1 of 547: 43k Mile 1987 Buick Grand National GNX

When it was released in 1987, the GNX proved to be an absolute giant-killer. Over the standing 1/4 mile, it was faster than both the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche 930, covering the distance in 12.7 seconds. For a 5-seat production car that’s fast in anyone’s language. With only 547 built, the GNX is rapidly becoming a highly collectible and sought after car. This GNX is listed for sale here on eBay. Located in Boynton Beach, Florida, it is offered with a clear title. The seller has set an opening bid of $62,500 for this road rocket.

Presentation of this GNX is close to perfect. When I first looked at this photo I was trying to work out what was on the trunk lid. I then realized that what I was seeing was the garage door opener reflected in the paintwork! The car has been the subject of a repaint, but it is believed that this was performed by the dealer very early in the car’s life. There were some issues with the original paint, and this was a common solution. There is a wealth of information on this problem available on the internet. The repaint on this car looks to be a quality job, and the paint looks really good. Externally everything that should be present is present, and those distinctive GNX wheels look to be close to perfect.

The interior of the GNX presents just as well as the exterior. After giving this shot a long, hard look, the only faults that I could really identify was what looks like a mark on the wheel rim near the bottom spoke and some minor wear on the edge of the driver’s seat belt. Otherwise, the interior is completely original, unmolested and in really nice condition.

The heart of the matter on a GNX rests under the hood, although it was greatly assisted in its neck-snapping performance by some significant suspension modifications designed to help the GNX apply its prodigious power to the road. The 3.8-liter V6 engine received a raft of upgrades that Buick claimed allowed the car to produce 276hp and 360 ft/lb of torque. It is now known that these figures were quite conservative, and the reality was that the GNX actually produced 300hp and 420 ft/lb of torque. That’s some serious performance gains. Looking at this engine, it appears to be completely original and untouched. What I like about this car is the fact that the seller hasn’t gone mad under the hood with sprays and detailers to make the engine sparkle. It just looks honest and clean.

With an opening bid set at $62,500, this GNX represents a substantial outlay for its new owner. The seller makes some claims about recent prices achieved in sales. A search of cars on the market allowed me to locate one example priced at $70,000, but there was only one picture and the details in the ad were sketchy at best. I was only able to locate another two examples on the market at present, and the cheapest of these was $105,000. I think that the opening bid on this car is realistic, and it will be interesting to see just how high the price actually goes.

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  1. poseur Member

    solid investment if it goes for under $85-90k.
    great looking appreciating investment that you don’t have to be afraid to put some more miles on.
    way more than i’d be willing to pay for a one-trick pony (straight line acceleration) but still super cool & highly desirable for sure.

  2. Frank Sumatra

    An actually driven GNX? Must be owned by Sasquatch or a Unicorn. All three are very rare sightings indeed.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      My thoughts exactly!

  3. Roy L Coblentz

    Please let me know if you find anything that a person can afford other than that you can stop sending me only rich boys are able to get

    • Ike Onick

      For your safety and ours, please don’t open any Porsche posts that start with “1 of 237” or “Rare Stuffenhausenmitdergrosserhuffenschlffter model”.. You have been warned.

  4. JoeNYWF64

    IMO, 300 hp is not enough to get into the 12s in a fairly heavy car with a not so stout automatic. Maybe its closer to 400 hp?

  5. Lawyer George

    That it hasn’t received one bid at “low Nada retail” whatever that means should us something of the market for a nice Buick GNX, which this surely is. I am beginning to wonder whether ant car w/in the reach of the working man is a viable investment.

  6. Jimmy

    Clicked on the link and the opening bid is 62K with 2 days left and no bids as of yet. Wife’s sister and brother inlaw had a neighbor in the 80’s who bought a new one of these, he was a crazy @zz driver who drove dirt stock cars as a hobby but he sure babied that car. Never seen it out unless the sun was shining and never in the winter. I could never bring myself to pay this much for the feature car because I would have to drive it a lot during the summer months.

  7. JOE McMannis

    Hard to believe that these 3.8 turbo’s run a 12.7 quarter mile wheelbase 7 -800 horsepower cars run in the 10’s.

  8. Will Fox

    I agree. If this car was treated as it should’ve been, a repaint wouldn’t have been necessary. If the paint was that bad from the factory, then why was it purchased to begin with? Too many unanswered questions on that issue. This is the only re-pained GNX I’ve read about, and out of the total production run, it’s probably THE only one to have a repaint. Too high an opening bid to be realistic with. Had he start in the $50K, maybe. The seller is shot before he starts, IMHO.

