Citing a “reliable source”, Edmunds InsideLine says that Buick is planning to reintroduce the Grand National, T-Type, and GNX nameplates. According to the report, the storied performance models from the 1980s will ride on GM’s new RWD Alpha platform introduced by the Cadillac ATS compact performance-luxury sedan, will have redesigned interior and exterior styling befitting the Buick design language, and will be four-door sedans.
Sticking with tradition, the T-Type and Grand National will share powertrains and suspension calibrations but the former will be offered in a full color palette, while the latter will only come in black. IL surmises that GM’s upcoming twin-turbocharged 3.6 liter V6 will be used in the T-Type and GN, where it should produce between 350 to 400 horsepower, while the GNX will use GM’s all-new LT1 V8 smallblock, which has been confirmed to fit into the Alpha platform. According to the report, all of the subsystems — including steering, brakes, and suspension — will be shared with the ATS, and both manual and automatic transmissions are possible.
IL says that it will be at least a year before we hear anything official from Buick about these models and speculates that the 2014 Detroit Auto Show is where they’ll be shown. In addition, General Motors has filed trademarks for all three nameplates, including Grand National, GNX, and T-Type.
For the uninitiated, the Buick Regal T-Type, Grand National, and GNX were — for all intents and purposes — the quickest cars on the market in 1986 and 1987. They were powered by turbocharged variants of Buick’s 3.8 liter V6 boasting 200 hp (150 kW) at 4400 RPM and 300 lb-ft (407 Nm) of torque at 2400 RPM and earned instant critical acclaim along with drag strip cred. The cars today are highly-valued collector items, with some of the 547 GNXs built in 1987 going for as much as $100,000 at auction.
The GM Authority Take
Reintroducing serious performance into Buick would significantly change the brand’s direction, identity, image, and focus. As such, we’re taking this report with a morsel-full of salt.
What makes us doubt this report even more, however, is the following: if the ATS does indeed end up sharing most of its componentry (including its dimensions) with the T-Type, Grand National, and GNX — essentially making them Buick’s compact performance sedans — where would that leave the well-selling Verano and its well-received Turbo variant? After all, the Verano is also a compact vehicle — albeit much less performance-focused.
But let’s imagine that the goal is, indeed, to move Buick in a new direction — away from soft luxury (where it is now) to a more performance-focused luxury (where, ironically, Cadillac is vying to play). Adding three more sedans will leave Buick with six (yupp, a whopping six) sedans, including:
- Grand National
Six sedans, even if they’re all variants of the same car, seems like overkill to us — and makes for a third reason that has us highly doubting the accuracy of the IL report.
Hat tip to Coreyell C.