John Lehman is the original owner of this 1987 Buick Regal which could be mistaken for just a clean, rather well preserved sleeper, chrome trim and all. You know, the kind of car your grandparents might drive. Long-time readers of Turbo may remember this Buick, as we featured it a few years ago in an article titled, "The Beast."
The Beastly side can be seen under the hood manifesting itself in the form of a Buick 278 Stage II engine, a remnant of the Indy and/or Busch Grand National racing programs. The builder of the domestic street fighter, Lou Czarnota has bored and stroked the prized block to its limit and pulled all his Buick Turbo 6 tricks out of the hat. "This thing has about all you can do to a Turbo 6 done to it," says Lou. "The cylinder head ports are big enough to stick your fist into."
Through the years Lou has taken this car and evolved it through several different engine combinations. All the while managing each time to keep Lehman happy for about six to nine months. Things finally progressed to a point that the production block could be taken no further. The only route left was to search out every Buick freak's dream, a Stage II bullet. But these are rare pieces. Now it just so happened that with Lou's connections one was located sitting in a corner of someone's garage in upstate New York and a deal was struck. Upon delivery the engine was disassembled and the block was sent to Lou's long-time friend, Dan Benson, of Benson's Machine in Santa Ana, Calif.
The block-prep regime started with sonic and pressure testing. Since some of the early blocks had a history of cracking between the center freeze plugs a block hardening process was performed for additional strength.
Then, Benson zero decked, align honed the mains, punched out the holes to 0.040-over with a torque plate and then the casting was de-burred and machined to proper clearances. A Buick Motorsports billet steel 3.625-inch stroke crankshaft was kept standard and sent out for magnafluxing, heat treatment and polishing.
With the battle-ready block back in Lou's possession it was time to build the Beast again. The Motorsports crank swings 6.350-inch Cunningham connecting rods and 8.0:1 JE forged pistons. Often overlooked, ring selection is critical in a forced induction build-up because the added cylinder pressures involved make blow-by more of a concern. To address the matter Lou selected Speed Pro moly top rings, cast second rings and chrome oil rings. The rings were file-fitted to 0.022 inches for top ring and 0.018 inches for the second ring.
One of the Stage II motor's strong points are its superior breathing 18-degree cylinder heads with 64cc chambers. With proper porting and massaging big power is possible. The task of unleashing a power stampede was given to Steve Bronson of BPE Racing Heads of Placentia, Calif. After working his magic, a Super Flow bench was used to verify results and it yielded a healthy flow of 340 cfm on the intake side.