Tag: Buick Grand National

What you need to know when looking for a 1986-1987 Buick Grand National – Mike McNessor @Hemmings

What you need to know when looking for a 1986-1987 Buick Grand National – Mike McNessor @Hemmings

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Angelo’s, in Anaheim, California, is one of the few classic drive-in hamburger joints still standing. Out front there’s a big sign, with flashy neon lettering, that can cast an instant spell over even the most jaded hot rodder. The servers zoom around the place on roller skates (of course) and you can order a beer with your burger. In other words, it’s got all the trappings of a hot cruise-in spo

Angelo’s was such a scene in the 1970s and ’80s that it made the cover of the April ’82 issue of Hot Rod magazine. It then appeared on the July ’85 issue of Car and Driver as the backdrop for a photo featuring GM’s hot “G-bodies”: the ’85 Oldsmobile 442, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, and the Buick Grand National, all basking in the nostalgic neon glow of Angelo’s big sign. The magazine’s cover line read “Modern Muscle” and the comparison story’s message was clear: These cars were fun throwbacks to the 1960s muscle car era.

Nearly 40 years later, GM’s G-body performers can be seen as something other than fun cars with retro flair—we can see them as bridges to the performance vehicles of today. One of them in particular: the all-black turbo-boosted one

The 1986 Grand National grille has a chrome strip across the top, embossed with the word “Buick,” and thin, vertical chrome strips in the center and on the sides. The brightwork on the grille was eliminated for ’87.

While Buick’s Grand National rode on the same 1960s-design underpinnings as the 442 and Monte Carlo SS (perimeter frame, coil springs, A-arms and ball joints, and solid rear axle), under the hood it packed some advanced technology. Turbocharging was nothing new when Buick applied it to its V-6 engines in the 1970s, but it came of age under the hood of turbocharged Regals when combined with computer engine management that governed sequential fuel injection and distributorless ignition. Intercoolers were nothing new in the 1980s either, but they boosted the Grand National’s power for 1986-’87. In stock form, these cars were fast for their time, but in the late ’80s and 1990s, tuners seized on the Grand National (and its turbocharged stablemates), unleashing more horsepower and creating a performance cult rivaled only by the one surrounding the 5.0 Fox Mustang.

While Buick’s Grand National rode on the same 1960s-design underpinnings as the 442 and Monte Carlo SS (perimeter frame, coil springs, A-arms and ball joints, and solid rear axle), under the hood it packed some advanced technology. Turbocharging was nothing new when Buick applied it to its V-6 engines in the 1970s, but it came of age under the hood of turbocharged Regals when combined with computer engine management that governed sequential fuel injection and distributorless ignition. Intercoolers were nothing new in the 1980s either, but they boosted the Grand National’s power for 1986-’87. In stock form, these cars were fast for their time, but in the late ’80s and 1990s, tuners seized on the Grand National (and its turbocharged stablemates), unleashing more horsepower and creating a performance cult rivaled only by the one surrounding the 5.0 Fox Mustang.

Today, Grand Nationals are on every list of collectible American cars of the 1980s— the most desirable being the 1986s and last-of-the-line ’87s. The very last Grand National ever built sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in January for an incredible $550,000, but 1986-’87 Grand National values across the board have been on the upswing for the last decade. In 2012 you might’ve picked up a nice ’86 Grand National for around $20,000 and a nice ’87 for less than $30,000. Now you can expect to pay upwards of $50,000 for an ’86 in similar condition and more than $60,000 for an ’87. The ’87s have traditionally commanded higher sums but they’re more plentiful: 20,193 ’87s versus 5,512 ’86s.

Interested in grabbing the keys to one of these 1980s performance icons and cruising it to Angelo’s or some classic drive-in hamburger joint near you? Even better, maybe you want to hit the occasional street night at the nearest drag strip? Here are some things to keep in mind about these turbo fliers from Flint.

