Pour One Out: 1987 Buick Grand National

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At first glance, this Buick Grand National looks like yet another impressive survivor with low mileage and remaining in stock condition. But then you notice there’s no reserve and bidding is quite low, at just $7,000. What’s the catch? Well, you’ll have to check out the listing here on eBay to get the full picture and understand why there’s no such thing as a cheap Grand National.

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While it’s a bit hard to see, the driver’s side, from the fender to the front of the rear quarter panel, is heavily damaged. Not to the point of being a complete loss, I suppose, though there’s no telling what the insurance company found when it sent its assessor in. The GN does have a salvage title, so it’s likely the damage is significant enough to warrant being totaled, but it’s hard to tell if it’s just a matter of panel replacement or if the repairs are structural in nature.

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Here’s a closer look at the driver’s door. To me, it’s hard to tell whether this is just skin deep damage or if it goes deeper. The seller claims it is a case of the former, and the GN merely needs a new fender, new door or door skin, rocker panel, windshield, alignment, and minor body work to be restored. The door is said to still close correctly and the driver’s window still works. It’s worth mentioning this is a rare hardtop version in a sea of T-tops.

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I would agree with the seller that it appears quite clean underhood and reflects the sub-40,000 original miles. It must have been heart-breaking for the previous owner of the Grand National to see this preserved classic carted off to the insurance auction. The seller says many companies just value this car as an ordinary Regal and not as a Grand National; if that’s the case, the next owner should spring for collector car insurance!

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Comments

  1. Anthony

    I think the owner kept the car and took what ever he got from the insurance for the damage. Big problem is where do you get pristine body parts for an 87 Buick?

    • Alan (Michigan )

      I’m going to bet that there are a number of potential bidders doing searches for the big pieces right now. I would be.

  2. Joe Zoccola

    Oh boy I would instantly add this to my collection and just drive it as is for the time being I mean this would be a cool car with Battle Scars to play with no doubt

  3. Alan (Michigan )

    Wow.
    What a clean car underneath!
    It normally bothers me when a seller parks a car in dappled tree shade to take photos. Perhaps detail would be more visible on a screen larger than my phone’s.
    Someone well-versed in bodywork could handle this, and have a really good result.
    I’m assuming that the seller bought it from COPART or a similar outfit. Good on him, I say.

  4. BillB

    The guard rail won that battle.

  5. Jeffro

    Wife: Honey, had a boo-boo with your car.
    Husband: What did you do?
    Wife: When I was at the grocery store, someone hit your car with a shopping cart.It just put a dent and small scratch.

    Atleast thats how it would play out at my house

  6. Chris

    I’ve owned a few of these. Great cars and people are actually fully restoring them now. You can get all those panels. I tried to insure them with my car insurance and it won’t work. I had to put them on my Hagerty policy.

  7. tstout68

    I dated a girl that had GN it was just a couple of years old and it was a t-top car.Her dad a done a bunch of work to it.What a beast for the time, it would out run my GT through 1/4.. Needless to say I done my share of red light to red light races. As a lot of these cars did. This car here looks to have been well taken car of and stored inside.. I’m sure the previous owner was heartbroken, it’s hard to believe he/she didn’t buy it back from the insurance company.. some one will get a great car to fix and have a reasonable amount of money in it…

  8. gene

    easy fix, and this is probably the cheapest way to get one.
    This were very hot cars ones. If you parked it on the street overnight that would be the last time you seen it. The alarms didn’t help either . They would take them with tow trucks. Back then I have seen so many Monte Carlos and G.P. with this drive train
    and you knew they didnt buy it.

  9. Mike

    Being a Grand National, which was for a NASCAR type of stock car, if the damage was on the passenger side I would say it had a Darlington Strip which was from bouncing off the guard rail coming out of turn 4, ever see the cars after Darlington!!!!!!!
    It can be rebuilt, you can get after market panels and body sections for it, but not for me at this time.

  10. Sorted Corty

    Sell off the parts and scrap it – most likely it will always go down the road sideways even after repair – and will surely never have the structural integrity it had when undamaged. Squeaks, rattles – not worth the headaches.

    Maybe find a clean ’87 Regal and swap all the parts – but then it wouldn’t be a real GN anymore.

    • al8apex

      that doesn’t have frame damage

      It should drive just fine

      • Doug S

        If the windshield is cracked and its a salvage title chances are more the likely that the A pillar and/or the frame is bent

        NFG

  11. Flmikey

    A good body man with access to a frame machine could work wonders…worth every penny…especially with the low miles…

  12. Blindmarc

    Bet ya a donut that the shell at the windshield is bent also….

