During the 1980s, performance cars were making a comeback. General Motors had great success with its 1982 Firebird Trans Am, and Buick had its 1987 Regal GNX. These two vehicles were the epitome of power and beauty, yet they had a few differences.
1987 Buick Regal GNX
When Buick introduced its 1987 Regal GNX, the world met one of Detroit’s fastest cars ever manufactured. It was designed to pay tribute to the final production of Buick’s Grand National. Even though this Regal had only two doors, it was still considered a sedan. The exterior styling was quite boxy as well.
To lower its weight, the GNX used aluminum rear brake drums and bumper inserts. Thanks to this drop in pounds, the vehicle provided top handling and acceleration. Under the hood, the GNX had a 3.8-liter SFI engine, which could go zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Top speeds were estimated at 124 mph, but experts believed the car could go over 150 mph.
1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
In the early 1980s, Pontiac wanted to create excitement in the industry with its newly restyled pony car. To differentiate this vehicle from GM’s Camaro, designers maintained the distinct appearance of the Firebird. It included a low-riding nose and hidden headlamps. Its round profile added to its appeal, especially during the era when aerodynamic efficiency was preferred.
Even though the Trans Am version contained a standard 5.0-liter engine that delivered 145 horsepower, the fuel-injected model managed to go zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds and increased horsepower to 165. Fans will forever remember this car from the television series “Knight Rider.” A modified black version was used throughout the show and performed numerous hair-raising stunts.
Although both vehicles sold well and are remembered for their high performance standards, it appears the Regal GNX left a stronger impression on the minds of collectors. This Buick was built with power in mind. Until 2000, the GNX was probably the fastest car produced. At the time of its introduction, speculators went crazy and purchased a sizable share of Buick’s inventory. Even though no one knows exactly how many of these vehicles still exist, they are always interesting discoveries at car shows.
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