Ten Second Turbo Regal Recipe
Jay Carter
"This information represents what worked for the author(s) with their combinations. It may not work for you. Be aware that anytime you increase the performance of your car you run the risk of damage. Be smart about modifications: take them one at a time and keep a close eye on vital tuning indicators such as knock counts, O2 volts and RPM. This Recipe assumes you are using adequate octane RACING fuel for best performance. -editor"
With the performance envelope of the Turbo Regal always expanding, it has become routine to have a mid to low 11 second Turbo Regal that you can drive everyday on the street while maintaining an almost stock appearance. However, with the restructuring of race classes at the GS Nationals, "Stock Appearing" is a dying breed. Granted, there are always going to be those who want to maintain the stock appearance under the hood. This file is not for those people. This file is for the people who want to go as absolutely fast as possible and still drive the car on the street (and to the track if so desired). To date, we have two cars set up similarly and the times are comparable. Please also keep in mind that this is just my way of doing things and there are other ways to accomplish the same things. I will attempt to give viable options when possible. Your times should be similar to ours but please remember that there are many variables to keep in mind when building a quick GN, the main factor being weight. The lighter you are, the faster the car will be and the more reliable the car will be at the track. Our two test cars are as follows:
  • 1987 T-Type w/110,000 mile shortblock Fiberglass Front Bumper Air conditioning Removed 10 Point Roll Cage
  • 1987 Grand National W/87,000 mile shortblock Fiberglass Front Bumper Air conditioning Removed This is a T-Top car so the extra weight should be factored in

Please also note that I don't really support the idea of removing the air conditioning. While it does save weight (about 65-70 pounds), I like driving my car a little too much in the summer to not have air conditioning. I feel that removing the A/C may be worth about half a tenth. It does, however, make working under the hood much easier.

Also, I am going to assume that everyone reading this file already has a turbo Regal running at least in the mid to low 12s. Therefore, I am not going to cover the very basics such as setting the cam position sensor, the throttle position sensor (TPS) and so forth. If such information is desired, I will be more than happy to write detailed technical files on the calibration of the factory sensors.

Without any further delay, let's get into the go fast goodies!!I am going to attempt to cover every component needed to run times identical to ours. This will include engine setup (as well as sources on parts), fuel delivery components, transmission components, and suspension and tire setups. Again, please keep in mind that there is always more than one way to do things but the parts and methods I am going to describe below are TRIED and TRUE.



    (minus cam) - Stock


    In this area, we have done much experimenting. We have discovered that there are several really good grinds out there available. The camshafts that we have used with great success are as follows. SP67 - 200/205 @ 108 lobe separation SP68 - 210/205 @ 108 lobe separation SP69 - 215/210 @ 110 lobe separation These cams are available from Torque Technologies in Valdosta, GA (912) 242-0691. I am using the SP67 in my street car and am pleased with the performance. The SP68 and SP69 have been used in our mid 10 second race car with great success. The SP68 is a very streetable camshaft with fair idle. The SP69 has a little more rumble at idle but pulls quite a bit harder on the top end. 220/220 @ 110 lobe separation This camshaft is available from Modern Muscle in Centerline, Michigan (810) 754-0261. This cam is currently being used in our high 10 second street GN. This cam has a very good idle considering the outrageous duration. We did not get a cam card on this particular cam so I can only pass on advertised figures.

    Keep in mind when buying a camshaft that it is a good idea to stay away from cams that have super quick ramp speeds (Ruggles cam). While these cams do offer great performance, they are not without a price. The fast ramp speed often lead to wiped lobes unless the cam is friction coated with some type of dry film lubricant. The timing chain should also be replaced when changing camshafts. Several good chains are The Brute chain sold by Torque Technologies (number above), the Cloyes double roller, and the Edlebrock double roller. The latter two chains are available from local parts houses or from Summit.


    In this area, I'm sure that I will catch a lot of flack. While it is possible to port and polish your own heads, I don't feel that the performance gains will be the same as would be is done by a professional head porter. Two reputable head porters that I have used are Pee Gee Performance in Brooklyn, NY (718) 826-0001 and Champion Racing Heads in Daytona Beach, FL (904) 446-4488. While there are other good head porters out there, I am just listing the ones that I have personal experience with. I have seen cars pick up as much as half a second with installation of these ported heads. Should u decide to use a different head porter, request that the Manley stainless valves be used in your heads. These are a tulip type valve (like stock) and will retain your stock combustion chamber CCs, thus keeping your compression close to stock. Also, replace the valve springs with Chevrolet LT-1 springs. These springs offer about 95 lbs of seat pressure. Also have bronze valve guides installed. Better safe than sorry. I don't feel like aluminum heads are a worthwhile investment for the performance goals outlines above for several reasons. The aluminum are prone to cracking, they're expensive (Even still) and they're overkill for a stock block bottom end. The main webbing in the block will let go before you maximize the performance of those heads.


