Cheap Collectible? Rough 1987 Buick Grand National

Typically, the words “cheap” and “Grand National” do not go together. Though they aren’t yet highly valuable cars, it has been many years since one could be had for under $10,000 in most conditions. While the asking price of $5,500 may not necessarily be “cheap” by everyone’s standards, when nicer examples are selling in the $20,000-$35,000 range, $5,500 seems reasonable. This is not a nice car, but it is a Grand National and it is in running condition, as rough as it is cosmetically. Find it here on Facebook Marketplace in Illinois. Thanks to Scott for sending this one in! 

The interior is a mess, but the Grand National seats (and even the floormats!) are still in place. Unfortunately, the original steering wheel has been replaced in lieu of an aftermarket wheel, which is probably not the one I would’ve gone with. The original radio has also been replaced, and it looks like the shifter handle is gone as well! This may seem like a big mess, but with a good cleaning, recovered seats, and the proper steering wheel, this will be a presentable car.

Though it’s showing its age, the engine is intact and looks mostly unmolested. I would certainly go through it, given the condition of this car. Even though it is running, on a car in this condition it would give me great peace of mine to know that everything is functional. The seller has not disclosed the mileage, but I would imagine it is relatively high.

This Buick is in somewhat unique condition, as these are collectibles sought after by many generations of car lovers, and many have been either preserved or restored at this point. To see one in “average used car condition” in the year 2017 is a surprise. What is more of a surprise is that at $5,500 it hasn’t sold yet! This car has been for sale since December 8th of this year, and the posting has garnered 294 comments on Facebook. While it is drawing a lot of attention because of the price, people are either shying away because of the condition or not able to come up with the funds. This can still be a nice car, and a little bit of work will go a long way in making it pretty again, provided it isn’t rusted out underneath! Would you take this project on?


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  1. Joseph Wayne Haddock

    I’d have this one snatched up in a heartbeat. Love these. Too many projects… This GN is still nicer than mine cause, I don’t have one!!!!!

    Like 1
  2. redsresto

    I’m not that put off by this car. The paint looks honest (no fresh respray to hide bondo). A thorough cleaning, new seat material, and a day at the detail shop to touch up and buff out the paint would do wonders for this car (I’d replace that wheel too!).

    Like 2
  3. John Hangen

    How does upholstery get that bad? That’s not usual wear and tear is it?

    • Don

      Sitting out in the sun a lot would be my guess.

  4. Superdessucke

    Rough as a night in jail!

    Like 1
  5. jdjonesdr

    Some people don’t deserve nice things… lol

    Like 1
  6. Tom

    I’ve seen better steering wheels on a tractor

    Like 3
  7. Max Wedge

    It is a t top model too!

    Like 1
  8. 86 Vette Convertible

    There’s a comment on FB that someone thinks they’ve seen this one on a hoist in the past and frame is pretty much rusted through in the back. That may be why the low $$ on it.

  9. Greg

    I learned a long time ago that cheap cars are never cheap in the end, and that I’ve never regretted paying a premium price for a better car.

    Like 2
    • Steve R

      Sometimes they are, but they are rarely advertised.

      Steve R

  10. The Chucker

    That steering wheel told me all I need to know about this one.

    Like 2
  11. Nova Scotian

    This thing looks beat! And someone that beats a car will only let it go when it is worn out and won’t give anymore. Looking for their next “victim”. I can believe this once black beauty did its fair share of stoplight burnouts over and over again. Sad.
    Maybe it’s worth something to someone.

    Like 1
  12. James

    Illinois means major major rust. By the time you get this one restored like a $25k one, you’ll have spent at least that much.

    Like 1
  13. Joe

    A money pit. P.T. Barnum had it right.

    Like 1
  14. edh

    I would buy it just to burn that steering wheel.

    Like 1
  15. Madmatt

    Priced too high to be a parts car,but is still pretty cheap!
    A couple hard weekends work and it would look much better.
    This poor thing has had a hard life……something tells me?
    Also I believe “wooden wheels belong on boats”

    Like 1
  16. Pa Tina

    We need a “coulda-shoulda ” to lighten things up. My biggest car mistake (Other then buying a new 1975 Trans Am instead of a 1964 Corvette for the same price) was passing up an 87 Grand National owned by a very finicky engineer for $7000 in 1998. Boo-hoo.

  17. John

    Well I do agree, this car is now a BOAT. Let it Sink to the Bottom…

  18. BOP Guy Member

    I’m a GM guy, and definitely love Buicks. But these cars just never did anything for me. When new, the plasticy interior rattled, cracked and broke easily. The build quality was poor. I guess in the pool of 80’s cars this stood out, but I can’t see spending $25k on a restored one. But that’s just my taste. That’s the cool thing about collector cars, everyone can have their own favorites!

  19. Frank

    What a shame. I hope someone rescues it and brings it back to at least a presentable state. And burns that steering wheel.

    Like 1
  20. David Miraglia

    Nice but needs work. If I had the money I would grab her.

  21. Maestro1

    Greg is absolutely right. Always pay up for a premium car, and don’t worry about it. The reasoning is simple; all the expensive stuff has been done (check the car out first) so you don’t have to do it, along with any surprises and an empty wallet.

    Like 1
  22. Paul

    I would buy that DIAMOND in the ruff!

  23. ACZ

    Wore slap out!

  24. bull

    These cars are a MONEY PIT to build from the condition of this car presented above. GN’s car expensive cars to build.

    Given the presented condition of this car you can expect to spend $100 on a new battery and over $800 on a new gas tank, fuel pump and sending unit/hanger just for “Starter’s” to try to get gas to the stopped up fuel injectors all the while praying the damn thing might start and run!

    We have not even talked about everything else this POS needs just to be a “Runner”!

    This car is best left to purchase by someone who is broke and has dream that will never be realized when they figure out how much it will cost just get the car to run and then wisely decide to pass it on to the next sucker.

    Like 1
  25. Scott

    I think it is interesting that when you look up 1987 Buick on eBay, ALL of the cars listed are Grand Nationals. They range from $14k to, not kidding, $115k ( I love it when bozos list a car for a stupid price in the hope that some Sheik will buy it.) But in the end, cars sell for what people will pay for it given its condition. Considering that so many of these cars are for sale, If this seller thought the condition of this car made it worth $5k, I would run away as fast as I could. Even a donor regal would cost another $12-15k.

    Like 1
  26. Troy s

    The hottest mid sized car of that decade, a true screamer. Gave me fits in my 5.0 mustang! This car has been around the block a few times too many, but I hope someone saves it, or at least gets rid of that ridiculous steering wheel!

    Like 2
  27. wes

    I’m going to buy it, Burn that steering wheel and put it on youtube then scrap the car!

  28. Marcelo

    I cannot believe anyone would do this to one pf these cars, they were pretty much collector’s cars from day one, i would slap the owner just because… abuse

    Like 1
  29. Ray Smith

    If this thing runs and drives it could be a lot of fun for not many dollars. Some seat covers, a few hundred dollars at the detail shop, any GM junk yard steering wheel that fits and drive the living crap out of it. This isn’t a car to restore, it’s a car that needs to run out its life putting a smile on someone’s face.

  30. Robert Hinojosa

    I’d throw some cheap seat covers on it and a good stereo system and make this my fishing car.. Imagine t-tops off, music blasting, cruising to the coast.. I’d drive it until the wheels fell off,which looking at its current state, won’t be long now..

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