10-28-09 Inner Circle

10-28-09 Inner Circle

Greetings Turbo Regal Inner Circle Members - 10-28-2009


Last week we covered a little history on how the radio option in cars evolved, starting with Motorola marketing the car radio as an aftermarket installation.

Back in the 1930s, marketing any product nationwide had many challenges. There were very few options available to reach the general public. TV was in its infancy, no Internet, no faxes, no emails, basically there was just newsprint and radio!

In 1956, Chrysler came out with a record player option. It was called the "Highway Hi-Fi," designed by CBS Laboratories. Originally this unit played a special size record 16-2/3 rpm format, which offered one hour of playing time per side. Because of this, records had limited availability and this option died at the end of that model year.

Chrysler tried again briefly with a unit made by RCA in 1960 that did play regular 45 rpm records. It could handle 12 records in a single stack by playing the records upside down. The records skipped if the road was not smooth and it was a problem they could not overcome.

In my senior year in high school in 1965, I had a record player in my 1956 Ford Crown Victoria. I can't remember if it was a Motorola or RCA brand. I think I paid about $100 for it. It was mounted on the passenger side, and hung under the dash. It played 45 rpm records upside down.

Meanwhile, around 1957-1958, GM introduced a neat little radio option in some of their models, specifically for the Pontiac and Oldsmobiles. They may have offered it in others models as well. It was during this time period that rock and roll started to grab hold of the youth (myself included) and transistor pocket radios appeared.

GM created a removable transistor battery powered AM radio that you could remove from the dash of your Pontiac and play the radio away from your car. It was called Trans-Portable! It was not very small, it measured 7 inches deep by 4-1/2 inches wide by 2 inches tall and weighed 2-1/2 lbs!

Jumping ahead to the 1960s and the first wave of U.S. made muscle cars; GM offered the "Verba-Phonic" as an option (at least in Pontiacs). Basically, when this was activated, it changed the tone from the speakers making it sound something like an echo effect. The more common name for this option was "Reverb" unit. Basically, it was a rectangular metal box that was mounted in the trunk area and was combined with the rear speaker feature. The GTO had this as an option from 1964 through 1967. It was also offered on other Pontiac models during that time frame. Again, my knowledge on this only reflects the Pontiac connection. It would be phased out when stereo became an option.


During the 1980s, GM (and probably other makes) made the opening in the dash standard for the various radio options for most of their cars and trucks. By having the same hole slots in the side of the radio housing, GM was able to design different brackets to secure the factory radio into different models and makes depending on the application.

Unless you are very familiar with the various radios and brackets, this is why it can be confusing bidding on one on ebay unless you know the model number and can cross it over to your application.

Keep in mind, we do not claim to be an expert on Buick radios, but are referring to original Buick literature that I have collected over the years.

For the photos, I have been buying radios at two local junkyards and ebay. We may be offering some of these for sale in the future, except for the Trans-Portable model, which is part of my personal collection.

Watch for Part 3 on the various radios available in the Turbo Regals next week.

Photo 1 - Shows an original GM Trans-Portable radio taken from a Pontiac. It operated on 4 double AA batteries once it was removed from the dash. It has a diecast fold-down handle when you remove it from the dash. These "pop" up on ebay from time to time, and generally sell for $100 or more depending on condition and if they actually work. GM made more than one version, depending on the GM application. This radio is from my private collection.

Photo 2 - Shows what you may think is two identical am/fm radios that would be noted as code UM7 on the trunk ID label. The correct Buick terminology for this radio was "ETR AM-FM Stereo Radio with Seek and Scan and Clock." The ETR stands for Electronically Tuned Receivers. The UM7 code would be a possible option radio in your Turbo Regal for 1984 through 1987. In 1984 this radio was listed for $402. For 1985 the price dropped to $222. In 1986 and 1987 the price jumped slightly to $332. This model did not have a cassette option.

Photo 3 - Shows the back of the two radios shown in Photo 2. Notice the bottom right area where the wire harness would plug into the housing. The bottom radio is the correct one that matches up to your 1984-1987 Turbo Regal harness plugs, known as a 12-pin plug design. The top one is the later style plug, referred to as a 21-pin design. The bottom radio also has the additional harness taped to the back of the radio. The other difference can be seen in the top left corner where the antenna lead plugs into. The top one takes a smaller diameter antenna lead versus the larger one that is in the correct radio for the 1984-1987 Turbo Regal. We do sell a jumper harness which includes the antenna lead as well as what you would need if you had the radio shown at the top in order to plug it into your existing harness. Our Part is #7065, and it currently sells for $35.

