Muscle Car Review - - Letters -

Our in­ex­pe­ri­ence with Buick mus­cle shone through in our July is­sue, as er­rors were made in both the Read­ers Rides’ de­part­ment and our GNX fea­ture. Of the many read­ers who wrote to cor­rect us, Steven Cov­ing­ton, who used to be a tech­ni­cal in­spec­tor for the Turbo Re­gal classes at the Buick GS Na­tion­als, put it best. His clarifications are be­low.

Paul Vilser is a lit­tle off in his Read­ers’ Ride story. Both the 1987 GN and WE4 used the same col­ors and plas­tic ma­te­ri­als on the in­te­rior. The seat fab­ric is dif­fer­ent (black and gray Pallex ma­te­rial, trim code 893, for the 1985-1987 GN; the 1987 WE4 Turbo T uses a dif­fer­ent ma­te­rial, en­tirely gray, trim code 393). Other mi­nor items are dif­fer­ent, like the lower half of the con­sole is black on the GN. As to the alu­minum bumper braces RPO VD6 front and VD7 rear, those are de­ter­mined by the over­all weight of the ve­hi­cle. Most (but not all) Grand Na­tion­als have the steel bumper backs, but I’ve seen a few alu­minum ones. As for the alu­minum rear brake drums, that was de­ter­mined by whether or not the car was or­dered with lim­ited slip (RPO G80). If the car has G80, it got the cast-iron brake drums (RPO J41). If it does not have G80, it got the alu­minum rear brake drums. The or­der form for both the WE4 and the stan­dard 1987 model year GN had the op­tion for the G80; only the late pro­duc­tion (af­ter Au­gust 3, 1987) GN had it as a re­quire­ment.

The late pro­duc­tion cars had just four op­tion pack­ages, no add or delete op­tions as ear­lier. You couldn’t even get the WE4 or any other kind of rear-wheel-drive Re­gal for that mat­ter. These cars were sim­ply called Buick Grand Na­tional. For ear­lier cars, the Grand Na­tional was an op­tion pack­age (WE2) on the Re­gal.

Now on to the er­rors in the story on GNX 003 (“Im­pres­sive GNX”). The com­pany that pro­duced the GNX was Au­to­mo­tive Spe­cialty Com­pany, a di­vi­sion of ASC Inc. The stan­dard out­put for the turbo mo­tor for 1987 was 245 hp and 355 lb-ft; the GNX got a ce­ramic turbo with con­tam­i­na­tion trap and was rated at 276 hp and 400 lb-ft. The rearend ra­tio is 3.42 (RPO GU6), not 3.73. The RPO code T2L had noth­ing to do with the han­dling pack­age, it was in­ter­nal cod­ing for the GM as­sem­bly line at Pon­tiac, Michi­gan, for the spe­cial build for the GNX.

The GNX sus­pen­sion and ex­haust mod­i­fi­ca­tions were ac­tu­ally done at ASC, not the GM as­sem­bly line. And Ge­orge Lyons has the in­cor­rect oil fil­ter on his car. It ap­pears to be a PF52; the cor­rect fil­ter should be a PF47. Most peo­ple do use the PF52 for in­creased fil­ter ca­pac­ity.

Steven Cov­ing­ton

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