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1982 Grand National Sport Coupe
a.k.a. "82 Turbo GN"
A pair of 1982 Turbocharged Grand National Sport Coupes.
Of the many options to the '82 GN, the lack of one stands out. Surprisingly, the '82 GN did not come with the Regal's most potent engine, the 3.8 turbocharged V6. This may have been because the turbocharger did not fit with the NASCAR image. The Turbo V6 was being developed for Indy cars, while all of Buick's stock cars were running normally aspirated motors (Chevy V8's). Another factor was cost. The Base regal started at $8,702. The regular productions options added another $3,500. Finally, the GN package was $3,278, which totaled at $15,480. The Sport Coupe package would have pushed the price to $16,578, another $1,278. Not many people are willing to spend almost double to get the "fully loaded" version of a car. But, probably the best reason for the 4.1 V6 over the Turbo 3.8 V6, however, is that the 4.1 was just introduced to the Regal in 1982 as a "performance" alternative to the 3.8 2-barrel V6.
There were, however, a handful of 1982 Grand Nationals were produced with the Sport Coupe package. The turbocharged engine upped the GN's horsepower from 125 for the 4.1 liter, to 175. Fifty more HP (from a smaller engine), this was something to back up the race car image. The Sport Coupe required the use of the hood bulge to clear the 4-bbl carb and a turbo hood ornament was substituted for the Regal crest. Some also have "Turbo 3.8 Litre" emblems placed on each side of the bulge. The Sport Coupe emblems were left off the fenders and decklid. On the inside, the volt meter was replaced with a boost gauge. Dual exhaust, aluminum brake drums, aluminum bumper reinforcements, higher stall torque converter and a 3.08 axle ratio were also included.
Production figures for the Grand National Sport Coupe were not kept, so the actual number is unknown. The commonly reported figure of 16 was an approximation that incorrectly became accepted as fact. I have seen a wide range of numbers quoted, but none ever have references to their origin. The best I can do track the number I find. Please see the REGISTRY page! There has been a lot of debate about which Grand National and Turbo Regal is the rarest. Since it is accepted to differentiate Grand Nationals from non-GN Turbo Regals (T Types, etc.), and Turbo Regals from non-turbos, then it follows to separate '82 Grand National Sport Coupes from '82 4.1 liter Grand Nationals. With this in mind, the '82 GN Sport Coupe is the rarest Grand National, followed by the '86 LeSabre GN (117), the '82 4.1 GN (215 minus turbos) and the '87 GNX (547). Likewise, the '82 GN Sport Coupe is also the rarest Turbo Regal, followed by the '87 GNX (547) and the '87 Limited Turbo Regal (1,035).
In 1990, I was lucky enough to purchase one of these '82 Grand National Sport Coupes (pictured above). I wanted a 86/87 Turbo Regal, but couldn't afford one. I stumbled across an ad in the paper for a 1982 Grand National. When I called, I let the dealership know the they were wrong because GN's were only made from 84-87. When they told me it was silver and gray, I said it must be a T-type because all GN's are black. After seeing the car, a was convinced it really was a Grand National. The salesman told me it was rare - only about 700 were made. After I drove the car, I told him it was a "dog" compared to the '87 I had driven earlier. But I liked the looks and could afford it so I "settled" for it. I had assumed all GN's, including '82's were turbocharged. Soon afterwards, I found out how uncommon it really was. Since then, I have been collecting parts and information to help return this and a second 1982 Grand National Sport Coupe to their original condition. But the meantime, I will have a little fun with them. See the Racing the 1978-83 Turbo V6 Buick page for my attempt to get some well deserved respect for my '82 GN/SC's performance capabilities.
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