Now this is the kind of video we could watch all day. Feast your eyes as Andrew Scott of Louisville, Kentucky, cruises around in his badass 1987 Buick Grand National at the Optima 2017 NJMP. We loved the video so much that we reached out to Andrew and got some more info on his car and his history in autocross.
Andrew has had this Buick since January of 2000, and believe it or not, it only had 16,200 miles on it when he got it. “The [previous owner] had the car and his kids were fighting over it,” Andrew explained. “He didn’t like that so he told his kids if they wanted it, they could go to the dealership and buy it themselves.” And with that, the owner traded it into the dealership and Andrew was lucky enough to have a lead that tipped him off, and he was able to buy it up before someone else did.
For the first couple years that he had it, he only took it to shows because it was so clean and all original, but there’s too much power in that turbo-charged 3.8-liter V6 engine to let it just drive around to shows like any other old car. It was built for speed. “In 1987 it was the quickest car you could buy in the united states,” he explained. Nothing else available at the time was faster on the 0-60. “Even show-room stock, nothing could catch it.”
Andrew races locally, but as shown in the video he also competes in national events. “Nationally, I’ve been mid-pack,” he explained. “Locally I win. I’ve been trying to get higher up the pedestal nationally.” Since he got the car, he has been doing upgrades here and there and has been racing it with the factory drivetrain: the 3.8-liter turbo V6 engine, 4-speed automatic GM 200-R4 transmission, and 8.5-inch rearend. As of right now however, the engine is out for a major overhaul and it’s getting stroked to 4.1-liters for a little more displacement and some extra juice to help bring Andrew up on the national race scale.
A couple of things with this car have been somewhat of an adventure, the first of which was the suspension. “Up until recently nobody really made suspension parts for this car unless it was for drag racing,” he explained. “There were plenty of parts available for the rearend, but nothing for the front.” Now he’s been able to upgrade it to Speed-Tech tubular control arms in the front with 600-pound coil springs and Bilstein shocks.
The rear suspension has also been upgraded with Bilstein shocks and moog cargo coils. The springs are variable rate too, so you can throw a thousand pounds in the trunk and it still wouldn’t squat. While he’s still running the stock arms and bushings, he’s added a watts-link in the rear and that’s brought some significant improvement to his performance. “Since putting that watts link on it a rearend slide is recoverable now where it wasn’t before,” he said. “In order to get the watts-link to work though you need to keep the stock bushings and arms. That’s totally different than what anyone else is running, but it works.”
Back at the beginning of August he burned up second gear in the transmission, and up until that point he’d been racing with the original, unbuilt transmission. “That was with about 80 or 82-thousand miles on it,” he said. Now he’s racing on a completely built transmission. It’s the same 200-R4, but it’s got all billet hard parts inside, even a billet overdrive. “I don’t ever have to worry about this transmission going out on me again,” he continued. “It even weighs less than a T-56.”
Overall, the car weighs 3558-pounds without a driver. “I haven’t done anything to lighten the car,” he explained. Even the interior is completely original except the racing seats. He tried to race with the original seats, but they were too squishy and didn’t hold him in place, which was not great for racing around corners in autocross.
Going forward, along with the stroked engine, he’s also going for new control arms, new spindles, and fiberglass bumpers for a little less weight. He also has some larger, 13-inch brakes from a Corvette that will be going onto the Buick to replace the smaller, less powerful brakes that are on it now.
“My goal for next year is to do at least four Optima events,” Andrew told us. With the new equipment he’ll be running, we’re sure he’ll keep pushing his way up the leaderboards. This is definitely the kind of build we’ll be watching and we’ll keep an eye out for more videos next year.
What do you think of Andrew running autocross in his Buick Grand National? Would you rock this vintage beauty, or go with something else instead? We think it’s not only a cool way to tear up the track, but also an effective way to get the most bang for your buck. Andrew started with a great car and the more he drives the more he knows what he needs to do to improve. He is able to get the most out of little changes and that’s a great way to do it.