First timer - Interested in Turbo Buicks


New Member
Hi, I have finally had enough with my Camaro. It's a 99 with a massive cam that was ground wrong, a rear end that broke and had to be replaced ($2500 just for the 12 bolt) a broken torque arm/driveshaft, now the tranny is going. Im just tired of throwing money into this thing. I want something more reliable and something you don't see 30 of on the road everyday. I am interested in a grand national I was always fond of them. I don;t know which year is the best or anything like that. I want to do this car right and do all the suspension mods and engine buildup mods before I do any poweradders. Can someone steer me in the right direction? I don't see any banners on this site so I wouldn't even know who sells aftermarket parts for these cars. And if you see any good deals on a GN let me know, thanks for your help - Jeremiah
86-87 are the innercooled models.
These cars are getting old so you will have breakage.
Parts are getting scarce & high.
The drivetrains on these cars are excellent.
The body (paint & rust) and electrical system is poor.
You already have a power adder - the turbo.
These cars go mid 11s with no internal engine MODS and at a low cost.
Hi, "J" ,what would you be asking for your camaro? does it have the ls1? the wife is wanting one. please let me know. you'll LOVE the GN it becomes an addiction. you will stick alot of money into a GN also but your right you don't see a ton on the street. mine is in the low 11's now and should be into the 10's this comming spring.
JB151 said:
........ I don;t know which year is the best or anything like that. I want to do this car right and do all the suspension mods and engine buildup mods before I do any poweradders. Can someone steer me in the right direction? Jeremiah

I think the first question is "What are your goals" besides reliable?
As stated before, these cars are old and need some work form time to time, but, it you keep them stock, they tend to be pretty reliable.

Also stated previously (I will wait on the experts to chime in, but meanwhile from the top of my HARD head ........ :eek: )

83 – These are rare GN’s and are turbocharged with carburetors. (Someone correct me on this if I am wrong)
84-85 These are non intercooled, cheaper to get one, and considered less desirable by hot rodders. Have been known to get into the 10’s on a stock block.
86-87 These are intercooled, more expensive, and more desirable by hot rodders. Have been kown to get into the 9’s on a stock block.

Good luck with your decision, tighten your belt, and get ready for the ride. :biggrin:
Hey thanks for all the replies...Yes I would be interested in an 86-87. I just want to run mid 11s or so and have a street car. I don't want a track car due to the nearest track being Bithlo. I just want something fast to drive around on the weekends. I'm new to the whole boost thing, but I've heard of so many people running fast times in these types of cars without having to drop tons and tons of cash into them. Realize that this is relatively speaking and to make a car such as my camaro forced induction would require a whole new fuel system, a new rear end (which I already have) a turbo system and then the actual turbo itself. Then I would have to build the motor up even more. Or a supercharger which is around $5-6000.

Scot W-Your wife does not want my pos camaro...yes it does have the ls1 and a huge cam in it which is supposed to put down 400+ rwhp and 380 tq but is actually putting down 365/330. I don't feel like paying someone to do another cam swap and I don't feel like dumping loads into the tranny to fix it.
JB151 said:
....... I just want to run mid 11s or so and have a street car. ........ I just want something fast to drive around on the weekends.
That is how we all started out .......... :biggrin:
My advice would be to find the lowest mileage car that you can afford, preferably one close to stock or mildy modified. Nothing worse than buying a car that needs tons of bodywork and a paint job to make it look presentable. You will spend more money up front but will be ahead in the long run. Nothing worse than dealing with a body shop.

You also might want to buy Kirban Performance's books about buying a Turbo Regal, might save you some headaches and prevent you from buying the wrong car.

When I bought my GN it only had 4700 miles on it and I paid top dollar for it. Only mods were lowering, billet wheels and a Ford 9" rear. :eek: Started from there and never looked back. With minimal mods mine was nipping at the 11's. Home remodeling and business/family obligations put an end to my racing bug so now I just keep the car looking nice and hit the occasional cruise night with it.

