Earlier this month, Kevin Hart was at SEMA to see his newly completed, modified Buick Grand National for the first time. Now, the team behind the build, Salvaggio Design, has released additional photos and information about the sinister restomod.
Dubbed the “Dark Knight,” the car is based on a 1987 Buick Regal Grand National T-Top and is designed to give Hart something to play around with while his all-original 1987 Buick GNX sits in his garage, getting the gentle treatment and care it deserves.
In honor of the original Grand National, Salvaggio says that it, and Hart, opted not to go for the engine that powers just about every other restomod on the planet, the LS V8. They wanted, instead, to keep the spirit of the original car alive with a V6, and found quite the power plant in the form of the LF4 3.6-liter, twin-turbo V6 from a Cadillac ATS-V.
More: Kevin Hart’s 1987 Buick GNX “Dark Knight” Features The V6 From A Cadillac ATS-V
Originally rated at 464 hp (346 kW/470 PS) and 445 lb-ft (603 Nm) of torque, the team turned to Gearhead Fabrications to modify the engine. They spent 45 hours just isolating wires and getting rid of everything non-essential. They also got rid of one of the turbos, again paying homage to the original GNX, by opting for a single turbo kit from Boost Labs.
Running at 20 PSI, the engine was dyno tested at 650 hp (485 kW/659 PS) on 103-octane fuel, which is considerable more than it originally made, and more than twice as much as the Buick GNX made in 1987. The mods don’t end there, though, because the team intends to fit performance camshafts to the engine, which it reckons could push the power figure past 700 hp (522 kW/710 PS) on race fuel. One way or another, the engine shuffles its power to a nine-inch Tru Track 3.7:1 rear end through a Cadillac eight-speed automatic transmission.
To handle that extra grunt, the car sits on a custom TIG-welded Salvaggio chassis frame with a Detroit Speed & Engineering X-Gen 595 front suspension package. It adds rigidity at the front, while the DSE four-link set up with Panhard bar helps it handle better at the back.
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Stopping the Dark Knight are Brembo GT six-piston brakes at the front and four-piston calipers at the back. Wider tires (265/30 R19 front and 325/30 R19 rear) come from Toyo and are mounted on HRE wheels, which also help give the Grand National more grip.
Outside, meanwhile, the design team wanted the car to be dark, sinister, and subtle. That meant that it didn’t want to make the body wider, and instead focused on fine-tuning the details.
Salvaggio says it wanted to “tighten” the body lines and reprofile the shut lines. It also designed new door handles, and finished the whole thing in BASF Black, with no tints or effects to catch the light. This is, after all, the Dark Knight.
The front bumper, too, was redesigned to promote more airflow to the engine and improve aerodynamics. It, along with the hood, the rear spoilers, and the mirrors, are made from carbon fiber.
Carbon fiber was also used inside the car, on the trim, to play against the dark blue and gray leather seats. Bronze tones, meanwhile, were used in the contrast stitching, pin striping details, and on the cooling vents and the color was chosen as a nod to Batman’s utility belt.
The result of all of the work is a clearly special, but still somewhat restrained restomod that should be perfect, whether Hart wants to cruise comfortably or test how effectively that new engine can shred tires.