As-New 1987 Buick GNX Headed To Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale26
The 1987 Buick GNX was the swan song for the Buick Regal Grand National. Dressed all in ominous glossy black, this factory special featured black basket-weave wheels with polished lips, a black and gray cloth interior with stylized Buick 6 logo embroidered in the headrests. The standard-issue 1987 Grand National made 245 turbocharged horsepower from its 3.8-liter V6, but the GNX was far from standard issue.
Partnering with ASC/McLaren, Buick built just 547 copies of the Grand National into skulking monsters known as the GNX (Grand National Experimental). The Buick GNX differed from the Grand National in that it had freer flowing heads, improved engine management controls, a less restrictive exhaust, and an upgraded turbo. Output grew to a laughingly underrated 276 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque.
The Buick GNX had more than just the underhood changes to improve performance. A transmission cooler, more rigid body, and an improved rear suspension design featuring stiffer springs and a stabilizer all added to the overall package. The performance improvement was remarkable, as the GNX was capable of zero-to-sixty in 4.6 seconds, and rocketed through the quarter mile in the low 13-second range, enough to best GM’s flagship Corvette.
There were also a number of unique styling cues that distinguished the Buick GNX from its Grand National stablemate. Composite fender flares, functional fender vents over the front tires to help cool the engine compartment, and the aforementioned larger basket-weave 16-inch black wheels with polished aluminum lips. GNX badges appeared in the grille, trunk lid, and on the wheel center caps.
The interior featured a serial number plate that was mounted on the passenger side of the dash. Standard gauges were swapped for Stewart-Warner units, with gauges for oil pressure, coolant temp, and boost level housed in a modified cluster.
Our feature 1987 Buick GNX has covered just less than seventy miles from new. Formerly owned by jewelry magnate Nicola Bulgari, the GNX is in absolutely new condition. It has been on display in the Le May Automobile Museum in Tacoma, Washington. Of late, it has been in climate-controlled storage in Arizona.
This spectacular 1987 Buick GNX will cross the auction block at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale event January 22nd through the 30th.
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My nephew wants one of these in the worst way. He’s been looking for so many years, but doesn’t want to spend more than $30 grand for a nice one. I told him it isn’t happening.
Back in the early 90’s, I was in sales at the store with Buick. One day a younger man came in and was driving a nice (but not pristine) GNX and he couldn’t afford it. So he was actually looking to sell the car to us. Needless to say, the GM jumped at the chance and they paid the car off, gave him a little money to boot and he walked away. Later in the day, the GM asked me if I had ever driven one and I said no, so away we went. As I pulled onto the main street, he told me to punch it and I did. Holy cow!! The back of the car started to come around and I straightened it out, drove back to the lot and got out. I told him I wasn’t going to be the one to wrap that thing around a pole! haha. What a fun car.
Tell your nephew if he can he should try to get one now. I’m sure in 5-10 years from now that $30k will seem like a good deal as I’m sure these will keep going up in price and get harder to find.
I’ve told him numerous times to just buy one already. He passed on a fairly nice one about 5 months ago and he’s already kicking himself.
6 years ago I had the chance to buy a 1971 Plymouth barracuda in almost pristine condition and for some reason I said I needed to think about it for 2 weeks, well guess what? The guy got another offer and sold it I have hated myself ever since because of how high prices have gotten.
Nicholas: I think that’s what my nephew is doing. But I’ve done that myself and is why I finally paid just a little more than I wanted to for my latest acquisition. I just got a pristine condition 1988 Cadillac Cimarron. Yes, I said it. A Cimarron and I love it.
But this type of thing happens in other ways as well, such as if a person just doesn’t jump quick enough on a purchase. I just had this happen to me as I’m looking for a cleaner older (1990 to 2005) Buick or Cadillac for a daily driver. I have so much equity in my Volvo lease that I’m looking to sell it and buy the older car for cash while putting cash in the bank. So I found the perfect car: 2000 Buick Park Avenue that was in amazing condition for $2,500. I tried very hard to go see the car, but the guy was slow in getting back to me. Well the car sold in less than 48 hours and I missed out!