well, the camaros are nice, and kinda easy to work on but, the turbo regals are easy to make go real fast. ya just gotta watch out for some pieces, as they have some miles on em.
as far as 83 grand nationals? there werent any. theres 83 sport coupes, and 82 grand nationals, but they were both slow. dont get em if performance is what you want. those are for collecting.
and 9 seconds on a stock block? that would be really rare. i cant imagine that would last too long, without it ejecting some shiny parts here and there.
the 86-7's are the easiest to work on, and to get parts/mechanics for but the hot airs arent that bad either. theyre a bit cheaper. like the rest of the guys said, ya gotta lay down some goals, as to what you want. if you want a 13 second car, buy a hot air. its a tad cheaper, and you can use the money you saved to do the basics to it. (ie total tune up, scan master, guages, all frame brace kits, tie down strap, fuel system)
I'd part your f body out on ebay during the off season, and with all the money youve saved up, buy a hot air.
though, if you get one, the ride and the cabin will be TOTALLY different than what youre used to. i mean night and day. but its ok, youll get used to it. plus have a LOT more room as well. but you better get full coverage for it, as well as a column lock, club, and a good alarm, cuz people kill each other for turbo regals. if you get one in good condition, youll soon see what i mean. seriously, they really are hot commodities. best overall performance car on the road in my opinion. you get everything with it. fuel economy (relative to other performance cars) room, luxury, performance, and the overall class of owning a buick vehicle. you can drive it in the rain, they dont sit one inch off the ground, so you can take it down a non improved road, theyre not made of plastic, so theyre a tad more durable than newer cars, and you can go grocery shopping as well. Selling a whipper snapper camaro and graduating to a grown folks buick, is quite a switch. its like growing up in the hot rod world (not trying to offend anyone) youll see the TOTALLY different type of people youll attract, wanting to come over and talk to you about your car. TR enthusiasts I've found, are generally in a higher age bracket, and a tad wiser and more mature when it comes to the autosports. hang out on the f body boards, then hang out on this or, and you will see what i mean. a TR is a true collectors piece, and will only go up in rarity and price. go to hagertys insurance site, and see what class they threw our gn's in.... totally different world and people in it. you will see.

and one more said that "I don't see any banners on this site so I wouldn't even know who sells aftermarket parts for these cars"
on THIS site?? this is one of the few sites around, that has ALL KINDS of aftermarket vendors websites. if you cant find it here, you're in trouble ;)
trust me, this is THE place to go. its where all the cool guys hang out lol. should you decide to take the leap, and join the family, let me know, or anyone on here, and you will see a wealth of info that will blow your mind man.

hey J

these cars can be very reliable if left in the stock form. As you mod a GN there are certain things you will need to do to keep that relaibility there.

I dunno much about making newer maro's fast or the amount it takes to do so. But the average GN with decent miles is gonna be around 8 grand.

i bought my car in 99 for 7700 bucks with 97k on it and it was STOCK !

look in my sig for all my mods

i would say i have spent another 5-6k on it since i bought it

but once you have riden in the DARKSIDE you will not go back

also i get 22-23 mpg on the highway with it making 350 RWHP-440RWTQ get you some boost J
Start where?'re already hooked. :biggrin:

If just going fast and doin it in style is what you want. Its turbo Regals. Jeryl and Boosted have some great points for you. For me its just keeping the car nice and dreaming about a few mods...nothing radical or too expensive. Enjoy it and when it comes time to sell, hopefully I'll get most of my money out.

The Kirban books are excellent. "Kirban's guide to buying a used 86 & 87 Turbo Regal" and "Kirbans Guide to 1986 and 1987 Turbo Regals". He also has CD's and sells parts and CARS (turbo Buicks). I believe him to be honest and he really likes these cars and their heritage. He goes thru these cars and resells at fair value - not cheap.

In addition there are lots of good resources on this and other turbo Buick sites...people, guides, option lists, recipes, and maintenance guides (cookbook style is good for guys like me). Read thru the boards...I learn a little every time I log on...even at my age.

Take your time.... find a good one.... stock or slightly modded and smile every time you hear that turbo whine. :cool:

Hey JB151.

My personal advise is find someone in your area that works on/is into Turbo Buick's.

You said the closest track is Bithlo?? So I am assuming you're in FL...There are a lot of buick guys down there...Meet up with some I'm sure they will show you around the car, what to look for, what good first mods are, ect...You can find all that here to, but I find it's easier when you can point and say "that breaks, this breaks, that slows you down", you get the point.

Go down into the Florida area in the forum and let em know you're looking ect.