1987 Buick Grand National Project - Wicked 6: An Introduction

Part 1: Our New Buick Project Car Takes On a role different from Its Forebears

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Buick fans, your next GM High-Tech Buick Grand National project car is officially here, and we’re taking this one to a level that’s never been seen in these pages. In the past, we’ve shown you how to build these into competitive 9 and 10-second street/strip drag cars with much success. In fact, we’ve done that a few times.

For you long-term readers who are getting ready to flip the page, thinking this is “just another drag car GN project,” you better think again. This time we’re going to be turning this stock[ish] straight-line cruiser, into a G-body built for the corners. Yes, we’re working on one of those now with Scott Parker’s ’83 T-Type. However, whereas his car will be relying on an LS3 V-8 crate engine for power, and a 6-speed manual for shifting duties, we’ll be sticking with the good ole’ LC2 (turbo V-6) and 2004R slushbox transmission for this ’87 GN. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but we like a challenge. Plus, we think the hardcore Buick guys will dig it.

Having said that, the stock OEM parts were OK for cruising around in 1987 and putting Fox-body Mustangs in their place, but if we want to be competitive on the autocross with this car in 2014 and beyond, all of the chassis and suspension hardware will require some serious updates. As a result, the suspension, brakes, wheels and tires, along with the entire drivetrain will be seeing a makeover and plenty of upgrades.

The engine compartment will be seeing plenty of attention as well, but with a twist; don’t expect a massive turbo, a Stage 2 stroker motor and 12 million horsepower from this car either. The LC2 in this one is going to be more realistic, mechanically, and financially within reach of what most of our readers could afford who are looking to copy our recipe. Anybody who is familiar with these cars knows that 400-500 horsepower is not too difficult.

For the record, we’ll be calling upon our friends in not only the mainstream aftermarket, but the in the Turbo Buick hobby for help as well. Cal Hartline of Hartline Performance will be doing the engine tuning/diagnostics, while we’ll be picking the brain of G-body and autocross aficionado, Scot Walkowiak of GNS Performance, for tips and tricks on our suspension tuning and setup. In the meantime, our good friend, Brian Weaver of Gbody Parts, will help us out with whatever GN-exclusive odds and ends that we’ll need – which will most likely be a ton of stuff, if we’re honest.

We’re not stopping there, however. The car is going to receive a ton of bodywork to quell all of the dings, scratches, and (gasp!) rust issues that the GN has been suffering from for quite some time. New paint, new trim pieces (inside and out) and pretty much anything else we are going to need to turn this driver-quality GN into an impressive machine – around town, at the local car show, and obviously, around a parking lot littered with orange cones will happen during this build. But let’s not get it twisted; this car isn’t a junker. It has some vanity problems, but it’s still a relatively low-mileage example that won’t be getting hacked up. Everything we’ll be installing will be purely bolt-on, and we like the idea of having the option of going back to completely stock if/when we wanted to.

So it’s with a warm welcome that Project Wicked6 joins the GMHTP family, and we’ll be keeping you up to date with each change that happens. So pull up a chair, break out the popcorn, and renew those subscriptions – this one will be around for the long haul.

1987 Buick Grand National Project  2/10

Our ’87 Grand National is a car your author has owned for over four years, but now finally has the ability to build into the Buick of his dreams. At a glance (and from 20 feet away), our Buick looks pretty good and it does make for one decent driver...

1987 Buick Grand National Project  3/10
1987 Buick Grand National Project  10/10

8. Mechanically, it’s pretty much OEM, apart from an aftermarket exhaust, a cold-air intake, a Racetronix fuel pump & wiring harness, and a set of MSD 8.5 mm wires. Everything regarding boost pressure and tuning is completely stock, including the turbo, intercooler, chip, downpipe, and MAF. While we’re not going to go with a huge turbo since we want to minimize turbo lag as much as possible, at the very least, expect a rebuilt stocker or a slightly larger upgrade.

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