Definitions

T-Type

T-Type

The T-Type is a series of Buick automobiles that were popular during the 1980s.

History

These T-Type cars were built as performance-oriented models and the most famous of these cars was the Buick GNX, which was based on the Regal platform. During the time that the T-Type cars were in production, turbochargers were all the rage in Detroit and adapted for use on the Regal, most notably.

The first model to receive the T-Type badge was the 1981 Buick Riviera. Within a few years, other models from the Buick lineup would follow suit. The Grand National (also referred to as "GN"), introduced in 1982, became an instant success, and it inspired the company to extend its T-Type line to its other mid-size offering, the Century, though without the turbocharged engine. In the mid-1980s, the subcompact Skyhawk and downsized Regal Somerset (as well as a new Skylark) got the T-Type treatment.

The T-Type series reached its peak in 1987. By that time, even the full-size LeSabre and Electra were available as T-Type models, but without the turbocharger and the GNX made automotive history as "the fastest American car in 1987." (and 1988-9 as well.) The GNX recorded a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds, and its "fast car" reputation led many people to dub it "the Regal from hell." In addition, its turbocharged V6 made it an attractive alternative to its similar-bodied V8-powered siblings, such as the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS and Oldsmobile 442 (neither of which had the turbocharger available to them).

T-Type Models


Legacy

The T-Type line met its demise in 1990, as an option on the Buick Electra, and the following year, a new, upsized Park Avenue Ultra was introduced with a supercharged engine. The Riviera and Regal also had supercharged engines as an option when they were redesigned in 1995 and 1997, respectively.

The turbocharged engines were usually General Motors' famous 3.8 L V6 engine, but in the case of the Skyhawk, a turbocharged four-cylinder was available (2.0 in the Skyhawk, 2.5 in the Skylark/Somerset). Transmission choices were a five-speed manual (Skyhawk only) and a four-speed automatic. The interiors of T-Type cars differed from most other Buicks in that the front seats were almost always bucket seats, and the shifter was mounted in the center console. Some T-Type Electras kept the front bench seats and column shifter intact.

The T-Type logo consisted of a large red letter "T", and the word "Type" in small black or white letters. The emblems were only placed on the fenders and on some later models (1986) a grille emblem was used. The single T was only used on the turbo Regals and only in 1987. Originally the T-type name was to be an appearance package and used across the line (which is did) but was confused by the turbo Regal when the 3.8 turbo motor could be ordered with the T-type package. In 1987 Buick changed this by offering a Turbo "T" instead of a T-type for the Regal. You could still get a T-type Regal in 1987 but it would consist of appearance only. If you bought a turbo Regal in 1987 it would be a turbo T and show this by only having a T on the fenders and on the horn button.

As a drag racer, the GNX's main opponent is the Ford Mustang, a prime example of GM's long-standing rivalry with Ford . In addition, the GNX is featured in the popular racing game Gran Turismo 4.

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