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1987 Buick Regal T-Type


mrmike
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I am trying to get myself out of a rut with this build.  I haven't done anything with my builds for at least a month and maybe this will get me back on track again.  This is a '87 Buick Grand National that has been sitting on the shelf for many years untouched and unloved.  My plans are to paint it Tamiya TS-18 Metallic Red with the current gray and black interior.  Plans call for the engine to be wired, chrome bumpers, some repainting and touchups.  It will be known as a Buick Regal T-Type since I have removed all of the GN decals, but the car will be a Grand National underneath.  First stop, the kitchen sink for a bath!

More Buick to come...

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Thanks David!

I've been working at the T-Type for a few days.  I finished the interior.  The chassis is partially complete.  It got me to wondering about certain mounting points on the rear suspension.  I compared the T-Type with my GNX and the GNX has a Panhard bar and a rear axle stablizer and the T-Type doesn't have any.  Which came first the Grand National or the GNX?  The front and rear bumpers were seperated from the grille and rear panels, cleaned up and are ready for some Alclad II Chrome paint.

ore Buick to come...

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Edited by mrmike
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Your question about the rear suspension has to do with a different suspension package that GM used. A majority, but not all, HD suspension packages that GM offered would use the rear track bar and different spring rates and shock valving. This was common on suspension setups with the four link design.  The next step up, at GM anyway, was to use a sway bar that mounted to the lower trailing arms. This would reduce lean in the corners and also reduce the rear end movement from side to side enough that they would usually leave off the track bar. You notice I'm saying usually, there are so many variables that could be had that you could due one way other the other or even both and may very well be correct. Just count the rivets and build it the way you like is what I'm saying.    

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Thanks Daniel and David!

David, there is a sway bar on both the GN and the GNX models.  There is a slot for the track bar and the Panhard bar has spots for it on the rear axle on the Grand National.  I know that General Motors had a penchant for changing parts without proper paperwork.  I once read of a fellow who bought a full size Oldsmobile and he discovered the the engine was a Chevy 350 and not an Olds 350.  Same size engines, different designs and parts.  

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As far as the kits themselves, the GN kit did come out first (from what I can tell). However I'm guessing they had enough info about the GNX at the time (if not already working on the GNX kit) to take into account the extra parts needed and they molded the parts accordingly.

As far as your build, it is looking good so far!

The Regal Turbo-T was essentially the Grand National suspension and engine wrapped in the regular Regal body and trim, so you're on the right track. You could also get the Exterior Sport Package which removed the rocker trim, and gave you blackout trim everywhere (still keeping the chrome bumpers). And as a fun fact, in 1987 they opened up the options to allow one to add all these options to the Limited trim level, which allowed you to have the turbo engine and handling suspension while still having the "grandma's couch" velour seats and column shifter.

Edited by Jordan White
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20 minutes ago, mrmike said:

Thanks Daniel and David!

David, there is a sway bar on both the GN and the GNX models.  There is a slot for the track bar and the Panhard bar has spots for it on the rear axle on the Grand National.  I know that General Motors had a penchant for changing parts without proper paperwork.  I once read of a fellow who bought a full size Oldsmobile and he discovered the the engine was a Chevy 350 and not an Olds 350.  Same size engines, different designs and parts.  

OOO Ya, the old GM engine switcharu. This dates back to around '74. The first I heard of it was when I went to work for a Chevrolet dealer in central California. We were encouraged to not speak of it to any customers and pled ignorance if pressed on the matter. What happened was this was a time when the Feds where raining on car companies and GM was the big fish at the time so that was their target. The smog laws requiring testing of every engine, transmission, and rear end ratio even was getting very expensive. Some of the "350" engines offered by Oldsmobile, Buick and even Pontiac were hard to get to pass smog and still deliver good driving and gas mileage numbers.  This is about the time the "corporate blue" engines started to show up in those cars. GM had smog'd the Chevy 350  so they just started putting the blue engines in everything. The engines never said anywhere on them that they were an Olds, Buick, or Pont. but if you knew what a Chevy small block looked like you knew what you had. In reality these customers had a better running engine than what their divisions 350 had become but you know how lawyers can sometimes smell money. So the lawyers and the courts where raking GM over the coals over the engine switch. Nobody seemed to mind that Ford and Chrysler had been switching valve covers between their product lines for years. I don't remember the exact dollar amount, but I'm thinking that what GM had to do was give the buyers of the cars with the Chevrolet engine a big rebate toward their next GM car.  Anyway, your sway bar question. As I have mentioned before I had an '86 Monte Carlo SS since new, and it had the sway bar but no track bar. Were they the same, I'm not sure. If it is real important to have it correct I'm sure you could tap into one of the Buick forums especially ones that are GN or GNX centric and they should be able to clarify what is and isn't correct for you. Keep up the great work here.   