  13. Paul R

    Fixable yes.. The salvage title will always be a problem for resale.

    • AMCSTEVE

      U got it Paul, you will never reap any real money for it with that S.T. Better keep it.

  14. Van

    It’s perfect, a crate engine on wheels. And the crate is worth $150 in scrap metal.

  15. Charlie Member

    Great car. Engine enough different that some parts are hard to find.

  16. Fanglemeister

    I’m in the scrap camp, pull drivetrain and install in something unexpected and interesting like an el Camino or 76-78 Seville.

  17. Rustytech Member

    There are tons of good Regals still around to donate parts, so repair would be no problem from a parts standpoint, I would certainly want a through structural inspection before bidding. Here where I live it’s hard to get a salvage certificate converted to a title, especially if it was titled in another state. My son-in law brought a Motorcycle from out of state with a “R” title about 8 years ago and it’s still sitting in his garage, the state has refused to issue a title. So this ones a no for me, don’t need the headache.

  18. Dave

    Almost bought one just like this minus damage in 1989.Never could get past the LEGGO interior that G.M. put in everything.Bought a 1980 Toyota Carolla coupe with 5 speed trans instead.Best used car ever.

    • tirefriar

      Dave, you really passed over a GN and got a Corolla because of interior? Really??

      Like 1
  19. michael

    its not a hard fix even if you do have to do a pull on the windshield pillar, replace the fender and the door. you should be able to repair the quarter also..good used parts are not that hard to find.. the big problem to me is the salvage title… yes its extremely clean inside, under the hood and undercarraige… it will never come close to being worth what the same car with a clean title is worth as an investment

  20. John B

    Fixable and worth it for ownership, not necessarily profit. Get her good and straight, source the parts, find a good body and front end man plus a skilled painter…and do it!

    • michael

      thats very true, as i mentioned above i was just looking at it as a lot do now as an investment… but if i had the $$ rt now id buy it and fix it to drive on the weekends etc. i know i could find the parts within a 2hr drive from where im at

  21. Jubjub

    Doomsayers. This could be a nice car again for reasonable money. Probably nicer than most GNs you’ll find for sale. Document the damage and work done. Be honest and you won’t lose any money. In the meantime you’ll have a very sweet ride. And, as years go by and values go up, the salvage title value issue will be absorbed.

  22. Brian

    Had an 86′ T-Type get banged up in 94′ I was the 2nd owner. It had less then 50,000mi on it, farmer’s only insured it as a regular regal (even though I specified). Then to top it off the body shop owner padded up the repair to ensure it was TOTALED, so he could buy it himself(cockroach). I went back & forth with Farmers, but enevitably i bought it back for $1,100. Only damage done was 1 fender, hood, bumper & drivers side lights & a light crack in header panel! Didn’t bend frame, Crack windshield or even effect grill! Happened a long time ago,but still get heated about it ! And learned I didn’t have wrong insurance just wrong policy….b.s.!? The car was mint & saved it myself!

  23. nessy

    I had 6 of these 87 Turbo Buicks over the years, all in good condition, don’t ask me why because I was never a real fan of them. Whenever I wanted to sell one, I had nothing but timewasters and test drivers. It took me forever to unload one and I priced mine lower than the rest. For the last year, I have been trying to sell an 87 T Top car in good condition for only 10k with no luck. Only a few people even showed up and then lowballed me. To me, Grand Nationals are one of the hardest cars to sell. To buy another one like this? Wrecked? With a salvage title? NO WAY PAL!

  24. tirefriar

    You will need to replace fender, complete door (whoever said door skin is smoking crack), and a the quarter panel. The rocker can be fixed (I am no fan of cutting up the car unless absolutely necessary) but that quarter is too stretched. Yeah, some will argue it can be fixed but how much time will that take, and bondo? The left hinge pillar too the most of the impact so most likely it will need to up on the frame bench to pull that and the quarter. Retail wise, you are looking at about $8-$10k in repairs. Bidding is over $8k, so at the end of the day you will have a salvage titled GN with about $16k in it (price+repairs). Unless you will do all the work yourself, go out there and buy a clean one for about the same $16k but no salvage title or the drama…

  25. Bwickfl

    If this is the car I believe it to be my wife’s cousin owned it until recently. The car was stored indoors and was a weekend driver, very well cared for and maintained. It was traded for a newer performance car and the new owner had it parked on street and a drunk driver did the new body modifications. It’s a shame last time we went to visit they told us this sad story.

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