    The stock intake is sufficient if ported and polished. Your head porter can handle this for you. A plenum spacer should also be installed. Both of out test cars use the Super Plenum Plus available from Torque Technologies.

Throttle Body

    Stock or a 62mm. Two sources on 62mm throttle bodies are Jack Guzi in Akron, Ohio (216) 784-2704 and Modern Muscle (number listed above).


    Again, a big area of controversy. To get into the 10s, you need more fuel than the Blue Tops can supply. Red Stripes have already been 10.50s as well as have MSD 50s. The only car I know using Red Stripes going in the 10s is running a 7th Injection System by Jay Carter (yes, mine, number at the end of the article). Both of our cars have MSD 50s in them. MSD 50s are available from Precision Engine and Turbo in Lynwood, Ill (708) 418-5227. Be forewarned, however, MSD injectors are VERY expensive. To control these big injectors, you will need custom chips. Three sources on custom big injector chips are Joe Lubrant in Griffith, In (219) 838-5213, Modern Muscle, and Conley's Performance Plus in Humble, Tx (713) 540-FAST. Conley carries the Thumbwheel Chip by Steve Yagland. This chip is an open loop chip and does not use an O2 sensor. While this chip does work well with large injectors, it is EXPENSIVE ($350.00) and is not real streetable.


    Again, a hot topic. Lots of really good intercoolers out there! It's really not possible to buy a bad upgrade intercooler. I have used the Kenne Bell Big Boy (909) 941-6646, the Duttweiler front mount (805) 659-3648, and the small Cartech front mount available from ATR. The ATR liquid intercooler also seems to provide substantial performance gains, but again, it's quite pricey ($1995.00). For the money, the small Cartech is the best buy for the dollar ($999.00). A word on these intercooler and a half units, I have used them and seen absolutely no performance gains other than by adding the big neck. I don't feel these types of intercoolers are worth the upgrade price because they become heat soaked by the engine too quickly are not possible to be cooled down by ambient air.


    Turbo technology seems to get better and better almost every week. Now it's possible to go mid 10s with a turbo that looks stock or almost stock. The 60-1 and 62-1 have become obsolete dinosaurs thanks to great advancements in turbo upgrades. The absolute smallest turbo you will want to use to go into the 10s is the TE-44. One of our test cars has a TE-61 on it and the other has an old 60-1. The TE-61 is a great turbo and with a little stall converter (More on that later), it's a good street turbo. The Stock appearing version of the TE-61 (The TA-60) is also a mid 10 second turbo. These turbos are available from just about everyone (including me) and prices will vary. With the streetability of these turbos, though, don't purchase anything smaller than a TE-44. You'll just be upgrading later if you do. Also, it's not necessary to purchase a 3 to 4 bolt turbo adapter because the new performance turbos use 3 bolt housings machined to accept the larger wheels. Also new to the market is the TE-63-1. This is the ULTIMATE bolt on turbo and I don't recommend this to anyone who wishes to drive the car on the street. But, for a serious "stock appearing" car, this turbo is about as far as you can go and look stock. This is a big shaft 63-1 turbo in a stock casing. It is quite pricey as well, probably around $1000-1100. This turbo has already been low 10s.


    Again, another hot topic. On both of our test cars, we are running ATR headers and 3 inch downpipes. One car has the new ATR headers (2 1/4" crossover) and the other has the old style ATR headers (2" crossover).I am of the opinion that headers on these cars are good for about a tenth and I feel like performance gains would be similar with stock manifolds. Both cars are running 3 inch downpipes from various manufacturers. The quicker car is running through the mufflers. This car uses the 3 inch exhaust system from Torque Technologies. Mufflers used are 2 chamber Flowmasters.


    There are some other variables that can be added in for some minor performance gains. Ram Airs kits may be added, however, both of our cars just utilize a 9" K&N Cone Filter. There is also the modified upper plenum available from Modern Muscle. This is a stock plenum with an aluminum wing welded into the back. Claims of a tenth are being made by just about everyone selling this thing. One of our cars does have it and we noticed no gains. Underdrive pulleys are also another popular performance item. While the two pulley race system may provide a tenth, the single crank pulley system provides virtually no gain in performance. It does, however, make your A/C blow colder air. 2 tenths and 2 MPH in A/C speed!

