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Last Updated 12/09/01

1978-83 TURBO V6 NOTES

The following are some things I have learned over the years regarding the 1982 Buick Regal Grand National. I have been an '82 GN owner since 1990 and have met many other '82 owners since then. I would like to thank Al Thompson, Dave Anderson, Dan McCann and everyone else who has shared information with me about their cars. If you know something that may be useful to others, please let me know, and I will include it here.

DISCLAIMER - Although I believe that the following are all true, please verify them before making any decision involving the restoration/modification of your vehicle. If you disagree with something, have additional information, need clarification or have a question not addressed here, PLEASE leave a message on the MESSAGE BOARD!



GRAND NATIONAL EMBLEMS - The emblems from the '82 were also used on the 84-87's. They are still available from GM (part number 25516222). They are placed in similar but not exact locations as the black GN's. Apparently the emblems were not ready when the conversions began, due to a disagreement over the use of the name with NASCAR. The early cars were recalled to have the dealership install the emblems. Therefore not all '82 GN's had emblems installed in their proper locations if at all.

LEAR-SEIGLER SEATS - The Lear-Seigler seat frames are not unique to the 82 GN. The seat covers however were. The covers when new appear black and silver, when faded are charcoal and gray. Contrary to the press kit, The V6 logo is stitched in the seatbacks on the front seats only. The rear seat should have covers like the front buckets. A sharp metal corner tends to poke through the driver's side outside lower bolster. When recovering, this corner should be padded or otherwise addressed. Lear-Seigler seats from 1983 Century T-types and 1984-'86 GN/TR's are similar substitutes, but the backs of the front seats are cloth and the V6 logo is different.

REAR WINDOW DEFOGGER - This is one place where not all '82 GN are optioned the same. Although not listed as a "required option" in the press kit almost all cars have an electric rear window defogger (RPO C49). A few, however, do not and this can be confirmed by the lack of a switch on the instrument panel. (Had the rear window simply been replaced with glass without the defogger grid, the switch or at least the hole for the switch would likely still be there.)

DASHBOARD TRIM PLATES - The instrument panel, radio trim and dash plates (bezels) are unique the 82 GN. All are a brushed charcoal finish to match the other interior trim. They did NOT have any sort of numbering to indicate which of the 215 GN's a particular car is. The radio plate is likely to be missing or damaged by the use of an aftermarket radio. The plate above the glove box should say "REGAL". A similar plate with a GN emblem was used on the later GN's (GM 25519072). Note: Some '82 GN's have the later style plate with the GN emblem. This was likely owner changed. There was no mid- production change. The last '82 GN to be converted, C&C #215, has the "REGAL" plate.

CLOCK DELETE - Since the ETR radio already had a digital clock the analog clock in the instrument panel was deleted. The delete should have the yellow/orange "6" emblem with "GRAND NATIONAL BUICK MOTOR DIVISION". I don't believe this part was ever available separately. Note: It is rumored that some cars were furnished with an analog clock instead of this plate, but it is not clear whether they were delivered this way or if the clock was dealer/owner installed.

REMOTE TRUNK RELEASE - This is another one of those options that a few '82 GN's seem to have. While possibly original, this is something that is often added by dealers or at the purchasures request. The only way to know for sure is to see a window sticker or build sheet.

GRILLE and HEAD LAMP DOORS - The grille and head lamp doors are chrome trimmed with black. They were supplied by Buick and available as part of the Regal's Sport Coupe Decor Package (RPO Y44) which also includes completely black tail lamp bezels. (The GN's tail lamp bezels were the standard chrome.) The grille and head lamp doors were not available from GM parts division with black trim. (Paint to match.)

DOOR HANDLE APPLIQUÉ - The chrome outside door handles had rectangular decals applied to them. They were charcoal gray to match the darker paint of the car. These are missing from many cars by now.

FRONT AIR DAM - The three-piece rubber air dam was installed by Cars and Concepts. It is unique to the 82. This is probably the part most likely to be missing from a car not taken care of. It is also one of the most difficult parts to find. The center section is prone to the most damage.

ALUMINUM WHEELS - These are GM production units (RPO N78). They are not unique to the 82 GN. They were standard on the 83 T-type Regal and were optional on other 1982-84 Buicks in, including four-door Regals. Be careful, similar rims prior to 1982 used a flanged style lug nut, not the correct conical type used in '82 and beyond.

