1-26-11 Inner Circle

1-26-11 Inner Circle

Greetings Turbo Regal Inner Circle Members - 01-26-2011 (Being sent out 01-28-2011)


We received a double blast of TWO storms, which dropped 15-18 inches of snow in our area Wednesday and Thursday. Even UPS was not delivering Thursday. We were closed both days, since no one could get into the office. So this week's Inner Circle is not going out until today (Friday.)

We were not able to handle any internet orders or phone orders until today.

Seems like our area of the country gets hit with snow every 5-6 days now this winter.

We apologize for the delays.


Gordon Buehrig lived from 1904-1990. At the tender age of 24, he designed the Stutz Blackhawk Boattail Speedster. At just 25 years old, he was the chief designer for Duesenberg! His accomplishments continued and in a space of just 4 months in 1936, he designed a car that most antique car buffs consider the epitome of automotive design - the Cord 812. It featured hidden headlights, front-wheel drive, and was supercharged!

From 1949 until he retired in 1965, he worked at Ford. In 1951 designed the very first Ford hardtop convertible. He was also responsible for the 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II.

He was definitely a remarkable individual with an impressive resume covering the golden age of automobiles. Just after World War II he got involved with a sports car project called, "Tasco," which stood for The American Sports Car Company.

The prototype he built utilized a top that had removable panels. The project was a failure due to high costs.

To recoup his losses, he got permission to patent the removable top design (a smart move.) In 1949 he tried to interest Ford in his "Buehrig Top," but to no avail. In 1955 while at Ford he bought one of the first new Thunderbirds and made a top with removable panels. Still no automotive company was interested in his T-Tops design.

Fast forward to October 1967. While reading the latest issue of "Road and Track," he saw the new 1968 Corvette using his top design. Since the patent he had would not expire for another year, he contacted GM about this infringement. Eventually, GM offered him a sum of money for the rights to the T-Tops design. As they say in the industry, the rest is history and by the mid-1970s T-Tops became quite popular.

It's a shame most of us were not smart enough to get Gordon Buehrig's autograph!

PHOTO 1 - Top left photo shows the book entitled, "The Age of Hot Rods" written by Albert Drake in 2008. This is a very interesting book. This is where I first found the information on Gordon Buehrig and the connection to T-Tops. The top right photo shows another of Albert Drake's earlier car books, "The Big Little GTO Book" published in 1982. The lower left photo entitled, "Herding Goats" was published in 1989. This refers to GTOs, and I am proud to say one of the chapters is about our involvement with GTOs. I show the first page of my section, "DENNIS KIRBAN, Furlong, Pennsylvania, GTO Vendor." Also in this book are chapters by Jim Wangers and Paul Zazarine. I met Albert Drake years ago and saw him over the years at various Pontiac events. If you research his name on the internet, you will find over 10 different automotive books he has written over the years.

The Hurst Campbell company is related to T-Tops. I know a lot about Hurst and have a wealth of their original literature. In the mid-1970s, the demand for manual 4-speed shifters had dropped considerably, both for OEM applications and aftermarket use. This was due to tightening up government controls and insurance costs.

During the 1970s, Hurst developed their own version of T-Tops. The trademark name they used was the "Hurst/Hatch." The popular models of the day were the F-body Camaro/Firebirds, and the A-body cars; notably the Lemans Pontiac, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, etc.

The Smokey and the Bandit movies during the 1970s help fuel the sales of T-Tops or Hurst/Hatch kits.

In my private Hurst collection, I actually have the installation manual on how to cut your roof to install a set of Hurst/Hatch tops! If ever there was a reason to measure twice and cut once, it would be when you cut the roof of your car to install the removable roof panels! It is not a project for a do-it-yourselfer, but for a custom shop!

PHOTO 2 - The top photo shows a copy of the letter dated February 18, 1975 where Hurst had researched the trademark they eventually would get approved and would use as their logo on the Hurst/Hatch roof panels. The lower photo on the left shows the actual logo clear decal (2" x 1") that they used and, I believe, affixed to the actual roof panels. I also have another larger (4" x 1-3/4") color decal shown on the lower right. Unfortunately, I do not know where this decal was used.

PHOTO 3 - Shows the front and back covers of the July 1975 "AUTOMOTIVE BODY REPAIR NEWS" article that went to body shops announcing the new Hurst/Hatch roof panels from Hurst. Hurst's full-page color ad ran on the back of the newspaper. Notice nowhere did they use the word T-Tops.

The text on the back cover reads in part,
"Hurst Performance has just released the exciting Hurst/Hatch roof panel kit originally installed in the 1975 Hurst/Olds and Buick Century Pace Car.

