Collector Car Project: 1987 Buick Grand National

Finding an iconic muscle car at a bargain basement price is always tempting, but it often means you’re buying it in near-basketcase condition. That’s potentially the case with this desirable 1987 Buick Grand National, but it still looks like a worthwhile project given what good ones are selling for. The Buick comes with the original engine block but no transmission is included, so the next owner will have some parts sleuthing to do. Mileage is believed to be genuine at 63,211 and it is a one-owner example that will be sold with title. Find it here on eBay where bidding is at $3,950 with the reserve unmet.

The Grand National is parked in a salvage yard it seems, with another Regal / Grand National of the same era parked next to it. The paint clearly suggests prolonged outdoor exposure and the car is missing the often-damaged bumper filler trim pieces. The seller claims rust is minimal, limited to surface-level only, but the car’s location in Pennsylvania would still push me to inspect underneath. Regardless, assuming the reserve is around $5K, there’s nothing visible in photos that would cause me a great deal of concern – and there’s always a chance this was locked away in someone’s garage as a long-standing project that never got finished.

The interior isn’t terrible, but I’ve always associated the puckered-up piping on the seats with dampness and moisture intrusion. I have no scientific basis for this claim, but any car I’ve owned or crawled through in a junkyard that was particularly damp usually had wrinkled piping like this Grand National does. As it has the T-top roof panes, water intrusion is almost certain, especially if the Grand National has been largely neglected these last several years. Still, seats can wither like this due to prolonged exposure to the sun, too, but I’m not seeing the fading typically associated with that. But don’t worry – the seat period car phone will be included with the sale.

The engine bay is a sad sight, leaving you to wonder what caused the engine of a collector car like this to be partially disassembled and left in pieces. More and more the Grand National has the vibe of an unfinished project, and the next owner will have to pick up where the previous caretaker left off. Still, given the huge demand for Grand Nationals that seemingly never even comes close to withering, the next owner will likely have a desirable project on their hands if the reserve price isn’t too lofty. Do you think this beater Grand National makes sense to restore, or would you wait for a better one?


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  1. DrillnFill

    I can smell the stank of that interior from here! I’m guessing it’s going to cost way more to fix this one up than to buy one in halfway decent condition

    Like 15
    • Mike W H

      Always better to buy a driver than to start from scratch. You’l be on the road right away with a huge outlay of cash and pain.

      • Mike W H

        without! I meant without!
        Where’s the GD edit button?

        Like 1
  2. michael streuly

    Nothing to see here move along.

    Like 3
  3. Superdessucke

    Creature from the Black Lagoon, your car is ready.

    Like 6
  4. 19sixty5 Member

    I am amazed that it still has the original plastic protective covering on the instrument cluster bezel, radio bezel and other places on the dash… it is normally removed as part of the new car prep. I can’t believe it still hasn’t been peeled off in 33 years! If it was a solid roof car, it would have more value.

    Like 2
  5. Steve R

    Even if the sellers claim of 63,xxx miles is accurate, does it really matter?

    The sellers suggestion that it’s a one owner car is laughably bad, they even contradict themselves in the text of the ad. Any potential buyer would be wise to make sure there are no issues with the title before finalizing the purchase.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  6. Moparman Member

    “Car comes with original engine block, NO transmission. Car is very solid with minimal surface rust . This 87 Grand National wont take much to get back on the road . Some elbow grease & a sand an shoot” Don’t you just LOVE the sellers ‘optimistic’ appraisal of how easy it will be to restore this car? LOL!

    Like 6
    • CMK

      You forgot the black and grey duct tape! That always solves many problems!

  7. mjf

    Wait, where’s the motor ..?

    Like 1
  8. William

    The drivers side inner door panel, with its warped and separating cardboard behind the shriveled cloth material, is a BIG indication of water damage. This is from either the T Tops leaking or window seals, or someone had the window down for a period. Just think of what the floor pans will look like once you pull the carpet back.

    Like 4
  9. bull

    Restomod is all this car is good for NOW!

    These cars are hugely expensive to restore. The last 1987 GN I restored was a 1 owner 47K mile car that sat for 10 years.

    I spent almost a $1,000 just getting the gas tank back in shape with a new Walbro pump, fuel sending unit and fuel hanger. The original units were not usable. Fortunately for me the original GN gas tank was able to be cleaned as the tank is also unique to the GN. A rebuildable complete core REAL GN BRF code automatic transmission will bring $500.00 plus!

    The price of NICE 1987 GN’s has been the same for the last 20 years. $20K will buy you a very NICE 1987 GN. You cannot fix a this or any other basket case 1987 GN for that kind of money!

    Like 5
  10. Ronnie

    I would pass on this one , unless you have plenty of time and plenty of cash , first the paint rust , you will have to go under and fill it and of course with the time will blow again that monster cane with t-tops rust around that structure will be a nightmare, interiors wet carpet, rust under the carpet and rust in seat coils plus the damaged electronic needs good cash to fix it . Second no Tranny the match between GNX engine and tranny was made in heaven finding one in good shape and properly fix and sealed will be a Christmas dream , decals, emblems,will keep you busy looking for them. Engine that the turbo is not wear, and all the gaskets rotten and dry plus the In board computer, ignitions and coils also will cost a bundle. Reserve is about 5,000 ? Add the at least 15k neede to start up this one and because if the massive body work will not be a auction princess

    Like 4
  11. John archer

    No thank you.

    Like 1
  12. MIKE

    Im figuring this Buick was beaten to death by one too many burnouts and drsg races.

  13. Cycle Salvage Kevin

    I know of a supposed prototype GN engine here locally. My memory is fuzzy, though. The man who owned it had a metal scrapyard and collected all sorts of old trucks, farm equipment, motorcycles and whatever else often weird things. He passed away last year. I don’t get along with his sons but do get along with his wife. She’s a nurse who may be getting busy if and when the virus arrives here in rural Iowa. I haven’t heard if there’ll be an auction. The engine is stashed away in a large modern building and is very hard to get at. He thought highly enough of it to make would be thieves think twice about stealing it. I did take some pics of it at that time, along with dozens of shots of interesting old iron. Pretty sure I have those pics on a thumb drive if anyone is interested in following up with the owner(s). I bought many cycles and some steel from him over the years but it was pretty tough going, difficult to deal with. I imagine his wife doesn’t feel the same ‘near and dear’ as old Jim did.

    Like 3
  14. FrankY Member

    Call 867-5309 on that handy phone see where that gets you.

    Like 1
    • Ronnie

      Jenny is busy

      Like 3
    • Cycle Salvage Kevin

      FrankY, Apparently you haven’t read this, “RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.” So then, why the personal attack? You owe everyone an explanation. A REAL explanation. Own it.

      Like 1
  15. Kmm3n1

    Put a turbocharged LS motor in it with a 6-speed

  16. Car Guy Beancounter

    Looks like there may be a couple of donor cars parked next to this Grand National.
    Both likely in no better shape than this one!

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