Photo 4 - Shows the correct 1985-1987 Turbo Regal radio on the bottom with the model/serial number info label on the side of the radio. The top radio is the later one and the serial number label is on the back of the radio. It's the model number that is the key to determine if you are buying the correct radio. In this case, for this radio the model number is 16059344. This would be the correct radio to match to your trunk ID code as UM7 for 1984 thru 1987 models.


We received word last week on the sad passing from cardiac arrest of Molly and Terry's daughter, Tammy. She was only 44. She is survived by her husband and two children. Many of our Buick community have met Molly because of his close association with the Grand National. Molly was responsible for much of the design of the Grand National, as well as emblems and other automotive designs (such as the Lexus logo). He has attended many of our events and many of you have had the pleasure of meeting him.

If you would like to send them a note, here is his address:

Molly, Terry, and Brooke Sanders
2959 Country Club Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Got any Turbo parts you are not using? Why not cash them in for a Letter of Credit for parts you need or cash for the upcoming holidays? Simply email me a list of the items you have to sell - [email protected]

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.


I predict before the end of 2010 any current available related Turbo Buick parts from GM will no longer be available. The exception(s) may be if the part in question fits later Buick models. It's highly unlikely now that when any part drops below a certain level, that GM will invest in making another run of that particular part for a car basically 25-30 years old.


I will be seeing Richard Clark next week and get the latest update on the GNX reproduction exhaust system. He has already installed several on different cars to nail down any small tweaking he needs to do. He has the mufflers in stock, which has previously been the major stumbling block. He has the equipment on hand to slightly modify the one muffler to clear the panhard bar. We will be the major supplier of these exhaust systems and will also be offering it to other Buick suppliers.

It's great that Richard not only has a tremendous passion for these cars, but shares this with other owners and will be making these exhaust systems for the GNX.

Once this project is done, he will also be making one for the Turbo Regals utilizing the same center-to-center stainless mufflers. This will only require minor changes to make it work on Turbo Regals that do not have the GNX suspension package.


You can now view them on our web site. You should have also received a special email from us listing all 21 different Christmas Specials, but we just added number 22.

NOTE - We just added one more Christmas Special this morning. This is the perfect time to restore your console with these new pieces -

#1568 - 1984-1987 Regal - Applique Kit for Console (3 pieces) $16.00 AND
#1589 - 1984-1987 Turbo Regal - Console Shifter Indicator $10.00
TOTAL VALUE - $26.00

Remember, it's best to order early to be sure we have the items you want in stock.

Click Here to see this our CHRISTMAS SPECIALS on our web site.


We can now offer our customers a high-quality reproduction gas tank specifically designed for the 1984-1987 Turbo Regals. This version has the internal baffles in the tank and the filler neck is already attached.

We recommend you also purchase our new reproduction stainless gas tank straps (Part #7102) and the insulation straps (Part #7103) which would give the install a totally look. This would also be an excellent time to upgrade your fuel pump, Part #1540.

This is one way to resolve the issue of a dented original gas tank, or one that has a thick undercoating on it, or one that has been sitting a long time and may have rust and grit in it.

1984-1987 Turbo Regal -

After much research, we have discovered several companies overseas making reproduction/aftermarket gas tanks available, and have found this one made in Canada to be the best.

The gas tank contains the internal baffles, just like the original gas tank. Our son has used several of this brand of gas tank in cars he has worked on that needed the tanks replaced, as well as in total restorations Buicks.

As shown in the photo, this reproduction gas tank comes complete with the filler neck attached to the actual gas tank and baffles in the tank. It also includes the o-ring (gasket) and a locking ring for the fuel sender in a separate bag, shown in the inset box. You must re-use your original fuel sender, factory fuel pump and sock, and the original gas tank straps with the insulators. Check out our Part #7102 for the reproduction gas tank rubber insulator straps (2) and Part #7103 for the actual reproduction gas tank stainless straps (2), if you need them. This would also be an excellent time to upgrade the fuel pump, Part #1540.

The reproduction gas tank measures 36-1/4" x 24-1/4" x 8-7/8" and the fuel capacity is the same as the original tank. It is stamped from high-quality automotive grade steel with a natural finish. Each gas tank is pressure tested for quality before it is shipped from the manufacturing plant.

Because of its bulky size, this part is dropped shipped from our source by ground UPS. Allow 5-7 days for delivery.

A new gas tank eliminates the issues you may have from a car that has not been used much and may have dirt or rust in the tank. Since this tank is new, it looks nice when viewed from the back of the car, excellent for any restoration project. With the gas tank out of the car, it's also an excellent time to upgrade to a high-volume fuel pump.

An excellent replacement item for any exterior restoration.

7247 - 1984-1987 Turbo Regal -
Reproduction Gas Tank $199.95 + $40* TOTAL - $239.95
*UPS Ground Shipping to 48 U.S. continental states.

Click Here to see this Reproduction Gas Tank product page on our web site.



