Hemmings article: Did GM Really Sell Specially Equipped Buick Grand Nationals to the FBI?

ssn696

Living in the Past
Supporting Member
Jul 19, 2009
5,388
113
Permanent Temporary
One of the offending articles.
 

Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
11,756
113
Gainesville, Fl
My late friend Sam from Maui, Hawaii told me that their highway patrol used Buick GN's as pursuit cars.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

motorheadmike

Geezer
Nov 18, 2009
8,981
113
Saskatchewan, Truckistan
I was a salesman and eventually sales manager for a Buick-GMC Dealer in the 80's thru 2008 and had both Buick GN's as well as GMC Syclones & Typhoons as company cars. The alleged "FBI Chip" was a reality. According to our Buick Service rep, who drag raced his personal GN (did high 11's on street tires before he got serious) and had the reconfigured PROM, all it did was raise the top speed before the boost and timing parameters would throttle back. The limit on the normal civilian GN's was there due to the tire speed rating, which was true of the Syclone / Typhoon also.
I've taken all of them to the limit back then and it just leveled out, nothing dramatic. A Saab Turbo from the same era reacted quite dramatic with its rev limiter; It would slow down so drastically, you'd swear the engine quit.

Bill

Okay. Show me the chip with a part number. I'll wait.

There is that light brown FBI car... it will have one, right?
 

jiho

G-Body Guru
Jul 26, 2013
989
93
I framed this one, I remember the thread on turbobuick, I think I was one of the very few that actually got a poster
So you have a copy of the original fake?
 

64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
4,980
113
Upstate NY
‘1/2 of what you see and none of what you hear’


Cool pic kid! You need to find an *ss from one of those seats. It shouldn’t be mission impossible. Definitely a cool pic.

Any deterrent to drinking and driving is a win in my book
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

blk7gxn

Royal Smart Person
Feb 7, 2019
1,378
113
Ron Yuille, who was assistant staff engineer for Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadilac group back in the 1980's who is documented saying he met many times with a gentleman from the FBI named Lou Vernaza (probably spelled the last name wrong) back in 1984, 85 onward, to make fleet purchases for the FBI. He would come out to GM and test drive vehicles and then make his fleet selection for purchase, sometimes large fleets of Turbo Regals were purchased. Whether you believe the FBI purchased them or not, this is irrefutable proof they did. Now as far as the technicalities of the drivetrain enhancements, that is up in the air. But as previously stated by a fellow G body brother, there were performance chips available at the time through GM, who's to say these weren't installed at the FBI's request, being they were nicknamed "cop chip", there has to be some correlation there, yet no proof.

Some history is lost, some has been forgotten, doesn't mean it never happened. With a little research and homework, usually you can find an answer! I remember years ago as Steven Dove (author of many Buick facts and figures books) and Al Thompson (Part of the 1982 Buick GN program) and I would have long phone conversations about the 1982 Grand National and how GM themselves back in the day denied ever making such a vehicle, (God only knows their reasoning behind that) as did these so-called Buick car enthusiasts who owned the latter produced GN's. It took years and years before people started believing, as irrefutable proof of actual 1982 GN's were popping out all over the place. Fast forward to today, there is a registry AND documented TURBO ones as well, that were supposedly never built. So, my advice to anyone, never say never, keep an open mind, and do some research if you're interested in the truth. It's actually rewarding!
 
  • Like
  • Agree
Reactions: 4 users

jiho

G-Body Guru
Jul 26, 2013
989
93
I had to go back and look I believe we’re talking about different threads
I think there were at least two different threads, at different times. How did you come by the poster you have?

(I am joking around, to some degree, btw. I honestly have no idea about any of this. I am skeptical by nature, however.)
 

1 RARE T

Master Mechanic
Jul 14, 2015
280
63
Taken off Turbobuick.com. Thread from 2008.