Fuel Delivery

Fuel Pumps

    We are utilizing two very different fuel delivery systems on each of our test cars. Both systems provide enough fuel to run the times claimed. However, the ease of installation and the ultimate performance goals should be considered when upgrading your fuel system. One of our test cars is running 2 Bosch GFP-216 fuel pumps through 2 1/2" fuel lines, with a line running to each side of the rail. When installing a system like this, it is important to remember to upgrade your return line to at least a 3/8" line or your will not be able to control the fuel pressure.

    On the car running this system, we are not running an in-tank pump. An excellent source on Bosch fuel pumps is U.S. Import Parts in Colorado (800) 999-1820. Their prices on pumps is substantially better than any of the Buick aftermarket vendors. Our other test car is running a Syclone in-tank pump (Delco Part # EP-270) with the pressure spring shimmed up and a Bosch GFP- 216 external pump run inline. I know of several cars going mid 10s with this setup. This is an easy installation that will flow a gallon of fuel in about 48 seconds. The above dual Bosch system will flow a gallon in about 30 seconds. Generally anything under a gallon per minute is enough to support 500-600 horsepower. Also, please note, there are several manufactures out there who are selling in-tank pumps who are claiming that pump alone will take you to low 11s, high 10s. Don't believe this! For a serious car, the Syclone in-tank/Bosch external is the minimum requirement for a quick car. Also, it is possible to flow too much fuel! The SX Performance pump as sold by Summit is entirely too much pump for our cars. The SX pump flows so much fuel that it will actually push more fuel through the injectors at the same PSI rate as either of these other two setups mentioned above. This will make the car soft on the bottom. Keep this in mind when installing your fuel system.

Transmission/Rear End


    A stock 200-4R that is rebuilt with a shift kit and good clutches and band will carry you into the mid 10s with ease. Reliability does become a factor, but it is much cheaper to build one of these transmission every season than to step up to a Turbo 400 W/transbrake. The only internal modifications that should be done to these transmissions are installation of a 10 vane pump ki and installation of a shift kit. There are several good shift kits available from various manufacturers. We have personally used the Art Carr shift kit (714) 962-6655 and the kit available from B&M.

Torque Converter

    We have used with moderate success the 9" 4000 stall converter from Art Carr. This is about the only readily available 9" converter for the 200- 4R. It does seem, however that Art Carr does have a quality control problem as we have destroyed several of these converters. A viable option for a converter is another 9" converter made by Powerglide Performance in Riviera Beach, Fl (407) 848-2811. Powerglide manufactures a 9" converter that is of superior quality and workmanship to the Art Carr unit. It also has a balloon plate installed. Anyone with an Art Carr converter can send it to Powerglide for installation of a balloon plate and upgrading of thrust washers, etc.

Rear End

    Both of our cars utilize stock rear ends with stock axles and stock 3.42 gears. We have tried other gear setups and have found them to provide no performance gains. We do have longer wheel studs installed in our axles, however (NHRA safety rule)

Both of our test cars utilize similar suspension setups. Both have airbags in the right rear only, running pressure between 10-20 lbs, depending on track condition. One our test cars also utilizes stock boxed lower control arms with urethane bushings. This is a low dollar alternative to the extremely expensive Southside bars and Hotchkis bars. Both cars have the front sway bars removed as well. Both cars use stock shocks in the rear and our quick(er) car utilizes 90/10 drag shocks in the front. The interesting thing to note here is that the car with hardly no suspension or brake work all has gotten better 60 foot times, 1.45 vs 1.47, than the quicker car with the better suspension. One of our cars utilizes The Jumper valve, available from GN Enterprises (No phone number, sorry) and the other does not. Both cars also use rear brake wheel cylinders from a 1984 NON POWER (VERY IMPORTANT!) S-10 Blazer (The little blazer). These wheel cylinders allow for high boost launches but make doing a burnout almost impossible without a line lock. Another interesting modification that I have used in the past is to weld plate steel on the underside of the frame from wheel to wheel.

