Since American “big block” V-8s were largely extinct by the mid-1970s, Buick engineers experimented with turbocharging the 231-cubic inch V-6, and their first high-profile effort, a 307-hp Century in 1976, was the first V-6-powered Indianapolis 500 pace car. The chiseled lines of the new-for-1978 Regal helped Buick take the NASCAR manufacturer’s title for 1981 and 1982, and to celebrate, the first Grand National Regal appeared in 1982.
The option returned in 1984, now only with a turbocharged V-6 engine, an all-black exterior, aluminum wheels, special seats, high-performance underpinnings and unique badges. Steady development and intercooling raised output to 245 hp by 1986, creating America’s quickest production car.
As Grand National production neared the end, Buick authorized a limited run of 547 specials, designated GNX. Built by ASC/McLaren, the builders of the 24-valve Buick turbo V-6 engines for Indy, the GNX used a high-performance Garrett turbo, an improved intercooler, revised engine and transmission calibration and lower-restriction exhaust. Output jumped to over 276 hp with 360 ft-lbs torque. Larger tires, special alloy wheels, a rear-axle torque arm and a Panhard bar plus a stiffer frame were GNX-specific upgrades. Front-fender vents and special analog instruments completed the package, which also included a full load of factory options.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the he Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California, in October of 2010 at the Battersea Evolution, London and August 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
276 bhp, 231 cu. in. turbocharged and intercooled V-6 engine with sequential multi-port electronic fuel injection, GM Turbo-Hydramatic 200-4R automatic transmission with overdrive, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar, live rear axle with four-link rear suspension including coil springs and stabilizer bar, and front disc, rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 108.1".