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1987 Buick Grand National - Never Gonna Give You Up

David Day’s one-owner, 10.07-second, Turbo Hot Street-winning ’87 Grand National

Justin Cesler Sep 27, 2012
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To put David Day's relationship with his '87 Grand National in perspective it should be noted that he has owned this particular Buick since before The Simpsons first aired on national television. During his first year of ownership, David heard a couple of brand-new Number One hit singles top the charts, songs like "Welcome To The Jungle" by Guns N' Roses; "With or Without You" by U2; and a little diddy called "Never Gonna Give You Up" by the one and only Rick Astley... It was 1987 after all, and, to date myself for a minute, the year of my fourth birthday (eek). That's a long time to own anything, including a car, but for David Day, he recalls his first year of Turbo Buick ownership like it was just yesterday.

"The owner of the dealership I work at, Laura Anderson, co-signed for me so I could get financing to purchase the car because I was only 23 years old at the time." There are two things in that quote that you should pay attention to. One, David's boss is awesome and should win an award for being that cool. Two, he said, "work at" because, well, David still works at the exact same dealership that he did in 1987. "I have been a journey man mechanic at Laura Buick, where I purchased the car, for 27 years. I was the one who did the pre-delivery inspection on this car. I drove it home that night and purchased it the next day." In a world of 3-second attention spans, constant Facebook status updates, ADHD (admit it, you've probably been distracted more than once just reading this far), and instant gratification, there is something truly amazing about David's GN, even if it was just a stocker that he drove occasionally and kept in great shape. Of course, you know there is more to this story than that...

Oh yeah, that's right, David's GN happens to be the back-to-back Buick GS National's Turbo Hot Street champion and runs 10.07 at 134.85 mph on a 1.42-second sixty-foot time. In the ultra-competitive THS class, where iron-headed Buicks must run at 3,500-pounds on stock-style suspension (no coilovers, 28x10.5 slicks, factory wheelwells) and limited turbocharger selections (single 67mm), 10.07 is flat out flying and to win 8 out of the last 9 THS races he has entered, David clearly has this Turbo Buick game figured out. What's most impressive, however, is just how little is really done to this gorgeous '87, which still sports a stock GN block and a set of iron GN heads.

"I managed to get 1,300 passes on the original motor, with the best pass at 11.20 at 118 mph. With the current motor, I have 275 passes at 10.07 at 134." Considering most of us probably don't have 100 quarter-mile romps on a project in a lifetime, 1,575 and counting is just incredible, made even sweeter by the fact that David built most of this GN himself, including the new engine combination that starts with an original block, which was bored ever so slightly by Gary Duckworth and Son Racing to fit a set of Diamond pistons. Additional thrust is generated by a stroked 3.625-inch BA Performance crankshaft, which uses a set of six K1 rods to hold everything together. While David assembled the engine himself, he credits Excessive Acceleration for the GN iron cylinder heads and hydraulic roller camshaft specifications, which we're not going to share with anyone, since this is still a highly competitive racecar. And while engine specs are one thing, turbo and tuning combinations are the real meat and potatoes of Turbo Buick racing, and David's spent as much time as anyone trying to get his combo just right.

Sitting in the stock location is a Limit Engineering three-bolt TE45A turbocharger, which fits within the 67mm compressor wheel rules for the class and pumps out upwards of 26-psi. The rest of the system was also built by Limit Engineering, including the CAS V2 front-mount intercooler, 3-inch piping and the large 3.5-inch downpipe, which was sourced from Terry Houston. Now, you know these Buick boys never roll with blow-off valves and David is no exception, although interestingly, he runs the stock Buick wastegate on this combination, even though any wastegate configuration is acceptable to pass tech. Hey, whatever works, right?

Concerning the rest of the drivetrain, it's pretty standard for THS racing, as the rules don't really allow for too many creative interpretations. Gear changing comes from a rebuilt 200-4R stuffed with a Bradco converter, while a stock driveshaft transfers engine torque to the factory 8.5-inch rear, which features a stock differential, 3.42:1 ring-and-pinion, and a pair of Moser axles. Suspension is always a tricky area for the GN crowd, but one name always seems to come up when you're dealing with the fast guys, and that's HR Parts 'N Stuff. David's GN features the majority of the legal suspension modifications, including HR Parts 'N Stuff adjustable upper and lower rear control arms and a stout rear sway bar. With Koni front shocks and QA1 adjustable rears riding alongside stock springs, the suspension may not seem trick, but anything that can lay down consistent 1.42-second 60-foot times is clearly getting it done.

And whether you're a competitor, fan, or just casual observer, it's clear that David is really good at sticking to one thing and getting it done. "I try to do every pass exactly the same, from pulling in the water box till I pick up the time slip." That ability to focus, stay sharp, and see things through, from the water box until the slip station or from the 23-year-old kid in the dealership to the adult nailing down wins, is what makes David's story unique. Well, that and his 10-point-Oh second '87 Grand National, of course.

Car: 1987 Buick Grand National
Owner: David Day
Block: LC2, 249cid
Heads: Stock LC2 iron, 1.77 intake, 1.50 exhaust valves
Cam: Excessive Acceleration custom hydraulic roller
Rocker arms: Harland Sharp, 1.65:1-ratio
Pistons: Diamond, forged
Rings: Total Seal
Crankshaft: BA Performance, forged
Rods: K1 Technologies, forged
Throttle body: Stock, 58mm
Fuel injectors: 83 lb/hr
Fuel pump: XP, twin in-tank
Ignition: Stock, Taylor Thunder Volt wires, Autolite 23 plugs
Engine management: FAST XFI, tuned by David Day
Power Adder: Limit Engineering TE45A turbo
Boost: 26psi
Wastegate: Stock
Intercooler: Charged Air Systems V2 air-to-air, front-mount
Exhaust system: TA Performance manifolds, Terry Houston 3.5-inch downpipe, ATR Pit Bull 3-inch exhaust
Transmission: 200-4R, built by the owner
Converter: Bradco
Driveshaft: Stock
Front suspension: Stock control arms, springs, Koni shocks, removed sway bar
Rear suspension: HR Parts ‘N Stuff upper and lower control arms, sway bar, QA1 shocks, stock springs
Rear end: Stock 8.5-inch 10-bolt, 3.42 gear, Moser 28-spline axles, stock posi
Brakes: Stock, front and rear
Wheels: Weld Alumastar 15x5 front, 15x8.5 rear
Front tires: Mickey Thompson ET Front 27.5x4.5
Rear tires: Mickey Thompson ET Drag 28x10.5
Fuel: 93-octane
Current mileage: 53,000
ET/MPH: 10.07/134.85
60-foot: 1.42



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