    • Christopher Van Stavoren

      I worked as a Buick technician (Larry Buick & Lotus) in 1987 when the GN’s were still being sold new and they had some of the worst paint quality I have ever seen. Their paint jobs made oranges seem smooth!

    • Jimmy

      In 1978 my first wife insisted on a new Thunderbird, I didn’t care for the big cars but agreed and 6 months later the paint started flaking off the rockers and lower quarter panels. Ford agreed to repaint the car at their cost but since my wife divorced me I talked them in to taking it back and giving me another 4×4 like I traded in to buy the Bird. 2 wins for me in one year those were the days.

    • Andre

      There are in fact a lot of answered questions related to the paint issue. In fact, it wasn’t a paint issue, but more so a primer issue. It was common across many GM vehicles in many colours and not exclusive to GNXs. I would wager on the contrary; I’m sure this car is not the only GNX to be resprayed.

      A lot of this era GM cars got re-painted due to cracking as the paint lifted off the primer, and in sever cases sections of paint lifted right off of the primer. Chrysler has a similar issue and was rumored to have used the same products. Unrelated, but the low finish quality of the era also yielded generally poor paint jobs from the factory causing bad orange peel. To add insult to injury often a dealership re-spray was not of the best quality as they were warranty funded by the General.

      Its unfortunate it got repainted, but not surprising and without inspection IMO no reason to sound the alarms. The seller’s price is reasonable given the market.

    • Mark

      My parents had a 1985 Olds Cutlass Supreme 2 door for about ten years in the early 2000’s. It had a beige paint that was original and the trunk and both rear quarter panels had bad paint with a lot of cracks in the paint!

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      When I was ordering my ’81 Camaro, I liked the dark blue metallic, but the Sales Manager that was taking my order asked me what other color I liked. I told him that I was originally going with black and changed my mind at the last minute to dark blue because I saw one painted that way. He told me to go with the black because they were having issues with many of the metallics and it would be in for a repaint in a year.
      So, I got black. Not that the paint was great. Lots of orange peel and there was actually a hardened paint drip in the center of the C pillar.
      Sure enough, about a year later, my car was in the shop for a catalytic converter replacement. While I was waiting, I started talking to another customer. She had her year old Camaro in for a repaint due to the paint lifting. It was dark blue metallic.

  9. mlm

    I LOVE this guy’s garage!

  10. Rock On

    Many cars get repainted at the dealership both then and now. They don’t always pass on this information to the buyer for fear of losing the sale.

  11. moosie Craig M Bryda

    That may be a reflection of the dome light on the steering wheel.
    I can’t agree about a dealer repaint making the car unoriginal.

  12. Don H

    Yippee I thought we wasn’t going to make it through the week without another black Buick😁🤗🤗

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I’d like to put in a request:
      A gold color Regal T-Type Turbo. LOL!

  13. Mark O'Brien

    It’s so ugly its hard to look.

  14. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    I like these. Interesting and nice looking cars.
    However, every time I go online it seems another mint example has been found in someones garage!
    Are we sure someone is not knocking these out new still somewhere?

    • David Ulrey

      I completely agree with you. I was starting to wonder the same thing. I love the cars and the looks of them but by now it must be hard for the writers to come up with something to say that hasn’t already been said about a dozen other ones. No wonder I hardly ever see these. Someone must have squirreled away every one they came across within 2 years of production.


    I owned an 87 GN new from the factory. There was a recall a couple yrs later for all GM cars and I got mine painted for free which was a good thing. These cars were peel mobiles so the repaint was prolly covered on the recall.

    • Nostromo

      Same era, probably the same paint technique/formula where my wife’s black ’88 Bonneville SE was involved. I went back to the dealership to get the garage door opener on the sun visor after about two hours from the drop-off and they were 80% into the bare metal. It was an eye opener. I’m glad that my dearest didn’t have to see her car like that. When it was returned to us four days later it looked very nice and the paint was fine for the rest of the vehicle’s time with us.

  16. healeydays

    I love that this car was driven. I’ve known a few GNX owners that basically took them out for shows and never really drove them as to them they were investments.

  17. Ryan f

    Beautiful and iconic ride I love it !

  18. Coventrycat

    God, another one. Shoot me now.

