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Museum Find: 12k Mile 1987 Buick GNX!

GNX. They were three little letters that were enough to warm the hearts of American performance car enthusiasts. They signified that Detroit had found its mojo and that the muscle car was back with a vengeance. This 1987 GNX is a recent museum find that has returned to active duty. Its condition is all you might expect, considering its history. However, its cause is aided by the odometer reading of 12,000 genuine miles. It is set to shake off the museum memories and terrorize the tarmac with a new owner behind the wheel. The seller has listed the Buick here on eBay in Brentwood, Tennessee. Bidding sits below the reserve at $35,100, although a week remains on the listing for that situation to change.

Vehicle styling is cyclical, and the 1980s was marked by hard lines and a lack of curves across most makes and models. This gave some cars the aerodynamic efficiency of a barn…traveling sideways. It was a trend that rapidly fell out of favor as stylists softened and rounded their latest offerings, but classics like the GNX carry the look exceptionally well. Its paint and trim combination is the secret to its success, dominated by menacing Black. It is only relieved by the occasional small badge and the outer section of the beautiful 16″ alloy wheels. The wheel arch flares and front fender vents enhance the impression that the GNX means business, and these cars had the muscle to remove any doubt. This Buick presents exceptionally well, and its overall condition is consistent with its history as a museum showpiece. The paint possesses a depth of color and shine that is almost eerie, while the panels are as straight as you could ever hope to find. The tinted glass is flawless, the plastic hasn’t suffered the typical deterioration, and the beautiful alloy wheels are stain-free.

If ever a car from the 1980s perfectly combined performance and comfort, the GNX would be a strong contender. Buyers received a long list of luxury appointments guaranteeing a pleasant motoring experience. Air conditioning was top of the list, while the driver’s seat, windows, locks, and trunk release all benefitted from power operation. Cruise control reduced driver fatigue on long journeys, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel helped the driver to tailor the driving position to their needs, and a range-topping AM/FM radio/cassette player relieved boredom. This GNX retains those features, and there are no aftermarket additions. The distinctive Gray and Black seatcovers are prone to becoming dirty and worn, while the headliner can sag. This car has avoided those problems, and there is no evidence of deterioration on the dash, pad, carpet, or console. The final piece of the puzzle is the dash plaque, confirming this as #268 out of a production run of 547 cars.

Everything to this point has been the entree, and now is when we must tackle the main course. The GNX was a joint undertaking between Buick and ASC/McLaren to produce the ultimate version of the Grand National. Buick knew the 1987 model year would be the last for the rear-wheel-drive Regal and wanted to take the performance variant out with a bang. If the Grand National was fast, the GNX took it to a higher level. The 3.8-liter V6 benefited from Buick-Bosch sequential-port fuel injection, a larger intercooler than the Grand National, and an improved Garrett AiResearch turbo. This tinkering resulted in an official power output of 276hp and 360 ft/lbs of torque. However, contemporary testing by motoring journalists demonstrated the actual figure was above 350hp. There’s no point in having that much power if it doesn’t hit the pavement successfully. The only available transmission was an upgraded 200-4R automatic with an external cooler, while the suspension benefited from improvements that helped force the tires into the road under hard acceleration. Buick quoted an official ¼-mile ET of 14.3 seconds, but those journalists who uncovered the true horsepower figure found a 12-second pass was consistently there for the taking with little effort. The seller claims this GNX has a genuine 11,956 miles on its odometer, which could be plausible given its ownership history. It was recently serviced to return it to a roadworthy state, although I would probably swap out the original tires for safety before venturing onto the open road. It runs and drives perfectly and is a turnkey proposition for a new owner seeking an exhilarating driving experience.

The overall condition of this 1987 Buick GNX is hard to fault, and its new owner will benefit from its sheltered life by slipping behind the wheel of a low-mileage classic that commands as much respect today as it did when it rolled off the showroom floor. That begs the question of what they might pay for the privilege. The existing bid figure falls well short of what I might expect, and I think we need to place a “1” in front of it (or even a “2”) to get anywhere near the ballpark. The GNX consistently achieves healthy six-figure sale prices, and prices beyond $200,000 are common. That could be a realistic figure if the odometer reading can be confirmed. Would you be willing to spend that amount of cash on this classic, or is it something that will remain a dream?


