Last-Ever 1987 Buick Grand National Headed To Auction Block37
The Buick Grand National, the one we all know and love, the one that looked like Darth Vader’s ride, debuted for the 1984 model year. The first year for the Buick Grand National was 1982. The car was named for the NASCAR Wintson Cup Grand National Series. The 1982s began as Regals, were painted charcoal gray, then shipped to Cars and Concepts of Brighton, Michigan.
Cars and Concepts converted the Regals to Grand Nationals by adding Light Silver Gray Firemist paint, red pinstripes, and large “Buick” shadow lettering to each side. Wheel openings and rocker panels received a blacked-out treatment courtesy of black vinyl tape. A rear spoiler was added to the trunk lid and a front air dam beneath the front bumper. Stock bucket seats were replaced with black and silver cloth covered high-back buckets from Lear-Siegler. Power came from a 4.1-liter naturally aspirated six cylinder that made 125 horsepower. Thirty-five of the 215-unit run were based on the Buick Regal Sport Coupe, and were thus equipped with the turbocharged 3.8-liter six that churned out 175 horsepower.
There was no Grand National for the 1983 model year. Instead, the model was dubbed the T-Type. The turbo six cylinder made 190 horsepower.
For the 1984 model year, the Buick Grand National arrived with the solid black paint scheme. The 3.8-liter turbo V6 was the only engine offered, and it now featured sequential fuel injection, computer controlled ignition, 200 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The 1984 Grand National would run the quarter mile in 15.9 seconds, easily dusting off the V6 Chevy Camaro, and nipping at the heels of Chevy’s flagship Corvette. Production totaled 2,000 units.
By its final production year in 1987, the Buick Grand National had become a legitimate performance car. The 1986 model year had introduced a number of engine improvements, with a new passenger-side header, crossover, down pipe, intake, turbo, and intercooler. Power had increased to 245 horsepower, or five more than the Corvette.
Buick Grand National production came to an end on December 11, 1987. Our feature Grand National is the last ever built. It is also the last of General Motors’ mid-size rear-wheel-drive G-Body platform. The car was fully documented as it rolled down the assembly line, with signatures of all the assembly line workers in the engine bay and on the undercarriage. As the final Grand National, it has an extra Grand National emblem just above the passenger side headlights. The car has been owned by the same owner since new, and has always been kept in a climate-controlled addition on his home. The odometer shows just 34 miles from new. The car is still covered in all of its pre-delivery plastic sheeting.
This new-in-the-wrapper 1987 Buick Grand National will cross the auction block at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale sale January 22nd-30th.
Subscribe to GM Authority for more Buick Regal news, Buick news and around-the-clock GM news coverage.
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
I have ALWAYS ever since I was a kid absolutely loved the GN. I wanted a GNX so bad but a 15 y/o kid didn’t have that kid of money…..haha! My parents actually ordered one with T-Tops (they didn’t come standard) and because my mom was impatient and didn’t want to wait on the order to come in so she went and bought a Cutlass. They called about three weeks later saying the GN was ready for delivery and I BEGGED her and my dad to go get it. I’ve been heartbroken ever since. In there defense I probably would have wrecked it….LOL
The Buick GN and GNX aka Dark Vader Regals are the highlight and baddest GM today, it did more with less money the V6 put the Chevy Corvette to shame.
I worked at Dick Scott Buick in Plymouth, MI in high school with a good friend. We used to wash the dealer lot cars inside during the winter. My friend asked me to put a dealer plate on it and take it for a spin after I told him the Mustang GT on the lot was fast.
Long story short, I got pulled over. I was moving so fast cop couldn’t lock radar on me from behind. Steam coming out of his nose, he asked me to turn the car off and place the keys on the front seat. I got a ticket for careless since he couldn’t get me on speed. I told my boss and I still kept my job. Car was nuts fast off the line.
This Grand National is the story that inspired me to pursue the final Thirdgen Camaro built at the Van Nuys Plant in 1992. I asked GM if I could purchase the last car and they agreed. I was at Van Nuys to watch the assembly of the car and meet the workers. We estimate that 2,000 employees signed my car. I still own it and it has 125 total miles. I’m sure that some day I will offer it for sale, but it has been great fun owning it for nearly 30 years.
