Buick, Please Don’t Taint The GNX Legend

When car companies decide to revive an old and popular model by building a ‘tribute’, they usually don’t do it any justice – it’s a bit like Hollywood rehashing a classic – think Gus Van Sant and his audacious yet appalling remake of Psycho.

One of my favourite cars (I’m going to own one to spank my midlife crisis into submission) is indeed the ’87 Buick GNX – I have professed my adoration for the Vader car in a previous post, Love At First Sight. The GNX is special in that is was unexpected and completely insane. Buicks weren’t and still aren’t known for power or outrageous styling; they were and still are comfortable and luxurious. When Buick released the Regal Grand National in 1982, the public took notice, and when Buick noticed the public taking notice, they upped the power almost every year until its final run in 1987 – the 87s are the most sought after because Buick wanted to bid the GNX farewell with a memorable send off, a special edition stroked by the McLaren brush and boasting a wildly underrated 245-bhp.

When Buick released the GNX, they gave birth to their black sheep of the fleet, a muscle car eater, a sinister machine fit for only Darth Vader, the choice of hitmen and serial killers.

Over the past year or so I’ve been following any news on the 2015 GNX, trying to find an accurate idea of what it’s going to look like – despite being released as a four door sedan and not like its coupe predecessor, I’d like to think it will resemble the picture above and the 2013 Regal GS below, because as far as modern designs are concerned, they looks pretty aggressive. Both the Grand National and GNX will be created on a RWD platform previously used by the sixth-generation Camaro and also the third-generation Cadillac CTS. Although concepts have varied, I know the figures are encouraging enough, but are they good enough to earn the GNX badge and status.

Owning a 2015 GNX doesn’t need to be the stuff of midlife crisis dreams either – the performance and looks will come cheaper than the 40s fantasy Porsche 911. Even if this is just out of reach, securing a car loan from a good bank will ensure the legendary GNX badge sits in your garage.

Casting the smaller engine options and models aside, the daddy GNX will have a twin-turbo 3.6-L V6. Phew, thank god they stuck with the V6 instead of using a V8. Twin-turbo is also good because it remains true to the original in that instead of using V8s like all the other muscle cars of its era, Buick decided to go with a V6 and a big turbo. The new model will possess around 400-bhp, but is this enough to challenge the likes of the Cadillac CTS, something Buick intended?

I personally don’t think it will live up to the GNX name in ground-breaking performance, but I do think Buick will create a great looking and fast sedan. The GNX will only come in black, just like its 80s daddy, so at least they’ve got that right. Perhaps if Buick found a few more horses and stripped away some of the weight using exotic materials (think BMW CSL), the GNX will be another Buick to remember. Okay, so it will push the prices up shedding weight, but it’s not like there’s going to be a shortage of people lining up to buy the new GNX.

 

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Love At First Sight: Buick Grand National

I’m a 35 year old man who’s feeling like a teenager because of a car. Thanks to this 80s piece of automotive evil, I’m in love, bowled over, but I fear she’s a little out of my league. You see, she’s younger than me, outrageously sexy, and she’d eat me for breakfast. But a man can dream, right?

The car in question is the all black Buick Grand National. For the mid-eighties, this 3.8-L Turbo V6 could hit 60 in 4.8 seconds – that’s fast by today’s standards. She could murder Corvettes and beat the Ferrari Testarossa. But let’s forget power, as her reputation is one of pure street racing slaughter.

Just look at her – damn it, I haven’t felt this away about a car since the Mk 1 Dodge Viper. People say she’s a sleeper but I’m not so sure. I think this Grand National looks like it means business, and only people with pure menace in mind would buy one of these black bullets. But then considering the mean looks, people still wouldn’t guess as to how fast this car actually is. It looks like it could hit 60 in around 7 to 8 seconds, not 4.8. Nearly 3 decades on and I could list a lot of modern cars slower than this gorgeous Buick:

Porsche 911 Targa 4

Porsche Boxster S

Honda S2000

Subaru Impreza WRX

Mitsubishi Evo VIII MR FQ-300

Audi TTS Roadster

Toyota GT86

And so on…

So you get an idea as to how revolutionary the Buick Grand National was for the early to mid-eighties.

 

The above picture is a superb example that captures the Grand National’s evil aura and menacing looks.

 

And as for her rear… perfect. I expect most people who dared to race her saw a lot of this back in the day.

The main question is: Do I dare even think about looking at prices etc? Well, it is cheaper than the Viper, a car not totally out of the question to own as a Sunday driver or show car. She’s definitely in my Top 5 now, and in a few years time and a little spare ££££, who knows? It could be the start of a very dangerous relationship.