Cars guy (and global superstar) Kevin Hart visited the SEMA Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday to see his new project for the first time; The ’87 Buick Grand National T-Top. It was built by Salvaggio Design and designed by Sean Smith, ensuring the highest levels of quality and attention to detail.
Wisconsin-based Dave Salvaggio has worked on several projects with Kevin, so they sat down with Smith to create the beautiful Buick. And immediately the direction was identified in his name; The Dark Knight.
The Dark Knight’s subtle appearance is evident in its sinister black exterior, as well as a blue and gray interior that echoes the superhero’s suit and cape. Bronze accents are inspired by the popular utility belt.
Smith worked with the Salvaggio team to implement the vision with restraint. The front bumper is 3D-printed and includes functional ducts to improve cooling and aerodynamics. A printed bumper was used to form the carbon fiber bumper. Carbon fiber was also used for the hood, chin spoiler and mirrors, as well as details inside the car and under the hood.
The next task was to ‘tighten’ the body lines, giving it clearer lines and reshaping the door closing lines to allow everything to flow better.
Smith designed new door handles based on the originals, machined with billet and carbon fiber inlays. He also reimagined the Grand National Insignia, creating a modern interpretation.
The body is painted BASF Straight Black, offset by a nickel finish on 19-inch HRE 501 wheels.
The car sits on a custom Salvaggio tire with DSE X-Gen 595 front suspension, a Panhard four-link rear, and Ultimate Performance coils. With its powerful engine, Brembo GT brakes provide maximum stopping power, and Toyo Proxes R888R tires ensure tremendous grip.
The Grand National’s Cadillac ATS-V 3.6L V6 twin-turbo engine was replaced by Gearhead Fabrications. Despite the complexity, they retained the functionality of the eight-speed automatic transmission and even the proximity sensor of the ignition switch.
A mono-turbo kit was installed along with a custom Magnaflow exhaust, a factory intercooler, and Comp Cams “fuel cam.” The software is calibrated using an HP tuner unit to produce 650 HP Dyno tested.
The Dark Knight theme is brought to life in the interior thanks to the work of Gabe’s Custom Interiors. Inspired by the Caped Crusader’s uniform, the seats and door panels are upholstered in dark blue and gray leather. Bronze for the utility belt is introduced by contrast stitching, striped detailing, and bronze accents on the cooling vents and billet steering wheel. The door trims are billet bronze trim with carbon fiber trim. The dashboard is 3D printed and fitted with Holly scales.