1987 Buick Grand NationalGNX
Year of manufacture1987
- ASC McLaren-tuned Buick GNX; number 149 of just 547 produced
- Showing only 2,045 miles at time of cataloguing
- Powered by the GNX 3.8-liter, turbocharged, V-6 engine rated at 276 hp
- Accompanied by original window sticker, owner’s manual, and dealership stat sheet
- GNX upgrades include Garrett turbocharger with ceramic impeller, free-flow exhaust, and Positraction rear axle with torque arms and Panhard bar
A hallmark of the late 1970s, the deluge of performance-robbing government regulations continued into the 1980s. Automakers were awash in policies covering everything from safety to fuel economy to exhaust pollution, with performance a faraway afterthought. It was in these trying times that the executives at Buick realized they had an even more troubling problem: perception. Once the maker of the world’s most powerful muscle car, the infamous 1970 GSX, Buick was now seen as the brand of aging grandparents looking for a cushy ride. Following Darrell Waltrip’s back-to-back wins at NASCAR’s Grand National series in a Buick Regal, Buick general manager Lloyd Reuss saw an opportunity to revive the marque’s performance image.
Buick debuted the Grand National model line in 1982 as little more than an appearance package applied to the stock Regal. By 1984, however, the Grand National had evolved into something far more sinister. All models sported a menacing black exterior, aluminum wheels, upgraded suspension, and a turbocharged V-6 engine. With an entirely new, front-wheel-drive design on the horizon for 1988, Buick chief engineer Dave Sharpe developed a car to send the Grand National line off in proper fashion.
ASC McLaren, which produced Buick’s 24-valve, turbocharged, V-6 Indycar engines, was commissioned to develop the powerplant. The resulting model, dubbed GNX for “Grand National Experiment,” used a high-performance Garrett turbo with a ceramic impeller, improved intercooler, revised engine management calibration, high-performance transmission valving, and a free-flow exhaust system. Output was boosted to over 275 horsepower and torque was rated at 360 pound-feet. Outside the engine, upgrades included black lace alloy wheels, larger tires, rear-axle torque arms with Panhard bar, and functional front fender vents reminiscent of the iconic “portholes” on 1950s Buicks. These performance upgrades, combined with the Buick Regal’s luxury amenities, created an instant classic. Demand was so great that Buick more than doubled its original plan of 200 units to 547.
Grand National GNX number 149 is presented here. Cloaked in its menacing gloss black exterior, this remarkable example shows just 2,045 miles at the time of cataloguing. The model comes well-appointed with all Regal luxuries, including cruise control, six-way power seat, and Delco AM/FM cassette stereo with “Concert Sound” speaker system. Sold new through County Line Buick-Nissan of Middlebury, Connecticut, this GNX is accompanied by its original window sticker, owner’s manual, spare tire and tools, as well as a unique County-Line Buick dealer stat sheet.
With the Grand National GNX still gaining favor with younger generations of enthusiasts, this well-preserved, well-documented 1980s muscle car is a truly coveted find.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf22.