From the time that the Grand National lineup was introduced in 1982 as a primarily cosmetic package, it seemed like the decked-out Regal turned-out to be both a blessing and a curse for Buick. A blessing because it made late-model muscle out of GM’s G-body lineup, and simultaneously a “curse” for the same reason.
The truth is that by the time the Grand National first broke the 200-horse barrier for the 1984 production year, it was already a car that was marked to die a pretty young death. This is because the Regal lineup as a whole, a personal luxury piece, was characterized by distinctively square body lines, a not-so-great undercarriage and, even in the case of the performance-tuned GN, a top speed that was severely limited by modern electronics.
Also, the fact that the Grand National marquee got its humble start as a G-body Regal subjected the car to another area of discussion, one where muscle cars and high-end exotics would be among the last topics being put forth. Truthfully, under the stealth black paint and “Turbo-6” insignia, Buick’s GN was not much more than a mid-range luxury entry. It held no where near the prestige of such sports car contemporaries as Lamborghini and Ferrari, even Corvette.
Our own in-house guru of everything turbo Regal, Rick Seitz talks about the importance of Buick’s Grand National to him and his loved ones, as Seitz’ family has been a GN one since the blown Regals first changed the face of GM performance, “I’ve only owned mine for a few years, but they’ve been in my family since the late ’80s,” explains Seitz.
Rick Seitz isn’t the only one excited about the GN’s turbo performance legacy, and starting in 2009, film director and producer, Andrew Filippone, Jr., got together with automotive editor, Csaba Csere, former Grand National project general manager, Lloyd Reuss, as well as the Car and Driver editor who described the GNX as an “ax-wielding barbarian,” Tony Assenza.
Filippone’s tribute to the black Buick of the ’80s, Black Air, celebrates the V6-stuffed Regal that, by the end of the hairspray decade, managed to secure a reputation as one of General’s most profound factory street racers. There is no documentary like it, and now the ground-breaking film comes to you via iTunes for the first time ever.
According to Seitz, who reviewed the documentary after receiving his advance copy, “if you’re looking for Fast and the Furious-style action, you’ll be disappointed.” But for the turbo Buick enthusiast whose ready for a film-making classic, then Andrew Filippone Jr’s Grand National documentary just may prove to be your favorite iTunes download for this year.
This ground-breaking documentary can be downloaded from iTunes for a mere $9.99, and with an all-star cast featuring Paul Castle, Anthony Colucci and Bob Colvin, Black Air just may be the one documentary that alters your attitude about “educational media” forever!