In an earlier post I wrote about the Buick that embarrassed GM - the 1987 Grand National. We did some minor work on the car, fixing a few issues and installing a new oil cooler but other than that the car is basically as stock as the day it was made. Today we did a power pull on it to see what it has some 34 years later.
Here are a few specs from the time when the car was produced:
so - after 34 years and a little over 46,000 Km (not miles) on the odometer, you would expect to see a performance drop.
Here's a few shots of the car getting prepped for the dyno. After the car gets looked at on the hoist, tire pressure is checked and the car is strapped down and the dyno adjusted. From there boost sensors, back pressure, lambda, ambient air temps etc. are all connected before the warm up run. We never run tests on cold engines, for obvious reasons, so the first while on the dyno is a smooth steady run to bring things up to temperature. After that we do a run to calculate the losses produced by friction in moving parts like the transmission and differential so that calculation can be factored in.
In this case Stefan also removed the 'kick down' cable to stop the car from shifting to a lower gear under boost. We try to run as close as we can to a 1:1 gear ratio which can be tricky in a car of this era, particularly since this one has a lot of torque at low rpm. So, 34 years later...how did it do?
Well - pretty damned good.
243 horsepower pretty much flat across the range above 2000 RPM, but...402 pound feet of torque from right down at the low rpm range. The engine has that low end 'grunt' when you need it and was part of what went into making it the fastest production car of 1987. Yes - a Buick.
By the way - we are posting videos to YouTube, and the dyno pull will be going up shortly check out our channel
Last year we posted a blog article called "What oil do you guys use". Its obvious that we are a fan of all things Liqui Moly and we believe in the product enough to have done extensive testing on it - with real world results and improvements in performance. Liqui Moly has a great YouTube channel and has been posting videos from renowned host of several TV shows, Edd China.
Below is one of the videos - but check out the Liqui Moly write up on the partnership at this link from October last year.
Don't forget to check out our own RSP Motorsports YouTube channel, we have everything from Dyno Runs to short video articles on cars and we are adding content weekly.
At RSP some days are good days and some days are great days. Today was one of those great days with a rare glimpse of the early days of spring and the promise of what's around the corner. I know we will get 'bit' with another reminder we aren't quite there yet but I will take any chance I get. Everyone has been through a year like no other, sometimes we need a reminder of good things to come.
I often wander the shop during lunch, when the staff are taking a break. Today we are moving cars in and out of storage and getting a few ready for the summer. In the last post we had a 1987 Grand National and today I won't focus on a single car - or for that matter inundate you with anything but a few pics of what's in the shop and a few of the sights around RSP.
Remember that shop floor I talked about in a previous post that was clean enough to pass the 'white sock' test? Its not just something we hope to achieve - its here, and we keep it like that every day.
Plus the technician's did an oil change on my own car and I couldn't help but take it out for an...ahem...test drive. So, yes, a great day.
Whether you have a 1936 Ford, 1987 Grand National, a 2021 Porsche 911 or anything else in between give us a call.
Spring is here.
We get an eclectic mix of cars through the shop and one of them caught my eye recently, a 1987 Buick Grand National. Some, are going to ask - seriously, a Buick?
Lets get into a bit of what it is first and why its worth a look.
One of the items that is often missed when looking at these cars is time and context, so for both, its time to turn back to 1980 and the state of American muscle cars. The CAFE laws (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) passed in the mid 1970's and as each year passed there was a greater call for fuel mileage and for lowering emissions. Canada, also had the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act and other legislation at the same time.
Automakers scrambled to find the economy in current engines and, again, for context, the Chevrolet Corvette made just 250 horsepower from its small-block V-8 engine until 1992. Most manufacturers ended up limiting horsepower on existing engines while they worked on better longer term solutions. This was a time when smaller 'economy' cars were the main sellers. In a bold move, and a throw back to its racing days, Buick management started working on a 'secret' project to get back into the game. Oddly enough the initial idea was not secret as it was part of Ken Baker's (a Buick engineer) idea to help a local Boy Scout group understand about engines and one project idea he came up with was turbocharging a Buick engine. The results were enough to turn heads in Buicks engineering department.
Although under the same umbrella, GM was very protective of its Corvette and Buick wanted to draw on its stock car racing history at...well, the Grand Nationals.
The car was powered by a six cylinder 3.8 litre turbo that had been part of the secret development authorized by the new head of Buick in the mid 1970's stemming from that Boy Scout project. From there it blossomed into the idea of building an Indy pace car. In terms of technology it was far advanced including knock sensors and some initial electronic spark controls. By the mid 1980's the engine was further developed with an intercooler and Buick produced almost 21,000 to keep up with demand in 1987.
In 1986, Car and Driver magazine found that the car they were given to test was actually producing 290 horsepower instead of the advertised 235. Some suggested that Buick had purposefully understated engine power in order to keep the cost of car insurance less expensive for owners, while others have said the figures published was to draw less attention to its actual power. As Car and Driver stated, the 1986 Buick (Regal) Grand National was quicker in the quarter mile than some of the best that Ferrari and Porsche could throw at it. Including even the legendary Lamborghini Countach quarter mile times. That also included beating the venerable Corvette by a second - thus the 'embarrassment' from GM. Add to that Buick was more known as a luxury brand and wasn't really considered (yet) as a muscle car. By the time the production run ended though, it was clear that was exactly what the Grand National was.
