1 of 1,029: 1986 Buick Century Gran Sport

The Gran Sport moniker has appeared on a variety of performance cars marketed by Buick. While most often associated with the mid-size Skylarks and Regals, the GS materialized again as a low-production, one-year option on the 1986 Century. Only 1,029 of the cars are said to have been built and are often compared to the T-Tops and Grand Nationals. This is one of those machines, and it’s available here on Facebook Marketplace from Macomb, Michigan. The asking price is $6,000, but the seller will consider offers. Our thanks go to Christian for this tip!

Buick’s Century carried many torches at the company, becoming a front-wheel-drive smaller mid-size car from 1982 to 1996. It shared its A-body platform with the Olds Cutlas Ciera, Pontiac 6000, and Chevrolet Celebrity and one criticism of the automobiles was they were too generic, i.e. too hard to tell one from the other. When you ordered one of the relatively few GS Century’s built in ‘86, you had to fork over an additional $3,895 (equal to $10,400 in today’s money). The cars were all 2-door coupes and received the blackout treatment like the Grand Nationals. Inside the autos, they sported grey and black interiors with red-colored “Power 6” logo’s indicating they were not turbocharged.

Under the hoods of these Buicks was a fuel-injected 231 cubic inch V6 paired with a 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission. The horsepower rating was 140-150, far below that of the turbocharged Regal GNs at 245 horses. This 37-year-old car has been lightly used at 50,600 miles as claimed by the seller. The Buick here has had only two owners, so the next party gets to come in at third. The body and interior both appear to be fine, but it’s hard to tell with some of the photos.

We’re told the Century runs great and things like the factory air and heat work as they should. Due to low production (and perhaps a low survival rate), these vehicles don’t turn up too often. They’re less frequently seen than the Regal Gran Nationals of the mid-1980s which are still hot properties.

Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Not exactly a high-performance machine but at least it has the look. It seems to be in decent shape and claimed mileage is quite low for a 37-year-old car. The seller has set a fairly reasonable price of $6,000, which is considerably lower than other ’86 Gran Sports I’ve seen for sale with more miles on them. It’s got the rare model thing going for it and I suppose you could boost the performance if you wanted to. I like it as is, it’s a nice-looking car at a decent price that would make for a pretty cool 3-season daily driver.

    Like 7
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    Are those seats original? I thought the logo on them
    referred to the turbo models.

    Like 8
  3. nlpnt

    Never has “the wrong number of doors” been truer. A sports sedan should have twice as many, and without them why buy this over a Grand National or for that matter put this powertrain in a lighter Skyhawk.

    Like 1
  4. Troy

    I purchased my mom a 85 century it only had about 40k miles on it at 52k miles it blew a head gasket and I had the dealer repair it but it never really ran quiet again it was sold soon after, years later my wife had one and the water pump went out and I had to unbolt the engine mounts and block up the engine just to change the pump and that was my experience with them and why I won’t buy another one

    Like 1
    • Michael Berkemeier

      That’s because it wasn’t a 3.8 V6 like this one…It would’ve been a 2.5-liter 4 cyl. or, the smaller 2.8-liter V6. Either way, a completely different engine and quite inferior to a 3.8 liter V6.

      Like 12
      • Henry Davis Member

        True, but tranny and suspension were the same, so I’d guess the 3.8 would be WORSE than the 2.8 ’cause 3.8 had more torque?? Front wheel drive was a new thing in American cars at the time. Took several years to figure it out.

  5. CCFisher

    Wow! It’s a Bunicorn!

    Like 5
  6. Stan

    The 3.8 V6 was certainly alot better than the anemic 2.8L six-pot.
    Cool Buick. 😎

    Like 7
    • Terrry

      Most A-bodied cars had a 4 cylinder or 2.8 liter or possibly 3.1 liter V6 motors “of various GM divisions”. The 3.8 in this should make it a little perkier. I had a LeSabre with the same engine, a bigger and heavier car, and it had pretty good performance.

      Like 2
  7. Ed Hardt

    So it has come to this.

    Like 9
  8. Rw

    Seen many 3.8s with over 200k ,water pumps ,ign.modules and coils main issue, very good cars for that time.

    Like 1
  9. Bick Banter

    Rare does not necessarily equal valuable. But neat car that’d break Radwood.

    Like 5
  10. Abbs

    I have nothing bad to say about Buick because I trained to drive in a century that had some real omph to it for being a driver trainer car and my dad had a chocolate colored Buick company car Shell issued him in Cleveland to work their gas stations in the territory. Never had any problems with it other than being lucky he found it the next morning after partying too hard because back in the eighties, company men always went out for happy hour after work and the thing was you were issued only one company car and if something happened to it, you’d lose your job and not get issued another one.

    Like 2
  11. Henry Davis Member

    If you look in your Funk & Wagnalls under “torque steer” it’s got a picture of one of these! I drove a new Celebrity with the V6 in it, and it really headed for the ditch whenever you goosed it.

    Like 2
  12. Poppy

    Not sure what the production was for the Olds variant, but I greatly prefer this 1986 Ciera GT over the Buick featured. This GT is what became the “International Series” in later years.

    https://bangshift.com/general-news/car-features/buick-olds-pontiac-car-features/could-this-1986-oldsmobile-cutlass-ciera-gt-be-made-to-haul-the-mail-we-think-so/

    Like 4
    • Bick Banter

      I’d like the L67 swap idea. I didn’t even think of that. I wonder if you could just stick the supercharger atop the current motor with an ECU change. I saw an intact L67 in the junkyard complete with supercharger in a ’92 Buick Park Avenue Ultra just this past summer

      Like 1
      • Poppy

        I know you could do a “top swap” of intake heads SC etc. on the later 3800s, but not sure about these earlier variants. Probably simpler to just put in a complete Series II L67 drivetrain like the article says. Even in factory form, these early 3.8s moved this light car with authority – they were surprisingly quick off the line. Can’t imagine 240hp in one of these. People have even put the L67 in the N-Body Calais. They also came stock with the 3300 Buick engine, which is based on the 3800, so it should also be a bolt in.

  13. Gabe

    A cool piece of history. You have to wonder what GM was thinking, though. All that extra money for a 2-door that looks just as nerdy as the 4-door and still isn’t all that fast.

    I wonder if they made any changes to the suspension? My girlfriend in high school had an ’87 Century and it drove like a marshmallow. The Mazda pickup I had at the time handled much better.

    Like 1
  14. Brad460 Member

    This should be left stock. Find a regular century and swap away if that’s your thing. I just don’t get the flat out obsession people have with taking well preserved cars and heavily modifying them.

    If the goal is to make it faster, why not start out with something intended to be fast from inception?

    As you can tell I like these and wish I had more storage room.

    Like 4
  15. ACZ

    Nice car, just gutless.

  16. Terrry

    It’s no longer available

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