CaliWagon83's Consolidated Question/Tech/Update thread

CaliWagon83

CaliWagon83

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Nov 12, 2017
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Orange County, CA
#1
Hi All! I'm about to inherit an '83 Regal wagon that's been in the family since new. Right now it's in Tennessee, but will soon make its way back out to the Left Coast. It's pretty clean and relatively low-miles (I think about 63k right now). It's that ubiquitous baby blue metallic with woodgrain trim. I want to build a Grand National-look wagon out of it, complete with front buckets, console shifter, and coupe nose. If any of you have done a similar build or know anyone that has that can offer tips, advice or knowledge, I'd be very grateful! No pics handy to post yet, but I promise to post some as soon as I can.
 
Longroof79

Longroof79

Geezer
Oct 14, 2008
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Gainesville, Fl
#2
Welcome aboard!
From how you describe this wagon, it sounds like a true survivor. If it were mine, I think I'd keep it original...for awhile at least. Not that I don't like your plan for it.
Putting the coupe nose and fenders on will require some metal work to make the fenders fit properly. I had met a guy who was a member of this forum, He had a nice Century or Regal wagon with the coupe nose on it. I had pics of the car, but had since deleted them.

Please post some pics of the wagon when you get it.

Btw, here's some inspiration for you. http://buickturboregal.com/buick-grand-national-station-wagon.html
The guy's wagon who I mentioned is the third one down. Enjoy!
 
CaliWagon83

CaliWagon83

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#3
Hi All,

Just wondering if there were any fundamental differences between the boat-anchor 3.8 2-bbl V-6 block, and the one that was used in the Grand National/GNX. Obviously, there are internal differences (pistons, cam, crank, bearings, etc.) and everything bolted to the engine, but just the block itself. I'm wondering if the basic 3.8 2-bbl block could be used to build a Grand National engine, or if I'd be better off finding a GN engine to start with. On that note, how hard are they to find now, either original or aftermarket?
 
Doug213xrj

Doug213xrj

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Dec 30, 2011
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#4
Hey, Welcome from West Michigan.

Doug
 
CaliWagon83

CaliWagon83

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Nov 12, 2017
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Orange County, CA
#5
Welcome aboard!
From how you describe this wagon, it sounds like a true survivor. If it were mine, I think I'd keep it original...for awhile at least. Not that I don't like your plan for it.
Putting the coupe nose and fenders on will require some metal work to make the fenders fit properly. I had met a guy who was a member of this forum, He had a nice Century or Regal wagon with the coupe nose on it. I had pics of the car, but had since deleted them.

Please post some pics of the wagon when you get it.
Hi Longroof79! Yeah, a lot of my friends are encouraging me to keep the stock look. I think at least in the early going, I'm going to keep it as-is. My #1 priority is just to get it running reliably and safely. It hasn't started or run in about 5 years, so I know the fuel system is going to need to be flushed out, and fresh fluids, etc. Unfortunately, it is a CA-original car, so it has the craptastic computer-controlled 2-bbl carb. I found a TBI setup from Affordable Fuel Injection out of Michigan (https://www.affordable-fuel-injection.com/product-category/buick-tbi-kits/) that I think might be a good interim option to putter around with before I really tear into it. From reading a few other threads here, I think I may change out to a 3.08 rear-end, since I think it's probably the 2.41, and when it was running and driving, it was indeed a dog.

Re: Links. Yeah, I've seen the pic of that top wagon. That's close to the look I want to go for. I actually think I want to do a grey & black two-tone. I want Grand National-inspired, but with a little bit of a unique twist. I really dig the idea of a Grand National El Camino! My daily driver is now an '04 Avalanche, which is a bit of an oddball in its own right!
 
Last edited:
Longroof79

Longroof79

Geezer
Oct 14, 2008
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Gainesville, Fl
#6
I like the idea of keeping it as a sleeper. In other words, keep it as a mild looking grocery getter and install the GN or T-Type drive train in it. I think it would blow some minds.

Yeah, the El Camino style is a cool concept. I don't care for how they did the roof on that particular one though....besides, I wouldn't hack up a nice car to do that.
 
8

81Regal

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Apr 5, 2009
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Terril Iowa
#7
The crank and pistons are different but I believe the block is physically the same with different casting numbers. Many of the TB guys use a 4.1L block for a built engine, would be a great start for what you are looking to do.
 
CaliWagon83

CaliWagon83

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Nov 12, 2017
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Orange County, CA
#8
Hi All. I know I'm probably a minority in this forum, but I really want to stay V-6 with my project. Right now it's the 3.8L bbl. Eventually, I want to do a turbo V-6 of some sort. I'm definitely considering a Grand National-style 3.8 TPI turbo, if the cost and availability of parts is reasonable.

Some other engines I'm considering for the swap are a Cadillac LF3 (CTS V-Sport) LF4 (ATS-V) or Ford 3.5 EcoBoost. I know putting a Ford engine in a GM is unthinkable for some people, but since Ford has put them in literally a million-plus F-150s, I know there are plenty of them out there. The Caddy engines are quite a bit more rare.

I'm prepared for the trash-talk that's about to commence with this thread. :mrgreen:
 
1evilregal

1evilregal

Royal Smart Person
Apr 23, 2009
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Greensboro, NC
#9
welcome to the site from NC! looking forward to pics as well, and my vote would be to keep it stock looking for the time being, maybe throw some GN wheels on it? I'm an old school guy, but have been thinking alot about fuel injection systems as of late.... once you get a start on it, get a thread in the project section started!
 

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