McLaren Turbo – Secrets of Black Air – 1987 Buick GNX Story

Let’s start at the beginning, my personal vantage on the Buick GNX – before and after watching Black Air: The Buick Grand National Story.

CarRevsDaily - 1987 Buick Grand Nation - Black Air GNX GIF

Here are three things you may not know about the 1987 Buick Grand National:

  • Engine came first, car second. What sporty body could fit this 500HP boost-monster? Housing the huge McLaren turbocharger and intercooler hardware of the 3.8-liter V6 was the hardest part.

  • It was a very sentimental project for the company, allowing unbridled execution of the super-car engine and total styling black-out. That high-gloss, rich paint was pure fantasy at the time.

  • The GNX was the last car to roll down a celebrated car plant with nine decades of experience. One of the legendary first factories designed to take in iron ore on one side, and roll full cars out the other side.

So, quite a few special things all went into the formation of the GNX.

I was personally too young to understand the significance of this car, beyond its scary appearance. I hated its boxy lights in the 1990s.

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But there is still much to learn from the GNX, and I respect it a great deal more since watching the film.


Intercooled twin turbo’s are set to push out 420HP in the 2014 CTS Vsport, so perhaps timely as well.

I will contact Sir Mix-A-Lot regarding an appearance for a Baby Got Back “Turbo Vette” 2015 Super Bowl commercial. =]

Want to learn the whole GNX story, and watch the characters who brought the boost back to GM?

The trailer below does little justice to this 2012 documentary, which is a great and entertaining film.


Looks like the full feature can be rented from Amazon.

Supercar Showcase – 1987 Buick Grand National (c/o RR’s Auto Sales in Charlotte)

How to end this article? So much to say about the 1987 Buick Grand National. The headline could have easily been: classic showcase. Or supercar showcase.

McLaren Turbo - Secrets of Black Air 1

So there it is. A true blue supercar, painted piano black.

The 87 GNX.

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Official GM Heritage details below.

The Regal GNX was one of the fastest production cars built in the 1980s, with only 547 McLaren modified GNX models ever built. A larger turbo, intercooler and external body/wheel modifications separated it from the Regal GN models. The Buick Regal GNX could easily reach 13 second ¼ mile times and drive home on the highway with the air conditioning on while maintaining 23 mpg.

Wheelbase: 108.1 in (274.57 cm)
Weight: 3,545.00 lbs (1607.98 kg)
Engine: 231 cid, OHV V6, 276 hp
Base Price: $29,290.00