HotCars renderer Timothy Adry Emmanuel has created a restomod 1987 Buick Grand National, with the same Darth Vader vibes of the 1987 GNX.
The Buick Grand National is one of the most famous G-Body cars ever built, with the most famous generation the second one from 1978 to 1987. It is the latter year that saw the most fame, with the exceptional Buick GNX elevating it to new heights. In honor of that beast, HotCars digital artist Timothy Adry Emmanuel has crafted this exceptional rendering of the 1987 Grand National, resto-modding the Buick so it is ready for 2023.
Emmanuel has kept the classic lines of the Buick but added a few subtle additions such as a new exhaust at the back, lowered suspension, and a massive turbo feeding air into an intake manifold poking out of the hood. It is still recognizable as a 1987 Grand National, however, with just a few tweaks to refresh the design.
The 1987 Grand National Was The Second-Gen Buick’s Last Model Year
1987 Buick GNX Engine Specs
The 1987 model year was the last of the second generation, and Buick wanted to make it a special one hence the introduction of the GNX, or Grand National Experimental. The model cost $29,900 at the time which roughly equates to $77,018 in today’s money. It was the product of a collaboration between Buick and McLaren Performance Technologies/ASC.
The partnership would yield 547 examples, with those 547 first receiving the new interior trim package before they were then sent to McLaren for upgrading into the Buick GNX.
Buick would rate the power output of the GNX at 276 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque, which in 1987 were substantial numbers. But this would prove to be Buick being conservative with its numbers, with the actual power output of 300 hp and torque levels even higher at 420 lb-ft.
To attain this increase in power, a special Garrett AiResearch T3 turbocharger was then added to the GNX, with a ceramic impeller blowing through a more efficient and larger intercooler with a special ceramic-aluminum coated pipe connecting it to the engine.
A special torque arm was on a GNX-only rear differential cover, to help increase the traction of the Buick. This clearly paid off, because the 1/4 mile performance of the GNX was incredible, with it able to pull in a pass time of 12.7 seconds at 113.1 mph.
Remarkably, this would prove to be faster than both the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 930 by 0.3 and 0.8 seconds respectively. The GNX would also earn the nickname of “Darth Vader’s Car” thanks to its stealthy black appearance and release at the height of the Star Wars movies. It was no surprise then that Car and Driver introduced the GNX with the headline “Lord Vader, your car is ready
The HotCars Render Captures The Lines Of The 1987 Grand National
Emmanuel has captured the Darth Vader vibes of the original Grand National perfectly, retaining an all-black and stealthy appearance for the Buick except for the chrome beltline and wheel design. The biggest changes evident are at the front of the Buick, with a huge intake manifold sticking out of the hood, giving away that this Grand National has a much larger powertrain. That is further evident by the broken-up bumper, revealing a huge turbocharger poking out.
The changes at the front continue, with refreshed and modern headlights replacing the 1980s originals, and some big aerodynamic upgrades. A split front lip is on either side of the turbo, helping to channel airflow around the front of the car and in particular its new, larger front tires.
The front grille showcases a Buick emblem, and that angle really gives us a good look at the turbo sticking out from the bottom of the Buick. With the hood removed, the massive powertrain is visible, and Emmanuel has done an outstanding job replicating the power unit.