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LOW MILEAGE Buick Grand National press car and barn full of cars | Barn Find Hunter – Ep. 106

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In the previous episode of “Barn Find Hunter,” Tom made friends with a Gentleman named, Cliff Wilson who owned a Dodge Polara 500. As usual, Tom asked the question, “Do you know of any old cars around?” Sure enough, Cliff pointed to a location down the road to a man who restores Case Tractors and also has a barn full of cars. The fun doesn’t stop there! Tom then hears about a local who has an all-original low-mileage 1984 Buick Grand National that was a press car in Detroit during the early ’80s.

Generation GNX: How One Man Built a Collection of Five GM Turbo V-6s – Barry Barry Kluczyk @Hemmings

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As with music and other cultural touchstones, it’s a good bet that your automotive interests are rooted in the trends and experiences of your youth. They’re the cars on the street you started noticing before you could drive, the ones you and your buddies had in high school or shortly thereafter. Or perhaps you simply lusted after the ones that were out of reach. For most baby boomers, it was the golden age of the original muscle car movement, but for the Generation Xers who came up behind them, it was the cars of the Eighties and early Nineties. IROCs, 5-liter Mustangs, and Grand Nationals. Those were the cars that left the indelible impressions on their collective psyche.

Production of the 1987 Grand National nearly quadrupled over the previous year, to 20,193, as customers rushed for the last of GM’s rear-drive G-body models and clamored for the increased performance that came with the intercooled Turbo V-6 that debuted in 1986.

The older Gen Xers are now solidly in their 50s and they’re collecting the cars of the MTV era. They’d rather add a 1993 Mustang Cobra to their garage than a ’69 Boss 302, while the Buick “Twisted 6” logo evokes as much awe as a Stage 1 emblem. Count Matt Murphy among them. He’s an unabashed fan of just about all Eighties’ cars, but it’s those GM Turbo V-6 models that burned into him like a cattle rancher’s branding iron — or perhaps a weekend-long Miami Vice marathon.

He has five turbocharged vehicles: a 1987 Buick Grand National, a pair of 1989 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am models, a 1987 Buick GNX, and a 1991 GMC Syclone. It’s a collection any performance enthusiast can appreciate, regardless of his or her generational proclivities.

The engine was rated at 235 hp in ’86 and upped to 245 in ’87.

It all started with Matt’s father, a GM employee tasked with the otherwise innocuous job of window moldings. It doesn’t sound as sexy as developing a Super Duty engine, but all of those snap-on windshield and rear-window moldings had some serious engineering behind them, with an entire department for their design and manufacturing. They were produced at a dedicated plant in downtown Detroit.

“In the early Eighties, he got a call about an upcoming production model that would require blacked out window trim,” says Matt. “The twist was they didn’t want the trim simply painted, because it would flake off pretty easily. They needed something else.

”Cutting to the chase, Matt’s father delivered the durable black trim for what would be the 1984 Grand National. A little while after the car went into production, the senior Murphy received a surprise at his Troy, Michigan, office. It was a GM car hauler with a Grand National on it. The development team was so appreciative of his efforts on the project, they dropped off the car for him to enjoy for the weekend

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UPDATE: Brand New Buick Grand Nationals Found! – Josh Mortensen @BarnFinds

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UPDATE – Barn Finds first featured these cars when they were found back in 2017. Then they were listed on eBay in 2018 and got bid up to $200k! Well, they showed up again this year at a Barret-Jackson auction where they only got bid up to $67,100… What?! It was a no reserve auction too. How did this happen???
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Lowest Mileage Buick Grand National In Existence? – Jesse Mortensen @BarnFinds.com

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Amazing Buick Grand National with just 26 miles on the odometer!

Here’s the story in Michael’s own words:

My story is similar to the previous ones. A very close friend of mine bought two of these new. He put one into storage and drove the other for over 110,000 miles before selling it. After about five years of asking him to sell me the unused car, he reluctantly gave in. All services have been done regularly along with the precautions to preserve the gas tank as well. I have all hubcaps, never installed and still in the box. There are also hundreds of magazines and booklets along with artwork he purchased at the time of purchase. Multiple limited edition Peach State Muscle Car limited edition die-cast cars. Pretty amazing what he accumulated over the years and none of it has been opened. This car brings back many memories for me. Glad to hear people still enjoy these types of stories after reading some of the comments on the previously featured cars. Thank you for listening!

Read Michael F’s story here on Barn Finds