Our DVD features footage from Richard Clark's Open House, sponsored by ZDDPlus™ in the fall of 2008. Coverage highlights some of the unique cars that were in attendance at this unique event in Burlington, North Carolina. Richard generously offered Turbo Buick enthusiasts a weekend open house at his private warehouse/garage buildings, testing on his Dyno machine, mini seminars, and even free lunches both days. Although we don't have any filmed coverage, there was also free track time sponsored by ZDDPlus™ and organized by the local GM Turbo 6 club.

We show Richard testing powermaster brake units, flowing injectors, etc. There is also a segment showing how ZDDPlus™ is produced.

This DVD also includes my trip to "Back to the Bricks" cruise event in Flint, Michigan. This yearly 5-day event features 20,000+ cars. There is footage of some of the show cars and pace cars in attendance, as well as some very rare Grand National related items that we spotted and some of the rare 1979 Turbo cars at the event. One night we even met up with the local Michigan Turbo Club with about 60 cars in attendance.

We show some of the Buick history from the Sloan Research Center, including GNX #500, along with several of their show cars and pace cars. We also stopped at the Doc Watson's place (known for his connection to Hurst-Campbell) in nearby Grand Blanc, Michigan.

There's a funny look at a dead Grand National for sale and a unique collection of other stored cars exposed to the outside elements.

DVD runs approximately 100 minutes, is fully narrated, except for one small portion of still photos from the Sloan Museum.

Another unique DVD of interest to the Buick Turbo Regal enthusiast.

7246 - Kirban Performance Products -
"Richard Clark's Open House 2008 and Back to the Bricks Event 2009" DVD $6.95

Click Here to see this DVD product page on our web site.


NOTE - If you know of a GM or Buick Turbo event for this year, let us know and we can post it in our weekly Turbo Regal Inner Circle so our members are aware of the event.

The best way to stay informed with the show season is to check out the various Turbo Buick forums.

SOUTHERN BUICK SHOOTOUT 2009 - Reynolds, Georgia -
Friday & Saturday, NOVEMBER 6th & 7th, 2009 -
The Southern Buick Shootout 2009 event at the Silver Dollar Raceway is scheduled for November 6th and 7th, 2009. This event will be open to any and all BUICK, OLDS, and PONTIAC cars. The event will include a points race for the TSO and TSM categories, as well as other potential Buick categories.

The plan is to have heads-up / index pacing available for those racers that cannot run in TSM/TSO categories. They also plan to have Gamblers Racing for both Sportsman type cars (no delay boxes allowed) and Top Eliminator (delay Box). The will be Test-N-Tune all day both days. If you have questions, email - [email protected]

The Northeast Association of Syclone and Typhoon Enthusiasts (NASTE) has moved their annual meet this year from New Jersey to Hooters in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. The event is Sunday, November 8th, 1pm - 5pm All vehicles welcome, especially Turbo-V6's. Just come and hang out...no trophies, no fees, and no pressure. Rain date is Sunday, November 15, 1pm - 5pm.


Looking ahead into next Spring 2010, the first Turbo Buick event of the season will be the first ever "turbobuick.com Nationals." The dates are March 15-20, 2010 in Burlington, NC area.

For more information on this March event, click on the thread - http://www.turbobuick.com/forums/national-racing-events-info/292319-2010-turbobuick-com-nationals.html - Or, you can email Clint Adkins at - [email protected]

"Light Your Fire" - 2010 Buick Performance Group Nationals - July 30 - August 1, 2010 at the National Trail Raceway in Hebron OH (near Columbus). They want to gather together the largest number of 1969-1974 factory Stage1 cars anyone has ever seen since the Buick muscle car days of Flint.

This is a special event that may never come to pass again, so don't miss the factory "Stage1 Convention" at the 2010 Buick Performance Group National Event. For more info, go to - http://www.buickperformancegroup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8754

NOTE - If you know of a GM or Buick Turbo event, let us know and we can post it in our weekly Turbo Regal Inner Circle so our members are aware of the event.


On the parts listed below, you must call our office to purchase them. These are close out items, items that have changed designs, or items that are no longer available.

We have the 1986-1987 Turbo Regal - GM Air Flow Duct (from turbo to MAF sensor), Part #6536 in stock for $61.95. Just a few left now.


If you would like to see any 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.


Next week, November 7th and 8th we will be in Ocala, Florida at Don Garlits' 22nd Annual Mopar event. We'll be one of his special guests as a vendor selling ZDDPlus™ and the ZPaste™. Richard Clark is planning to go to this event as well as Paul Castle. We hope you come by and say hello either Saturday or Sunday.

For more information, check out the website for the Mopar Florida club that puts on this Mopar event at Don Garlits Museum - www.floridamoparassociation.com