Outstanding classic! You are a lucky guy.
a GM guy through and through
Thanks! I was very lucky to watch the build process, meet the employees and purchase the car.
That’s a VERY nice story. Congrats on your purchase and your pursuit of a nice car. The third gen Camaros and Firebirds are on the rise as they’re FINALLY being recognized for their beauty and performance. So you made a GREAT investment.
And this is coming from the owner of an ’88 Camaro and an ’87 GNX.
In 79′ I was hired into GM Flint Buick Final Assembly as a Supervisor. In 1984 I was working on the Factory 40 engine dress line where the Grand National was dressed with the Turbo engine harness. What a nightmare it was for the folks to assemble and install. I was able to drive a couple and take them home after they came off the assembly line and remember the power. Some say you could smoke the tires and turn hard into a doughnut and come out screaming. Absolutely the fastest car I had ever driven. Loved the Grand National! While a fine car, the 50th Anniversary 2SS Camaro I own now can not come close to it. A great moment from the past. Thanks, GM Authority for writing the article and the pics. Good job!
My job on the Pontiac, Michigan assembly line at the end of 1987 was to attach the shocks to the passenger
side of the Grand National. It was truly a SPECIAL automobile!
It’s also probably the only GN left in existence with a straight frame… can you say squirrely !
I have the last ever built Chevy Chevette. I know what I have….. it’s been stored in my climate controlled garage. It’s never been registered no one knows we’re it’s hidden. I’ll call barrrett Jackson in 2027. 🤦🏻🤦🏻🤦🏻💰💰💰💰. No seriously I keep looking for the GN’s and GNXS all the time. What a great platform.
Merry Christmas everyone. Be safe
My buddy had one, 1987. That car needed a good tune and it still was one of the fastest cars I’ve ever been in and the pull from 30mph up once the turbo started making boost is unmatched. He lost it from a divorce. A she-devil ruined him financially for about 3 years. He held on to the car as long as he could but finally he had no choice. Sad day.
That’s a SAD story but unfortunately one I’ve heard many times before. Its amazing how many guys have lost their classic cars through divorces or angry women.
Great Car, Smoked everything in it’s path. Mine was a 1986, Only made 5500. Living in CT. we could only drive them maybe 6-7 months a year. Nobody would drive them in the winter, Snow, salt, sand, black ice, You could slide
the back around without even trying.
we put the car on blocks and started it up every week or two. (i had to rent a garage so it was a pain in the ass.) And the CT. State Police where using them to catch speeders on the Highway. I have a poster I got from a friend Showing police cars and a few GN’s a warning people. I could blast down RT.95 and cars would slow down and get out of my way thinking I was a cop.
The problem was it was a summer car and it would eat ignition packs almost every year. And that suck paint job that was on most 1986 cars. Sold it in 3 days to buy a new Corvette. The only fast car in the 80’s.
I had an 86 for 15 years and it was bulletproof. Even the 200r 4 transmission held up well especially if you added an additional transmission cooler. Previous comment about going through coilpacks every year is absurd. But I will agree about the paint. My 86 was good but I did see many 87’s with excessive orange peel.
If I remember they were painted at GM Fisher Body on Saginaw Street in Flint and trucked to Buick Final Assembly Factory to be placed on the chassis Buick built. Many GM cars in the mid ’80s had trash paint jobs, sorry to say. My new 1985 4 door burgundy LeSabre, leather, loaded, V-8 had the same thing. Spider cracks on the hood and top, It was the last of the LeSabre rear wheel drives. But it rode and drove like a Cad.
1/1/81 Buick Regal Sport coupe w/ factory t-tops and every option in California blue.
Wish I could have it back.
That has to be the most overrated car GM has ever built. It stands out because everything at the time from American brands was absolute garbage. Ladder frame, rear drum brakes, solid axle and an absolutely horrible flat square antiquated dashboard with terrible seats. This was already an antique when it was built. Oh wow, it had a turbo… giving it 235hp and barely 14 sec quarter mile. 🙄. But don’t dare taking a corner.😱
hahaha!!!……still pissed you couldn’t afford one eh?
