Sometimes bling can go a little too far:
Somebody clearly had waaay too much time on their hands.
Then again, it’s maybe a step up for that old hunk of GM iron.
That thing cannot POSSIBLY drive…
Hey, that’s a Regal T-Type, with the 3.8l turbo engine. What a shame… That was a nice car with wheels half the diameter of the ones on it now.
Is this the urban equivalent of yesteryear’s monster truck?
Sure, I think this looks pretty rediculous all in all, but it makes a statement. Making a statement and expressing a burning desire to stand out, to be recognized as different from the herd in one way or another is something we all share.
I remember growing up, that some people used to jack up jeep chasis and put 44 or 46 inch mud tires on them, and then retro fit unexpected car bodies in place of the jeep. There were monster truck Vegas and Pinto wagons, VW beetles, etc.
On another branch of the same tree, there was a guy who took a 1981 dodge omni, converted it to rear wheel drive, narrowed the rear end and tubbed it with full cage, put in monster slicks (hey the NHRA called, there’s a set missing), and an 8-71 blown 440 engine. It was truly awesome to hear running at idle as the blower was WAY over driven – sounded like a Boeing 757 heading out to the runway, but it was completely undriveable. It “squirted” in whatever direction it was momentarily pointed amidst a heck of a racket. Handling? Room for groceries? Viable for a commute? No. But it did make an imression like the regal above.
Hey, everyone needs a hobby! The more you look, the more you see all kinds of weird stuff. And why should the guy who built it care what anyone thinks? He had fun doing it and it is totally unique. There are all kinds of ways to have fun with cars. Besides, when you do stuff like this the result is supposed to be a caricature of the original machine, sort of like NHRA Funny Cars or NASCAR racers.
As for the Buick, it’s no loss. If the 3.8 turbo was so good why hasn’t it been used in more GM cars? And the Regal still had crummy seats, numb steering and felt like, well, a Buick. Yawn.
I think we’re on the same page generally on this. In regard to the Regal, Stephen is probably the ‘expert’ as he had an ’87 grand national and modified it heavily. Body and chasis wise, it was still very much a 1970’s holdover, although in black, and with thematic interrior, it looked better than it’s sister “T-type” regals above. With regard to the 3.8, it was available at the time and was the only V6 GM had that could handle the intercooler and turbo.
The car had a few technology points ahead of it’s day. For example, the fuel injectors were sequentially fired, and the engine was distributorless with coil packs, while the flagship V8 of the day, in the Corvette, still was batch fired (all 8 injectors fire together) which made it less effecient, and still used a single coil and distributor. In follow on vehicles, the Syclone and Typhone, GM switched to the 4.3L V6, which was a V6 version made from the venerable 350 V8.
I think the 3.8 has to been judged for the ground it broke in it’s day, offering domestic muscle, under 5 liters in displacement and with fewer than 8 cylinders. The 3.8 lived on into the 90’s as the 3800, and powered many GM vehicles. By the 90’s, GM ditched the turbo in favor of a roots style supercharger found on the grand prix GTP, and the Boneville SSEI. Interestingly, Steve has owned one of each of those. I’m not sure of total production ru
Oh, you’re right, of course. For an American car of that era it was advanced. It’s just interesting that they never pushed the technology any further. I wonder why? Where there maintenance/failure/service issues? Did the turbos and internals hold up? They weren’t meant for the mainstream market, so maybe it was never the intent to go beyond a narrow audience. But it is GM, so go figure!
The normally aspirated versions of that engine I’ve driven have been fairly satisfying, if a bit underwhelming on the power side. Even with a turbo motor in such a car, my problem is more with with the rest of the package–steering, handling (on anything other than smooth roads), seats, ergonomics, overall aesthetics, and that overall fun to drive factor. But then there are few domestic cars that I’ve ever liked. I tend to look at them as OK for rentals, but not to own. To be honest, I usually avoid even renting them. The best I can say about domestics is they are usually cheaper to hot rod and own than Euro cars, but still lack the feel I prefer.
