BUICK BADNESS CORRECTED
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.