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

Kamloops cutlass

Master Mechanic
Jan 27, 2021
294
63
Kamloops bc
Sorry for the thread drift but this thread is getting a little angry and unfriendly anyway 😉
Kamloops in the early 90s, the cops had an IROC-Z pursuit/ intercepter
Sharp looking car that everyone respected.
Until one night , as the car sat unattended in the police station parking lot
Some brave souls jacked it up and stole the wheels of it and left it on blocks
The whole town laughed for weeks , don’t think they ever caught the perpetrators lol
I would have bought them a beer just for the laugh
Ok back to your regular programmed bickering ….
 
  • Like
  • Agree
Reactions: 1 users

Clone TIE Pilot

Comic Book Super Hero
Aug 14, 2011
3,241
113
Galaxy far far away
LE agencies generally do not modify their cars beyond upfitting, the installation of police equipment such as E lights, radios, gun racks, prisoner transport hardware, push bars, etc. Those items are 3rd party manufactured and installed. They usually don't modify the powertrain or suspension. Any vehicle enhancements are usually done at the factory as part of the police package. Basically they customize the vehicles rather than modify them like hotrodders do. If there were any special batches of FBI TBs, the information was likely kept secret and became lost to the passage of time. Even then it seems there isn't much difference from the factory, if any. When you purchase a used LE vehicle they purposely don't tell you what agency it served, through sometimes clues are left like the old property of NPS sticker on my CVPI's door.

Now GM did seem to make cop chips for TBs. However, its still unknown if they were factory installed or post factory installed by dealers or upfitters. The two door design of Regals do not lend themselves well to prisoner transport so most likely TBs were used as speed interceptors or unmarked stakeouts.
 

motorheadmike

Geezer
Nov 18, 2009
8,993
113
Saskatchewan, Truckistan
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.

This is the difference between faith and fact.

I can put faith in an idea or ideology and apply devout commitment to it. But, upset that faith with fact: do you have the strength of character to adapt to that new information or are you going to emotionally implode?

The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. However, if challenged you'd better be prepared back up your claims and show me the money!

Facts don't care about your feelings.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: 1 user

blk7gxn

Royal Smart Person
Feb 7, 2019
1,351
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.
You seem like a good guy, and don't take this with any disrespect, but DAM, I don't know if I'd want to sit down and have coffee with you, I would have to make sure it was in a library of historic documentation, so that everything I spoke could be proven !

I truly get what you're saying, but to me, GM is the WORST offenders for keeping records, this everyone can agree on. The employees, managers, chief of engineering, etc. etc. worked on many projects, some came to be, some didn't, prototypes and what not. Doesn't mean things or events never happened because they don't have documentation today, 40 + years later, due to failure on their part to steal documentation in their lunch pails as they left work every day, just to prove their stories decades later, who does that?? ...it was probably the least thing on their minds as they went home from a long shift to their families. Much of the stories we hear are just that, stories, and unfortunately, that's all we have to go on from the actual people that worked at GM.

GM is very secretive, and any and all sensitive materials would never be allowed to leave the plant, and quite frankly, it was just their job, they didn't give a crap about taking anything home to remind them of their long day, or to prove decades later what they did. I agree on what you mentioned about keeping projects separated, for instance, let's say there were 10 people involved and working on one project separately, each person having a job to do, no one truly knows the entire project or end result. This is exactly how the Government operates and Lockheed Martin, it keeps things on the level, and each sector has no idea what the other one is doing. stealing information to sell to outside sources is deterred, since partial information or documentation is worthless.

I guess I'm wired differently. I have many people I befriended over the years who worked GM's assembly lines, engineering departments, and one of my favorites is a gentlemen named Dan. Dan worked his way through GM and ended up at the AC/Delco sector and retired out of their writing manuals. Of course, he knew everybody it seems back in the day, and we have long conversations on experiences that he has been involved in over the years, sometimes we talk for hours, what a walking talking encyclopedia of knowledge. I love listening and taking as much information in as possible. He has no reason to lie to me, and quite frankly, would be offended if I asked for proof of everything he said, he worked there, he should know! What would be his motive to call me and lie for hours lol, doesn't work that way. Hes an elderly gentleman who likes to reminisce in his legacy he is proud of, (a rare commodity in today's society) I like to listen out of respect and learn some history, otherwise would have been forgotten.


