1987 Buick Regal GNX (Special)
For the final year of Regal production, in 1987, Buick introduced the limited production GNX, for \"Grand National Experimental\", at $29,900. Made in partnership with McLaren Performance Technologies/ASC, Buick produced only 547 GNs with the interior trim package, that were then sent off to McLaren and upgraded into the Buick GNX. Buick underrated the GNX at 276 hp (280 PS; 206 kW) @ 4,400 rpm and a very substantial 360 lb⋅ft (488 N⋅m) @ 3,000 rpm of torque, although actual output is 300 bhp (304 PS; 224 kW) and 420 lb⋅ft (569 N⋅m). This was created to be the \"Grand National to end all Grand Nationals.\" Changes made included a special Garrett AiResearch T-3 turbocharger with a ceramic-impeller blowing through a more efficient and significantly larger capacity intercooler with a \"Cermatel (ceramic-aluminum) coated\" pipe connecting the intercooler to the engine. A GNX specific E-EPROM, low-restriction exhaust with dual mufflers, reprogrammed turbo Hydramatic 200-4R transmission with a custom torque converter and transmission cooler, and unique differential cover/Panhard bar included more of the performance modifications. Exterior styling changes include vents located on each front fender, 16 inch black mesh style wheels with VR-speed rated tires, and deletion of the hood and fender emblems. The interior changes of the GNX included a serial number on the dash plaque and a revised instrument cluster providing Stewart-Warner analog gauges, including an analog turbo boost gauge. Performance was measured faster than the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche 930 with a 1⁄4 mile (402 m) time of 12.7 seconds at 113.1 mph (182 km/h) (0.3 and 0.8 seconds quicker, 2.9 and 13.3 mph (21 km/h) faster) and a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time of 4.6 seconds (0.4 and 0.3 seconds quicker, respectively). GNX #001 is the 1986 prototype currently owned by Buick and sometimes makes appearances at car shows around the US. The GNX used a unique torque arm that was mounted to a special, GNX only, rear differential cover, for increased traction. The torque arm rear suspension alters the suspension geometry, making the body lift while planting the rear tires down, resulting in increased traction.
The stealthy appearance of the all-black GNX and Grand National (and the resemblance of its grill to his helmet\'s mouthpiece), coupled with the fact that the Grand National was initially released during the popularity of Star Wars movies, earned it the title \"Darth Vader\'s Car\". Car and Driver covered the GNX model\'s introduction with the headline \"Lord Vader, your car is ready.\" Due to the turbocharged six cylinder engine, the Buick make, and the black paint Grand Nationals were sometimes referred to as the \"Dark Side\". The \"Dark Side\" contrasted with the more common V8 Mustangs and Camaros that were popular at the time.