Cruising with CornerstoneDad: The Return of the Buick Grand National?

With all the buzz about hybrids, fuel efficiency, high gas prices and dependency on foreign oil, it was beginning to feel like auto manufacturers were putting “lets just do it” plans on the back-burner. “Lets just do it” plans by GM brought us the great and well, not so great classics like the Chevy SSR, Cadillac CTS-V Wagon and Pontiac Aztek.

But now there’s talk that The General may be bringing back the great Buick Grand National? At least that’s the word on the automotive street.

So what do you think?

The trend over the last few years has been to go retro as we saw with the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger.

So what do you think GM should do? Let us know in the comment section below.

Just remember, that last GTO was fast…but it did NOT deserve to wear the GTO badge! So will they get it right or wrong?

Check out the story from Edmunds.com:

Grand National, GNX and T-Type Are Returning to Buick

By , Editor in Chief | Published Nov 26, 2012

Just the Facts:

  • Buick is planning to reintroduce the Grand National, T-Type and GNX nameplates.
  • The new models will ride on GM’s rear-wheel-drive Alpha platform introduced in the Cadillac ATS sedan.
  • The Grand National and T-Type models will likely use turbocharged V6s, while the GNX will most likely get GM’s new LT1 V8.

SANTA MONICA, California — Buick is bringing back the Grand National, the GNX and the T-Type, three legendary performance nameplates from the brand’s high times of the 1980s. All three cars will be sedans and they’ll use GM’s new rear-wheel-drive Alpha platform first introduced in the Cadillac ATS sedan.

That’s the plan anyway, according to a reliable source who spoke to Edmunds.

As in the 1980s, the T-Type and Grand National will share powertrains and suspension calibrations, but the T-Type will be offered in a full color palette, while the GN will come in black only. Details on the exact drivetrain that will be used are still hard to come by at this point.

Buick’s current turbocharged 2.0-liter has the right vibe but lacks the muscle, and the normally aspirated V6 has the guts but just doesn’t feel right for these nameplates. A more likely scenario is the use of GM’s long-rumored, and recently spotted, twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6. It’s expected to produce between 350 and 400 horsepower, which would be more than enough power in a bad black Buick with a Grand National badge.

So what’s left for the legendary GNX nameplate? How about GM’s new LT1 V8? We’ve already confirmed that a V8 will fit in the confines of the Alpha platform, so it’s not an issue of “if” it can be done, but one of “how” it will be done.

With a V-Series version of the Cadillac ATS almost certainly in the pipeline, a Buick version with a slightly less powerful V8 could be the ticket for the GNX. A six-speed manual transmission and six-speed automatic could be available in all three sedans.

Buick will also make changes to the sedan’s interior and exterior to bring it into the Buick family. The size of the sedan should remain unchanged, however, (the Cadillac ATS is exactly the same size as a BMW 3 Series) and all of its subsystems such as steering, brakes and suspension will be shared with the ATS.

For those born after the Reagan administration, the Buick Regal T-Type, Grand National and GNX were essentially the quickest cars you could buy in 1986 and ’87. They were powered by turbocharged versions of Buick’s 3.8-liter V6 and they instantly became legends on the street and on every drag strip in America. Today these Buicks are highly valued collector cars, with prices topping out at $100,000 for one of the 547 GNXs that GM built in 1987.

One of those GNXs used to belong to Mark Reuss, the current president of General Motors North America. In fact, his dad, Lloyd Reuss, approved the original GNX when he was executive vice president of General Motors North America in the ’80s. Needless to say, there’s plenty of enthusiasm at the very top of General Motors for a return of these storied nameplates.

That enthusiasm can’t work miracles, however, so we’ll have to wait at least another year before this crop of performance Buicks even gets a mention in public. Figure the 2014 Detroit Auto Show is a good bet.

Edmunds says: Just when we think GM has settled back into stupid mode Reuss and the gang get smart. We can’t wait to drive these new Buicks. Make ours, and everyone else’s, black.

http://www.insideline.com/buick/grand-national-gnx-and-t-type-are-returning-to-buick.html

 

 

Cruising With CornerstoneDad…In the Toyota Prius C

When I heard the Toyota Prius C was coming out with its low price point (compared to other hybrid offerings), I was quite excited. After having one in the CornerstoneDad driveway for one night, I must confess, this ride is the real fuel-sipping deal as I nearly hit 60-mpg driving on rush hour traffic in my 45-mile commute.

New personal record of any car I’ve ever had in the CSD driveway

The styling of this $25,000 model was nearly identical to the new Yaris. I drove the Yaris a few months back and was thoroughly disappointed with the road noise and lack of amenities. However, the Prius C makes up for this by adding the usual hybrid video game-type feedback in the dash screen, iPod connector and easy-to-use radio interface. While the radio doesn’t shake the rearview mirror, it was more than adequate to drown out the road noise and wiper chatter I found from the Yaris. But who buys a hybrid for those things anyway?

The star of the show is the hybrid system. Toyota’s hybrid system works flawlessly as once the Prius C gets going, it quickly drops down to using more electric motor power and less engine power. Featuring a nickel-metal-hydride battery instead of the more modern lithium-ion battery chemistry, allows Toyota to keep the price down low in a lighter vehicle where power density is less of an issue. I DO think the Prius V (a sure CSD car of the year finalist) would benefit more from a lithium-ion battery, as the engine and battery have to work much harder to get the vehicle moving in traffic which decreases fuel economy to levels on par with a conventional engine-only vehicle without the added tech-cost. But the nickel works just fine in the Prius C.

For $25K, I’d definitely consider putting one in my driveway. I could put three kids in the back without hearing the usual, “Ouch, get off me” or “Move, can’t you’re sitting on my seatbelt”.

What do you think? Have you made the hybrid plunge and if not, could this be the vehicle to pull you in?

Homeruns:

–          Toyota Hybrid System (THS), it’s everything it’s supposed to be – did I say I got almost 60-mpg?

–          Good space in small package

–          Telematics/info screen

–          Weird seat material that actually looked and felt pretty good

–          A decent driving car…for a hybrid

–          You make people behind you on the phone mad because you don’t want to get out of EV-Mode

Strikeouts:

–          Harsh ride had me afraid I’d blow out a tire on some of these mid-west roads…okay, that could happen in a Yukon as well but I’d at least keep my teeth-fillings

–          Wind noise

–          Brake regeneration-stopping feels risky when in stop-and-go traffic

–          Some materials in the interior felt cheap, so just don’t touch those too often

–          You make people behind you on the phone mad because you don’t want to get out of EV-Mode, so some get close to “push” you along.