My 1987 Buick GN Page


Here is my latest project car. It is a 1987 Buick Grand National. It came stock with a 3.8L (231 c.i.) turbo charged/intercooled 6-cylinder. It was rated at 245 HP. This was probably the quickest production car out of Detroit in ’87. Stock performance was a low 14 second ¼ mile in the mid 90 mph range. These cars take performance modifications very well. With only a few minor modifications, low 13 second ¼ mile performance is not only obtained, but expected. With more numerous “upgraded” bolt-ons, these cars can dip into the low 11’s or high 10’s without ever going inside the engine (i.e. stock long block). I hope to be somewhere in-between in full street “daily driver” trim. These cars have become collector items because of their notoriety and “muscle car” status when compared to even old big block Chevelles.


Of course, my car has a story. I bought my car from a friend who bought the car brand new back in early 1988. He drove it as his daily transportation through high school, college, and graduate school. While working in Houston, TX at a hospital in November 2001, it was stolen from him out of the parking garage while he was working his shift. He was about to go home when he discovered it was gone. He called the police who told them that it had already been recovered about 3 miles form the hospital. Initial assessment revealed a busted steering column, and missing interior…. the whole interior….except for the complete dash and the shifter…everything as gone… door panels, seat belts, carpet, head liner, seats, dome light, console, radio, cd changer, amplifier…. ect. He parked the car back at his apartment and bought another car to drive. When he moved back to Mississippi around  mid 2002 I think, he pulled it back on a trailer and rolled it off into a barn at his family’s plantation in the Mississippi Delta.


It sat there until I bought it June 18, 2005. It looked rough the day I bought it, but cleaned up decent. The dirt was caked on it like a layer of paint from sitting in the barn next to a dirt road. Here are some pics on the day I bought it.



The owner prior to leaving the car in the barn, jacked it up, removed the wheels and tires, put the car on blocks, and put them inside the car so when they went flat, they wouldn’t be ruined.






As you can see, the bumper filler panels are all rotted out. This is very common on this vintage GM car.




This is a quick “thumbs up” as I drove it out of the barn….yes I said drove it…. put a hot battery in it…. checked all the fluids…. And cranked it up on 3-1/2 year old gas…. And loaded it up to take it home.




Here is a picture of my “make-shift” seat until I could find the correct interior to go in it. I worked long enough to get some real GN seats in it.



Here are some pics 5 days later after a good pressure wash. I did find the original window sticker in the glove box along with the original manual. It has the Concert Sound too. Initial compression check showed about 135# on every cylinder.






Since then, I have bought all the correct GN interior, replaced the fuel pump and filter, replaced the plugs/wires, ran about a tank of gas through it, installed an adjustable fuel pressure regulator, bought some GNX clone wheels and installed them, and installed new fiberglass bumper filler replacements. Parts I have purchased: A used TE61 turbo, a used 9-1/2” Vigilante 5 disk lock-up “0-pump” 3200-3400 stall torque converter, a Terry Houston 3” SS down pipe with test pipe, polyurethane upper and lower rear control arm bushings, CompCams 980 valve springs, a spare set of stock heads with lower intake and “dog house”, spare BRF ’87 GN transmission, spare ECU, spare ignition module/coil pack, and probably some stuff I can’t remember at the moment. Plans are (at this point) to get the car painted and the stock interior completely back in it. At that point, I hope to install the turbo, a set of 60# injectors, turbotweak chip, rebuilt tranny, converter, and downpipe all at once. I still need to put the control arm bushings in, install the valve springs, remove the cracked DS header and beef it up and re-weld. My timeline… I guess …is to have all this done by Christmas.



I still have a decent list of things I want to do to the car, but funds will dictate the timing of them. I want an aftermarket “stock location” intercooler. I also am going to buy and alcohol injection kit to inject a small amount of alcohol into the intake tract when the boost reaches a preset level. This will allow me to run more boost on pump gas and get away with not knock. The guy I bought my tires/wheels from has a very similar combo to what I am talking about, and manages boost levels in the low to mid 20’s on pump gas. His car is a solid 11 second street car. This is what I am after. I will probably have a boost controller that has a full street mode (no alcohol w/lower boost and a higher boost level that does inject alcohol). I will be able to run either mode on the street on pump gas…. But I probably will just leave it on the lower boost level most of the time unless I need the higher one J. I also am planning to upgrade the front brakes to 12” LS1 Camaro rotors/calipers. I am about to go through the whole front end too and replace and worn steering or suspension parts. When I get done, I plan on this being my primary transportation retiring my ’97 204k mile Silverado to back-up duty.



UPDATE: 3/9/07


I decided to put up a new picture of what it looked like after I got it back from being painted. I like the mesh GTA wheels. I hope to have time to give a much more thorough update soon. I have the engine at the machine shop getting freshened up. Lots of new parts.




This page was created on 9/10/05.

Last modified on 8/18/18.