Regal T-Type 1987

It was tough being a General Motors fan in the 1980s. The company had relegated most of its models to bland copycats of compromised, committee-driven designs which, for the most part, suffered terrible quality problems. But every once in a while, the true car guys broke free of the massive corporate bureaucracy and belted one straight out of the park! Featuring a turbocharged 3800 V6, fitted with a comfortable cockpit and well known for its world-class performance, the Buick Regal Turbo was one such homerun. Thanks to a continued rise in desirability, the search is on to find the best turbo Buicks that will set the standard for the future collector car market. And, benefitting from meticulous care throughout its life, this highly original T-Type might just be one of the nicest Regals on the planet!

 

HISTORY/APPEARANCE

For car enthusiasts, the late 1980s meant one thing: the end of the much maligned Malaise Era. And this hard-edged coupe’s sophisticated Medium Emerald Firemist paint was a refreshing change from the polar palette the hobby had endured for close to a decade. In fact, the car’s glossy aesthetic, upgraded to modern basecoat/clearcoat pigment, is decidedly contemporary, proving once again that good taste never goes out of style. With that pigment comes a straight profile, which, throughout the car’s four owners, has been carefully stored and mostly paraded for show. Those owners, the first being a lady who purchased this Sport T, a Grand National and a GNX at the same time, kept that fuselage solid and well-aligned. A rare Blackout Trim Package highlights factory T-Tops and correct chrome bumpers. And at the end of the day, this Regal provides a raw and appealing contrast to the sea of monochromatic Grand Nationals that seems to be flooding ’80s GM folklore.

ENGINE

Speaking of survivors, and GM’s core strengths, if anyone ever creates an ultimate engine survivors list, Buick’s stalwart 231 cubic inch V6 will surely be at the top. Introduced as the Fireball, and eventually renamed the 3800, its early ’60s design was sold to Kaiser, bought back by General Motors and, with the help of turbos, superchargers and continuous improvements, would remain one of the company’s core powerplants until the turn of the century! In 1986, the Grand National’s turbocharged 3.8 liter, which had already benefitted from sequential fuel injection and distributorless ignition, saw significant mechanical changes that included a new air-to-air intercooler, adjustments to its Garrett turbo, improved upper and lower intake manifolds, and a redesigned exhaust system. By 1987, those carefully calculated tweaks were good for a newly impressive 245 horsepower and 355 lb./ft. of V8 slaying torque. And the car’s drag strip scorching performance would not only best GM’s own Camaro and Corvette, but also catapult it to the forefront of ’80s performance! This spry Buick mill is mostly stock, with the exception of a multi-stage tune, a polished turbo cover and polished charge pipes. And naturally, the numbers-matching engine floats a correct 25526109 casting number in front of a matching 448591 partial VIN.

DRIVETRAIN/SUSPENSION

The car’s hot engine spins torque through a proven 200R4 4-speed that’s a member of the ultra-reliable Turbo-Hydramatic family: an honorable and faithful group that’s survived behind GM’s toughest performance blocks for decades. That seasoned gearbox twists a tough G80 differential, which spins aggressive, 3.42 gears to offer a great combination of starting line grip and high-speed cruising. And, under that first-class drivetrain, an FE3 Sport Suspension creates NASCAR-inspired handling characteristics. Of course, all that power demands a good set of binders, with GM’s proven front discs combining with Buick’s beefy aluminum drums to provide solid, power-assisted stops. Quick-ratio power steering makes cornering easy and turning a cinch. Single-into-dual exhaust makes good use of a factory-spec muffler. At the corners, original wheels spin 215/65R15 BF Goodrich Radial T/As around gray-trimmed center caps. And, aesthetically, the bottom of this Buick is exactly what you’d expect from a well-maintained cruiser.

INTERIOR

Naturally, the Dark Blue cockpit is just as authentic as the rest of the car, featuring mostly original components that document three decades of character. Comfortable velour seats are nicely patterned pieces that feel just as soft as they look. In front of those seats, a lightly weathered dash hangs simple telemetry above factory air conditioning and a correct Delco tape deck. Below that dash, a small console frames an elegant shifter. Dark Blue carpet shows a surprisingly minimal amount of wear thanks to color-keyed floor mats. At the sides, clean door panels wrap small accessory switches in a stylish combination of velour, carpet and plastic, while an attractive, 3-spoke steering wheel spins a vivid “T” around a tilting column and functional cruise control. And behind the passengers, a spacious trunk conceals a small spare tire beneath original decals and unrestored decklid paint.

VEHICLE SALE INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTATION AND ACCESSORIES

* The car’s original Owner’s Manual
* Original factory accessory booklets
* A vintage Buick Buyer’s Guide
* A copy of the car’s Title from its first owner
* A written survey from the car’s original owner (conducted during ownership transfer)
* A copy of a vintage Registration from a previous owner
* Buick Turbo decals
* A Buick Motorsports patch
* A Tomco pass code retrieval kit
* A vintage Pyramid amplifier

Today, turbo Regals are almost universally regarded as future collector cars. That means clean, well-stewarded cruisers like this slick Medium Emerald Firemist coupe are becoming as exclusive as they are cool. If you’re a diehard tri-shield fan, a lover of unique classics, or just a smart investor looking for a good bet on a solid return, this stealthy G-Body is the deal of the year!

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SUMMARY

* Original 3.8 liter turbocharged V6 / Multi-stage tune
* Correct Turbo-Hydramatic 200R4 4-speed automatic transmission
* Correct Medium Emerald Firemist paint / Rare Blackout Trim Package
* Largely original Dark Blue velour interior / Factory air conditioning
* Original 15-inch wheels
* Factory T-Tops
* Factory G80 rear axle / 3.42 gears
* Factory FE3 Sport Suspension
* Factory power steering / Factory power front disc and rear drum brakes

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