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1987 Buick Grand National Upgrades - 10-Second TR

Part III: Upgrading the fuel pump and notching the framerails

Rick Jensen Jan 1, 2006

Step By Step

Work is progressing nicely on this '87 Grand National at Cotton's Performance Center in Agawam, Massachusetts. Originally slated to be a quick bolt-on street car, the owner has upped the ante and set his sights on the 10-second zone.

Before we move on to the fuel pump and framerail work, we wanted to show before and after shots of the rearend...

Jack and Brian Cotton of Cotton's Performance Center have put several days of hard work into converting Frank Vallelonga's near-stock '87 Grand National into a streetable 10-second hot rod. Our last two installments ("10-Second TR," Oct. and Nov. '05) covered upgrading the rear suspension and rearend to handle the expected horsepower. Now, with the majority of the GN's back half attended to, there are only a few more loose ends to tie up before the engine can start going together.

The original fuel pumps that GM installed in Turbo Buicks were the 98-pound weaklings of the fuel system set. They could barely handle the 12 pounds of boost that these cars pushed stock, and anyone who increased the boost had to start thinking about more fuel, quickly. Back in the day it was common to add a noisy external "pusher" pump when the stocker started failing, and many racers looking for 10s did the whole shebang: an external pump or two and new fuel lines.

Thankfully, Buick racers are nothing if not imaginative, and soon a design called a "double-pumper" emerged. This was a dual-pump, in-tank system that was quiet like the stocker, yet could supply enough fuel through the Buick's adequate fuel lines to feed a low-10-second turbo V-6. Since Frank's GN will be seeing street duty as well as shooting for 10s at the strip, it is the perfect fuel system for this build up.

Another important task that Cotton will be performing is the notching of this GN's framerails to allow for larger wheels and tires. While the idea of taking out some frame material to fit larger meats seems to be pretty straightforward, any modification to the frame can turn ugly if it's not cut correctly and properly reinforced. With the amount of torque these cars develop, it would be a shame to twist up a notched framerail. We watched Brian Cotton perform this process step by step; read on and see how it's done.


Cotton's Performance Center
Agawam, MA 01001



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