from Martyn L. Schorr

Buick’s menacing monochromatic black Grand National and GNX are many things to many people. To some, they are simply cool rides. Others see them as the answer to: What would Darth Vader drive? To rockers George Thorogood & the Destroyers, the GN was Bad to the Bone. And to CAR and DRIVER’s Tony Assenza who, after road testing a GNX, wrote: “It’s an ax-wielding barbarian laying waste to everything in its path. It rockets to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and squirts through the quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds at 102 mph!”


Andrew Filippone Jr. sees Buick’s uncharacteristic GN and GNX iteration black cars as more than merely modern muscle. “They’re survivors,” he says. “These cars were limited in so many ways—styling, pedigree, chassis, cubic inches—and yet they transcended all of that. In spite of all the obstacles, all of the unfortunate circumstances, they rose.” He respectfully tags the Bad Boys from Flint,  “strange & curious misfits.”Filippone has spent four years tracking down GN and GNX owners, racers and collectors, media who road tested the cars, and the key players responsible for engineering, styling and marketing at Buick & GM. He steers BLACK AIR into novel territory for a car film, exploring issues of culture, social class, inheritance, and privilege ingrained in the turbocharged V6 Buicks, and away from the usual focus on mechanics and performance. Yet, there’s no shortage of GNs and GNXs doing what they do best—smoking tires and intimidating people—in this feature-length documentary!

The first screening of an excerpt from BLACK AIR will be shown at the BPG Nationals on August 4 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio. This year BPG is celebrating The Class of 1987, the last year for Grand Nationals and GM G-Body models and the only year for GNX production.

Click here to see the previous Dean’s Garage post about Black Air (with teaser).


At work on the track.


For more information about BLACK AIR: The Buick Grand National Documentary, please visit

Andrew Filippone Jr.’s film portfolio can be seen at

For more information about the BPG Nationals, August 3-4, 2012, please visit or contact Tony Rose, 216-470-8844.

  1. Andrew Minney

    Collectible Automobile did a piece, in their August 2012 issue called “Black Ops: The Story of the 1982-87 Buick Grand National and GNX”.
    Both theirs and yours are excellent articles.

    Great web site – you feature some cracking cars!

    Twickenham, England

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