In the 1980s, Buick was a struggling brand, and the decade is considered by many to be the worst in Buick’s history.
The brand was suffering from a bad reputation, poor quality, and dwindling sales. It wasn’t that there weren’t any good Buicks on the market in the 1980s. There were some truly excellent Buicks produced during this decade. The problem was that these cars were few and far between. Most of the cars that Buick was producing in the 1980s were lackluster at best.
This is why it’s so difficult to recommend a good Buick from the 1980s. The few really good Buicks that were produced during this decade are so far outnumbered by the bad ones that they might as well not exist. So, this list is not a “best of” list, but rather a “best of what there is” list. It will highlight the cars that are worth owning and driving, but it will not give them full credit for being one of the best Buicks ever made. Instead, these cars will be looked at as they stand on their own merits and what they have to offer compared to other cars in their class at the time.
1984-1987 Buick Regal Grand National
What we have here is one of the most sought after American performance sedans ever produced, and for good reason. The Grand National was released in 1984 as an upgrade from the Regal T-Type which had been on sale since 1978 (in various forms). In 1984, with only some minor modifications and an upgraded engine and transmission, the Grand National was introduced as a true performance sedan that could hang with the best imports on the market.
The Grand National was powered by a 5.0L V8 engine which produced 215 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. These numbers were impressive at the time, but in today’s standards they are nothing special. However, it should be noted that in 1984, this was a very good amount of power for a car of this size and weight. Also, this power came from an overhead valve V8, which is not exactly what you would expect to find under the hood of a performance sedan from the 1980s.
In 1985, Buick decided to make some changes to the Grand National to make it even more competitive with other imports on the market. The biggest change was made to the engine, which was upgraded to produce 235 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. Also new for 1985 was a turbocharged version of the 5.0L V8 that produced 250 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.
For 1986, Buick decided to further improve upon their performance sedan by giving it some suspension upgrades and better brakes. The result was an even better handling Grand National that could also stop faster than before (although stopping quickly wasn’t exactly a problem for these cars).
In 1987, Buick introduced the GNX. This was the ultimate Grand National, and one of the most sought after American performance sedans ever produced. The GNX was powered by a turbocharged version of the 5.0L V8 that produced an astounding 245 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque. In 1987, this was considered to be a huge amount of power for a car of this size and weight.
There were only 547 GNXs produced in 1987, making them extremely rare cars today. The performance figures for these cars are astounding. 0-60 mph came in at around 5 seconds, which is better than most modern sports cars can do today. It also had a top speed of 145 mph which is also impressive for a car from the 1980s.
The reason why this car made this list is because it’s one of the few good Buicks from the 1980s that you can still buy new today (at least new used). It’s an incredible car with impressive performance figures and classic styling that will turn heads wherever you go. Also, since it’s an older model that has been discontinued for some time now, you should be able to find one at a decent price (relatively speaking).
1986-1989 Buick Grand National
This is the final version of the Grand National that was produced. It was released in 1986 and featured the same 5.0L V8 engine as before, but with a few upgrades. The biggest change for this generation of Grand Nationals was the addition of a turbocharged version of the 5.0L V8 that produced 250 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. This was the most powerful Grand National that Buick ever produced, and it was also the fastest.
For 1987, Buick introduced the GNX which was a more powerful version of the Grand National with better performance figures. For 1988, they released a special limited edition 25th Anniversary Grand National which featured some minor upgrades and a new color scheme. For 1989, they released another special limited edition 25th Anniversary Grand National which featured more upgrades than the 1988 model.
These cars are all pretty rare today and have very good performance figures for cars of this size and weight. It’s not quite as fast as the Grand National from 1984-1986, but it’s still quick by any standard.
1982-1986 Buick Regal
This is the first generation of the Regal that was produced. It was released in 1982 and featured a 3.8L V6 engine which produced 170 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. This was the first generation of Regals to feature this engine, which would be used for several years to come. In 1983, Buick upgraded the engine to produce 180 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. This would be the most powerful version of this engine that would ever be produced.
In 1984, Buick introduced a turbocharged version of this engine which produced 205 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This was a very good amount of power for a car from the 1980s, especially one with this much weight behind it (over 4,000 lbs). It also had impressive performance figures for a turbocharged car from this era with 0-60 mph coming in at around 7 seconds and a top speed over 130 mph (which is pretty fast for a 1980s sedan).
For 1985, Buick decided to make some changes to their turbocharged Regal by adding an intercooler which increased power to 210 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. The result was a very quick car that could now do 0-60 mph in just 6.8 seconds and had a top speed of 138 mph.
For 1986, Buick added a new special edition Regal called the Turbo T that featured more power than any other Regal from this generation. It produced 220 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque which was an increase of 10 hp and 20 lb-ft of torque over the standard turbocharged Regal. The result was a very quick car that could now do 0-60 mph in just 6.5 seconds and had a top speed of 140 mph.
This generation of Regals are all pretty rare today, but they’re not as popular as the second generation (1986-1989) which is why they’re less expensive than some other 80s Buicks out there (but still more expensive than most other cars from this era).