In 1987, I drove a BMW M6 which was twice the price. The GN was interesting for the time but certainly not worth what people are paying now. Just glad it isn’t my money. FYI, the only reason, I check this board is because I have a Z06 on order.
I’d take a grand National over a corvette of any year
Make sure you go to Bowling Green and see them built. Great purchase Carry! You are a lucky man.
You sound like euro trash. In highschool I worked at pep boys doing tires and oil changes. I hated getting in cars from people like you. Blasting techno music, the stench of cologne would choke you and the hand lotion on the steering wheel forced me to where gloves. What a DB
Merry Christmas Joe!
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas day filled with joy and love.
This represents all the guys above who love their classic Buicks.
By your description, you sure you weren’t working as a jockey at a strip bar? You still work there? 🤣
By my description? No, I was a high school guy earning extra cash between sports seasons. I was also working on my 442 at that time. It’s dumb to write on a GM Enthusiast site about how you drive a BMW. Grand Nationals are special. They deserve the recognition. I never had one, I spent a lot of fun times in an 87 though.
WOW CARRY!! Your VITRIOL for American musclecars cars is KINDA OBVIOUS!!
I don’t know where you got your information from but its WAY OFF!!
The Buck GN and the BMW M6 are entirely two different cars. The GN was a “high tech” musclecar and the M6 was a sports road car.
Most muscelcars were designed for straight line performance. Although they could handle themselves well around turns, they weren’t designed to be sports cars. But the aftermarket could STILL do wonders!!
And with that blacked out body, the Buick GN had IMAGE – BIG TIME.
Image that NO BMW owner could EVER imagine BACK THEN or EVEN NOW.
The BMWs could probably handle the GNs on the highway but that was also because the Buicks had governors on them that shut them down around 120- 125mph.
The Buicks also had the power to EMBARASS ANY OVERPRICED BMW on any city street, at any given time!!
The turbo Buicks have ALWAYS been fondly remembered/ respected/ admired. And their super low production numbers have kept the prices up through the years.
If you PUT A GUN TO MY HEAD, I honestly couldn’t tell you what an 80s BMW M6 even looks like!! And neither could anybody else, which is probably why they aren’t WORTH ANYTHING TODAY!!
And this is coming from the owner of three turbo Buicks – American cars – yes!!
I’m HONESTLY STUNNED you’re buying a Corvette – an AMERICAN CAR. Its an OBVIOUS BLOW to your European car loving psyche!!
Worked engine dress. Hung engines on the overhead line and bolted transmissions on. Then they went up stairs. Great film. I can still smell that old musky air filled by an oily smell. Really liked making those G cars.
In Flint Rick? I ran the engine dress line in the early ’80s. Know the oil smell well!
Sidebar: I fired a guy named Rick C. at the engine and trans load (for dress) for purposely hanging an extra engine/trans online to through us out of sequence. That antic cost us to lose 7 cars before it was caught, big dollars. Cost him 5 months pay before the UAW got his job back. He apologized to me before he was allowed to come back. He was not a bad guy just did not want to hang engines that night as an extra man in the 100-degree heat.
I was from Pontiac. Did have mix ups on the trans every once in while. What a mess.
We brake for Corvettes!
I remember seeing one of these vehicles on a GM six pack dealership’s show floor room back in 1987 when I was in college. It was beautiful.
This one is “special” because it’s the last one, has many signatures from line workers and is still in the wrapper. The ’87 Grand National was not “rare” , more than 20,000 were built. Another 7000 or so ’87 Regals (GNX, Turbo T, Limited w/turbo and base Regals) had the 3.8L turbo also. There are quite a few around, some have been totally ragged out, but others were put away like this one.
Outstanding response from someone who knows.
Wonder vehicle to showcase!
I’ve owned three turbo Buicks (1 ’86 GN & 2 ’87 GNXs) and they ALL had classic GM orange peel in the paint jobs.
They also suffered from typical poor 1980s GM build quality.
As the mileage increased, the trans on the GNXs would act up too.
Maybe that guy’s car had an issue with coil packs, other than that, I’ve never heard of that problem before.
Worked engine dress. Hung engines on the line and bolted transmissions on. Then they went up stairs. Great film. I can still smell that old musky air filled by an oily smell. Really liked making those G cars.