Why I Love The Buick Grand National

Why I Love The Buick Grand National

The Buick Grand National (and T-Type), was only manufactured from 1982-1987 and the recognizable black out version was only from 1984-1987.

But the car has a cult following, excellent value and is a true collector car.

When I was 10 years old, 30 years ago I found out about the Grand National, from my late father, a hard core General Motors man and excellent mechanic. He bought me a poster of a Grand National to put in my room. I still have that poster, it’s now in my garage.

The car is the best of both worlds in the muscle car world. It has the high tech McLaren turbocharged 3.8 liter engine that whupped anything at the time.

In 1987 the legendary GNX was the fastest production car in the world.

But it’s also a big, heavy GM car that has serious speed and luxury or as Buick says “fast with class”.

Back in the 80’s smaller, sports cars (“pocket rockets”), were the rage and I later had later had my dad’s 1986 Nissan 200SX and it was great. But there is nothing like “Detroit Iron.”

A menacing all black car that looks the part of the antagonist.

See I’m too young to have lived through the muscle car era of the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

I showed up in 1976 and the oil crisis had happened, insurance companies buckled down on automakers and safety regulations ended the free love of fast cars.

Now my dad did have a 1967 Camaro that we worked on for years but never got it right. But a lot of sweat, oil and parts went into that car.

But I saw a glow in my old man’s eyes with that car and in the evenings with the hood under the flickering, fluorescent lights there was magic in that engine bay.

I never forgot that.

And for Buick to make a new car that out ran a Corvette and Iroc-Z Camaro of the time and look cool doing it, man that car just had me.

I didn’t have posters of girls on my wall growing up, it was cars.

The Grand National and next to it the Pontiac GTA Trans AM (which the 1989 Indy Pace Car had the Grand National engine), were my “hot models”. I still have the GTA poster in my garage too.

Over the weekend I went to a Grand National Show at a north suburban hotel (Holiday Inn in Itasca), and with the pending storms the turnout was low.

I had emailed with the organizer whom said the previous year there were over 100 cars. On Saturday there was about 30.

But the die hards that showed up saw a nice lineup of unique cars.

I drove in to the front of the hotel and it’s how I imagine the parking lot in heaven looks like, three rows of 30 year old, meticulously maintained turbo Buicks.

Though I’ve never owned a Buick (much less a Grand National), I’m a fan and so were the other fans who showed up.

People wore Grand National shirts (yes I have a Grand National Polo and represented), I saw a guy with a t-shirt of “Black Air”, the documentary a few years ago made about the Grand National. Yes I’ve not only seen it but purchased that film on iTunes.

There were representatives there from the local Grand National club, a DJ and food.

It reminded me of the Star Trek convention I attended over 20 years ago. Dedicated fans who know their stuff and have a genuine appreciation for their hobby.

It was nice to spend a little time with like-minded folks and get to really enjoy these cars.

I’ve been to a lot of car shows but never one of this genre but for a few hours off of Route 53, it was a little bit of heaven for the black cars on blacktop.

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