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Thread: The Ghost regal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    5
    Country Flag: Canada

    1986 Regal T type "The Ghost"

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    Thank you for following The Ghost regal build. In this thread I will be documenting my journey of building a pro touring 1986 Buick regal T type.



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    I've always loved the styling of Gbody's especially the 84-87 Turbo Buick's. 5 years ago I bought my dream car a 1987 Buick grand national with a factory astro roof. The previous owner of the GN had put some serious money and time into the car. The GN is setup as a street/strip monster, but as most of you know Gbody's were never made to handle. My dad and I like going to autocross events so it's natural that I'd want to bring a Buick. At this time I felt like ripping apart the grand national would be a injustice to the car so the search began for another TR. I wanted something clean and preferably a roller, luckily my buddy Jackson had just the car a 86 T type. This was the perfect base for my grand touring build. Jackson had bought this car a few years earlier with a new paint job. The interior and underside was spotless.

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    First thing is to get the car as a solid roller. We pulled off the front inner fender liners so they could be cleaned up and allow more room. We installed QA1 upper and lower control arms and the UMI C5/C6 brake conversion kit. I bought new C5 front and rear calipers that were powder powdercoated candy blue. The old hydroboost system was ditched for a vacuum setup.

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    Now that the car is ready for the big brakes we will need some bigger rim's since it will not clear the 15" stock wheels. We have installed UMI's 2" lowering springs and Bilsteins B6 shocks. I also opted for UMI's front and rear sway bars since they have a good reputation in the pro touring community. Unfortunately UMI does not specify that their front sway bar will only work with their lower A arms. It will not work with stock or other company's aftermarket A arm's. This is something to keep in mind when mixing aftermarket part's that some company's don't play nice with others. We will come back to this later on in the build.

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    After spending lots of time researching wheels I came up with these. They're Bonspeeds GTB's with polished hoops and brushed aluminum center's with clear coat. The fronts are 18x8 and the rears are 19x10 5" BS

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    With the bigger wheels the bbk can now be bolted on. The rear brakes consists of 98-04 ws6/Camaro ls1 backing plates and ebrake. Stoptech slotted C5 rotors have been installed front and rear. With the rear end all cleaned up we installed new bushings in the ears and a TA rear diff cover. The shocks are bilstein b6's and UMI's lowering springs same as the front of the car. I decided to go with H&R's rear control arms since they had the best reviews and are favored in the TR community. To help with all the added power a UMI upper shock brace was installed since gbody frames are comparable to spaghetti.

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    Now that we have the brakes and suspension wrapped up we will talk about tires. With a variety of tire choices I found that 18"/19" tires can be pricey but I'm not willing to give up performance. I found that the falken indy 500's and the BF Gforce had the best reviews for a summer tire radial. I decided to go with BF's Gforce comp 2's since I felt like this was the better of the two tires. I went with a 245/35r18 up front and a 295/30r19 in the rear, this should help combat traction issues.

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    Having a clean underside is a must when wanting peace of mind. This car was covered in zeebart oily undercoating from the dealer in 1986. While I'm happy at what a good job it did protecting the underside of the car, it was a huge pain in the ass to remove. The easiest way to describe it, it's like scrubbing burnt bacon grease off a frying pan. After long hours of heating it up with a torch, scraping, grinding and prepping it was ready for paint. I wanted something that would protect this car from anything that it could possible come in contact with. The truck I use at work has Rhino bedliner in the bed and has stood up to much abuse. I ended up finding a similar product called raptor bedliner. It will add great sound deadening and keep the underside looking good for years to come.

