Bargain Buy: 1986 Buick Grand National WE2

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The owner of this 1986 Grand National is a man of few words. Actually, he is a man of no words. Apart from the photos and the “Item Specific” table in the advertisement, he gives away nothing. Still, he doesn’t make any outrageous claims but lets the car speak for itself. If this is a car that appeals to you, it is located in Pompano Beach, Florida, and is listed for sale here on eBay.

I make no secret of the fact that I really like these Grand Nationals. The black paint, combined with those chrome wheels, just has a truly menacing look. That black paint is also a great way of revealing any flaws that may be present, and the panels on the car look to be very straight. It looks like there might be a rub mark in the paint on the passenger side quarter, and a scratch on the driver’s side in the same spot, but the rest of the car looks good.

Looking inside the car, the most obvious and distracting item is the aftermarket tachometer. Thankfully, it appears that the owner has used an adhesive glass mount for this, and hasn’t gone drilling holes in the top of the dash. That means that it can be easily removed. It could be there for a couple of different reasons. Some people simply don’t like the bar-graph factory tachometer, and prefer an analog gauge, while the factory unit could fail on occasions, so this may have been the owner’s preferred solution if that has happened. There are also some aftermarket gauges hanging under the dash, but these should be easy to remove. The rest of the interior appears to be original, and also in pretty decent condition.

Under the hood is the turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine, which is backed by the 4-speed THM200-4R automatic transmission. The engine should be pumping out a healthy 235hp, giving the car a 0-60mph time of 6.6 seconds, and a standing ¼ mile time of 15.2 seconds. Both of those figures were quite impressive in 1986, especially from a 4-seat vehicle. The advertisement claims that the car has covered 97,000 miles, which is really a pretty average sort of mileage for a Grand National of this age. The listing does indicate that the car is fitted with anti-lock brakes, but if it is, it’s the first one of this age that I’ve encountered. The only other information that we have is the fact that the car is fitted with power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning.

This Grand National appears to be a relatively honest looking car, and the owner has made no outrageous claims about mileage, or any other aspect of the car (apart from the anti-lock brakes). There are a few marks on the car, but the condition is relatively good. What sparked my interest in this one is the price. Nice examples are currently selling for around the $30,000 mark, as they are still a popular car. The owner of this particular car has set a BIN price of $12,500, but there is also the option to make an offer. If the car is solid, then the price looks incredibly competitive.

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  1. cold340t

    Ha! 15 sec. 1/4 mi…………. With a very bad driver maybe. Saw alot of stock 14 flat/high 13 second GN back Fremont Raceway. Low 13’s with little tuning/good driver. Not even talking about GNX’s good to go even faster still. Saw one in low 12’s with little tuning. Fast cars for the time. Now, like my 68′ 340 GTS. Not so much. Still fun to drive, but look out for my Moms 2018 400 Mercedes twin turbo 6cycl.!

    Like 9
    • Gene Kumeisha

      I own a 87 GN. We took it to a track once and with my 16 year daughter behind the wheel she ran a 13.08 at 106mph. The only mods I did was remove catalytic converter and put straight pipe and put slicks on it. The best I could do was a 13.24 at101mph. To old and way twice as much as her. 😎

      Like 6
  2. Todd

    Have never seen a GN without the center console and column shift. I know this was available in the Turbo T’s and T-Type’s but not a GN.

    Like 9
    • JoeMac Joe Mac

      Correct Todd….column shift was not available on Grand Nationals. You’d have to get a T-Type (86) or Turbo T (87) to get that configuration. There’s a reason this car is selling relatively low. Looks like the important parts are there, namely the Buick Turbo drivetrain but this car was either a theft recovery where the steering column was replaced or it started life as T-Type Regal.

      Like 9
  3. Tom C

    This was a customer ordered car. Digital dash, Twilight Sentinel, all power options but no console and a column shifter? Price seems too low……..hmmmmm

    Like 8
  4. Uncle al

    hmmmmm…..for that kind of money you can buy my ’95 BMW 840CI on EB

    Like 3
    • Bob McK

      Really, a BMW? Not to be rude, but I do not know one car person that would ever buy a BMW.

      Like 1
      • Uncle al

        haha….sounds like you are hanging in the wrong crowd !

        Like 1
    • David Newton

      That BMW is a cool looking car but forget the purchase price compare the upkeep. The GN/T-Type is much cheaper to own.

      Like 2
      • Uncle al

        nah…..not really. The R&M runs about 20-25% more than a ChevOldsBuick, but, hey, you get what you pay for….I’d rather be DRIVING than RIDING, I’d rather look at a cockpit than a dashboard, and I’d rather drive something that looks like the 840CI instead of a commuter car.

        Like 0
  5. PRA4SNW

    I don’t know much about GN VINs, but the column shift thing got me interested in investigating this car.

    Whoever owned it in 2008 referred to it as a GN in a forum:
    Turbofish 38 refers to the VIN and other numbers, so he/she was pretty into their car.

    When I ran it through a VIN decoder, it comes up as a T-Type Turbo Coupe. That may be true of all GN VINS, though, I don’t know.

    I found this page that talks about GN VINs, and it says that the VIN that is posted in the ad matches the VIN pattern for an 86 GN:

    My guess: It’s a real GN and somehow they managed to get a column shift special ordered.

    Fun way to spend my lunch hour.

    Like 4
    • David Newton

      It could have been special ordered or it was changed for some reason?
      But all 86′ will come up as a T-Type, GN was a package on top of the T-Type in 86.
      My 86

      Like 5
  6. Jeff FMember

    Tach with red-line cut out, and fuel cut off switch tell me it spent a lot of time at the strip.

    Like 0
  7. Robert Mitchell

    Got a ride in one of these when they were new and I remember commenting to my buddy that the car couldn’t have a 6 cylinder. It was strong. IMO though, the driveline was wrapped with a so so body and interior. Pretty cool considering what the American manufacturers were spitting out in those years.

    Like 1
  8. Jose

    The reason this “Grand National with a column shifter” is so cheap is because it a Regal T-Type that someone rebadged as a Grand National

    Like 1
  9. QW

    I own a 86 grand national and I’ve personally never seen one with vacuum assisted power brakes always the hydro boost and the column shift with lack of console even if you could order it that way why would you?!!

    Like 1
    • David Newton

      A lot of folks switch to vacuum brakes… I did 20 years ago.

      Like 1
  10. T Mel

    ..looks like the buyer wasn’t buying the story. sold for 12.5 and now relisted.

    Like 0

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