These lift-out, smoke tinted, safety glass panels create convertible style "open-air" motoring. Designed for do-it-yourself or dealer installation, the Hurst/Hatch kits are now available and come with complete hardware, moldings, seals, and detailed instructions."

PHOTO 4 - The top photo shows a typical flyer for the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme model. The lower photos show the front and back of another promotional flier. It lists the various applications Hurst had available and some of the specifications. Example - they had a 12-month warranty, and claimed the roof passed crush tests, and had a local parts network to get any parts you may need. This flier also featured Linda Vaughn "Miss Hurst" sitting on the roof of the car.

MORE T-TOPS FACTS - PART 2 - Next week


We heard from Bob Sansom, one of our Turbo Buick customers, about the Barrett Jackson Auction. He reported that around 5:30 pm Friday (January 21st) GNX #012 went through the auction. It was reportedly once owned by Reggie Jackson, was 100% stock and showed 5,480 actual miles. It sold for just $66,000.

I am unsure if the auction commission is included in that figure or if it gets added to the top bid.

Based on the information as presented, it appears the market remains soft on GNXs, compared to 2 years ago.


We have several new items in the works including the return of being able to offer once again brand new correct 120 amp alternators for the 1986-1987 Turbo Regals. Also we have some other items in the works as well.


We appreciate all the nice complimentary emails we get concerning our weekly Inner Circle. Personally, I enjoy doing them and seldom suffer from writer's block. I do read a lot of automotive magazines as you can imagine.


A long-time customer of ours that wants to sell his pride and joy, GNX #545.

This GNX has 25,000 miles on it. It is slightly modified however, all the original parts have been kept. He has the jacket and GNX book. Owned by an older gentleman. GNX #545! Just 2 from the end of production. I can supply additional photos and information. Serious inquiries only.

Priced to sell at $58,900. Email me - [email protected]

Here is a link to this car on our website:


We have heard from a couple people that have viewed the photos on the website. Because these have to be low-resolution photos to work on the Inner Circle segments on the website, any photos of text don't appear clear when enlarged. This is a problem when you are trying to see numbers, such as those on the VIN labels or pages from Options booklet. Also, because of photo reproduction and computer screen variations, the colors may not be true to the actual product or photo.

If you would like to have us email you any photo at the higher resolution for viewing, just email us and we will email them to you. Be sure to be specific on which pictures you want to see - Reference Inner Circle date and photo number 1, 2, 3 or 4 - [email protected]


Got any turbo parts you are not using? Why not cash them in for parts you need with a Letter of Credit. Simply email me a list - [email protected]

Also, we are still buying dead or partially dead 1984-1987 Turbo Regals under $4,000 that are within 250 to 350 miles of our location.



The Chicago Chapter of the Buick GSCA will have their tech session/swap meet at Caspers Electronics' new facility - 1111 Rose Road, Lake Zurich, Ill 60047. Phone - 847-847-1544.

The date is Sunday, February 13th and it starts at 10 am. Expected is Bob Bailey, along with several of the folks from Precision Turbo. Richard Clark may also be attending, if he can work it into his schedule.

Directions to Caspers' facility - Take I-94 to Hwy 22 (Half Day Road), travel west about 9 miles, after you pass Quentin Road turn right on Telser, then about 1/4 mile to Rose Road turn right and Caspers will be on the right.

2011 BUICK PERFORMANCE GROUP - JULY 29th - 31st, 2011

The Buick Performance Group event will feature the Turbo Buick "step children" the T-Types and Pontiac's unclaimed child the Turbo Trans Am. The event is at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio.

We have secured Scott Kelly to attend, as well as Denny Manner, Joe Guzek, Dave Roland, Ron Yuile. Denny has also contacted Tom Wallace in hopes that he will attend. The people mentioned have also contacted other retired Buick Engineers, including Mike Doble to have them attend. There will be displays and "tech" talks, so it should be very informative. I don't think there has ever been that many Turbo G-body Engineers in one place at one time. This is one event you do not want to miss this summer!

Information for the Event can be found here:


If you would like to see any of the Kirban Performance Products items listed on eBay, here is a link to our store and auctions -
http://stores.ebay.com/Kirban-Performance-Products-Inc_W0QQssPageNameZl2QQtZ km


Any inquiries concerning used parts, you must email me direct - [email protected] - I will answer you. However, if I fail to answer you within 24 hours, please email us again. Since expanding into used parts, I get a lot of emails and sometimes I may forget your request or not remember who requested the item.


Bummer... Bears and Jets both lost.

Currently we are dismantling two 1987 Turbo-Ts for parts. If you need any specific parts, drop me an email - [email protected]