It used to be the case that when a group of car guys talked about American muscle cars, the purpose of these cars would inevitably be for going down the quarter mile. V8s were (and still are) the primary choice of motive power for Detroit iron, and suspension designs were calibrated toward making the car (or truck) get off the line as quick as possible and track as straight as possible. But the world of car modding always evolves and we now have drift cars, the stance movement, rat rods and Pro Touring.
Pro Touring is an offshoot of the Pro Street philosophy, which is basically a drag car for the street. Pro Touring cars aim to harness the huge power Pro Street cars have and use this for more than racking up miles 1,320 ft. at a time. Clothed in classic muscle car bodies like Camaros, Mustangs and everything in between, the ultimate Pro Tourers are almost like prototype racers (tube chassis, modern suspensions, engines and electronics) licensed for the street. One of the more inspired choices for a Pro Touring car is this Buick T-type Regal, built in the mid-1980s. Sporting a turbocharged V6, its output of 250 hp is by today’s standards was anemic, but compared to the cars of the time, it could run with the best, even V8 exotics – in a straight line.
The goal of the owner in transforming this car was “to make it an honest contender on and off the street with all the amenities that make up a real pro-tour vehicle”. Meaning it had to have handling, braking, comfort, performance and style. To accomplish this, the owner undertook a complete suspension refurb, replacing the springs, links and control arms with components from a company that fabricates and assembles NASCAR vehicles. This was not a mere bolt-on job, as the car was also corner-weighed to within almost zero left/right differences, with a front/rear weight bias of 57/43 also being achieved. After taking care of the suspension, the brakes were then replaced with vented discs front and rear. Because the original setup used rear drums, a brake proportioning valve was also fitted to tune the bias.
Being able to handle much better than the factory could imagine meant that the engine had to receive some TLC too. Here, the owner also needs to complimented, in that he didn’t succumb to the temptation of an LS-series V8, which so many Pro Touring setups are using nowadays. Instead, the engine was refreshed and blueprinted, its turbo upgraded, and a competition cam installed. ARP hardware was called upon to keep it all together. The company that does these upgrades regularly builds up these V6 turbo packages to a minimum of 600 horsepower (to a max of 800 hp), so this Buick turbo shouldn’t be any different.
Aesthetically, the car received a lot less modifications compared to to the chassis and engine upgrades. Basically just a reworked grill and 18-inch CCW wheels. Inside, a reworked gauge cluster and Schroth harnesses are the only hints that the casual observer will see. So yes, this car is a sleeper, and with a thoroughly tuned engine, suspension and braking combination, its current performance belies the fact that it is 27 years old.
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