Rick Seitz Reviews Black Air: The Buick Grand National Documentary

For those of you who don’t know me, let me tell you that I’m probably one of the world’s largest Grand National fanatics out there. My history with these cars dates back to early 1987, and they are still an important staple in my life to this day. I’ve only owned mine for a few years, but they’ve been in my family since the late ’80s. In the short amount of time that I’ve been employed by Power Automedia, I’ve quickly become something of the “go to guy” when it comes to these cars.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Black Air: The Buick Grand National Documentary has been in the works since 2009, and it didn’t become public knowledge until we broke the story in August of 2011. I actually ran across it by dumb luck, when the Black Air Facebook page popped up as a recommended link that I might like. Well that was a no-brainer for me.

Schorr behind the wheel of GNX #221.

I was still a freelance writer at the time, and I pitched it to my editor. He told me to do it up, and suggested that I convince the film’s creator, Andrew Filippone Jr., to throw together a teaser for the film. Andrew was game, and happy to do so. We beat all of our competitors to the presses by several weeks, and I’m still very proud to have helped Andrew get the news out there.

I’ve followed along the progression of the film as time went on, covering all of the updates, and staying in contact with Andrew. Finally on December 3, 2012, I received the “media copy” directly to my office from Martyn Schorr, long time Buick fan, veteran automotive journalist, author of the collectible Buick GNX book, and Black Air contributor to the film.

I couldn’t wait to get home and watch it. After I popped it into my DVD player I sat on my couch, mesmerized like I had been 25 years ago when I went for that first ride, and came away just as impressed. There are so many great shots and scenes in the film that it recreates some of the emotions I get when I drive my car. However, if you’re looking for Fast and the Furious-style action, you’ll be disappointed. 

Black Air is a movie made with enthusiasts for enthusiasts. There are no actors, explosions, street racing or car chases. Vin Diesel doesn’t make an appearance. It’s purely a factual documentary of those who have been influenced by the cars themselves – people like me.

All of the big names are included in the film, and are interviewed by Andrew. Guys like Doug Nigro of the GNX Registry, Richard Clark owner of the worlds’ biggest collection of everything Turbo Buick, veteran automotive journalists who reviewed the car back in the day; Martyn Schorr, Tony Assenza, Csaba Csere (to name a few), and former GM executives who had a hand in the car’s design. 

Richard Clark's garage is simply extraordinary. One of these days, I'll have to make a point to visit.

We get to check out the historical sites (and photographs!) where the GNX’s were built, and where some of the Turbo Buicks were sold. The best part in my opinion? The 25 year old footage of Bob Colvin’s Grand National, the very last GN ever built, getting assembled at the now defunct Pontiac, Michigan plant. If you’re truly a car lover, you’ll particularly enjoy that.

The film is for DVD release only, it’s 71 minutes in length, and includes 17 chapters. As bonus footage, it features exclusive Q&A at the 2011 BPG Nationals with Ron Yoille and Dave Roland, former GM executives. They answer questions from attendants that have been on Buick owners minds for over twenty-five years. At the start of the credits, Philippone also included 26 photos sent in by Buick owners with their cars. I’m included in the bunch. 

So what are my thoughts on the film? Simply put, I loved it! However, I do admit it was a little slow in one or two areas. Since it’s a documentary and not any sort of action movie, this is to be expected of course. But it had my full attention from beginning to end, and it left me begging for more. 

I won’t give away any spoilers because I want you to be just as surprised and impressed with the film as I was. If you’re interested in purchasing the film, then go to GNMovie.com and place you’re order. Black Air: The Buick Grand National Documentary will be released on December 11th, and it is a piece of history that pretty much any car collector would be happy to own.

At the end of the film, you'll get to see a number of Buick owners proudly standing with their cars. I'm one of many proud to do so.

About the author

Rick Seitz

Being into cars at a very early age, Rick has always preferred GM performance cars, and today's LS series engines just sealed the deal. When he's not busy running errands around town in his CTS-V, you can find him in the garage wrenching on his WS6 Trans Am, or at the local cruise spots in his Grand National.
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