The 88 was updated wasn’t it? last year for it and it got the 2.8 FI V6? I get it. I’ve got a soft spot for diesel chevettes after I daily drove one for 3 years. Constant repairs, slow as a glacier and loud but I loved it. The cimmaron is on my radar as well. It sums up the 80’s at GM and Cadillac perfectly. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way either.
jimmy_diesel: Yes, the 88 was the best (last year) for the Cimarron. There’s several reasons why I wanted one, especially the 1988: First, that was my first year in sales at the Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Honda store. We had just one (gray over silver) Cimarron and when that sold it was the last one our store ever had. I just fell in love with it. Second, one of my favorite cars ever was a 1987 Chevy Cavalier Z24. That car was of course a 2 dr with less features, but otherwise was basically the same car as the Cimarron. So for years now I’ve been looking for an amazing 1988 and I’ve finally done it. This car is truly a joy to drive and I’m getting compliments all the time.
I love that you love the old Chevette Diesel. Believe it or not, the Chevette is/was also on my short list. I’d love to find one from the last year (1987??) in the two-tone in mint condition.
Super nice and very lucky to get it in pristine condition I hope you get many many many miles and enjoyment out of it.
Thanks NIcholas. It has 60K and is the dark red over silver. The car has been re-painted, but the job was certainly professionally done. The interior is as close to perfect as I could want.
Anyhow, everyone that is a car person has that one or two vehicles that they really want. Thank goodness we all don’t like/want the same cars. I know many people hate on the Cimarron for just being, but it played a certain role for Cadillac at a time when they needed a small car. Everyone says the 1988 was the best and what Cadillac should have introduced to start and maybe things would have been very different for the Cimarron. I won’t disagree with that, but I know that the massive number of improvements made to the 1983 would have made a world of difference. But in my opinion, it was the 1985 with the revised front end along with the improvements from the 1983 on up that would have changed it’s outcome. I can only imagine had Cadillac kept the Cimarron and just kept making the car better and better. The CT4 of today would make a perfect Cimarron! haha.
Saw one at Mecum years ago with 11 miles on it sold for over $500,000
The 80s such a great decade and the last time Buick was relevant.
Whoever buys this, please put it on a dyno. I gotta know what it cranks out
They have around 380-400 HP to the crank.
Wonder why GM gave up on rwd and went to fwd platforms? Guess bean counters made that decision? Shame.
laws of physics is the blame it’s easier to pull weight rather that push it. When you consider that by going FWD the driveshaft was eliminated the torque at the wheels increased also. More pull if you will.
No it was to eliminate the drive line parts in the name of less weight and more mpg.
Thank Roger Smith for that. They put all their large sellers to front wheel drive at the time thinking gas would be $3 a gallon (in 1980 dollars; about $8 a gallon in today’s dollars). The problem was that the fwd vehicles that replaced these popular cars were more expensive, smaller, and did not weigh much less than the RWD cars they replaced.
Inspiring and aspirational. I’d have one just as a reminder of that era. Back then, for reasons that escape me now, we GM employees were forced to divest our holdings in the Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). One of my close coworkers used the funds to purchase a GNX. I remember him bringing it to work to show everyone just one time. I think that he only drove it sparingly and kept it triple-covered in his two-bay garage for years. I haven’t spoken to this person in nearly thirty years. It’s quite possible that he’s still got the GNX under wraps. I like to think he does. The last time I heard him speak of driving it was in a Memorial Day Parade in ’91. He was an Air Force veteran who performed maintenance on the SR-71. He said the GNX evoked the spirit of the aircraft.
Some good deals still avail for Grand Nationals in Canada. Especially with US dollar where it is. Might be worth checking north of the border, and transporting one back.
The Grand national was fast but they still use naturally aspirated V8 or even supercharged turbo there’s a reason why that was it It was a one-time thing and then they just continue to use something that wasn’t broken The only reason we went back to turbo small displacement engine is because of emissions because they’re actually worse on gas when you’re ripping or telling than a naturally aspirated V8 cuz it doesn’t have to work as hard
Not anymore with Die t Injection and higher boost levels.
My LNF with the GM tune added 1-2 mpg with the tune kit vs stock. I had 23 lbs boost and generally got 25-26 around town driving it like I stole it. 32 highway.
GM went down hill with most of there FWD cars, especially the Cadillac division.
Ok it’s a beautiful car and I’m drooling but I noticed they put balance weights on the outside of the rims. Do you think they did that at the factory for polished rims? I would hope not. There I found a flaw and now I can tell myself I don’t want it! Lol.
True story, the FBI ordered 500 1987 of this very car when it came out and one can imagen what they used them for.
Incredible performance no doubt but still ugly inside and out.