RED PIN STRIPING - There are several variations to the pin striping installed by Cars and Concepts. Most should have a single red strip running just inside the silver/charcoal boarder. Some have a double red stripe, or one red and one black strip. The second stripe may have been added over the boarder to cover poor workmanship (paint bleeding under the masking tape). There are different variations to the ending of the stripe at the bumpers. Also, some cars also have red striping added around the mirrors, rear spoiler and wheels. This is likely dealer or owner installed.

STEERING WHEEL - The steering wheel, column and dashboard where regular production. They are listed as charcoal but appear to be black. The wheel, column and dash should all be the same shade of charcoal/black. The steering wheel is leather wrapped and the leather covers more of the spokes than later wheels. The center of the horn button is a black tri-shield emblem. It was also used on later black GN's (GM part number 25518979).

CENTER CAPS - The center caps are also unique to the '82 GN, but are very similar to caps used on other Buicks. The correct cap is chrome with a black tri-shield emblem. They can be assembled by using the chrome body of a cap with a colored emblem and the emblem of an all black cap. These caps have a tendency of being loose and falling off. One trick is to wrap the the mounting tabs with a strip of electrical tape to tighten their fit.

REAR SPOILER - The rear spoiler was added by Cars and Concepts. While it is unique to the '82 GN, it is very similar in appearance to the '84-87 spoilers. They are of different construction and materials. The '82s are more fragile (especially the end caps) and do not hold paint as well as the later pieces. When laid side by side, the outer dimensions of the two are the same. Since 84-87 units they are plentiful, they would make suitable substitutes for the original spoiler. Once installed on the car, it would be very difficult to tell which was used.

OTHER OPTIONS - While the '82 GN package came standard with many options, it was not completely "loaded". Some options you will not find on (most of) the '82 GN's:


WINDOW STICKER - This is probably the best form of documentation for an '82 GN. It will list the VIN number, the body serial number, the Grand National option package (RPO T2E), and the dealer the car was delivered to.

BROADCAST SHEET - Broadcast sheets may be found inside doors, behind the dash, under the hood insulation (driver's side), or just about anywhere else. In the lower right wagon section, it should say "GRAND NAT". The six digit "body serial number" should match the number located on the upper right of the trim tag on the cowl. This is a different number than the last six digits of the VIN. Note: There may be two different style broadcast sheets.

COWL TAG - On the cowl tag (under the hood, near the windshield) should be the codes 84U and 84L for the paint. Maybe the car was repainted, but the original color was Charcoal Gray. There should also be an 82 (model year) and CC1 (T-Tops) on the tag. The cowl tag will not prove a car is a GN, but it can prove it is not.

VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER - There is no way to decode from the VIN whether a car is a 1982 Grand National or not. The VIN should follow the format 1G4AJ474xCHxxxxxx (x = any number). If the car is a Sport Coupe (Turbo), the format is 1G4AK473xCHxxxxxx. As with the cowl tag, it will not prove a car is a GN, but it can prove it is not.

RPO STICKER - Looking for the sticker under the decklid with the RPO codes like the 1984-1987 Grand National have? Sorry, GM didn't start using the RPO stickers until 1984. Only the window sticker or build sheet will have the codes.


"BUICK" SHADOW LETTERING - The decals are still available from the original supplier. If you own an '82 GN, let me know if you need them. Note: There are some reproductions around that are black and slightly different size, be careful.

REAR SPOILER - While unique to the '82 GN, it is very similar in appearance to the '84-87 spoilers. When laid side by side, the outer dimensions of the two are the same. Since 84-87 units they are plentiful, they would make suitable substitutes for the original spoiler. Once installed on the car, it would be very difficult to tell which was used.

INTERIOR SLATE GRAY - The gray interior of 1982 Regal was called "Slate". It is lighter than the gray used in later Regals. SEM Vinyl and Plastic Color Spray in "Warm Gray" (SEM 15183) is an excellent match.

LEAR-SEIGLER SEAT FABRIC - There is a little controversy about the cloth used on the Lear-Seigler seat versus the regular production fabric. The press kit refers to the cloth as "Gray Brandon". The 1982 Buick Interior trim fabrics, vinyl tops and exterior color booklet refers to the production cloth as "Gray Brandon" also. When comparing the production cloth swatch in the booklet to NOS '82 GN seat covers, they appear to be identical in both color and texture. Confusion probably resulted when comparing new, silver appearing covers to old faded, gray appearing covers.