Will
 
Last edited:

69hurstolds

Geezer
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
6,633
113
You seem like a good guy, and don't take this with any disrespect, but DAM, I don't know if I'd want to sit down and have coffee with you, I would have to make sure it was in a library of historic documentation, so that everything I spoke could be proven :ROFLMAO:.
None of my comments were directed at anyone in particular. I think anyone that's been around GM people know that keeping meticulous records of anything outside of what was required by law wasn't their strong point. And we all know that they're probably guilty of doing some things in the back rooms that they probably would have gotten someone hung for if found out. And with that, the proof that anything did happen may be up in smoke. There's probably some burner bin somewhere in the halls of GM Engineering somewhere that has old bubble gum sticking a memo to install however many cop chips in said vehicles on the inside bottom of said burner bin...but unfortunately, if it's buried and never found, or if it got burned up, any proof that something was legitimately happening does not exist. But at GM, like most things, if ONE person knows something, there are others. I know there are some people that believe things without proof. And that's fine. But I'm also aware of how nuggets of truth grow into taller tales the more they're told. I've got experience in government and industrial purchasing protocols, and stories of a GN or TR purchase for FBI is totally plausible. But not the GNX stories. Not at all.

I'm apt to change my mind if there's some bona fide evidence, but it's still a matter of a nexus of facts. For example, my dad used to work for Corvette, first at St. Louis, then at Bowling Green until he retired in '86 (you can look him up-fact. His ID picture is up on the retiree wall under 1986). He would tell me that some things would go wrong at assembly, or certain parts were found defective, and this, that and the other. This one time, he said they put a GMC tailgate on a Chevy truck over on the truck line. Or vice-versa, can't recall specifically, but he said it wasn't unheard of and stuff like that occasionally occurred. They fixed it after QA found it, but still. Another time the Corvette rear bumper covers were about 1/8" too wide, which pinched the covers in where they met the body, and it took some moving of heaven and earth to get new ones that actually fit from another company to get the line rolling again. I know my dad's character and know he wouldn't just make that stuff up, so yes, I believed him on faith based on his reputation. There's no proof that I have this ever happened. So, I cannot present this as fact.

However, when in Bowling Green, my dad gave me a personal tour, I watched as the paint guy took a small Dixie cup of paint and a torn-off paper match end to touch up an '82 Collector Edition Corvette and buff it until you couldn't tell it was ever there in the "fix-it" bays. They used cotton glove liners and watch protectors, and protective covering on most of the body panels during assembly, but occasionally things happen. I have no absolute proof of the match stick and dixie cup, as no pictures were allowed. But I saw it with my own eyes so for me, it was fact. But it's just a rendition of what I saw when explained to anyone else. A pics or it didn't happen situation. I asked the guy if he could touch up my then-new 82 Z28 with its own set of rock chips (GM paint absolutely sucked back then- surprise). He laughed and said bring it in and he could do it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

NCTyphoonKid

G-Body Guru
Mar 17, 2019
641
93
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.)
I had a guy that had a original PM me and offered to make me some copies I think I got two or three from him, I hadn’t logged on in so long but went to my PMs on there and saw it
 

motorheadmike

Geezer
Nov 18, 2009
8,993
113
Saskatchewan, Truckistan
Here's something real that didn't entirely make it out of development and into production. But, the evidence is present:

Factory water/meth injection:

Fact #33

And then there were the methanol test cars:



But, again EVIDENCE based.
 

ck80

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 18, 2014
4,420
113
None of my comments were directed at anyone in particular. I think anyone that's been around GM people know that keeping meticulous records of anything outside of what was required by law wasn't their strong point. And we all know that they're probably guilty of doing some things in the back rooms that they probably would have gotten someone hung for if found out. And with that, the proof that anything did happen may be up in smoke. There's probably some burner bin somewhere in the halls of GM Engineering somewhere that has old bubble gum sticking a memo to install however many cop chips in said vehicles on the inside bottom of said burner bin...but unfortunately, if it's buried and never found, or if it got burned up, any proof that something was legitimately happening does not exist. But at GM, like most things, if ONE person knows something, there are others. I know there are some people that believe things without proof. And that's fine. But I'm also aware of how nuggets of truth grow into taller tales the more they're told. I've got experience in government and industrial purchasing protocols, and stories of a GN or TR purchase for FBI is totally plausible. But not the GNX stories. Not at all.

I'm apt to change my mind if there's some bona fide evidence, but it's still a matter of a nexus of facts. For example, my dad used to work for Corvette, first at St. Louis, then at Bowling Green until he retired in '86 (you can look him up-fact. His ID picture is up on the retiree wall under 1986). He would tell me that some things would go wrong at assembly, or certain parts were found defective, and this, that and the other. This one time, he said they put a GMC tailgate on a Chevy truck over on the truck line. Or vice-versa, can't recall specifically, but he said it wasn't unheard of and stuff like that occasionally occurred. They fixed it after QA found it, but still. Another time the Corvette rear bumper covers were about 1/8" too wide, which pinched the covers in where they met the body, and it took some moving of heaven and earth to get new ones that actually fit from another company to get the line rolling again. I know my dad's character and know he wouldn't just make that stuff up, so yes, I believed him on faith based on his reputation. There's no proof that I have this ever happened. So, I cannot present this as fact.

