People were beginning to take notice of the Grand National. The 1986 Buick Grand National was the third production year for the car and Buick made some significant upgrades to the 3.8 liter V6 Turbo engine. The Buick Turbo Engine Group developed an intercooler and a sequential port fuel injection system that noticeably increased both the horsepower and the torque of the Grand National. The 1984and 1985 Grand National both produced 200 horsepower and 300 lbs-ft of torque. The upgraded engine produced 235 horsepower and 330 lbs-ft of torque.
These increases had a significant impact on performance. Quarter mile times were under fourteen seconds and zero to sixty times of less than five seconds were recorded. The Grand National was faster than the 1986 Corvette, 1986 Camaro, 1986 Firebird and the 1986 Mustang. The car was almost two seconds faster than its corporate cousin, Monte Carlo SS, in the quarter mile. It was the fastest production car made in America in 1986. Customers began to take notice and sales more than doubled to 5,512. More Grand Nationals were built in 1986 than were built in 1984 and 1985 combined.
Other than the engine upgrades, changes were relatively minor for 1986. The car was still all black with almost all of the chrome painted black. New chrome wheels were available and they provided a nice contrast for the otherwise stealth look of the car. A new mandatory high mounted third brake light was also added to the rear of the car. As usual blackout paint, a rear mounted spoiler and “Grand National” front fender tags differentiated the Grand National from the garden variety Buick Regal.
The interior was significantly sportier than the standard Regal. The upgrades for the 1986 Grand National included a sports steering wheel, upgraded instrument package with a tachometer and a boost gauge. For the 1986 model year the bucket seats were solid gray cloth.
The 1986 Grand National was a solid muscle car that could embarrass other performance cars at will. But even this meant nothing compared to the monster that Buick was about to release in 1987. The 1987 Grand National and in particular the 1987 Buick GNX were about to rewrite muscle car history.