Tag: 1986

No, we haven’t see a 1986 Buick Skyhawk T-Type in quite some time either – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

No, we haven’t see a 1986 Buick Skyhawk T-Type in quite some time either – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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Is it really a T-Type without a turbocharged engine? In the case of this manual-transmission 1986 Buick Skyhawk listed for sale on Hemmings.com—a car backed by its original purchase paperwork—the answer is yes, making it a fairly rare example. Perhaps more important, though, is the fact that the car remains in stellar shape with nothing but a set of wheels required to put it back to factory condition, making it likely one of just a handful of J-body Skyhawks—T-Type or not—that would turn collectors’ heads these days. While it’s probably possible to add the turbocharger to it, the hatchback probably deserves to remain in a state of preservation for as long as possible. From the seller’s description:

10K Documented Original Miles. One of America’s forgotten hot-hatchback. Though the GN is widely recognized as Buick’s iconic sleeper of the 80’s very few remember its long lost siblings, the Skyhawk T-Type and Sport Hatchback with a turbocharger powerplant of their own. The Skyhawk T-Type’s were ridiculously quick and undeniably styling and underrated performance helped lay the groundwork for the hot hatch segment that is booming today. Yet, nobody recalls perhaps the very car that started it all. The GM J-body. This example is one of the lowest mile T-Types in the United States. Well documented and near flawless example of GM’s best J-body.

This one was ordered new at Mountjoy Buick in Hanover Pa. on September 15th, 1986. Options are as follows: 1. tinted glass-105.00 2.acoustics pkg.-36.00 3.ft & rear mats-29.00 4.delay wipers-145.00 5. rear sunshield-199.00 6.fold down armrest-45.00 7.grey lower accent-195.00 8.cruise control-175.00 9.leather wrapped wheel-40.00 10.tilt-125.00 11.power steering-225.00 12. sb radial w/l tires-84.00 13. value plus pkg -200.00 14. cass-etr am-fm radio-354. total MSRP 12325.00

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What you need to know when looking for a 1986-1987 Buick Grand National – Mike McNessor @Hemmings

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Angelo’s, in Anaheim, California, is one of the few classic drive-in hamburger joints still standing. Out front there’s a big sign, with flashy neon lettering, that can cast an instant spell over even the most jaded hot rodder. The servers zoom around the place on roller skates (of course) and you can order a beer with your burger. In other words, it’s got all the trappings of a hot cruise-in spo

Angelo’s was such a scene in the 1970s and ’80s that it made the cover of the April ’82 issue of Hot Rod magazine. It then appeared on the July ’85 issue of Car and Driver as the backdrop for a photo featuring GM’s hot “G-bodies”: the ’85 Oldsmobile 442, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, and the Buick Grand National, all basking in the nostalgic neon glow of Angelo’s big sign. The magazine’s cover line read “Modern Muscle” and the comparison story’s message was clear: These cars were fun throwbacks to the 1960s muscle car era.

Nearly 40 years later, GM’s G-body performers can be seen as something other than fun cars with retro flair—we can see them as bridges to the performance vehicles of today. One of them in particular: the all-black turbo-boosted one

The 1986 Grand National grille has a chrome strip across the top, embossed with the word “Buick,” and thin, vertical chrome strips in the center and on the sides. The brightwork on the grille was eliminated for ’87.

While Buick’s Grand National rode on the same 1960s-design underpinnings as the 442 and Monte Carlo SS (perimeter frame, coil springs, A-arms and ball joints, and solid rear axle), under the hood it packed some advanced technology. Turbocharging was nothing new when Buick applied it to its V-6 engines in the 1970s, but it came of age under the hood of turbocharged Regals when combined with computer engine management that governed sequential fuel injection and distributorless ignition. Intercoolers were nothing new in the 1980s either, but they boosted the Grand National’s power for 1986-’87. In stock form, these cars were fast for their time, but in the late ’80s and 1990s, tuners seized on the Grand National (and its turbocharged stablemates), unleashing more horsepower and creating a performance cult rivaled only by the one surrounding the 5.0 Fox Mustang.

While Buick’s Grand National rode on the same 1960s-design underpinnings as the 442 and Monte Carlo SS (perimeter frame, coil springs, A-arms and ball joints, and solid rear axle), under the hood it packed some advanced technology. Turbocharging was nothing new when Buick applied it to its V-6 engines in the 1970s, but it came of age under the hood of turbocharged Regals when combined with computer engine management that governed sequential fuel injection and distributorless ignition. Intercoolers were nothing new in the 1980s either, but they boosted the Grand National’s power for 1986-’87. In stock form, these cars were fast for their time, but in the late ’80s and 1990s, tuners seized on the Grand National (and its turbocharged stablemates), unleashing more horsepower and creating a performance cult rivaled only by the one surrounding the 5.0 Fox Mustang.

