Drive and Restore: 1987 Buick Grand National

This 1987 Buick Grand National is not perfect, but it is a car that could be driven and enjoyed immediately, with any restoration work being performed as time and circumstances allow. These are a car that has increased in both popularity and value in recent years, so a project car such as this is definitely worth serious consideration. Located in Lincoln, Rhode Island, you will find the Buick listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has been very subdued and has only pushed the auction along to $13,500. At that figure, the reserve hasn’t been met. There is also a BIN option available, and this has been set at $15,900.

Finished in black, the Grand National could be considered a pretty menacing looking vehicle. What is menacing this one though is a few rust issues. The worst of this can be found in the bottom corners of both doors. This could be patched, but the owner has a fresh new skin for the passenger door, and this will be included in the sale. He is also searching for a similar item for the driver’s door, and if he successfully locates one, he will also include this. That seems to be the worst of it because while there are also a few areas of surface corrosion under the vehicle, there is no actual penetrating rust in either the floors or the trunk pan. The paint is looking tired in a few spots, but I suspect that the next owner will probably treat the car to a repaint when the rust issues are addressed. The T-Top panels look like they are in good condition, and the original bags for these can be found in the trunk. Surprisingly, the bumper filler panels haven’t begun to crumble or crack, which is a bit of a bonus. The remaining trim and glass looks to all be in very good condition for a vehicle of this age. One thing that I did notice is that there is some rust appearing in a few spots around the centers of those distinctive wheels. It isn’t severe, but it is something that would be worth investigating and addressing before it gets too bad.

Performance was something that was sadly lacking from the majority of US cars during the 1980s, but Buick made some attempt to return some excitement to the passenger car market. With this in mind, what you find hiding under the hood of the Grand National is a 3,791cc V6 engine, backed by a THM200-4R 4-speed automatic transmission. This was no ordinary V6. Actually, it started life as a very ordinary V6, but by the time it found its way into a Grand National, it did offer owners some pretty decent performance figures. The V6 was equipped with fuel injection, a turbocharger, and an intercooler. This endowed the car with a healthy 245hp, but it is worth noting that as was the case with many turbo offerings of the era, there was also some turbo lag to be dealt with before the vehicle could show its full potential. Even allowing for this, the Grand National could romp from 0-60 in 6 seconds, and cover the ¼ mile in 14.7 seconds. Apparently, this is a car that is in good health, and the owner has a Carfax Report that seems to confirm that the Buick has only covered a genuine 75,500 miles. The only issue that he notes is the fact that he believes that it needs a new sender unit in the fuel tank. The gauge doesn’t work as it should, so it might require some investigation.

At first glance, the interior of the Buick is looking tired. However, if you look past the state of the covers on the front seats, things actually aren’t that bad. Dealing with the front seats first, they will definitely need new covers. These are both well beyond repair. The rear cover actually looks pretty decent, but if the front covers are replaced, then there might be some issues with color matching with the rear, due to aging. With this in mind, I had no trouble locating a full set of new covers, complete with all of the correct retaining clips, for just a touch over $600. The other area of the interior that is showing its age is the steering wheel. I did a very quick search and located a company that will restore the existing wheel in leather for $220, or will sell you a restored wheel complete for $370. The rest of the interior trim and carpet appears to be both original, and in fairly good condition. Making life that bit more pleasant when out on the road, the Grand National comes equipped with air conditioning, power windows, a power driver’s seat, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and a nice AM/FM radio/cassette player.

The owner of this 1987 Grand National says that if you want to secure a nicely restored example, then you need to be prepared to hand over $30,000 or more. This isn’t far off the mark, although pristine examples can sell for figures in excess of $40,000 quite easily. There are still a few tidy and original examples for around or just beyond the $25,000 mark, although these are now becoming more of a rarity. Keeping that sort of figure in the back of your mind, if someone buys this one for the BIN price, that would still leave them $9,000 to tidy this car up before they started to reach into financially questionable territory. With seat covers and a replacement steering wheel chewing up around $1,000 of this budget, I still think that this is a car that potentially has some merit as a project car. That makes it worth some serious consideration.

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Comments

  1. Arthell64 Member

    I would put this in the smart seller category. Get decent money for a car that needs a complete restoration.

  2. George Mattar

    Too many of these for sale in much better shape. Pass.

    8
  3. dave

    Aww, we were free of seeing these for quite a bit…it was like a vacation!

    11
  4. Stangalang

    I’d rather have the Fairmont..

    4
  5. JoeMac

    The true value in this car is that it is still stock mechanically. Hard to find these nowadays without multiple upgrades (aka…beat on!). Strange that the upper door panels were changed from original gray to black. Why???? Looks like sh!t IMO. Easy interior fixes overall though. Where it sits now at $13,500 is about where it should be selling leaving decent wiggle room for the interior / exterior fixes. If the 75k is true mileage, not a bad deal.

    3
  6. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    The seller mentions a CarFax but doesn’t provide an image of it. It would be nice to know if this car started life somewhere less salty than Rhode Island.

  7. John Oliveri

    75,000 miles on that 231 probably isn’t a good #, cause those motors were junk from the start, now 75,000 miles worth of turbo, I’d figure a rebuild shortly into the mix, cars overpriced, owner should take the 13 grand and run

  8. Al

    Be sure to take t tops off and check for rusted out a pillars!

  9. John Oliveri

    And stress cracks, along the sail panels/ roof above 1/4 windows, lot have bondo covering the cracks, buyer beware, these cars have been mostly abused, big burnouts etc, and your not talking about a 65 GTO body, this was 80s garbage, while this junk was being built, the Japs snuck up, and attacked America, or should I say took over America, and rightfully so, cause American auto makers thought we weren’t going anywhere, till we said enough is enough w they’re Chevy motors in Pontiacs, hoods and trunks that the paint didn’t adhere to, or cold cracked when it did, Cadillac w bottom end noises, that’s y I have a 73 Pontiac in 1 garage, and 2 foreign cars in my driveway, and a Ford for my wife, GM did itself in

    • AndyinMA

      What did your wife do to deserve the Ford?

      1
      • John Oliveri

        She picked it out not me

  10. Bob McK Member

    My day is complete, another trashed GN. We haven’t seen one of these for a few weeks.

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it.

  11. Del

    Its crap. move on.org

  12. Arthell64 Member

    The frames were weak and the interiors fell apart but they do have devoted fans.

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