Basically this eliminates any undesired chassis flexing caused by the frame being to flimsy. The steel should be welded from jack pad to jack pad on the frame. If there are places in the frame that are bent due to jacking the car up in the wrong place, these should be straightened prior to welding. I recommend this modification even if you have a roll cage installed in your car now. 1/8-1/4" steel should be thick enough, with it being about 3-4 inches wide.

When you get to this point, you really become limited on what tire is going to provide you with the best traction. Mickey Thompson slicks at this point are useless. We have used (with great success) the Goodyear 28 X 10 slick and the Firestone 28.5 X 10.5 slick (D-9 compound). These tires are comparably priced and both are readily available from Summit Racing. Also note that we use Front runners up front mounted on 15 X 5 rims.
The absolute best tool that a serious turbo Regal racer can have for tuning the car is an exhaust gas temperature gauge (EGT). The one that I use and recommend is the unit sold by Auto Avionics (800) 334-4913. Tuning in the manner will give you repeatable performance. The optimum exhaust gas temperature for the turbo Regal is around 1450-1500 degree. By having a gauge to monitor this, you know when you have the engine in the range where it is making maximum horsepower. Another item that every racer should not be without is a knock detector. This, in conjunction with an EGT gauge assures you that there is no detonation and the car is making maximum power. The unit that I have used and prefer is sold by Torque Technologies. With these two items on your car it basically makes tuning the car a matter of adjusting fuel pressure to bring the EGT in line with the recommended temperature. The knock detector assures you that you have enough octane. We use and recommend Sunoco Cam II Blue (116 Octane). However, there are many other racing fuels that are of excellent quality. Just remember to check the burn rate and get the highest octane available without sacrificing your burn rate. Your fuel supplier should be able to help you with this.
Where does all this take me?
Our two test cars are both mid to high 10 second cars. Our quick(er) car is run through the mufflers and could be a street car if the owner so desired. Our best time to date with this car is a 10.62 @ 126.9 MPH. This time was run in 60 degree weather. Our other test car has run a best of 10.81 @ 122.6 MPH. This car does not have an exhaust system on it other than a three inch downpipe that exits under the car. However, with the installation of an exhaust system, this, too, could be a street car. As you can see from the article, the cars are very similar with the only real difference being that we are playing around with alcohol injection on the quick(er) car. This car's best time before alcohol was a 10.97 @ 123.1 MPH. I think this car is capable of running some low 10.50s and maybe even a high 10.40 providing the bottom end can hold together. The weak link on these engines is not what everyone thinks. Granted, crankshaft will break but what kills crankshafts is detonation. Even when you think you have all the detonation out of your engine, there is still some there that the knock detector does not pick up. The knock detector in the back of the motor is like an ear and it "listens" for knock. However, our engines make so many different noises, Buick had to "buffer" the ear. If you used an oscilloscope and took a reading at the knock detector in the back of the block and at the computer, you would see that the reading at the knock detector showed substantially more knock than the computer ever sees. The alcohol injection system completely eliminates knock, that's where the performance gains and MPH come into play. That's why our stock 110,000 mile shortblock is still alive. But, the weak link on these engines is the main bearing cap bolt webbing. When you are making 600+ horsepower, the compression from the engine is literally trying to push the crank out the bottom of the motor and the only thing holding it in is the main bearing bolts. Well, when the block just can't stand anymore, the main bearing webbing will crack, letting the crank be driven down. This basically causes a nuclear meltdown in your engine that makes for a short and unpleasant day at the track. I have literally seen a crank from a GN come through the oil pan and imbedded itself into the pavement on the track, it's not a pretty site.
Final Notes
I hope information from this file helps everyone reach their desired performance level. I have discovered in the past that having a fast car is fun (I had a Grand National running 10.50s almost 4 years ago) but having a fast car you can drive on the street is even better. My personal car, an 87 Turbo T is setup very similar to the two cars described in this article. I drive this car every day and I expect low 11 timeslips when I go back to the track. Why slower? Well, my car is full weight and has absolutely no suspension work at all, even the stock front sway bar is still there. Just keep in mind when modifying your car that there are limits to how far you can go and still have a streetable car.

Please note that I offer a full line of performance items for the turbo Regal, including Alcohol Injection Systems, 7th Injection Systems and other items. I am also an authorized distributor for Precision Engine & Turbo, Torque Technologies, Art Carr Transmissions, Turbonetics, and many other aftermarket companies. Any technical questions or questions concerning this article may be directed to me at jcarter@gte.net or I can be reached via voice at (919) 779-6026 (North Carolina) or (813) 544-8359 (Florida).

Happy Racing!

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