A Good Year: Do You Conform With These Rules?

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Like fine wines and their ‘good years’, a car’s desirability can also be signified by its year of manufacture. Just as a season of perfect weather conditions grace the land, producing palate-tantalising grape nectar, car designers manage to merge the combination of curves, lines and technological advancements to create an automotive ‘good’ year.

One of the finest years has to be 1957, a year Chevrolet nailed the Bel Air pictured above. Out of all the automotive TV programs I watch, “57” comes up the most. It’s not surprising, either; just look at the combination of curves and lines and the way it’s a fairly compact car but features those glorious fins.

This article features American cars because, although Euro and Japanese cars have their ‘good’ modes, they are defined more by their chassis number, spec and ‘facelift’ improvements.

1962 Ford Thunderbird

1962 Ford Thunderbird

Take the Ford Thunderbird above, for example, one of my favourite looking cars. Despite it being in my top 5 garage, I could only have one from 1961-63 because of those rear afterburner tail lights. American cars seemed to change their looks considerably over a short period of time, whereas the rest of the world hang on to their chassis number longer and work on technology and subtle design improvements.

1963 Corvette

1963 Corvette

Another extremely desirable car is the 1963 Corvette Stingray for the simple reason ’63 was the only year Chevrolet produced the rear split-screen.

1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

In 1970, after Plymouth had a redesign on their Barracuda, shifting it away from resembling their Valiant design, they built a limited number Hemi ‘Cudas, a car now highly sought after because of its place and heritage in the 1970s muscle car story.

Last but not least… 1987… the Buick GNX. How could Gargling Gas not feature its all time favourite car? After Buick transformed their rather bland Regal into a turbocharged monster in 1984, calling it the Grand National, just three years on saw a farewell with their GNX, the X standing for ‘experimental’. This X meant 275-hp, a massively understated figure that left the GNX a must for the serious collector.

1987 Buick GNX

1987 Buick GNX

Of course, there are many more cars I could list, so forgive me for not listing them, but I’d be getting away from the point of my article:

So with my long-winded explanation that cars have their good years and all this talk of desirable models, do you conform to prescribed? Do you go along with these ‘good’ years, or do you like the ‘undesirables’, the ‘ugly ducklings’ you find alluring, looks that appeal to you simply because they tick all your personal boxes?

 

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CoPo Muscle Vs Evil Legend GNX

 

If you follow my blog, it’s fairly obvious which car wins it for Gargling Gas. The Buick GNX is my idea of heaven, both mentally, physically and even sexually.

Motor Trend  is a very good YouTube channel, the cars fantastic and the presenters knowledgeable and fair. I agreed the outcome was close on the two cars featured, especially as the 69 Chevelle was a CoPo boasting widow-making horsepower.

The match up was hardly old vs new, but the generation gap showed what a turbocharged V6 could produce. Don’t get me wrong, as I adore all muscle cars, it’s just the GNX was one of those bizarre releases from a company known for tame machines. If you lined up a bunch of muscle cars and suinted your eyes, the Chevelle wouldn’t stand out – the GNX, however, would be that streak of black, the Grim Reaper lurking in your peripheral vision.

Watch and enjoy the entertainment and great reviews.

Link

Why GM Need The Buick GNX Revived

If you follow Gargling Gas or you’ve skipped through some posts, you’ll know I love the Buick GNX from the various posts on it. In fact, “love” doesn’t even come close; the Buick GNX to me represents everything I adore about the automobile, a car possessing an aura that IS the spirit of Gargling Gas.

The Darth Vader car is unique in the fact it managed to eat muscle cars whilst bearing the badge of blue rinse and comfortable slippers. The GNX is all black and very sinister, its owners probably best left alone. It was a murder car before the term “murdered-out” was coined.  In the late 80s and early 90s (and even today), a GNX pulling up next to your Corvette or BMW M3 at a stop light would be a daunting experience – its unnerving presence is also backed up by a performance that’ll frighten a E46 M3 and terrify a Porsche Boxster S.

Anyway, here is yet another post I wrote on the GNX, a guest post for WhyDoes.com  – Why Does Luxury Marque Buick Plan To Re-release Its Black Sheep?

More GNX reading:

A GNX Dragged Back From The Dead

Buick Please Don’t Taint A Legend

 

 

The Creation Of Something Special In 1160 Pictures…

… special to me anyway. Search Gargling Gas for the Buick Grand National and you’ll find a fair few posts on my infatuation with it.

It’s not totally unrealistic to find a solid example and have it shipped over from the States for a reasonable price (£10-15K). Most sensible, and let’s face it, boring non-car people will probably cry, “An American muscle car in the UK? Are you mad?” Yes, probably, but then I could counter the remark with something like, “Wow, £5K on touching up the woodwork on your stairs”, or, “£25K for a small soundproof recording studio?” Each to their own and all that…

People spend out on the things that make them tick, whether it’s a giant train-set or a set of rare stamps, and everyone knows and accepts this. Except when it comes to cars (I’ve found) people are quick to comment, frown, stroke their metaphorical beard – or in the case of my mother-in-law, her beard. Non-car people suddenly turn into Jeremy Clarkson and offer advice based on a one car experience, whether it was their own, a family member’s or even a friend’s.

“Oh, you wanna steer clear of Fiats, mate. My sister’s cousin had one… nothing but trouble.”

“No, no no… I’d go with a turbo diesel. Reliable and just as fast as petrol engines. They’ve come a long way with those diesels, y’know.” Etc…

Now I’ve gone off on a tangent and will swiftly get back to what this post is about.

Today I found a great piece featuring a Buick GNX on the American Resto Mods website. Pictured above is a very tired 1987 Buick GNX exhumed from a Louisiana bog in 2011. The poor thing was left parked in the mud since 1991 – 20 years! Who would leave a four-year-old GNX – any car, for that matter – in the mud for two decades?

Thankfully, the mud being situated along the gulf meant enough oil content to prevent any serious rust. In fact, the important and structural parts of the car were solid, and apart from having to evict insects and mice from their cosy home, the Buick was great restoration material.

Click the link below, and in 1160 pictures, witness the love and dedication that transformed the above into the stunning example below.

1987 Buick Grand National Restoration

A few Gargling Gas Grand National posts:

Love At First Sight

Buick, Please Don’t Taint A Legend

 

 

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.