STILL AVAILABLE? - Most of the special parts for the '82 GN were discontinued by GM a long time ago. Now many of the parts common to all 1982 Regals are also discontinued. I highly recommend getting what you can now. If you need help finding NOS (new old stock, discontinued) parts, let me know.

BUICK 4.1 LITRE V6 MOTORS - Finding a Regal with the 4.1 V6 in the junk yard can be difficult. The 3.8 V6 can be a great source of parts and can be found in many non-Regal and even non-Buick cars. For interchange, just check a parts catalog or compare casting numbers (or ask the Message Board). But for those parts special to the 4.1 V6, here is a list of GM cars which used the 4.1 litre V6, courtesy of David Chase, Silver6.

QUADRAJET CARBURETORS - Both the 4.1 and Turbo 3.8 use a quadrajet carburetor. The production number is located on the left side of the body. According the the Buick Pats Catalog, the 1982 4.1 V6 may use either 17059325, 17082268, 17082248 or 17082299. The Turbo V6 uses either 17082244 or 17082260. Note: all number may not apply to the '82 GN, since they were produced in a short time frame.

ELECTRONIC SPARK CONTROL (ESC) - The ESC system is what made the turbocharger practical for Buick's V6 application. This same system was added to the 4.1 V6 in 1981. The system uses a sensor to "listen" for knocking. When knocking is detected, the ESC retards the engine's timing to prevent it. The more knocking, the more retarding of timing, the less performance. To avoid knocking (and therefore maximize performance) use premium, high octane, fuel. The higher the octane, the greater the fuels resistance to detonation. See the KNOCK, KNOCK page for more detailed information.


PRESS KIT - There appears to be two press kits for the 1982 Grand National. One is the '82 GN Dealer Press Kit which is dated February 8, 1982. It contained several B&W pictures, a two-page explanation of the car, two page options list, an order form and two newspaper ads. (This kit has been reprinted in Steven Dove's Facts and Figures Book.) The second is a Media Press Kit that is dated for release on February 10, 1982. It contained a B&W 8x10 and a different two-page description of the car. This was probably given out at the 1982 Daytona 500 introduction.

INVITATION - In addition to the Media Press Kit, there was A SPECIAL INVITATION given out to the media to come see the car at the Daytona 500. This helps support that the Daytona introduction actually happened.

THE 1982 GRAND NATIONAL PROTOTYPE - Almost all printed pictures of the '82 GN are of the prototype car. The prototype had different fender emblems, a one piece air dam and N78 wheels that used the flanged style lugnuts. Before delivery to Buick, the car had Uniroyal Steel Belted Radial tires and standard center caps with the colored tri-shield emblem. Note: According to research by Alan Thompson ('82 GN Registry), the prototype did not have a VIN. It could not be sold to the public. It was used at the GM proving grounds to haul parts around and was later destroyed.

GRAND NATIONAL FENDER DECALS - A number of '82 GN have "GRAND NATIONAL" decals on the fenders similar to to the prototype's. These are likely owner installed. According to C&C President Dave Draper, this decal was not approved by NASCAR, and therefore no cars could be sold this way. Source: Al Thompson, '82 GN Registry.

"1982 GRAND NATIONAL SPORT COUPE" - This name refers only to the few 1982 Regals that came with both the Grand National (RPO T2E) and the Sport Coupe (RPO W11) packages. It was previously estimated that sixteen 1982 GN/SC's were made. The actual number of '82 GN/SC's is slightly higher, probably between 20 and 25. Many times 1982 Turbo Regals (Sport Coupes) are mistakenly called "Grand Nationals".

GRAND NATIONAL LIMITED? - It has been reported that some '82 GN's were based upon the Regal Limited and could be identified by a Regal crest emblem on the C-pillar. There are some '82 GN's with C-pillar emblems, but that doesn't make them a Limited. The fifth digit of a Limited would be an "M". There are no registered '82 GN's with a Limited VIN designation.

1982 vs. 1982 1/2 GRAND NATIONALS - Different names for the same car. The '82 GN was released mid-year, and many times the "1/2" is added to signify this. I have seen both ways used by Buick. Sometimes a major change will occur to a model and the "1/2" will signify if a particular car has the change or not. (When the 1996? Regal GS received the superchagred engine, it became the 1996 1/2 Regal GS). I prefer the '82 without the "1/2" since there was no major change made to the GN (and it is easier to type!).

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