T-Type was Buick's trim level designation for the sportier variants of various model lines, recalling an approach the company used in the 1960s with the Buick GS designation.

Product typePerformance cars
OwnerGeneral Motors
Produced byGeneral Motors
Discontinued1990; 33 years ago (1990)
Related brandsBuick GS

History edit

Models carrying a T-Type suffix, were sportier, including the Buick GNX, which was a sportier version of its Regal platform), where Buick had given the model a turbocharger.[1]

A 1986 Regal T-Type

The first model to receive the T-Type badge was the 1981 Buick Riviera. Subsequently other models from the Buick lineup would follow, including the Grand National (also referred to as "GN"), an adaptation of the Regal T-Type, introduced in 1982.[2] That T-Type the company to extend its T-Type designation to its other mid-size offering, the Century (though without the turbocharged engine). The compact Skyhawk and Skylark also received the T-Type treatment in 1983, and in 1986 the Somerset did as well.

By 1987, Buick offered T-Type trim levels on its full-size LeSabre and Electra, notably without the turbochargers. The Lesabre T-Type coupe recalled the 1986 Lesabre Grand National (116 built). Also that year, the GNX was noted for its acceleration, and as an attractive alternative to GM's non-turbochared coupes, including the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS and Oldsmobile 442.

T-Type Models edit

Legacy edit

The T-Type line ended in 1990, as an option on the Buick Electra, and the following year, a new 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 current Regal also has a turbocharger as an option, starting with its return to the lineup in 2011, as do the 2012 Buick Verano and 2014 Buick Encore.

The turbocharged engines were usually General Motors' 3.8 L V6 engine, but in the case of the Skyhawk, a turbocharged four-cylinder was available (1.8 sourced from Brazil in the Skyhawk, 2.5 in the Skylark/Somerset). Transmission choices were a five-speed manual (Skyhawk only) and, depending on the year and model, a three- or four-speed automatic.

T-Type interiors typically featured front bucket seats, with center console-mounted shifter, though 1981-85 Rivieras featured bucket seats, a small console and column shifter. Some T-Type Electras and Centurys kept the front bench seats and column shifter and even in bucket seat models, the T-Type Electra and Century still had a column-mounted shifter. By comparison, the turbocharged editions of the 2011 Regal and 2012 Verano use a 2.0 L four-cylinder engine that can be mated to either a manual or automatic transmission (both six-speeds), and the Encore uses a 1.4 L four-cylinder engine that is mated to a six-speed automatic only.

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 it 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 dropped the T-Type package on the Regal. All turbo Regals in 1987 came with the Y56 T package and have a T badge on the fenders and on the horn button (a similar T badge also appears on the current Regal Turbo and Verano Turbo). This T package is often erroneously thought to designate the Turbo T package, which is solely the WE4 Regal.

As a drag racer, the GN's main opponent is the Ford Mustang, a prime example of GM's long-standing rivalry with Ford[citation needed]. In 1984, the GN's legend grew when it defeated a Corvette in a quarter-mile run featuring GM vehicles, thus creating a rare instance of "the fastest American car" that was not made by Chevrolet (despite the fact that it had two less cylinders than the normally-aspirated sports car).

Possible Return edit

It has been rumored that the T-Type, Grand National and GNX nameplates could return to the Buick lineup, to be sold as 4-door sedans. These new incarnations would share a rear-wheel drive platform with the Cadillac ATS and be powered by a choice of two engines that would be mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual. The T-Type and Grand National would use a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder (272 HP) or a naturally aspirated 3.6L V6 (321 HP) while the GNX would most likely get a 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 (400 HP). This would be the first use of rear-wheel drive since the Buick Roadmaster was discontinued in 1996.[3]

References edit

  1. ^ Flammang, James M. (1999). Standard catalog of American cars, 1976-1999. Ron Kowalke (3rd ed.). Iola, WI: Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-755-0. OCLC 43301709.
  2. ^ 2015 Buick Grand National and GNX: Two Storied Nameplates Return by Don Sherman, 8 May 2013
  3. ^ "Buick Dusting Off Grand National, GNX and T-Type Nameplates". Autoblog.com. Retrieved 2012-11-29.