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Upcoming Buick GNX: Another
Storied Nameplate to be Sullied

March 2, 2012 by Matt

Buick SLP GNX Regal GS Concept Sketch Teaser

It’s like what Pontiac did to the GTO, only worse.

Motor Authority reports that tuner SLP plans to revive Buick’s legendary GNX designation, applying it to a breathed-upon variant of the automaker’s current Regal GS. Mercifully, they’ve only planned to build around 500 of them, close to the painfully low number of the original that were produced.

To understand why this is such a travesty, consider a couple of things:

  1. The original GNX was the ultimate rip-snorting, ground-pounding, take-no-prisoners incarnation of the already-fearsome Grand National. It was, first and foremost, a muscle car. It may not have been V8-powered in the classic tradition, but its turbocharged V6 radiated torque in its own right. And it was RWD, sported a live rear axle, dripped with testosterone and was singularly intimidating to line up next to at a stoplight or drag strip.
  2. Back in ’04, Pontiac attempted to revive their legendary GTO badge by slapping it on a car called the Monaro, imported from their Australian subsidiary Holden. While the new GTO possessed good credentials on paper—a small-block V8 lifted from the outgoing Camaro and RWD—it utterly failed to catch on. Its timing was off by several years, for one; the new generation of muscle cars wouldn’t crop up until the emergence of the Dodge Challenger and especially the new Ford Mustang. But more significantly, although the mechanicals were on point, the sheetmetal was jellybean-like and inert, with absolutely none of the swagger befitting a proper muscle car.

And with the new GNX, history threatens to repeat itself as SLP prepares to water down yet another revered nameplate by affixing it to a very un-muscle-y sports sedan built on a FWD platform. A little nostalgia mining I can handle, but the new car must faithful if not to the original’s concept, at least to its general attitude. I really can’t see any possible way for SLP to re-cast the Regal GS in the mold of the ’80s GNX. It’s just not going to work.

Filed under: Buick, Muscle Cars, News, Pontiac

3 Comments

  1. John D says:

    I like what Cadillac has done over the past few years. They’ve created performance coupes and sedans that are definitely sporty, and even muscle car like in their performance, but have stood on their own without trying to reinvent past success (largely because they’ve had none in this arena). This has been wonderful for them as they are trying to break from the old stereo types and become relevant and competitive in today’s market. Sadly, most other American car makers have not been able to do this and are continuing to borrow from the past. But alas, this has been overplayed by now and most anyone who is trying to get into the game will have to work very hard not to be a ‘me too’ in this area. Let’s get some vision for the future GM, F*rd, Chrysler, et al., and stop bringing up the past. Not that it can’t be done well…but it’s now become a crutch for those who don’t have any better ideas. It seems like Buick is trying to do the same thing Cadillac did several years ago and that I applaud. I just hope they don’t fall into this trap of recreating cars of the past that have no real connection to or the soul of their predecessors.

  2. John D says:

    (Not only does all of this sully the name of past legends, it also takes away from the current model car that this name/indication is applied to. I say let’s look to start a new dynasty instead of reviving the old. Those days are too far in the past to ever recreate and, for the most part, even if we could most wouldn’t want to as a lot of these cars (GTO, Camaro, Mustangs of old) were deficient in so many ways…but their name lives on. So stop denigrating the new technology and let it be the beginning of something new.)

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