Preparation of a 1987 Buick Grand National for SCCA CAM-C

Photo by Micheal Clevenger

Following the unfortunate, but necessary, sale of my Datsun, I was left with no car to race in my chosen sport: SCCA Autocross. I mean, I had this nice Cadillac CTS-V, which is a sporty ride, but I needed that vehicle to get me to work each day. It’s not a toy.

I spent half a season co-driving another friends’ car, and that was fun, but I like running my own stuff.

And then there’s the Buick. I have this 1987 Grand National. It’s in pretty good shape, and I’ve even occasionally autocrossed it just for giggles. It’s never been very good at it, but it looks cool doing it, and I get lots of compliments. Sadly, the SCCA’s classing structure didn’t cater to the car very well. Common modifications for Buick run afoul of several class rules, bumping the car all the way into Street Modified, a class for wickedly engineered, weight reduced, super-high power monsters on full race slicks.

Then came 2014. The SCCA announced a new class, Classic American Muscle. The stated aim was to try and get a piece of the burgeoning Pro-Touring movement, and steer these guys, who are spending gobs of money creating worthy vehicles from classic Detroit iron, into the SCCA. The class is pretty simple: The car must be from one of the big three, it must be rear wheel drive, it must weigh 3000 pounds, it must have a functional interior and be street legal, and it must be on tires with a treadwear rating of 200 or better. This class was made for the Grand National.

So, after blowing a head gasket and figuring, “well, I have to go through the engine anyway, lets see if we can make this pig handle, too.”

Following will be a series of posts documenting the engine rebuild, the suspension changes, and hopefully a successful 2015 season in CAM-C in the Kentucky Region SCCA. Stay tuned.

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