Live Auctions

Island Find: $3,000 1987 Buick Grand National

Whenever a car shows up for sale in the lower 48 states that spent time on Hawaii, Alaska, or some other outpost, it tends to seem a bit more interesting than a car that’s never left the mainland. I’m not sure why exactly that is, other than many enthusiasts love a car with a good story. This rough-looking 1987 Buick Grand National is a serious undertaking, but the biggest obstacle may be attempting to get it home should you not reside in the island community of Waikoloa Village. The seller notes it is a non-runner and comes with the needed parts to fix, but that he’s only interested in a local sale. Find it here on craigslist with an asking price of $3,000.

Sellers who preemptively limit their buyer pool always surprise me. I’ve been able to take the pressure off numerous sellers by arranging all the necessary pick-ups and drop-offs so as to keep a deal together, and it generally works out well. Yes, ignore the time-wasters – but don’t underestimate the effort a man will make when he sees a new basketcase he needs in his driveway. The Grand National isn’t quite that far gone, but it is a total project. Fortunately, according to the seller, the rust repair has already been addressed by a previous owner, and that’s good news – plenty of older cars living in Hawaii and the rest of the island chain can turn into rust buckets without much effort.

The Grand National doesn’t look like a GN at this time, with its original wheels long gone; black paint heavily faded; bumper covers missing, and the nose in shambles. The seller reports that it will come with a variety of replacement parts to get it back on the road, including a new gas tank, fuel pump, and sending unit but doesn’t detail if other mechanical components are included. The rest of the list is mostly cosmetic items, including a replacement grill and headlight surrounds; window felts, and door and trunk seals. It seems like the Grand National needs much more than that, and without photos of the interior, it’s hard to know for sure.

Still, there’s some interesting parts included, like the replacement nose panel and a spare set of doors – why those are needed isn’t revealed. The seller will also include a sweet GNX widebody kit with the fender flares that gave the top-flight Buick performance car its muscular stance. Last, a set of “tinted taillights,” presumably with the black-out stripe between the upper and lower lenses, is also included. The seller believes the 72,000 miles is genuine, and it comes with a clear title. Hopefully, some other paperwork is included to verify the mileage and perhaps also figure out how it ended up in Hawaii needing restoration. Would you try to ship this one home? Thanks to Barn Finds reader Rex M. for the find.


  1. Joe Machado

    These, never grabbed me. Only 1959-60 Buicks.
    Easy decision, me no like when new.

    Like 2
  2. Frank Sumatra

    Why would anyone pay to have this shipped to the mainland?

    Like 4
    • DavidL Member

      Would never buy a car from Hawaii. Never seen worst rust problems. Panels rusted through in a matter of a few years. Acid soil??
      Knew a guy from my college days who brought his car over and … it didn’t have a HEATER.

      • ACZ

        From what I‘ve seen, Michigan is still worse.

      • Gary Hu

        Saltwater/ocean air

        Like 1
      • b!

        @DavidL, True cars in the islands are prone to rust. However not all. A lot will depend on where on the island. My family’s cars lived in leeward HNL and got parked out of the weather. 20 year old ‘stang, almost no rust. Now when a car is on the 3rd or 4th owner…… FYI, the big rental car fleets >do< ship cars back to the mainland.

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