On a Sunday morning in July 2015, I saw a Buick Grand National actually being driven. The silhouette was distinctive, even from a quarter of a mile away. Strangely, they look tall and even a little bit fragile nowadays.
“The hottest Buick this side of a banked oval.”
1984 was the first year that Buick offered a Grand National package for the Regal. The Regal T Types had debuted in 1983, but the Grand National definitely kicked things up a notch.
The star was, of course, the engine. For 1984, Buick’s turbocharged LD5 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 gained sequential fuel injection, bumping horsepower up from 180 bhp to an even 200 bhp. Paired to a four-speed automatic transmission, 0-60 came in a little under 8 seconds. Mileage was 18 city/22 highway by the standards of the day (16/20 by 2015 standards). With an 18-gallon fuel tank, range was between 290 and 325 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.
Standard mechanical equipment on the $13,400 Grand National (about $34,400 in today’s dollars) included power brakes, power steering, dual exhausts, performance rear axle, Gran Touring suspension, and P215/65R15 blackwall tires (a size still readily available) on black-accented 15-inch aluminum wheels. A Grand National‘s exterior equipment included a turbo “power bulge” on the hood, dual mirrors, dual horns, front air dam, rear decklid spoiler, and that distinctive black paint with black accents—responsible for the “Darth Buick” nickname. Air conditioning, Lear Siegler cloth/leather seats, a tachometer, a turbo boost gauge, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel were all included inside.
Optional equipment included dual remote sport mirrors ($30), electric rear defogger ($140), touch climate control air conditioning ($150), tilt steering ($110), power windows ($185), Twilight Sentinel ($57), and electronic tuning AM/FM stereo radio with cassette and graphic equalizer ($605).
Buick Regal Grand Nationals have what can only be called a fanatical following. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Grand National in #1/Concours condition is an astounding $39,900, with a more normal #3/Good condition car going for $14,100. Grand Nationals frequently show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. As I write update this blog entry in August 2020, there’s a 1985 with 28,000 miles available for $17,000.
I don’t have to tell you what color I want mine in.
Updated August 2020.