Today, Grand Nationals are on every list of collectible American cars of the 1980s— the most desirable being the 1986s and last-of-the-line ’87s. The very last Grand National ever built sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in January for an incredible $550,000, but 1986-’87 Grand National values across the board have been on the upswing for the last decade. In 2012 you might’ve picked up a nice ’86 Grand National for around $20,000 and a nice ’87 for less than $30,000. Now you can expect to pay upwards of $50,000 for an ’86 in similar condition and more than $60,000 for an ’87. The ’87s have traditionally commanded higher sums but they’re more plentiful: 20,193 ’87s versus 5,512 ’86s.

Interested in grabbing the keys to one of these 1980s performance icons and cruising it to Angelo’s or some classic drive-in hamburger joint near you? Even better, maybe you want to hit the occasional street night at the nearest drag strip? Here are some things to keep in mind about these turbo fliers from Flint.

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Did GM Really Sell Specially Equipped Buick Grand Nationals to the FBI? – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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The year: 1986. The place: America. The problem: Bad guys drove fast cars, faster than anything the Federal Bureau of Investigation had in its motor pools, and they were getting away with murder. The solution: …call Buick?

The notion of FBI-ordered Buick Grand Nationals (especially when reading the above in a Don LaFontaine/Redd Pepper voice) certainly sounds like an Eighties action flick come to life. Throw in an agent who bristles at authority and doesn’t play by the rules, a straight-laced family man partner, and plenty of explosions and you’re halfway to a Hollywood script. But it may actually have some basis in the truth, even though the details are hard to confirm and sketchy at best.

We jumped down this rabbit hole after a recent Regal T Turbo Hemmings Find of the Day elicited a couple of comments on the topic of federal turbocharged Eighties Buicks, starting with one from Joe MM with a rather elaborate backstory to the mythical beasts

he U.S. government ordered Regal T-Types with V rated tires and the PROM chip that raised the top speed limit on the cars. T-Types and GN’s came with H rated tires so GM governed them. All GM law enforcement vehicles had top speed limiters unless you ordered the optional V rated tires. Then the respective agency could order the PROM that would raise the limit. This was a popular upgrade if you could find a dealer that was able to order the chip. GM used these chips in the 1994-96 Impala SS since they had 17″ rims; since most tires that would fit had a V rating. They were afraid that they would be accountable if owners installed inferior tires and have accidents as a result. The full size trucks today are governed to the same top speed whether they have the base V6 or the 420 hp V8’s for this reason.

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1986-’87 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aero Coupe Buyer’s Guide – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

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Do you think the stock car racingaero war ended in 1970? NASCAR rules may have dealt an evolutionary death blow to the winged Mopars, and nixed Ford’s King Cobras as the prototypes emerged, but it didn’t eliminate wind cheating designs. In the ensuing decades, Detroit learned that the challenges of meeting CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards and increasing racetrack speeds could be served by continuing to improve aerodynamics, often with pleasing visual results. We can think of a few post “aero wars” examples, like the 1975 Chevy Chevelle Laguna S-3. Its laid-back front fascia helped lower the coupe’s drag coefficient. Buick affixed a similar design to its mid-’70s Special and Century, and Olds didn’t hesitate to lay back the front end of its Cutlass 442, though its superspeedway prowess began in ’78. This was the subtle aero war, a trend that continued when NASCAR finally embraced Detroit’s downsized intermediates for 1981.

Buick’s Regal was an instant hit, taking 47 wins in 61 races through 1982. Ford’s nine wins during that span led to a completely redesigned, well-rounded Thunderbird, while Chevy’s embarrassing four wins (one by a Malibu, another by a four-year-old Monte Carlo) led to the reintroduction of the Monte Carlo SS, which included a sleek windswept nose with a flush-mounted integral grille. The new SS helped land Chevy a season high 14 wins in 1983, and another 21 a year later. But by 1985, Ford regained momentum and the two makes ended the season with 14 wins each.

For 1986, Chevy brass tasked its engineers with creating an enhanced Monte Carlo SS that would further reduce drag at triple-digit track speeds.

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The last AMC: Jeep’s ZJ Grand Cherokee turns 25, Renault, Chrysler and an Assassination

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Hard to believe that the Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ effectively the last AMC vehicle before the Chrysler take is now 25 years old.

For those of you that haven’t heard of American Motors Corporation you can read about them here on Wikipedia 

Excellent article on the Jeep and it’s part in the takeover from Daniel Strohl at Hemmings here

An interesting side note to the end of AMC and the assassination of Georges Besse  November 17th, 1986 can be found here on Jalopnik.

Six months after the assassination of Besse AMC was sold to Chrysler.

Interesting advertising film about the Eagle Talon, one of the efforts from Chrysler to leverage the AMC name after the takeover.