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    Ok let's talk about inner fender liners. With custom inner fenders being quite pricey to make, and aftermarket carbon fiber ones being $1200 you might want to think about refurbishing. My passenger side fender was destroyed beyond repair from all the years of the exhaust gasses passing through the down pipe and baking the plastic. I found a V8 regal inner fender that would make a good replacement. The problem is the V8 regal passenger inner fenders have towers on them that ar
    e a eye sore. Keep in mind that only 84-87 regal fenders will work. So I went to work cutting out these towers on the inner fender and plastic welding in a patch from my pre existing one. Once the holes were filled I used a plastic bondo filler and sanded it down to a smooth finish. Once the patching and smoothing was complete I knocked down all the imperfections and edges for a smooth finish working my way through the grits. With a nice smooth inner fender it's time for primer and wet sanding giving it 24 hours to completely cure. For paint I used SEM trim black. I found this to be the nicest satin finish for plastic.


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    Misfortune is part of every build like it or not. While leaving the car outside the shop we had a giant windstorm resulting in a tent falling over and having it's way with the car. Being that this is a custom pearl it would be near impossible to match, not to mention I'm OCD when it comes to paint. So once we have the car all put together it will be getting a full respray. I already have a color in mind.

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    Today we added UMI's brace that triangulates the front end. This will help with unwanted twisting in the frame when under hard acceleration and tight cornering.


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    With most of the suspension wrapped up we will talk about the steering box and steering shaft. We have installed a reman quick ratio grand national steering box. Not knowing the condition of the previous steering box I opted for a new one. AN fittings were installed so it could be run to a oversized powersteering cooler. This will help combat heat extending the life of the powersteering pump and gears. The cooler will also make sure the fluid doesn't break down and maintains
    a optimal temperature allowing for propper function. The cooler we are using is B&M's super cooler series with AN fittings. Next on the list is the steering shaft. Gbody's never came with responsive steering feel from the factory. One of the main reasons for this is the Rag joint. Overtime the rag joint deteriorates from heat causing sketchy handling. They're a few good solutions for steering shafts that eliminate the rag joint and gives you the responsive steering you're searching for. Some examples are Detroit speeds G shaft, 84-02 jeep Cherokee XJ, Borgeson custom and 95-05 safari Astro Van. For this build we installed the Jeep steering shaft. I could immediately feel a huge difference in the steering wheel (no slop!)


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    Since I want to maintain a ebrake with the the LS1 rear disc brake conversion we needed to figure out cables. Luckily there are some company's making custom cable kits. We're using Lokar's universal cables paired with a 7ft wheel base GMC cable. Some fabrication is needed such as making brackets and tensioner's.


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    These are the new headlights for The Ghost. They're JW speaker's EVO 2 LED's with the blacked out housing. I've had the bezels powdercoated satin black to match and give it a sinister look. The highbeams will be H4 housing's with tinted covers. The upgraded harness is sold by kirban performance, they also sell a H4 kit for those looking for a stock appearance. The bright white light will be great for evening cruises and gives the car a whole new look.

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    Cooling and efficiency is never something you want to skimp out on. This is the new griffin cu00010 kit that comes complete with dual spal fans that flow 4000-4099cfm, aluminum shroud, temp sensors, and relays. This radiator is about as big as you'd want to go in a gbody measuring 31.25" overall width and a overall height of 18.62". Physically the radiator fits with no cutting but will sit at a angle leaving very little gap between the steering box and fan. Since we wanted a clean install we hacked off the bottom of the radiator support and made our own dropping it about an inch. This allowed the radiator to be pushed forward and sit flush. A small space had to be cut out for easy access to the cap. As you can see we left room for the front brace leaving a perfect fit and finish.

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    Not much happend on The Ghost build today besides picking up some parts. So here's some pics of the current state of the interior.

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    Staying with the theme of cooling, we have added a engine oil cooler. Since a oversized radiator was added a oil cooler is a little overkill, but hey why not? Maximizing efficiency is an added benefit and will ensure a long healthy engine life. Mounts were fabricated, centered and welded to the lower radiator support.


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    With the weight of the car on the ground we can now see how the stance is in the rear end. We will have to cut out some of the fender lip for full travel. I'm very happy with the tire and wheel fitment 19x10 and 295/35 gforce pro comp 2's.


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    I know it's been awhile since I've posted. I'll have some more updates soon for The Ghost. Meanwhile here's a teaser of my new shifter coverplate.

