The 1980s are generally considered the dark ages of American performance and muscle cars, but there were a few bright moments. One of the cars that restored the faith in the muscle car movement in the ’80s was the mighty Buick GNX. The story of this model is an interesting one. Back in 1982, Buick started experimenting with turbocharging its line of standard V6 engines. The results were satisfying, so Buick gave their engineers permission to develop a performance version that would deliver better acceleration figures.
Soon, there was the Buick Grand National with 175 HP, which wasn’t impressive, but it was a start. In the next couple of years, the Grand National got a bigger engine and more power, jumping from 175 HP to 200 HP, and then to 235 HP. With those numbers came acceleration times of less than six seconds, so black Grand Nationals were seriously quick cars. But in 1987 came the ultimate version called the Grand National Experimental (GNX). It featured the same 3.8-liter turbocharged V6 but with 275 HP and 0 to 60 mph time of 4.7 seconds.
Nobody expected such a bold move from Buick. After all, Buick was a company for old people that produced cars lacking any excitement. Suddenly, there was a turbocharged V6 coupe that broke every classic muscle car mold faster than a Ferrari. At that moment, the Buick GNX was the fastest accelerating production model in the world. At $29,000 it wasn’t budget-friendly.
However, there is a widespread legend that GNX owners paid for their cars by street racing them for the prize money. Unfortunately, the Buick GNX was a one-year only model, so the company made just 547 of them. Today, people praise the GNX as much as they did back in the late 80’s.