Kevin Hart saw his newly modified 1987 Buick GNX for the first time this week when it was unveiled at the 2022 SEMA Show. Commissioned by the enthusiast, the restomod features a variety of significant, but thematically-appropriate changes.
Known to name his vehicles, this one is called the “Dark Knight,” for obvious reasons. Painted black, with black mesh wheels from HRE, the car features a roll cage with its name printed on it, which is visible as you enter.
Elsewhere, the hood is made of carbon fiber, as are the bumpers, the spoiler, and much of the interior where extensive, but tasteful modifications have been made. True to its origins, though, the car retains the T-Top and is still powered by a V6.
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Although the number of cylinders is the same, the manufacturer isn’t. Hart stayed in the GM family, though, and this car is powered by the V6 from a Cadillac ATS-V, which made 464 hp (346 kW/470 PS) and 445 lb-ft (603 Nm) of torque from the factory.
That’s a healthy amount more than the original engine, which reportedly made 300 hp (224 kW/304 PS) and 420 lb-ft (569 Nm) when it was new, but you don’t have to that to Hart. The actor and comedian owns a stock GNX, but says that he wanted this, too, to function as more of a toy.
“The thing with [the GNX]—I feel like that car is artwork,” explained Hart, following the unveiling. “I don’t want to drive that car, I want to save that car, and put that car up, because I feel like for years and years and years, it’s only going to obtain value. But I wanted the Grand National that I could drive.”
Although Hart came up with the name and concept, he turned to Salvaggio Design and Sean Smith Designs for the actual creation of the restomod. They, in turn, said they wanted to honor their patron’s wishes and create something exceptional, while staying true to the original car.
“The inspiration was basically to build on the foundation of what the original Grand National was,” said Sean Smith. “It was already a great car, we just wanted to emphasize what was there and make it better. Keeping the V6, keeping it, you know, menacing, and kind of a wolf in sheep’s clothing is what we really wanted to do.”
Lead image Salvaggio Design / Instagram