The 1987 version we have in the shop is all black looking as sinister as it was supposed to when it was made. The car came out during a time when chrome was still king and its all blacked out 'Darth Vader' look turned as many heads as it was supposed to.
Not everything was state of the art, however, as the car still came equipped with front and rear drum brakes and by todays standards rather small 15 inch wheels. Regardless of its pitfalls it was a show stopper from both a performance and technical achievement standard. Its lines are...well a mid 80's Buick, but the dark and 'sinister' look is sought after, particularly in the even more rare GNX (Grand National eXperimental). That car was the fastest production car in 1987, and that is all that needs to be said. So seriously - yes a Buick. We love all cars, we may specialize in European and exotics but sometimes you come across a legend and you have to take a second look.
By the way, the car is getting prepped for a dyno run after a winter of storage and we will post a few videos of it on our YouTube channel over the next few days
Back at the start of March we posted a little quiz to see how well you could identify cars. Although we didn't have a winner I thought I would give the larger picture of the cars and the answers. I will come up with another contest so let me know what you want to see.
We started with the pretty iconic VW bug as a teaser question with the answer. But I admit they got harder.
Now the answers:
Discontinued in 1988 this 'classic' now sells unrestored for between $18,000 to $22,000 at auctions
Either you love it or you hate it. It signaled the beginnings of the end of the AMC company. It was the AMC Eagle and it was a polarizing as the Pontiac Aztec was later on.
Photo by Christopher Ziemnowicz from Wikipedia. Its literally breaking my own rule by posting someone elses picture but I can't find the ones I took - I think my camera refused to take more than 1 picture of this car.
Chevy Chase was easily distracted by this classic
If I said that the car was made famous by Tom Selleck then you would have easily guessed the Ferrari 308. It was also in the National Lampoons "Vacation" movie
This iconic vehicle was the star of movies and endless posters on bedroom walls
Most of you probably guessed it - the half window in the drivers door and the fact that it lifts up is a giveaway, its a Lamborghini Countach. In the full picture Renato is backing up the car as its supposed to be. You basically climb up on the sill and work the clutch and gas with your feet, there is almost no rear visibility.
Exported in 1954 this model was hoped to be a 'Corvette Killer'
This wasn't an easy one, I don't think I would get it if I didn't see the car in full. In 1952, Allard attempted to offer a more civilized variant of previous models it had raced on the track. Exported to America as a potential "Corvette slayer" Dodge dealers had been clamoring for, it featured one of the most powerful engines of its era, the 331 cu in Chrysler Hemi engine, fitted with a pair of 4-barrel carburetors. unfortunately it never found the market that it was looking for. In total less than 100 were built but by the mid 50's Allard was struggling to stay afloat.
Anyone who has read this blog has some idea of the enormous engine and transmission that got put back into this car.
There is a great picture of Andrew, one of our Technicians below that gives you a sense of the size of the motor and transmission.
In 1951, this air cooled 'powerhouse' boasted modern conveniences like locking doors and an ignition key. German auto magazines described it in less than flattering terms such as "Häßlichkeit und Primitivität"
Although it was called ugly and primitive by the Germans (Häßlichkeit und Primitivität) the Citroen 2CV (literally two horses in English) was built for farmers to replace horse and wagon. It had the advertised ability to drive across a plowed field with a basket of eggs in the passenger seat and not break (I assume they were referring to the eggs). Although not a powerhouse, this air cooled engine car would not only become a million seller, but also one of the few cars in history to continue a single generation in production for over four decades. Although described as an umbrella on wheels it did come wit a revolutionary new feature just developed by Michelin - the radial tire. Upgrades even included an electric start as a pull cord was used to start it prior to that.
Many people picked up on the race inspired steering wheel of the Ferrari 458. The car was so sought after by gamers playing racing sims that Thrustmaster still sells a version of it (http://www.thrustmaster.com/en_US/products/ferrari-458-spider-racing-wheel). The car itself is 'slightly' higher power than the 2CV in the previous question. (the 2CV had around 12 - the Ferrari 458...about 550HP more)
This one surprised me a bit. It was another collaboration between a British company and American powerplants, including input from Carroll Shelby. The car gained some TV appeal in the mid 60's on the popular show Get Smart.
The Sunbeam Tiger did win in its class twice in the NHRA (AHRA at the time) quarter miles with a time of 12.95 seconds and a speed of 174 km/hr
With a heavy duty suspension offered and high performance tires this classic is easily and instantly recognizable with an image that shows just slightly more.
Most people got this one, all you need to see is a bit more of the stripe and its instantly recognizable as the Dodge SuperBee
Hope you enjoyed it. As always let us know what you want to see and we will try and accommodate that.