  19. Keith

    Too much money for old technology and way too many miles for the asking price. Go with new muscle cars at a cheaper price that are much faster and way better built.

    • UK Paul

      It’s logical but not how petrol heads think in general? They tend to have their brand and eta as a rule?

      Personally I would much rather have a 1994 Tahoe Blue Porsche 964 convertible than a brand new 911 even if they cost the same price. I am sure in performance they are worlds apart but it takes me back to my childhood. I have passion for that car.

      • Marshall

        That’s the pattern I noticed online for sometime now. If it was built during your childhood, it was a good car (no matter how junky it was made). Whereas, if it was built now, it’s not as good as your childhood memory car, no matter how well built it was.

    • Bill

      Buddy had one in 1984, ran like a scaled dog >>
      Better keep it in the garage though, dash will crack from the Sun quick.
      15k tops, just not worth it. Buy new

  20. Mark

    Look at the E-bay pictures the seller has another Buick in his garage!

  21. Robert May

    I worked in the parts department of the local Buick/Cadillac dealership in the mid to late Eighties. It was during this time that GM was starting to use base coat/ clear coat paint. Disastrous across the model range. People had peeling paint before their third payments were due! One of the best days ever was the day we got TWO GNX’s in. One still lives around here. I wish I had written the dash numbers down though. One was in the 200’s and the other was in the high 400’s. Don’t know why they weren’t sequential. We are talking about GM here!

  22. Nostromo

    This was a Grand National aficionado’s Holy Grail. In that era, two of my co-workers had GNs with one having his car’s hood painted with an SR-71 ‘Habu’ airbrushed rendering; really gorgeous it was. I’d listen to their conversations regarding nitrous kits and such. The Habu driver had formerly been involved with the SR-71’s maintenance and he had an affection for the aircraft. My wife wouldn’t let me have a Grand National either (a recurring theme!) so I had to live vicariously through my work associates. When they’d bring their cars to work of course they’d have both GNs in top form and looking into that glossy black paint was like peering into infinity. Can’t remember which guy’s car experienced cracking around the 1/4 window from torquing the body under hard acceleration. My friend, the Habu driver, experienced an unfortunate work accident in the very early ’90s. Subsequently he retired on disability and died several years after the accident from complications pertaining to his serious injuries. I think of this guy from time-to-time remembering his helpful and easy going nature and his enthusiasm for that Buick Grand National.

  23. Steven

    Still looking for the barn.

  24. Troy s

    Expensive then, expensive now.
    I remember when these came out and all the hype, but I never forgot Tony DeFeos article in Cars Illustrated about this machine. He felt he could by a brand new turbo regal and for half the cost build a faster car than the GNX, he could by two 5.0 Mustang LX’s and build two faster cars for less, and so on…
    But it wasn’t just about the performance, it was also about owning something special and very rare. Great car here.

  25. Steve in Charlotte

    My (future) Brother-In-Law has an ’87. I think it needs a paint job. I want to cry every time I see it.

    • poseur Member

      yuck. that thing needs to be saved before it deteriorates into relative worthlessness.
      maybe buy him a garage for a wedding present?

    • Marshall

      “Do a righteous resto on that ‘87, and THEN you can have my sister, not before!”

  26. poseur Member

    And it’s sold. Somebody got a great deal that will seem like a ridiculous bargain in a few short years.

    • Nostromo

      No doubt. I had a 2002 Pontiac Trans Am Firehawk. Bought it new in July of 2002. I can still picture the car on its pedestal poised to garner admiring glances from folks passing by. I swung around in my eleven month old WS6 Trans Am to go in and begin negotiations in spite of myself. The salesman who had put me in the WS6 greeted me at the door knowing that I was already hooked.

      It took a week and a $1000 deposit before the dance ended and I had the Firehawk. It was a hollow victory of sorts as my wife had passed away just five weeks earlier and I was, in hindsight, looking to fill a void.

      I found out that this black Firehawk was the last one in the eastern United States and that the dealership where I bought this car had made a trade for it with a dealer in New Jersey. I got my ‘Hawk in my Lost Summer which was about as upside down as these situations where grief factors-in can get. Of course I no longer have it. A work associate suggested I hang onto it because one day it’d become valuable. “Perhaps”, I said, “When I’m eighty years old.” The odds don’t favor me making 80 years of age but as I remember it all now I can recall minute details of my Lost Summer of 2002 and that Pontiac Firehawk.

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