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About the 1982 Buick "Grand National" Regal
The Prototype for
the 1982 Buick "Grand National" Regal.
Image courtesy of Adam Bonebrake
In 1981, Buick unveiled its new body style for the Regal. What a year for Buick! The new Regal was selected as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500. In NASCAR, it seemed everyone was running a Buick. This new body proved to be aerodynamically superior than the competition. Richard Petty won the Daytona 500 in his STP Buick, Darrell Waltrip won the Winston Cup Grand National Championship in his Mountain Dew Buick (he also did it again in 1982), and Buick won the manufacturer's Championship with 22 of 31 victories (and again in '82). To further capitalize on the "what wins on Sunday, sells on Monday" theory, Buick introduced a limited edition "Grand National" Regal.
The GN began as a charcoal gray Regal base coupe to which many regular production options were added. Most notably were the 4.1 liter V-6, F-41 grand touring suspension, hatch (T-top) roof, aluminum wheels with special center caps, raised white letter Goodyear Polysteel Radial tires, and a slate gray and black interior with a center console. To further complement the interior, Buick added special black trim to the dash, console, and doors. Also included were many luxury items such as A/C, PW, PDL, ETR cassette stereo, tilt steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel, right remote mirror, and cruise control. The blacked-out grille and headlamp doors, borrowed from the Regal Sport Coupe's decor package, were also added. The cars were then sent to an outside contractor for the addition of the GN package.
Originally intended for a run of 100 units, Cars and Concepts of Auburn Hills, Michigan, retrofitted 215 Regals with the GN package. Most obvious was the light silver gray firemist paint added to each side. Red pinstripes and billboard shadow lettering proclaiming "BUICK" were applied. The wheel opening moldings and rocker panel moldings were blacked out using black vinyl tape. Finally, a front air dam and rear spoiler were installed.
On the inside, special "Lear-Seigler" seats were installed. These seats are fully adjustable were covered with silver brandon cloth with black vinyl inserts. The front seat had Buick's "6" emblem embroidered onto them. To finish it off, a special clock delete plate was added to the instrument panel which contained the yellow and orange "6" logo and the words "GRAND NATIONAL BUICK MOTOR DIVISION."
For the most part, all cars are identical with the exception of the Sport Coupe Package. These cars came with the 3.8 liter turbocharged engine and are easily spotted by the hood bulge. Some minor variations from car to car do exist mainly due to the conversions by Cars and Concepts. An interesting note is that due to a legal disagreement with NASCAR over the use of the name, the production GN emblems differed from the prototype's (see above). This is why many cars were delivered without the fender/decklid emblems.
The 1982 Regal Grand National is sometimes considered not to be a "real" GN because it is so visually different and most were not turbocharged. The truth is the '84 model (There was no GN for 1983) is very similar the '82. Two very major changes were made. The exterior was completely blacked-out and the turbocharged engine, now with sequential fuel injection, became standard. All other changes were either regular production Regal updates (grille, taillights, instrument panel, etc.) or minor, such as larger, but similar-style rims. The rear spoiler, air dam, Lear-Seiglar seats, black dash trim, GN emblems, and the many luxury options were all carried over to the '84 GN. While not on par with the later black GN's, the 82's performance and handling were certainly adequate at the time. With only 215 produced, this is a special car indeed!
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