However, since I have 3 turbocharged Saabs in the driveway, the lens I look at turbocharged cars through is perhaps a little warped. Saab has more production car turbocharging experience than any car maker (1st turbos about 1978) and has worked out a lot of the kinks, so it sets a standard in my book. The standard? I question the need for more than 4 cylinders in a car. (as long as they are turbocharged). Told you I was a bit warped.
Not warped at all – I understand completely when your passionate about a particular line of vehicle.
As for durability, Steve modded that GN heavily, and ran about 20 lbs of boost. During the summer nights of our youth, we burned a hole thorugh the #5 piston (pre-ignition), and also broke the crank shaft in half . These failures were on two seperate occasions. He also went through a couple of automatic transmissions. As I recall, there was a limited edition trans am around 89 or 90 that came with the same turbo intercooled 3.8 v6. Very rare. More style and handling potential, but still a bit heavy.
On my list of “one day I’d like to have…” is a 1987 calloway twin turbo corvette. GM gave calloway his own RPO (regular production order) code which appeared on the car’s build sheet along with the codes for suspension, paint, and other options.
Competition does a lot to improve an automaker’s desire to push the envelop. The domestics were lazy for too long. They tried to partner with the Japanese in the 80’s and 90’s in various ways – Chrysler, most notably to catch up with a marketplace that was leaving them behind. I think this helped move them along in thinking quite a bit, and like them or not, chrysler has done arugueably more to move the domestics along in terms of thinking and styling starting with the Viper, the prowler, the PT cruiser, 300, etc, etc. And with the charger, and coming challenger, they’ve set a whole “retro” movement out of the big 3. Everyone is resurrecting old names these days. I have mixed feelings on all that.
Moving forward – I saw an ad for a Lexus performance hybrid with over 430 hp the other day. I’m not a Lexus fan, but took note that someone is looking to marry the idea of performance and next generational thinking. Not everyone wants an insight or prius. Now, if they’ll just hurry along with that cold fusion powered vette…
You’re right on Chrysler. I don’t care for most of their styling, but they are doing a lot on the engineering front. Not sure how how it will hold together given Daimler’s ambitions, but time will tell.
Resurrecting old names (and overall appearance) is pure marketing–hopes of attracting Baby Boomers to the new version of the cars of their youth. Probably not a bad idea, since they can sell the born-again models at a premium. It doesn’t resonate with me, as my youthful fantasies focused on British sports cars and dreams of Porsches. To me the modern versions of “famous names” are just other new domestic cars. I do like the Challenger, though. Always thought the old one was pretty cool.
As for Steve’s GN… 20 psi boost had to be fun! But overboost like that can definitely do some damage. I suspect 20 psi was a tad more than the guys in Detroit anticipated! There’s a reason the guys who get 400 HP+ out of their 2.3 L Saab engines have big injectors, rising rate fuel pressure regulators, and re-mapped ECUs that retain the knock protection. The stock pistons have oil sprayers and the cranks are designed for big loads. That’s thanks to all the Saab engines that broke before the engineers figured that stuff out!
My four cylinder (or Porsche) preferences aside, what I still really want a Factory Five Cobra. I know a couple guys who have them. One with 547 HP out of a big block. Now THAT’s exciting! Unfortunately my daughter’s college tuition comes first these days. Sigh.
Thanks for the fond memories Mark! I do miss that old GN. It’s probably the most fun car I ever had and part of that was because of the lousy handling and braking: it made going fast really challenging! That and the “maybe-lock” rear differential that would sometimes lock and sometimes not… othertimes it wouldn’t until you were halfway turned and then lock solid. Many a unexpected doughnut resulted.
As far as the boost, it was pretty much maxed out. I still remember a honest “Vericom timed” 4.92 second 0-60 run with low 8’s (8.16) in the eighth. All on
street tires and pump gas. Pretty amazing for early 80’s technology.
But forget turning or stopping. 🙂
But turning and stopping are the fun parts….
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