Monogram haven’t made many Buick kits, only a couple of ’em across the board. I wrote something on the GNX kit a long time ago before I knew what the hell I wanted to do with this website, but in a way the kit is essentially entirely the same. For three decades, it’s just been the Grand National, GNX and GSX and they’ve made a fair amount of variations of them. The Grand National has seen around eight separate releases, two already in ’88 and one was actually really sweet and boy did I wish I could’ve gotten that one instead.
It was the GNX and it was part of the High Performance series which included flexible radiator hoses and engine wire plus instructions on how to use ’em, which for a in-box extra is incredibly nice. The other one from 1988 is the one I got here, which has the unique box art that upset GM quite a bit as it shows a Buick Regal out-dragging a Chevrolet Corvette(just imagine this, step-above Regal could out-do the flagship Corvette, just imagine what a GNX was capable of), which was fixed in a 1989 re-release by putting it in front of dull, boring old fashioned boxart. But anyhow, as I said, this kit is in general 100% identical to the GNX kit, just with slightly less parts and the standard Regal wheels(and not the Turbo-T wheels, sadly) instead of the GNX wire-wheels.
And boy this kit shows that just like the car itself, it was peak turbocharger hype, V6 engines that produced equal power to big block V8s and the end of the muscle car era all at the same time. The Regal was one of the few late eighties cars that could preform all the while being a good car and the engine itself was nothing short of a masterpiece(its direct competitors were the Cutlass, Grand Prix, Thunderbird and Monte Carlo and… that was about it). Well, okay, it was also falling back onto old habits cause man, it sure as hell wasn’t fuel efficient. But Buick did try to innovate, there’s no faulting them there. They took the Buick 231 V6 from ’78 and took it on a tour of duty through the eighties, slapping a gargantuan turbocharger onto it and giving it the appropriate name “Turbo Regal”.
I mean, it took the second generation of the Regal nine years to hit peak greatness, going out with a last take on the turbocharged up Regal, simply called the Grand National once again, a car that could keep up with Corvettes of the day. Though it has to be said, the order sheets were very lenient and you could very well just order a plain silver colored or white Regal with no outer markings besides the 3.8 SFI on the raised hood and have quite frankly a severely powerful sleeper. And on the subject of powerful, there of course was the wider, more badass, all black and vicious GNX that could even keep up with Ferrari F40s and Porsche 930’s in terms of acceleration and top speed. No other coupe in ’87 could claim they had this pedigree, not even its sister car the “look at how NASCAR I am” Monte Carlo Aerocoupe.
Though unlike the real car, this kit does have a few woes that linger. Despite the fact that this kit is one of those late eighties new tools from Monogram that trumped all expectations with crisp as all hell molding, beyond high quality engine bay and engine itself and a good eye for quality on the body, there are moments where it goes together like shoving a round peg in a square hole. For instance, while the superb detail is there, the side marker lights for the headlights are a God damn nightmare to get in place. They hardly fit and when they do, they “float” on nothing but the backing.
The chassis sits against the front and rear bumpers and you have to keep mashing it back and forth to find the exact spot where it won’t tear one or the other off its brackets. Some of the turbocharger and intercooler hoses have weird positioning, I mean it’s true to the car of course, but the way you’re meant to mount ’em in the kit is awkward to say the least. And speaking of the intercooler, it floats awkwardly on the front sway bar and is only truly connected to the car by the radiator hoses.
But man, it does make for a nice kit. Revell was kind enough to re-release this and the GNX kit a few more times so the legacy lasts a bit longer at a not-being–gauged-silly purchase price, though I’d advise that if you’re going looking for this kit, get the 2012 re-release of the GNX kit, it is essentially the same as this kit just with the performance package suspension and powertrain set-up, the bits that make the exterior a GNX are separate and you get a much better decal sheet. Though you don’t get the Grand National steelies, sadly, however Fireball Modelworks has a set of appropriate ’84/’85 Grand National resin wheels if you prefer those.
As you can see, I figured I’d go with the semi-sleeper appearance with the blacked out wheels but regular Regal color and Turbo-T blacked out trim. It doesn’t look quite as good as a GNX, but I like the difference enough! The Eagle GT lettering(thanks to Fireball Modelworks) on the tires make it look less dingy and more menacing and the silver makes it more civilized despite it rocking a turbocharged 231 cubic inch V6.
But as for the car in real life, just like its sister Monte Carlo and rivals, they all saw their muscle pedigree vanish with the turn of the nineties to become either front wheel drive luxury cars, mere ghosts of their former selves or in the case of some like the Cutlass 442; vanish all together.
’87 Buick Regal Grand National specifications:
Skill Level: N/A
Molded in: Black