- Buick is planning to reintroduce the Grand National, T-Type and GNX nameplates.
- The new models will ride on GM's rear-wheel-drive Alpha platform introduced in the Cadillac ATS sedan.
- The Grand National and T-Type models will likely use turbocharged V6s, while the GNX will most likely get GM's new LT1 V8.
SANTA MONICA, California — Buick is bringing back the Grand National, the GNX and the T-Type, three legendary performance nameplates from the brand's high times of the 1980s. All three cars will be sedans and they'll use GM's new rear-wheel-drive Alpha platform first introduced in the Cadillac ATS sedan.
That's the plan anyway, according to a reliable source who spoke to Edmunds.
As in the 1980s, the T-Type and Grand National will share powertrains and suspension calibrations, but the T-Type will be offered in a full color palette, while the GN will come in black only. Details on the exact drivetrain that will be used are still hard to come by at this point.
Buick's current turbocharged 2.0-liter has the right vibe but lacks the muscle, and the normally aspirated V6 has the guts but just doesn't feel right for these nameplates. A more likely scenario is the use of GM's long-rumored, and recently spotted, twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6. It's expected to produce between 350 and 400 horsepower, which would be more than enough power in a bad black Buick with a Grand National badge.
So what's left for the legendary GNX nameplate? How about GM's new LT1 V8? We've already confirmed that a V8 will fit in the confines of the Alpha platform, so it's not an issue of "if" it can be done, but one of "how" it will be done.
With a V-Series version of the Cadillac ATS almost certainly in the pipeline, a Buick version with a slightly less powerful V8 could be the ticket for the GNX. A six-speed manual transmission and six-speed automatic could be available in all three sedans.
Buick will also make changes to the sedan's interior and exterior to bring it into the Buick family. The size of the sedan should remain unchanged, however, (the Cadillac ATS is exactly the same size as a BMW 3 Series) and all of its subsystems such as steering, brakes and suspension will be shared with the ATS.
For those born after the Reagan administration, the Buick Regal T-Type, Grand National and GNX were essentially the quickest cars you could buy in 1986 and '87. They were powered by turbocharged versions of Buick's 3.8-liter V6 and they instantly became legends on the street and on every drag strip in America. Today these Buicks are highly valued collector cars, with prices topping out at $100,000 for one of the 547 GNXs that GM built in 1987.
One of those GNXs used to belong to Mark Reuss, the current president of General Motors North America. In fact, his dad, Lloyd Reuss, approved the original GNX when he was executive vice president of General Motors North America in the '80s. Needless to say, there's plenty of enthusiasm at the very top of General Motors for a return of these storied nameplates.
That enthusiasm can't work miracles, however, so we'll have to wait at least another year before this crop of performance Buicks even gets a mention in public. Figure the 2014 Detroit Auto Show is a good bet.
Edmunds says: Just when we think GM has settled back into stupid mode Reuss and the gang get smart. We can't wait to drive these new Buicks. Make ours, and everyone else's, black.