It’s fair to say that G-body enthusiasts march to a different beat than the rest of the GM performance crowd. This is particularly true of those who run with Buick’s potent turbocharged V-6 under the hood. Scot Walkowiak represents an even rarer breed--a turbo G-body guy who gets his thrills going around corners, rather than just 14 mile at a time. I’ve drag raced my whole life and have had a lot of muscle cars, Scot said. But once I went autocrossing, I realized what I wanted to do. It was a lot of fun, and I figured I could save a lot of money on engines by autocrossing rather than drag racing.
At the time he had a Grand National with a professionally built motor that had earned a 125-mph timeslip on street tires. Rather than try to transform that car, he found a solid T-Type to replace it, building it from the ground up to be a handling car, one that would be driven and driven hard. I wanted to do something that really hasn’t been done, Walkowiak said. It’s not every day you see a turbo Regal out on an autocross or road course. Isn’t that the truth?’ you may say, but to its advantage the car only weighs 3,280 pounds-less than a lot of F-bodies and pony cars out chasing cones around. And with a V-6 under the hood instead of a V-8, it’s reasonably well balanced, with 56 percent of its weight on the front tires. Future plans include a fiberglass hood and front bumper and 100 pounds of ballast in trunk, which should get the car to 52/48 or so.
Any autocrosser will tell you that the most important parts of any car are the wheels, tires, and suspension. Walkowiak has these elements covered, starting with Toyo Proxes wrapped around a set of 18-inch Complete Custom Wheels. Scot selected ones with black mesh-pattern centers and polished lips (called Classics). These wheels are meant to recall the original GNX, as are a set of GNX-style front fender vents. The suspension components? Well, they are all from Detroit Speed and Engineering, and for good reason. Scot’s T-Type has served as a test Buick for the company’s line of G-body suspension parts. Two weeks before the start of the autocross season, Kyle Tucker of DSE called me to say, why don’t you bring the car to us and we’ll install our full kit,’ Scot said. Of course he jumped at the opportunity, and the car received a full suspension makeover at DSE’s Mooresville, North Carolina, facilities. Over a two-day period nearly all of the Buick’s old suspension parts were stripped off and replaced with prototype DSE units. After an alignment and some tweaking of the front camber, Scot was ready for that first autocross.
The old suspension was sloppy with lots of body roll, Scot said. Now it’s lower, the stance is better, the ride is better, and it’s a lot more nimble and predictable. He emphasized the importance of installing a set of shocks and springs that are meant to work with each other. When your shock valving matches your spring rate, you get a beautiful ride yet the car handles like it’s on rails, he said. The DSE parts are among many that Walkowiak sells through his Buick aftermarket business, GNS Performance. He started the venture after a motorcycle accident left him disabled and unable to return to his previous line of work. Now he is able to combine his passion for Turbo Buicks with a business that helps pay the bills. Understandably, Walkowiak plans to continue upgrading and evolving the car as he tries out new products for GNS Performance. A much needed brake upgrade is next on deck, as the car currently makes do with stock discs and drums to the rear. Walkowiak has his eye on a complete Baer Track4 setup, with 13-inch front rotors and four-piston calipers.