No Reserve: 1986 Buick Grand National

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The muscle car sector has traditionally been the exclusive preserve of V8-powered vehicles, but that hasn’t always been the case. There was one bright moment during the 1980s when Buick embraced emerging technology to produce some of the most potent vehicles of that era. The result was cars like this 1986 Buick Grand National, and our feature car is a gem. It is a genuine survivor with 37,700 miles on its odometer. These classics are inherently desirable, but the seller’s decision to list the Buick with No Reserve lifts it to a higher level. The Grand National is listed here on eBay in Rochester, New York. Intense bidding has pushed the price to $28,300, and with No Reserve in play, it is guaranteed to find a new home in a few days.

The styling trends followed by vehicle manufacturers during the mid-1980s often divides opinions. I fall into the camp of people who like the square look adopted during that period because it gave cars a purposeful appearance. Buick heightened that with the 1986 Grand National, courtesy of the Black paint, subtle badges, and chrome wheels. This is what a muscle car should look like, all attitude and menace. I am not alone because these cars remain among the most coveted American vehicles to roll off a line during the 1980s. The seller is candid about this Buick, confirming it is original and unmolested. The paint shines beautifully, with only a few small chips visible in the close-up shots. Black paint is excellent for exposing panel inconsistencies, but this Grand National is as straight as an arrow. The seller states there are no prior repairs or evidence of Bondo, and their excellent YouTube video supports this. We get a brief look at the underside during the video, and this baby is rust-free. The bumper fillers haven’t crumbled, while the glass and wheels appear perfect.

Buyers in the 1980s could still purchase new vehicles that were loosely termed muscle cars, although many of those offered pretty modest performance. Manufacturers were beginning to claw back power lost to tighter emission regulations. Still, it was an uphill battle as they came to terms with fuel injection and electronic engine management systems. Buick followed a different path, blessing its 3.8-liter V6 with those components, internal upgrades, and a highly effective turbocharger and intercooler. This approach produced a vehicle that could legitimately wear the muscle car badge, placing an “official” 245hp and 335 ft/lbs of torque at the driver’s disposal. It is disappointing that the company never offered a manual transmission option, although the four-speed THM200-4R automatic effectively fed the power to the rear wheels. Buick quoted a ¼-mile ET of 14.7 seconds, but like the engine output, many experts believe that figure was conservative. Several motoring publications in 1986 tested the claims, having no trouble achieving sub-14-second passes. This Grand National is in excellent mechanical health. It has a claimed 37,700 miles on the clock, although the seller doesn’t mention verifying evidence. They recently sat it at 85mph on the freeway, and when they removed their hands from the wheel, it tracked straight and true. The video features the engine running, and it sounds as sweet as a nut.

It is common to find Grand National interiors modified or looking tired as time takes a toll on the distinctive Black and Gray seatcovers. This car has avoided those issues, and the air conditioning system upgrade to R134a refrigerant is the only change. The seats show no appreciable wear, the headliner isn’t suffering the typical sagging, and the dash and pad are spotless. The seller states the passenger window isn’t functioning, but that appears to be the only fault. The buyer receives A/C, power windows, power locks, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, and a working factory AM/FM radio/cassette player.

I am always wary of older classics and strongly recommend an in-person inspection before a buyer commits the funds to a purchase. This 1986 Buick Grand National allays those fears, with the seller actively encouraging inspection. That indicates they have nothing to hide, which is reassuring. It has received twenty-six bids and will find a new home in the next week or so. Could that home be yours?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Lance Platt

    The notchback or formal roofline looks more appropriate on an intermediate car. The turbo V6 provided some great performance in the malaise era while still enjoying upper level Buick appointments. A restored 1970 455 Riviera GS might be more classy but this GN will fit in more parking spaces and pass more gas stations on the way to the next show and shine.

    Like 4
  2. Stan

    Beautiful GN. Always wondered 🤔 how did that Turbo-Hydramatic 200 handle all the torque? What mods did Buick do to the transmission.

    Like 1
  3. Gene Still

    I’m only $35k shy of buying it.

    Like 0

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