|Chris' 1984 Buick Regal|
| Last year my brother Chris bought this Regal from my dad who had bought it for Chris' first car. Chris paid $1000 for it. It had no third gear in the TH200 and no horsepower in the Buick 3.8. Too bad it's not a Turbo Buick. The interior was disgusting and the paint is shot. At least there's no rust.
Initially all we did to it was install a new TH200 from Newville Auto Salvage ($125). It also needed a new exhaust, so it got a Farm and Fleet special. The tranny wouldn't kick down and the Regal was still really slow, mostly due to the weak motor and the 2.42s in the rear end. It would do a good burnout in the snow, but thats about it. The posi still worked so it was kinda fun. For a long time it was just a ghetto cruiser, with a Kenwood Excelon receiver, Nexus amp and Digital Designs 15" sub. Soon Chris got bored with the ghetto thing, so when the amp blew, we decided to go with the budget street racer look. We found some 15" Cragars for $60 and got some used Firestones for $100. The 215/65 r15s were installed without much effort, although they didn't fix the leaning problem in the corners, they did make the car look much better. Then we moved on to fixing the cornering problem. At first we were thinking shocks, because thats what fixed my friend's El Camino. So we installed new shocks from Autozone ($60) and noticed that the front sway bar was not attached. This was fixed with $10 worth of hardware. Now we see that, even though the body has zero rust, the frame behind the rear wheels is missing entirely and the second to last body mounts aren't attached to anything. We haven't fixed this yet. (9-17-02)
|Next on the agenda was some additional horsepower. Taking the knowledge we had gained on another small block chevy install, we put the 305 and TH200 from my 1982 Z28 into the Regal. To do this we first removed the 3.8L and TH200. We found out that the tranny crossmember is a bolt in, the driveshaft is perfect and there are already holes for the motor mounts. We got new motor mounts for an 80s Caprice for $9 a piece at NAPA. Then we installed the motor and tranny as one piece. This was easy once we realized that we had put the motor mounts in the wrong place and fixed that problem. The motor mounts took longer to install than the whole motor. After that we installed Moroso tall valve covers ($30 used) and a Performer RPM intake ($45 used). We were told not to use Felpro intake gaskets with this intake but we did anyway, only time will tell if this was a good idea. (Update: do not use Felpro gaskets in this application, they leak.) A new chrome water neck was also installed ($10) This was followed by a new Carter mechanical fuel pump ($25) and insulation for the starter.|
| This was followed by a Holley spread bore 650 with adapter and a Moroso air cleaner (both free). The Holley was later replaced by an Edelbrock 600 ($240) since something was wrong with it, it wasn't intended for this intake and it had manual choke. Next Hedman headers were installed ($100) along with an electric fan from the junkyard for $30. The fan is currently wired to a switch but will later be connected to a thermostat. Sunpro gauges ($25) were installed where the ash tray had been and an old tach from the 60s (free, found in a barn) was bolted next to the stock gauges (9-20-02).
When Chris tried to put the hood back on he found out it needed about 1 inch more clearance. Unfortunately, he already is using a dropped air cleaner. I suppose we could have bought a shorter intake, but cowls look cool anyway. After a hole was cut in the hood with a sawzall, he got turbo II mufflers with 2 1/4" pipe and turndowns before the axle ($80) (10-2-02).
Recently Chris installed a Harwood 3" cowl ($100), an Autometer Monster tach (free from a friend) and an Edelbrock tall air cleaner with new filter ($20 from Ebay). The TH200 started to slip very badly so it was replaced with a rebuilt TH350 ($25 from a friend). Unfortunately, the TH350 came from a truck, so it had a 9" tailshaft instead of a standard 6". The tranny was such a good deal, it really couldn't be turned down, so we got the driveshaft cut and rebalanced ($60). Chris also installed some homemade frame connectors and body bracing, as seen on this site: http://www.show-n-go.net/gfiles/gfiles.html.
Recently, Chris got a Gtech performance meter to test the car with ($70 from Ebay). The best the Regal has run is an uncorrected 16.3 @ 93mph. Before you laugh and move on to some page with a 12 second Mustang, remember, it's a 4000lb. car with a 305 with stock heads, stock cam, 2.42 rearend with a bad posi and the crappiest tires ever made. The only real mods are carb, intake and exhaust. It spins one tire most of the way through first. I think for what has been done to it so far, it has made good progress. I hate to theorize, but I think if it had good tires and a 3.73 posi rearend it would be in the middle 15s without a problem (2-8-03)
The Regal has run a best of 15.5 @ 98mph with some tuning but no real changes. One of these days he is going to have to get a better set of back tires and try the car out with more traction. (6-10-03)
For the better part of a month the Regal has been ripped apart, with the interior removed. The body is being sanded and prepped for paint, including removal of the vinyl roof, dechroming and debadging. The interior is going to be changed to black, including seats from a Monte Carlo SS. (9-3-03)