Next-Gen Gems – Grand Nasty – A Fire Breathing Buick Grand National
What better name than Grand Nasty for a 1,200 rear wheel horsepower, twin turbo LSA powered, fire-breathing 1986 Buick Grand National? In today’s modern era of Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers and the like producing 500+ horsepower from the factory Bobby Wood decided to go a different route. Sure, he could’ve gone to a dealership and bought any number of modern cars and would’ve been happy but anyone that knows Bobby, well, that’s not his style.
Nobody can argue with the attitude and squared sexiness of a Buick Grand National. Any car guy or gal would love to have one sitting in their garage. The only thing lacking in these timeless G-Body’s was some real oomph. At the time they were new, they were potent players. A turbocharged 235hp six-cylinder was actually best in class, eclipsing Mustang GT’s and the venerable Camaro Z/28 and could give the Corvette a run for its money, especially when tweaked and tuned. But in today’s world, a tuned 300hp Grand National would be a weakling.
The story behind Bobby building this Buick is quite unique. Bobby wasn’t out scouring the internet for Grand Nationals looking for a decent one to blow apart and build like you might think. He was actually out looking to buy a tow truck of all things. However, when he pulled up to check out a truck for sale, there was this original 4K mile Grand National sitting there. Like any good romance novel it was love at first site and Bobby had to have it.
Once he had it in his possession, like any gearhead, the wheels started spinning in his head about what modifications he wanted to do, especially when getting deep into the world of forums. The answer was rather simple. To build a modern representation of this car as if Buick was to build one today. A car with brute horsepower, slot car handling, and the reliability to drive coast to coast without batting an eye.
A plan of attack was devised and the car was dropped off to the talented crew over at Outlawed Street Cars in Tempe, Arizona where they would transform the GN into a straight up street beast. Out, was the factory turbo charged 3.8 V6 and in went a supercharged crate LSA stroked out to 416 cubic inches. Most people would stop right then and there and call it a day. Well, Bobby isn’t one of those people. Instead, a pair of Garrett 57mm turbos were bolted on for some extra butt-dyno satisfaction. The LSA blower provides the pavement-eating torque then the turbos taker over at higher RPM’s allowing the car to keep pulling until Bobby has had enough fun. The factory tuned GM E67 ECU was retained.
A 4L80E was built to hold all 1200 horsepower this car is capable of producing. The boys over at Detroit Speed were called to take care of the handling and suspension department. A custom one-off set of Simmons three piece staggered wheels were produced in black finishing off the bad-in-black look.
Then it was buttoned up in a flawless mirror-black paint job. Bobby hopes the suits at Buick take notice. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see a modern version of the Grand National again at some point down the road like the Camaros, Mustangs and Challengers Detroit has brought back for a second run at glory.
Photos by Terry Lysak