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1987 Buick Grand National was made to be Kevin Hart’s ‘Dark Knight’

The Meguiar’s booth at the SEMA show isn’t the only place comedian and actor Kevin Hart is combining cars and cinema, his “Michael Myers” 1969 Plymouth Road Runner brooding in the car care products pen, while his SpeedKore “Hellraiser” 1970 Dodge Charger also menaces. Hart bought a 1987 Buick GNX last year and put it on Instagram with the caption, “Sundays are perfect for old school drives…. If you know you know.” Looks like old G-Bodies are perfect for restomod builds, too, which we all already knew, but this car isn’t the GNX that featured on social media. This is the 1987 Buick Grand National, one step below the GNX and half the price at the time. It’s nicknamed “Dark Knight” and it’s one of the stars of the Magnaflow exhaust booth at SEMA.

Going back to work with regular collaborators Dave Salvaggio of Salvaggio Design and Sean Smith, of course there’s a lot involved in the overhaul. Still, we appreciate how the team stayed true to the ethos of the Grand National in ways that made the build more complicated than it already was. Take the engine. The original came with a 3.8-liter V6 wearing a single turbocharger to register an official output of 245 horsepower and 355 pound-feet of torque compared to the GNX’s 276 hp and 320 lb-ft. Instead of swapping it for a V8, it’s been replaced with the 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 from the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing. And instead of leaving both turbos on, the engine junkies plumbed a single turbo in a layout recalling the 1987 engine even as it cleans up the original Chutes ‘n’ Ladders mess of tubes. We didn’t get an output rating for the setup. The Cadillac’s twin-turbo mill makes 472 hp and 445 lb-ft. in the CT4-V Blackwing. We would bet Dark Knight’s engine’s pretty close to that with the single large turbo at the prow, plenty of juice for a car weighing 3,545 pounds.

Exterior upgrades include a custom front fascia with a carbon fiber hood and splitter. The interior shows the same tasteful restraint, polished design and nicer materials draped over the stock 1980s layout. That shifter controls GM’s 8L90 eight-speed automatic instead of the original four-speed auto. 

Elsewhere, Salvaggio did the same here as with the Michael Myers Road Runner, creating a custom frame to increase rigidity and get the car closer to the ground on its 19-inch HRE wheels in the Buick’s original weave look. Maintaining the ride, a Detroit Speed suspension manages the front axle, a four-link Panhard puts in overtime keeping the rears on the ground.

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