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    After a long overdue update we have created some more work for ourselves. The guys decided to clearance the trans tunnel for the beefy 4l85e. Unfortunately the careful massaging still resulted in a crack since the metal is so thin around the tunnel. So we gutted the interior and came across some small holes in the floor pan on the passenger side. Judging from the holes it looks like someone put some screws through it at some point in it's life. I'm glad we stumbled across thi
    s and welded them up and sealed it with POR15. Now that most of the interior is gutted the guys can easily cut and open up the tunnel. The bottom pic shows the new radiator hold down plate and some touch up paint around where the old heater box used to be. Some exciting new updates are coming up soon! Thanks to everyone who has been checking in and following the build.

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    Two summers ago I installed my new JW speaker low beam headlights on my 87 GN. For the high beams I sandwiched some tinted lexan between a H4 high beam and blacked out bezel. I loved the murdered out look and told myself "there is no way I'll ever need to use my high beams", but oh my was I ever wrong. I brought the GN to a car show in a small little town called

    Seachelt
    .

    After the show we went out for dinner and mother nature decided to torrential downpour. As some of you kn
    ow driving a muscle car on worn out radials is a mission. As we drove out of town towards where we were spending the night it became extremely dark. To make things worse the road we were driving on was basically a sketchy concrete rollercoaster. I decided to flick on my high beams since I couldn't see more than a couple feet infront of me. Well to my suprise I still couldn't see anything and suddenly driving with murdered out headlights wasn't so cool. I told myself "I will never drive without a good set of high beams on the car again". After doing some research I found that truck lite makes a awesome 4x6 LED that has a blacked out appearance. They're a sealed unit with the LED board in the upper half of the housing. It reflects on a mirror type chrome making the light appear black but still maintains a high lumen output. This gives me the look I want without sacrificing safety and performance.

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    New dress up bolts for The Ghost, M6 and M8 countersunk stainless bolts with CNC aluminum washers.

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    The guys really came through in cleaning ng up the engine bay. A splash of new paint and some dressup bolts really makes all the difference.

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    So I've changed my mind once again. Originally my plan was to go with the bilstein B6 series shock and UMI lowering spring. While this would've been a great setup I wanted something with adjustability and more aggressive feel. I think I've found that with my new Aldan American coilovers, only time will tell. Aldan has made quite a name for themselves in the last 38yrs both in the hotrod and racing community. I did have some issues with the coilovers when they first arrived but their customer service was great and had me sorted out in no time.

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    Originally I wanted a block off plate, but my buddy Ryan persuaded me into the heater only box. I'm glad I listened because there's a chance I might of got caught in the rain at some point and I didn't want to be blinded by fogged up windows. Being that I live in Canada our weather never gets insanely hot, so I felt like air conditioning is a luxury I can live without. I also like how it cleans up the engine bay and frees up some space.


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Kennewick, WA
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    Good looking car, shame mother nature had her way with it. I have looked at the JW Speaker lights and watched a video on choosing the right light for the best pattern and was very impressed. They don't fit well with the looks of the older cars but if you're driving at night the performance will trump them looking out of place. At least with your car they will be discrete, hard to hide them on a car with 7" round lights!




  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    5
    Country Flag: Canada
    Thanks RMMiller, it's been a fun project. I'm a big fan of the JW speakers and the black housings really suit the car.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Colorado
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    163
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    Badass thread! Love the quality work! I’ve been following this on social media as well����
    Ernesto M.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    The Druid City
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    14,453
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    Sweet build! I love g-bodies!

    Andrew
    1970 GTO Version 2.0
    1967 Cougar build
    GM High-Tech Performance feature
    My YouTube Channel Please Subscribe!
    Instagram @projectgattago

    "You were the gun, your voice was the trigger, your bravery was the barrel, your eyes were the bullets." ~ Her

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Peoria, AZ
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    Nice work so far...
    Lance
    1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    5
    Country Flag: Canada