Eric, my 86 ttype was sold at gsa auction to a guy who sold it to me two months later. I saw some of the gsa papers and he told me that it was an fbi car in Los Angeles. It has a flasher relay on the drivers inner fenderwell wired into the headlights but the flasher was missing. I never put one in just to see the headlights wigwag. There were also three toggle switches on the dash to the left of the steering column. One was wired into the backup light switch at the bottom of the column so you could keep them from coming on when you shifted into reverse. Once in PA an inspector failed my car because the backup lights didn't work - I had told him several times not to touch the switches but he just had to try them out, and of course left the switch off. The brake and tail lights were untouched. One switch had the wires cut so I don't know what it went to, I think the third switch went to an alarm. Oh, I also have the roof shotgun rack. The chip was a standard 86 cmw broadcast code with the 124 mph limit. Everything else on the car was stock.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

69hurstolds

Geezer
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
6,826
113
Still, nobody has provided any proof, other than speculation, that GM had a secret skunkwerks program with the government agencies from any ordering information or GM letterheads. They may have, but nobody has unearthed the presence of such animal. I wouldn't even be surprised if they did align themselves with agencies to help develop ways to do the things they claim to have done. Someone said something that was documented. Sorry, to me that's not proof. That's just hearsay written down. If they said something that was able to be validated, that's a different story. I get it, though. When you talk to some of the GM guys that were there, most know a few things, but few have anything to prove it. I've talked to several GM managers to know some of what they say is pure BS. Product development is a heavily guarded secret. Unless it was the brand manager who knew what everyone else was doing (mostly), most of the engineering guys lived in their little silos and generally speaking didn't know everything going on except their specialized area. It's not like they weren't busy. So it only goes to who do you really believe.

There are holes in that 87 GN #132 story, IMO. For instance, they acted like something was wrong that it didn't come with a 700R4 transmission instead of the standard-issue MW9 200-4R. They never specified which tires came on the car originally. Take a picture of the SPID. That should say a lot. Does it have a 7Z9 code for a police cluster or other codes that weren't normal production? Who knows? So they give you just enough of a piece of story without giving away anything substantial. A time slip means nothing as far as proving anything. And I've been around long enough working at government facilities to know that when the Govt. alphabet agencies get their vehicles, they number them THEIR way at the motor pool for tracking purposes. I seriously doubt they'd have them pre-numbered. Doesn't make sense. I speculate that this car was just a dealership shenanigan. Prove me wrong.

GM didn't get to be the biggest share of North American cars at the time by risking going outside the certifications for their cars. So, unless there was some sort of waiver granted for them to develop cars that defied those certifications, I have to say there was a stopping point. The entire police package that GM was willing to do for most cars was akin to the motor coach side of things. They would only build the vehicle to a certain point, and wouldn't go any further. Did they make these so-called "cop chips" available to third parties doing modifications or did they tell them how to bypass the speed limiter? Perhaps. Again, never proven. I don't think they'd want to have their name associated with it if they did. So that kind of info may live on in folklore at best.

So far, it's the same ol' same ol' that's been rehashed before. Unsubstantiated stories. Even the brown FBI TR RPO hand-written list doesn't show much that is odd other than it had a K09 RPO (120 A alternator), which would make sense for a LEO vehicle. And the T47 RPO was a steel turbo hood. Everyone acts like it was a big deal that LE agencies ordered GNs and TRs. I'd be surprised if they didn't. I still think it's cool they did it, but the stories of GM selling heavily modified cars under the radar seems like a stretch. What I didn't see was anything about a special calibration or gearsets, and other odd stuff. If it was done after the fact at a dealership or some other facility before or after delivery, so be it. And the FE2 RPO that was on there doesn't come with a fat rear sway bar and the rear LCAs turned upside-down. I think that was done after the fact. All the things I've seen are just hot rod mods that everyone would want to do, anyway.

To me it always just sounded like the old yarn of Demmer installing 455's in the 68 H/O because of the >400 cubic inch ban. Which turned out to be proven hogwash, and Doc Watson even admitting that himself. There are some people that still believe it for some strange reason.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: 1 user

GBodyForum is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Please support GBodyForum Sponsors

Classic Truck Consoles Dixie Restoration Depot Mike's Montes UMI Performance

Contact Admin@GBodyForum.com for info on becoming a sponsor