1987 Buick Regal GNX - Photo by Regrozenah
Picture the late 1980s. The horsepower wars of the ‘60s and ‘70s had given way to emissions controls, and horsepower was down across the board. Front-wheel drive was taking over, and Buick’s Regal was about to go that route. The old rear-drive chassis was a lame duck, but how to send it off with a bang? Buick’s engineers worked up a completely unexpected masterpiece for the Regal’s final year before the switch, producing the GNX, a true muscle car built decades after that genre had gone the way of the dodo. As if dipped in a vat of deep black paint, the GNX is entirely blacked-out and looks ominous. And while Buick’s quoted power figures look good on paper, if you took the GNX to a dragstrip you would quickly discover that the go-quick Regal was seriously underrated by the manufacturer. With a V6 inhaling through an intercooled turbocharger sporting as many goodies as the engineers could cram in there, the GNX’s 300 horsepower allowed it to annihilate contemporary Corvettes (and even some Ferraris and Lamborghinis) in a drag race, shooting past 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. If that’s impressive today for a fairly large car, in 1987 this was both baffling and exhilarating. The GNX may look and sound like it’s got a bad attitude, but few cars can match its audacious performance.