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MAGNA, or the "Mid-Atlantic Grand National Association", is a car club for owners of Turbo Buicks, or more specifically, Turbo Regals, such as the Buick Regal T-Type, Buick Grand National (GN), Buick GNX, as well as the 1989 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am (which happens to also be Buick powered). The MAGNA club covers New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.
With the number of members we have across these 4 states, MAGNA is one of the largest and most active regional Turbo Buick car clubs around. We offer club meets at least once a month, year-round, that roam from state to state, as well as participate in many events as a club, including our own all-Buick car show.
MAGNA prides itself on participation - you'd be hard pressed to find a more passionate group dedicated to these rare, and often-mislabeled machines. Our focus is to help our members collect, preserve, maintain, tune, and most importantly, have fun with their cars.
Turbo Buicks...a brief history:
The Buick Regal T-Type (and Grand National) were born out of the Buick Regal body line, and came into popularity mainly starting with the 1984 model year (GM G-Body). By mating a Garett turbo to a fuel-injected V6, Buick was able to make some serious power all while keeping fuel economy in check. They proved you didn't need a V8 to be a serious performance car, and were considered to be ahead of their time.
In 1986, Buick changed the design of the engine by moving the turbo to the front of the engine and adding an intercooler, which helps reduce the temperature of the air leaving the turbo and entering the engine. This change increased the output substantially and was the the design used until the body line and engine were retired in 1987, but then used again for the 1989 Turbo Trans Am. Although considered "under-rated" by GM for marketing purposes (keep in mind they had other V8 "performance" cars to sell), the 1987 Buick Grand National (and T-Type) was rated at 240 horsepower and 300ft lbs of torque.
As you may have noticed the cars are often referenced by three different names; The Buick Regal T-Type was the core Turbo Buick model and was available with most normal Buick Regal options and colors. The Buick "Grand National" took the T-Type to a new level by specifying that it ONLY be black, with blacked out chrome, a black and gray interior, and in 1987, a blacked-out grille. (1986 and previous years had a chrome grilles). This gave the car a sinister appearance that still stands out and holds it own today.
In 1987, ASC-McLaren would take a production Buick Grand National and turn it into what is now known as a "GNX". This limited-run included many changes to the car, such as ladder-bar suspension, ceramic-core turbo, larger intercooler, 16 inch wheels, several cosmetic changes, and many other tweaks to make it one of the fastest US-production cars ever made. It was again underrated at 276 horsepower and 360ft-lb of torque (yet still a v6). Today these cars are highly collectible, as only 547 were ever made.
In 1989, the Pontiac Trans Am was chosen as the Indianapolis 500 pace car. To build a car that would count they investigated using a Buick Grand National engine in place of the available normally-aspirated V6 or the LT1 V8 of the time. After having too many problems trying to fit the engine into the Trans-Am, the project was nearly cancelled, but, and almost by accident, they discovered that by using front-wheel-drive heads on the GN engine, it would fit without heavily modifying the body, and the 1989 Anniversary Edition Turbo Trans-Am was born.
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