Here’s Why Buick’s Darth Vader Car Dominates
The best muscle car that America has ever made does not even have a V8 for an engine.
For this week's "Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed" video from Donut Media the feature car is the Buick Grand National. The Buick Grand National got the nickname "Darth Vader" due to it's menacing dark look, but Donut Media's James Pumphrey gives you the details with hints at a future return.
The Grand National life started as a normal Buick Regal. Buick had won the NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National Series as Manufacturer Cup winners and as Pumphrey mentions and how performance cars used to sell: "What wins on Sunday sells on Monday."
From their success in 1982 Buick took 215 charcoal gray Buick Regal's to be fitted with the Grand National Package. The GN Package was mostly a appearance package. The cars were fitted with a 4.1 L V6 engine good for 125 horsepower and 205 foot-pounds of torque. Of the lucky 215, there were an even luckier set of 35 cars fitted with a turbocharged 3.8 L V6 engine good for 175 hp and 275 foot-pounds of torque.
It was not until 1984 the Grand National appeared as it is most known for, its all-black Darth Vader paint. The turbocharged 3.8 L V6 engine was the standard engine which included sequential fuel injection and computer controlled ignition giving the car 200 hp and 300 foot-pounds of torque.
In the Grand National's final year of production, Buick released the GNX, short for Grand National Experimental. The not so known bit is a partnership was made with McLaren. The 547 Grand National's picked to become GNX's were given a new interior trim package and sent off to be worked on by McLaren. McLaren fitted bigger turbochargers and bigger intercoolers among other performance changes. Buick underrated the car at 276 hp and 360 foot-pounds of torque, but as the car was performing quarter mile times beating Ferrari F40s and Porsche 930s at the time, the real figures surely were beating GM's jewel, the Corvette.
Hope is not lot with the Grand National ending for good. Recently GM has renewed the trademarks on "Grand National" and "GNX," only time will tell if we will see a performance car to fill the void of the Chevrolet SS leaving us.
Check out the video below and see why one of the best muscle cars America has ever made, does not even need a V8 to crush the competition.