Factory Turbo! 1983 Buick Regal T-Type

Recall your younger days, learning your alphabet, when the teacher said, “Repeat after me, children:  ‘T is for Turbo’.” Buick wanted buyers to learn that lesson in the ’80s, and worked hard to smear performance across their fleet. Buick’s wedge-nosed Regal won the NASCAR Championship in 1983 with a non-turbocharged V8, while consumers got a sporty T-Type option with a turbocharged V6. This 1983 Buick Regal T-Type in Mount Juliet, Tennessee runs “but smokes,” and shows like a weathered but never abandoned 103,000 mile, 40 year-old car. It could be so much worse! Check out the listing here on eBay for more pictures and a brief description. At least four bidders have got the ball rolling with a high bid exceeding $1400.

Now that’s a crumple zone! I remember popping the hood on these and other long-nosed cars of this era, astonished at the space between the core support and the fan blades. Though not exactly built for autocross, having the engine mostly behind the front axle can’t hurt. The T-Type’s turbocharged 3.8L (231 cid) V6 topped the chart for 1983, besting the 5.0 L V8 and every other Regal motor in horsepower and torque. Thanks to oldcarbrochures for this and other Buick Turbo fun facts. This specimen boasts a rebuilt turbo.

Better pictures would help, but the body looks fairly straight. After a successful run of the Colonnade coupes, many GM vehicles went to this more formal roofline. Not all T-Type Buicks were turbocharged, but T-Type turbos found their way into everything from the Skyhawk to the LeSabre.

With air conditioning, power windows, power seat, and a handsome interior, this Buick delivered comfort with its performance. Paint, correct wheels, and a trip to the upholstery shop could make this T-Type one nifty cruiser. I never drove a T-Type Regal, but I did enjoy a friend’s test drive of an ’84 Regal Grand National with the Turbo 3.8, and my buddy (who raced bikes at Watkin’s Glen) said “This is easily the fastest car I’ve driven at half throttle.” While the sub-200 HP rating from a boosted 3.8L mill seems comical today, the industry was just starting to emerge from the dark days of government and market mandates to reduce emissions and dramatically increase fuel economy. Apply today’s turbo tech to this T-Type and you’ll have yourself a velour-lined monster. Would you put this T-Type back to stock or go for more power?


  1. Daniel bahr

    These carb’d boosted 3.8’s are finally getting their due with the cost of ’85-’87 GNs skyrocketing. While not as striking as later monochromatic GN’s, these had the same basic chassis so parts (with the exception of the brake booster) are common and a bit more luxurious as well. The owner will certainly stand out among the sea of black in the turbo tri-shield community and for a lower cost of entry (for now).

  2. Tom Member

    Wonder if someone would know??? Had a T type turbo back in the day and was told it was a “rarer” car than GN???

    Like 2
    • Mark

      Yes the made less of the turbo T type than of the GN.

      Like 1
  3. Mark

    This looks fairly solid if we’ll worn. It appears to have a water leak from the surface rust on the shifter and on the dash. The left front fender doesn’t line up exactly right. Might be a bit more to the story. Would like to see more pics. Good price so far with 2 days left.

  4. Rw

    You could get t type in non turbo also know someone who had one

  5. Bill West

    One would be better off to buy a well cared for Regal of a later vintage and start from there. This does not appear to be a good buy, even at $1500.

  6. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    My brother had a 81 or 82 Monte Carlo Turbo with T-tops. Brown/ Tan paint. Very nice ride but… That turbo lag 🤦🤦 then the turbo kick in you did move out! You always have to think ahead if you wanted to pass someone. He had for few years traded for a Dodge Conquest TSI .. I just wished GM put a 4 or 5 speed in these turbos. That would of made a huge difference. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 2
  7. Philip Lepel

    And the 84 4cyl. SVO made the same power with less weight.

    Like 1
  8. Emel

    My sis had a almost new Regal from this era(pretty sure it was a ’83 too) While it was a sharp car on the exterior and had a pretty nice interior…..mechanically it was a heap.
    Thing was constantly at the dealership for this or that.
    And it literally crawled up moderate highway hills.

    I’m sure adding a turbo to the inept V6….only sent you back to the dealership more frequently. lol

    Like 1
  9. Mitch

    Back then the GM management had only interest to gain
    net profit and dividend for their stakeholders. (Jerry Smith
    era). Whilst they lacked internal communication what is
    normal and necessary, they still had OPEL in their active
    assets and the onseeing joint-venture with LOTUS cars
    (the lucky less ELAN 2 with a like GM EV-1 styled body
    and a ISUZU turbo engine…) they had the capacities
    and the knowledge to engineer a better engine for this
    cars and could sold them with a high reputation.

    To remove the turbo lag a few tubes pressure valves
    and adapted ecu is necessary. Base pressure about
    5 bar and this thing boosts like a charm. If GM would
    deal with garbage im shure they would also fail.

  10. Mitch

    typo error 0.5-0.6 bar

    where is the edit button here?!

  11. Dirty JIm

    I had an ’83 Regal T-Type – turbo V6, buckets, console/floor shifter, T-tops… it was a a deep maroon with maroon interior. Great looking car, and in the mid-80s I was happy with its performance – but that turbo sounded like marbles at about 75000 miles and the rear end would lock up and hop around corners. That’s when I got rid of it. Seeing one (which isn’t often!) definitely brings back memories!

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