1 of 1,035: 1987 Buick Regal Limited Turbo-T

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The T-Type nameplate was adopted by Buick to designate a more sporty trim level of an existing model line. While used in the 1960s and 1990s, it may most be associated with the Regals of the 1980s, the Grand National’s derivatives. This 1987 edition, part of the last gasp of Buick’s rear-wheel-drive intermediates, was the only one available with a turbo. It has been stored since 1992, first in a warehouse and then later under a standalone carport. The engine and transmission have been rebuilt, but most or all of those parts are in the trunk. Located in Mullins, South Carolina, this stalled project is available here on eBay where 45 bids have raised the ante to $8,100.

Buick positioned the Turbo-T between the Grand National and the Grand National Experimental (aka GNX) in the late 1980s Regal lineup. Differences between the autos included interior styling, wheels, exterior badging, aluminum bumper supports, and aluminum rear drum brakes. Cars like the seller’s were known as the Regal Limited Turbo-T and only 1,035 of them were built in a single season. They are often thought of as “sleepers” during an otherwise blah decade of U.S. auto production. Their rarity is more obvious considering that 20,193 Grand Nationals were assembled during the same period.

The 1987 model year was the only one that the turbo engine package (LC2) was offered on any of the Regal coupes. And it was also the only year you could get one in a color other than black or grey (witness the seller’s car finished in its original white paint). The Turbo-T name replaced the T-Type moniker in 1987. All Regals that were ordered with the LC2 and the T-Package (Y56) were considered Turbo-Ts. LC2 Regals came with the 3.8-liter turbo V6, a 3.42 rear axle, and LED tachometer and boost gauges. And the Y56 added a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, 15×6 aluminum Sport wheels, Eagle GT Blackwall tires, and the same “Gran Touring” suspension (FE3) as the Grand National had.

This ’87 Turbo-T has been owned by the seller for at least five years, which we assume is when it moved out of enclosed storage. It’s partially exposed to the elements where it is now and is only a roller at this time. We’re not sure how much of a restoration will be needed. Sure, the rebuilt engine and tranny needed to be reinstalled, but it’s hard to tell if the original paint can be massaged back into shape. And all the plastic filler panels around the bumpers have rotted away. But on the other hand, the interior looks to have survived quite well except maybe the front carpeying and steering wheel. Oddly the door hinges will need replacing as the passage of time attributed to some sag. A bit of surface rust is forming on the lower extremities.

The drivetrain’s rebuild happened about seven years ago using numbers matching components. We’re told those parts were kept inside a climate-controlled warehouse and rotated every month, yet they’re in the trunk now. But the seller will provide a 30-day warranty of the engine and tranny from the date of the auction’s close. So you’d better hurry in putting things back together to ensure they both function before the warranty expires. The only things missing might be the radiator and intercooler.

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  1. Big_FunMember

    Interesting build. This is a Regal Custom, not a Limited. The interior has the standard full bench seat – not even power. The seat looks slightly faded, but good padding/shape. The only thing is the driver’s side seat back looks tweaked, compared to passenger side. The door panels are the Custom trim, not the Limited. Outside, the Limited would have the wide rocker side trim standard. It was an option on the Custom series. See the photo above (photo courtesy of Hemmings Motor News).
    Can’t be too many built this way, especially with T-tops.

    Like 12
    • ACZ

      Good catch. This is a J47, not an M47.

      Like 2
  2. Grey O’Brien

    I don’t believe this is a Limited Turbo -T. First off, it doesn’t have a limited interior which would be pillow back and second it would have “Limited” on the quarter panels not “Regal”

    Like 3
  3. PRA4SNW

    This car makes me sad. In ’86, I really wanted a T-Type Turbo.

    I ended up with an ’86 GLH-T. No regrets on that choice, but would have liked to have owned a T-Type.

    Turbos were the thing back then.

    Like 4
  4. DGMinGA

    I am fairly certain that the turbo V6 option was available several years, not just 87. The GNX was 87 only, but Grand National turbos were available for several years, first without intercooler, then with. I am pretty sure the Turbo engines were also available in the T-Type in 85 & 86, at least.

    Like 5
    • Bill West

      You are correct, my brother owned an 86 T Type and it had the turbo.

      Like 0
      • PRA4SNW

        Yep, ’86 was the year I was looking at.

        Like 0
    • ACZ

      84, as well.

      Like 0
  5. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga

    In 1987, GM’s official designation for this trim level was “Buick Regal Turbo with T-package” according to the fact books published by Dennis Kirban (The Turbo Regal Godfather), and the extensive book from Stephen L. Dove.

    Buick began turbocharging the Buick Regal back in 1978, with a carburetor doing the fuel management duties. In 1984, sequential fuel injection (SFI) was integrated, and in 1986, an intercooler was added.

    The 1987 only GNX had a ceramic turbine wheel along with other tweaks, boosting horsepower to 276 (as rated…wink, wink). 😉

    Was very interesting that you could order most any combination of RPO trim options (not withstanding forced RPO’s) to make some pretty unique Turbo Regals, such as this example.

    A look at the SPID label in the trunk would list the full RPO content.

    The amount of powertrain work and the thirty day warranty would give me pause….but there’s a fan out there ready to take this one on, I would bet!


    Like 3
    • DGMinGA

      Thanks for the confirmation. I thought I recalled seeing 78-79 model Regals with the turbo bulge hood.

      Like 2
  6. Bill

    BUYER BEWARE! I would be very careful with this, his ebay feedback is 2 but only from the last month, so clearly the ebay account was set up just to sell this.

    I would only do payment through ebay or cash in person if you buy it.
    Check the VIN matches the car, notarized bill of sale, check seller ID as the owner etc.,etc.

    I remember this being listed around a year ago on another website (I think it was GovDeals)

    If you read the ad there are clearly dishonest statements from the seller;

    Referring to the engine and transmission “Both have been kept inside a climate controlled warehouse and rotated every month” Photos clearly show them stored in pickup beds outside.

    About the vehicle statement; “The vehicle needs work and is not regularly driven.” LOL “not regularly driven”

    “This car has always been covered” -Technically true-By the carport…

    I have no skin in this, and not interested in the car, I just HATE dishonest sellers!

    Like 11
    • Nick

      Yeah if motor is in truck then the car is a turd

      Like 1
  7. Tony Ozkan

    is this car still available?

    Like 0

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