  1. Melton Mooney

    I’m not sure what drives the value of these cars to such heights. Sure, they’re pretty rare, but since there is virtually no variation in the model, they’re all just 1 of 550. They’re very fast for the 80’s but pretty much on par with many 60s-70s cars or modern cars that can be had for well under half the money. The styling is immediately recognizable, but not as beautiful or iconic as some other cars which can also be had for much less. So: GNX, or Hellcat Redeye and $120k? Yeah, gimme that red key fob.

    Like 17
    • Tyler

      I’ve driven a Hellcat & I’ve driven a GNX, & sure the Challenger is faster, handles better & is safer. But I would rather drive the GNX any day of the week. There was & is nothing else quite like one.

      Like 19
    • Tom Gilbertson

      It is all about the “want” by a specific person of a given item who can afford
      the item and willing to pay whatever it takes to acquire it.
      Supply vs Demand.

      Like 0
  2. Oldschool Muscle

    Bad ass ride !! Give me the key to this any day over the new muscle.. Dont get me wrong I like hp . the more the better but just something about these are menacing to me!!

    Like 18
  3. ACZ

    If you never drove one, you wouldn’t know.

    Like 12
    • Stan

      Never drove one. But one drove by me. Blew by me. And they look absolutely awesome in person. The wheels, everything is just done perfectly. Awesome final version of this model, extra sinsiter. 👏 🏁

      Like 15
    • Gtoforever

      In another life I owned an auto detailing business in the late 80’s, and one of my clients owned two, consecutive numbers cars. I drove both and true they were fast but definitely not memorable. For an 80s car yes but there were many other cars out there older that were rockets.

      Like 2
  4. Don Page Jr.

    I’m surprised that the ad doesn’t mention the coveted GNX jacket that was included with the purchase of every GNX.

    Like 2
  5. Dr Faustus

    That model was the fastest car in North America when it came out. Faster than the Vette as well which royally pissed off Chevy Division execs. That car is a solid contender for 150k with that low mileage.

    Like 11
    • ACZ

      Some of us still have our “We Brake for Corvettes” bumper stickers.

      Like 5
  6. Dan

    In that time period, they used to have Mustang vs. Grand National night at Englishtown NJ. Once in a while you would see one of these. We used to call them the “Vadermobile” because it looked like something Darth Vader would drive. This was by far, the best of this platform. The Monte SS, 442, and Pontiac Aerocoupe, weren’t even close. The King King of the 80’s.

    Like 8
  7. Poppy

    I love the subdued “1987 Buick Regal” listing title. No mention of GNX until way down in the description. Always wanted one of these, but am not any closer to getting one now than I was then.

    Like 2
  8. Dan

    Why do people spend so much on something like this? They appreciate it. It’s a piece of automotive history. They like the exclusivity of it too. How many will you ever see? People build emotional attachments to cars. They will spend a lot of money on those emotions. Example-Steve McQueen’s original Bullitt Mustang was found in Mendham N.J. It sold unrestored for over 3 million dollars at Mecum. They usually have enough disposable income not to care about spending it. As we speak, I would wager that there are people right now who have the Demon 170. Some of them will be tucked away just like this GNX was.

    Like 3
  9. Gtoforever

    95,000.00 !!!! I just woke up from a nap and I swear Michael j fox kidnapped me and took me to some crazy future time!!
    Nice? Yes
    Cool ? Definitely!!
    95 k ? Are you nuts!!!!
    Oh well, call Jay Leno again!!

    Like 3
    • Erich

      No, not $95,000. Reserve Not Met! So even more than that and now I need to lie down. Dizzying!

      Like 4
    • Poppy

      This is a GNX, not just a regular Grand National. These often top $200K.

      Like 0
  10. BajaPFE Member

    Regal indeed…

    Like 1
  11. Bob N

    The auto check report says mileage in 2007 was 133000!

    Like 2
  12. C Force

    In 1987 this was a remarkable car.faster than the corvette that year and could hold it’s own on the street.in the mailaise era it was anything but that!

    Like 2
    • Bill

      No offense, but the ‘87 Corvette was a turd on wheels…it was just the GN’s time in the sun.

      Like 1
  13. Elwin Ostrander

    $95,100 NOW!! reserve ,,still not met!

    Like 1
  14. Robert Liivoja

    I, as many others have already commented, can not understand the prices for some of these cars.
    Having said that, when Cudas are selling for a couple of million, this seems like quite a bargain!

    Like 3
  15. Copocamaro

    12000 miles on a GNX is like 120k miles, the ones that bring big money have no miles.

    Like 1

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