheel drive sports coupes on the GM Alpha platform used by the Cadillac ATS. The big V8 engines used in the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette and the Cadillac CTS-V will not make the 15 gn 2Buick Performance grade. In typical fashion they will opt for smaller, lightweight, four and six-cylinder turbocharged power. The Grand National will be available with either a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out 272-horsepower or a turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that makes 321-horses. The GNX will be offered with a single power-plant; a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter that delivers 400-horsepower making it the most powerful GNX yet. Manual and automatic transmissions should be offered in all models, with a new 8-speed Hydra-matic as the most logical choice.

15 Buick GNWe look for these new powerful American made automobiles to give the German contingent a run for the money. Buick’s cunning approach to low-cubic inch turbocharged horsepower should assist in fuel economy providing an additional selling point. If Buick should choose to equip the GN and GNX with an all-wheel drivetrain — look out Audi, the competition could get stiffer.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.