However, when in Bowling Green, my dad gave me a personal tour, I watched as the paint guy took a small Dixie cup of paint and a torn-off paper match end to touch up an '82 Collector Edition Corvette and buff it until you couldn't tell it was ever there in the "fix-it" bays. They used cotton glove liners and watch protectors, and protective covering on most of the body panels during assembly, but occasionally things happen. I have no absolute proof of the match stick and dixie cup, as no pictures were allowed. But I saw it with my own eyes so for me, it was fact. But it's just a rendition of what I saw when explained to anyone else. A pics or it didn't happen situation. I asked the guy if he could touch up my then-new 82 Z28 with its own set of rock chips (GM paint absolutely sucked back then- surprise). He laughed and said bring it in and he could do it.
I've found that it's like the game of telephone.. lots of little bits mixed together turn into fact.

An FBI GnX? Probably not from new ordered from GM. BUT, siezed from a drug dealer and used by the bureau? Maybe. And maybe even more plausible if they already ran some turbo buicks. Back then it was just a slightly more expensive limited edition version so why not?

The rumors of drastically modified power trains? Again, I point to the methanol test mules that did get sold to the federal government. So, take a story about drastically modified drivetrains, sold to a govt agency, mix in police used turbo buicks, add in the fbi ordering a few.... you could see how the stories blend and change over the years. Then the facts of exactly what switched changes here and there... so you get some rumors that are beyond reasonably believable, but based in nuggets of fact.

There's a guy named keith...Keith.... I want to say Sizemore? Something like that, he's from NY, spent decades working in GM with lots of time in various engineering roles and such throughout the squarebody years. He has lots of interesting stories from his decades there including at the testing grounds. He hangs or used to anyways on one of the truck message boards. Plenty of strange things happened through the years. Same story though, lots of anecdotes but few pieces of hard proof, compounded by how obtrusive cameras would be back in the day even if you were going to take a snap, which. For many reasons you wouldn't.
 

blk7gxn

Royal Smart Person
Feb 7, 2019
1,351
113
I've found that it's like the game of telephone.. lots of little bits mixed together turn into fact.

An FBI GnX? Probably not from new ordered from GM. BUT, siezed from a drug dealer and used by the bureau? Maybe. And maybe even more plausible if they already ran some turbo buicks. Back then it was just a slightly more expensive limited edition version so why not?

The rumors of drastically modified power trains? Again, I point to the methanol test mules that did get sold to the federal government. So, take a story about drastically modified drivetrains, sold to a govt agency, mix in police used turbo buicks, add in the fbi ordering a few.... you could see how the stories blend and change over the years. Then the facts of exactly what switched changes here and there... so you get some rumors that are beyond reasonably believable, but based in nuggets of fact.

There's a guy named keith...Keith.... I want to say Sizemore? Something like that, he's from NY, spent decades working in GM with lots of time in various engineering roles and such throughout the squarebody years. He has lots of interesting stories from his decades there including at the testing grounds. He hangs or used to anyways on one of the truck message boards. Plenty of strange things happened through the years. Same story though, lots of anecdotes but few pieces of hard proof, compounded by how obtrusive cameras would be back in the day even if you were going to take a snap, which. For many reasons you wouldn't.
I HIGHLY doubt too, that the FBI purchased GNX's, GN's and T-Types and in 1987 the "T" yes, but I'm sure they had a budget and even if they could, would they spend an extra $10K for a GNX to lose 2/10 of a second off 0-60MPH time??? Probably not! Besides, all 547 cars were SOLD prior to building them. As a fellow G body brother just wrote, each time a story is told, seems like something is added, and years, decades later, it's so diluted with misinformation, i'ts not even worth hearing about. I like the stories told by the actual people who worked the assembly lines, who worked the engineering department, etc. etc., the people WHO WERE THERE.

Over the years I have seen many times, an individual will purchase a car, have some unusual option or what not, and all of a sudden, they have some fathomed stories put together and a car display plaque to display at shows. This somehow makes their ride more valuable, and you can't forget the infamous 1 of 3 built ect. ect. yet when asked, they can't explain how they got those numbers...Crap like this, ruins it for the ones who actually DO have a REAL story to tell that they lived.

Will
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Ribbedroof

Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
4,493
113
Wellston, OK
It was my understanding via my father, who was an employee of the Iowa State Patrol, that LEOs got the same powertrains that GM had certified for production cars. Powertrains had to be federally certified for emissions purposes, and GM was not likely to spend thousands (10 of thousands?) of dollars certifying one-off or VERY limited combinations for a handful of sales.
 
  • Like
  • Agree
Reactions: 2 users

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 P-S-T Southside Machine Performance UMI Performance

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