With A Little TLC, This Rare Turbo Buick Regal T Is Back On The Road After 22 Years

With A Little TLC, This Rare Turbo Buick Regal T Is Back On The Road After 22 Years


  • The host of the Vice Grip Garage YouTube channel, Derek Bieri, successfully revived a well-preserved 1987 Buick Regal T-Type after two decades of abandonment.
  • The Regal T-Type, with its 3.8-liter turbo V6 engine, may not be as powerful as the GNX models, but it offers a sportier suspension package and genuine sleeper appeal.
  • Derek encountered some challenges along the way, such as fixing the brakes, air conditioning, and a leaking gearbox seal, but was eventually able to get the Regal back in working order for the 750 mile trip home.

Barn Gets it can come in all shapes and sizes. Some cars can be found in near-mint condition that only need a small amount of TLC to function like they once did, while others are turned into piles of rust from the weather and nature over years of neglect.

This Buick Regal T-Type purchased by Vice Grip Garage YouTube ChannelHost Derek Bieri fell more firmly toward the first choice. The car, registered in 1987, needed some basic mechanical work to hit the road once again, but the final product shows what can be done when a previously overlooked muscle car is resurrected after more than two decades.

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What? What type of Buick Regal T?

The Type T-Buick Regal was the third series of Buick’s Regal muscle car lineup that was released in the late 1980s under the Grand National GNX and Grand National models. The T-Type had the same 3.8-liter turbocharged V6 engine for the National highways.

It produced 200 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque compared to the full-fuel GNX’s 276 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque. The Type T also featured a sport suspension package compared to the regular Regal line, making it a real sleeper compared to the more popular GNX. The GNX featured a more powerful turbo built by Garrett compared to the T-Type, along with a custom intake and modified ECU to create more power.

Why Was This Type T Abandoned?

YouTube @ Vice Grip Garage

Derek from Vice Grip Garage, a channel that covers affordable rebuilds and salvage of classic machines, headed to Northern Michigan to pick up a Regal T-Type he had purchased for an undisclosed price. Derek explained earlier in the video that this model had been parked in a rented storage facility in December 2000 by the car’s previous owner, who passed away shortly after.

The Regal was forgotten for the next 20 years until the owner’s wife discovered that he had been paying for the storage unit all that time without realizing it. Derek then bought the unit with Regal. Derek volunteered to drive well enough to make the 750 mile trip back to his home in Southern Tennessee.

The car looked like it needed a lot of work as it was covered in dust and there was visible rust on the door sills. More rust appeared on the floor of the unit every time he closed the Regal door.

Regal T Type Premiere

Vice Grip Garage Buick Regal T-Type interior
YouTube @ Vice Grip Garage

Derek took a quick look at the car as soon as he transported it to his friend’s garage on the trailer. He noticed that the Regal’s red interior was in near mint condition, kept in the condition it was the day it was parked. He also worked out, from the extensive service history included with the car, that it had only had two owners when it was parked in 2000 and had never left the state of Michigan.

Derek quickly realized that the electrical system was fine after installing a fresh battery. Then he washed the car to prevent the dirt covering the paint from causing any harm while he was working on it. He then took the flat tires off the car to have them fitted, before fitting a new fuel tank and fuel pump after Derek found the original unit completely rusted.

Derek also wire-scraped the bottom of the Regal to remove as much rust as he could. He then painted the chassis to prevent further damage in the short term.

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Would Regal T-Type Engine Start?

Vice Grip Garage Buick Regal Type T engine is on fire
YouTube @ Vice Grip Garage

It was then the moment of truth as Derek tried to start the Regal’s long-stalled V6 engine. He first checked all engine fluids before changing them to prevent possible damage from their extreme age.

Derek then did a small light bulb ignition test to see if power was getting to the engine. The bulb flashed immediately, and the car nearly caught fire from the fuel residue in the pipes. The last test he had to do before trying to start the engine up was to see if the car was leaking any oil, which it passed with flying colors.

Without further ado, Derek then tried to fire up the V6. The engine started immediately without complaint, although it ran rough due to prolonged sitting. It also ran cool as he tested various parts of the engine with a digital thermometer.

While the power steering pump needed less water due to being a little lower, Derek found that the gearbox was working perfectly as he went through all the gears with the car on jack stands. Derek later replaced some of the oil lines due to the leaks starting to appear after first starting the engine. He also added other fuel additives to remove the valves, combustion chamber, and other components of the car.

Was the Regal Now Ready to Take the 750 Mile Trip?

Vice Grip Garage Buick Regal T-Type brake system
YouTube @ Vice Grip Garage

Although the engine appeared to be running almost perfectly, Derek had more work to do to get the car back on the road for the first time in 22 years. previously unable to find them due to their age. He replaced several key parts in the Regal’s running gear:

  • New brake rotors, calipers, and pads all around
  • New prices for wheels and seals all around
  • New rear brake cylinders and drums
  • More brake lines after they start leaking

Related: 13 Classic Cars That Deserve a Modern Reboot

Now Is the Regal Type-T Driven?

Vice Grip Garage Buick Regal T-Type is parked outside
YouTube @ Vice Grip Garage

Once the brake system was replaced, Derek took the Regal out of the garage under its own power for the first time in 22 years. The T-Type was now fitted with brand new 235/60/15 Cooper Cobra tires that were slightly wider than the set the old one that came with the car. He then began the long 750 mile journey back to his home in Tennessee, although the journey would not be easy.

He first had to make an Air Conditioner due to the heat. Derek purchased a gas refill can to rebuild the system, although he had to get a conversion kit from a hardware store due to the device not being compatible with 36 year old technology. With the A/C now working fine, Derek ran into a problem which can be the end of the journey. The Regal gearbox appeared to be leaking oil onto the floor.

He found that the axle seal of the car was leaking badly, he had to replace it because otherwise the gearbox would wear out and start to overheat. Derek had to buy jack stands from a local hardware store and use his parking lot to make a quick fix.

Since he had to completely remove the shaft to access and replace the shaft seal, Derek was rewarded with a completely dry undercarriage following his repair. The rest of his trip was uneventful, and he was able to arrive home with the Regal in good working order.

Derek and Regal’s ride perfectly encapsulates the appeal of classic car culture and is able to bring forgotten classics back from the brink. The T-Buick Regal is exactly the kind of barn find for gearheads looking for a well-maintained classic muscle car that just needs a little love to get going.