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The F41 Gran Touring Suspension, which came on the GN and GNX, would have had a rear sway bar. As for a track/panhard bar, those would not have been needed on the Grand National or T-Type since the suspension was a non-parallel 4-link setup. It looks like the GN kit does come with the sway bar. However, the GNX does come with a dual panhard bar setup (to stiffen the frame as well as further locate the axle due to the power and larger tires), as well as a ladder bar setup to keep the axle from rotating under hard acceleration.

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The GN and GNX had completely different rear suspension set ups for a reason. The GN had the standard 4 link style with the upper bars angled in for side to side axle stability. All GNs came with a sway bar as well. The GNX had a torque arm style. That has the normal lower control arms with a third long arm from the diff housing, running forward next to the drive shaft. This design requires a panhard bar for lateral axle stability. This was designed specifically for the GNX and was the only G body to get it. It improves handling and launches. It's very similar to the third and forth gen F bodies but doesn't share parts. Watch a video of a stock GNX getting ready to launch of the line. Instead of the front lifting with the rear end squatting, the whole car lifts evening. This is due to the improved geometry of the different design for a performance application. It doesn't ride as nice as the Regal/GN's. But it sure does grip better. 

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7 hours ago, IHSS said:

The GN and GNX had completely different rear suspension set ups for a reason. The GN had the standard 4 link style with the upper bars angled in for side to side axle stability. All GNs came with a sway bar as well. The GNX had a torque arm style. That has the normal lower control arms with a third long arm from the diff housing, running forward next to the drive shaft. This design requires a panhard bar for lateral axle stability. This was designed specifically for the GNX and was the only G body to get it. It improves handling and launches. It's very similar to the third and forth gen F bodies but doesn't share parts. Watch a video of a stock GNX getting ready to launch of the line. Instead of the front lifting with the rear end squatting, the whole car lifts evening. This is due to the improved geometry of the different design for a performance application. It doesn't ride as nice as the Regal/GN's. But it sure does grip better. 

Years ago I had a '79 Malibu  coupe with a factory 4 speed and the F-40 trailer suspension. (The idiot  from whom I bought it thought it was the F 41 Rally suspension) and  it used to launch the same way. Surprised me the first time I  tried it.

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I got the front and rear panels ready for assembly along with my license plates.  The blob of glue on the rear license plate was removed after the picture was taken.  The engine compartment was masked off and painted with Tamiya TS-29 Semi Gloss Black.

More Buick to come...

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As a Buick 3.8 SFI Turbo super freak, I would love to share a few things. I have owned several t-types, and one Grand National. There are three versions of the t-type. There is a blacked out version with all black trim, and paint. It is the WE4 package. It is the GN in every sense except name, wheels, and two tone interior.

Next is the standard t-type. It was any Regal color, but with blacked out trim except the chrome bumpers. All of the above come with bucket seats, and console.

And finally the Limited T-type. It is almost as rare as the GNX. It came with features like vinyl  roof, bench seat, and full Regal chrome with no black out trim.

If you have never driven a turbo Regal, I highly recommend it. I have owned three. One 87 GN, one 86 T-type, and one 87 Limited T-type. 

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Thanks Mark and Billy!

I have finished my Regal T-Type and it is posted in under glass.  I wuld like to thank all those who have viewed and have commented on my WIP.

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