In the last 28 years, Turbo Buicks have dominated the drag racing scene in such a way that no other vehicle can compare. Their quiet, turbocharged powertrain and stealthy appearance have cost countless of would-be opponents a lot of heartache over the last three decades.
Now before you try to stop me in my tracks by saying the LSX racing world can easily surpass the popularity and the overall presence of Turbo Buicks on the dragstrip, you have to remember that these cars were built in limited quantity for only a few years—at a time before a lot of our readership was even born.
If you think about it, how many niche performance cars from the 1980s still have such a massive following that there are entire racing events with specific classes just for every type of combination possible? With events like the GS Nationals that cater to the Buick enthusiast, it makes you wonder why there aren't any Mustang SVO or Chrysler/Shelby turbo car events on such a level.
Despite the fact that the number of these cars in existence dwindles with each passing year, their following continues to grow and thrive as time goes on. One of the gentlemen still waving the Turbo Buick flag proudly after all of this time is Gene Fluery. Being the co-owner of GN Northwest and having previously owned sixteen Turbo Buicks, he knows his way around a 1980s Regal like it's nobody's business, and this '87 WE4 is no exception.
That's right, what you're looking at on these pages is a legit, 1-of-1,547 WE4 Turbo-T—the rare, all-black Regal that was offered as a sort of "budget Grand National" in 1987, although it was still technically a Turbo-T. However, before you storm the doors of Gene's home for modifying a scarce and collectible vehicle to such extreme levels, you should know that this particular example was so thrashed upon purchase that if he hadn't picked it up six years ago, it would more than likely be a bumper on a Toyota Corolla by now.
What you have to understand about this car is that when Gene rescued it from certain death about six years ago, there was nothing left of the original drivetrain, the body was shot, and the then current owner had long since lost interest in the project. As Gene tells us, "It was junk. Only the quarters and the roof are original in terms of the body. But now it's totally straight, all of the lights work (including the turn signals), and I even drive it to work sometimes." Wait, what!?
OK, so let's get this straight: We're talking about an all-black Turbo Buick street car, right? So why is there a silver race car attached to these pages? Simple. Gene decided that despite the car's rarity, it's hard to stand out at the dragstrip with about 500 other black cars just like yours. So he took it upon himself to paint it a shade of Lexus silver. And why does it look like a race car? Well, because he has ran as quick as 7.55@185 mph thanks to over 1100 horsepower getting delivered to the rear tires—that's why. You can wipe the drool from your mouth now. Go ahead, we'll wait.
Fluery was quite mum on some of the details about his Buick, but what he did share with us was impressive, nonetheless. Where the LC2 once lived is a Buick Stage 2 block—stuffed with a Crower billet crankshaft, Oliver connecting rods, JE pistons and a COMP custom-grind camshaft that's also topped off with a set of Buick Stage 2 cylinder heads and a Hogan's sheet metal intake. This combination of parts puts the compression ratio at 9.5:1 and allows Gene to run big boost—but more on that later.
The pressurized V-6 is backed by a Reid Racing Powerglide with a 5,000 rpm stall torque converter supplied by PTC, and the power is then transferred to a Mark Williams chromoly driveshaft and into a Mark Williams Pro Mod 9-inch rear end with 4.10 gears and 40-spline gun barrel drilled axles.
Obviously a boosted Buick isn't one without a turbo, and Gene's WE4 relies on a Precision 47/88 snail with a cast wheel journal bearing that exhales through a pair of Shawn O'Brien headers and into an aluminum 5-inch downpipe through a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide oval shape outlet and the whole car sits on a SFI-certified 25.1 chassis that can take Fluery all the way into the 6's at 200 mph.
With a fortified bottom end, and the exhaust gases flowing with minimal amounts of restriction, the engine is capable enough to utilize 32 psi into the fortified six-shooter. Gene considers that quite conservative compared to some of his contemporaries who are pushing this V-6 Buicks down the strip with 40 psi or more. That amount of boost is enough to get it down the 1320' in such a short amount of time. It's even powerful enough to get him store.
If you think we're kidding, you better think again. Even though this car isn't his daily, it could very well be thanks to modern technology, excellent tuning, and superb craftsmanship. In fact, Gene backs this up with his actual daily driver—a 1987 Grand National that runs 9s.
Gene would like to thank a few people for making all of this happen. The most obvioius, his wife, Robin for putting up with his Buick hobby, his crew cheif, Ian Waco, for keeping the Regal in tune, along with Tim Levin, Shawn O'Brien, and Dave Lentz for helping Gene put this incredible monster together.
They say it's those who you keep around you help define who you are, and with friends like that in Gene's corner, he's in good hands.
Car: 1987 Buick Turbo Regal
Owner: Gene Fleury
Block: Buick Stage 2
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Heads: Buick Stage 2
Cam: COMP/DLS custom grind
Crankshaft: Crower Billet
Intake: Hogan's Racing sheet metal
Throttle Body: 90 mm
Fuel Injectors: 550 lb. Moran
Fuel Pump: Aeromotive Hex Drive
Ignition: MSD ignition box, coil, distributor, wires and Autolite plugs
Engine Management: F.A.S.T XFI tuned by Cal Hartline
Power Adder: Precision 47/88 with 32 psi and methanol injection
Boost: AMS 1000 controller
Exhaust System: Shawn O'Brien Headers, 5-inch downpipe
Transmission: Reid Racing Powerglide
Converter: 5,000-stall PTC
Driveshaft: Mark Williams Chromoly
Front Suspension: Strange struts
Rear Suspension: Afco shocks
Rear End: Mark Williams Pro Mod 9-inch, Mark Williams gun-drilled 40-spline axles, Richmond spool, 4.10 gears
Brakes: Strange Front/Wilwood Rear
Wheels: Convo Pros Front/Weld Rear
Front Tires: Toyo skinnies
Rear Tires: 33/17/15 Goodyear slicks
Best 60-FT. Time: 1.12