Rare Turbo: 1987 Buick Regal Limited Turbo

While most people remember the 1987 Buick Grand National and the GNX, the Regal Limited Turbo has managed to languish in their shadows. This is a shame because it is a vehicle that offers comparable levels of performance in a more luxurious and subtle package. This Limited Turbo has fallen on hard times, and it needs someone to rescue it before it deteriorates beyond the point of no return. It is located in Lodi, New Jersey, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. It is a classic that has attracted its share of attention, with 48 bids submitted to this point. This has pushed the price along to $8,200 in this No Reserve auction.

The Regal is a sad-looking sight, but when you look beyond the ruined White paint and the crumbling bumper fillers, what you find is a vehicle that shows a lot of promise. The first factor to consider is that the seller says that the floors are rust-free. If that is true, it makes for some good news. The panels are also surprisingly clean, with only a few minor rust spots in the lower rear quarter panels. He says that the Buick has never had a hit and that the doors open and close correctly. The person who ordered the car originally ticked a few excellent options because they chose to equip the Regal with RPO Code CC1, which is the hatch roof. The panels for this look to be in good condition and the interior shots tend to indicate that there has been no leaking around the seals. They also chose tinted glass, and this seems to be in good condition. The bumper fillers are crumbling to dust, which is nothing new on these cars. However, the remaining trim and badges look like they could be salvaged.

While the Grand National came with distinctive cloth seat upholstery, this Regal Limited features nothing less than leather. I admit that it is showing its age, with seam separations and a generally tired appearance. I do think that an experienced professional could repair the seams and condition the leather to bring it back to a decent appearance. The carpet is quite dirty, but once again, I think that this could be cleaned. A few plastic pieces show their age, but I would probably spend a few days undertaking some concerted cleaning before compiling a shopping list of replacement parts. I believe that this sort of work could spring a few pleasant surprises. The new owner of the Buick is not going to miss out when it comes to comfort and luxury features. As well as air conditioning, the car features power windows, power locks, remote exterior mirrors, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, a digital gauge cluster, and a premium AM/FM radio/cassette player with a graphic equalizer.

I’m probably one of the few enthusiasts that have come to view tightening emission laws as a good thing. I know that it strangled the traditional V8, but it forced American manufacturers to produce cars that utilized different technologies to squeeze decent performance out of their offerings. I tend to view Regals of this era as a starting point for the high-performance offerings that we see in our market today. If buyers chose to order their 1987 Regal equipped with the optional 5.0-liter V8, what they received for their $590 was a paltry 140hp and a car that would cover the ¼ mile in 18 seconds. At $1,442, the LC2 turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 wasn’t cheap, but it did deliver 245hp, and that was enough to propel the Buick through the ¼ mile in 14.8 seconds. That’s a huge difference, and it’s surprising that more buyers didn’t follow this path. As well as the turbo V6, this Regal features a 4-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power front disc brakes. We’ve now come to the point where we may have discovered why this potent classic was parked in the first place. This is not a running car, and there is a problem with that beautiful V6. The engine has a faulty rod, and the owner says that it will need a rebuild. We hope that there has been no further damage because it could become an expensive proposition to get the motor firing again and retain the Regal’s numbers-matching status. The owner does have a replacement engine that he would be willing to sell to the successful bidder, but I would probably look at that as a last resort in this case.

The 1987 Buick Regal Limited Turbo is a 1980s performance car that has managed to slip under the radar for many people. However, it is also a very rare car that should satisfy those who wish to combine luxury with decent performance levels. Their rarity is beyond question, with only 1,035 buyers choosing to part with their money for one. The only ’87 Regal that is rarer is the GNX, with 547 cars rolling off the production line. They undoubtedly offer higher performance, but that comes at a significant price premium. Where you will struggle to find a good GNX for under $65,000, a Regal Limited Turbo will cost half that much. This one will need some work to reach that level, so would you be willing to accept the challenge?

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Comments

  1. AW

    Just like the Firebird Formula was the alternative to the flashier & more expensive Trans Am, this car was a very nice alternative to the Grand National/GNX. Shame that this car wasn’t appreciated more. Long as the car is solid thru & thru, it’s worth restoring. Good luck selling it.

    Like 4
  2. JCA

    Just saw a very nice, clean 86 GN that sold for around $15k. This seems like it needs a lot of work on top of the $8,500 or more sell price to be worth buying

    Like 3
  3. CCFisher

    These were among the last “have it your way” muscle cars. Buick included all the performance gear with the turbo option, but other than that, you could order just about anything available on a regular Regal. I used to see one cruising around my home town that was white with a padded landau roof and a power sunroof.

    Like 1
  4. Fuzzywuzzy

    Very much an ordered car, odd as it is pretty loaded but yet has no power seat and no cruise control…

    Like 1
    • jay

      That always puzzles me when I see cars from this era that will include almost every option but then the owner skipped out on power windows or as you pointed out cruise control and power seats. Cheap.

      • bone

        Its rarely an owner who orders a car ; most of the time the dealer orders the cars and people buy them right off the lot . They get ordered with differently so there are different prices .One with some options but not certain higher priced ones would be a cheaper alternative to a prospective buyer.

        Like 1
  5. Dave

    A decent $3000 project car.

    Like 4
    • JoeMac Joe Mac Member

      You will NEVER see a cold air turbo Buick, especially a rare Limited in this shape go for $3k. This car is an easy fix and re-sell to $25k. Still a good buy under $10k.

      • JCA

        I see them selling for $15k- $17k with 70k miles. So you buy at $10k, $6k for paint and rust repair, $4k to rebuild the engine, you’re in for $20k right there not even dealing with the interior. Where are my numbers off?

        Like 2
  6. MikeB

    I owned an 87 Limited turbo from 95 to 2010. It had the 60/40 velure (sic ?) seats ,column shift, power everything, solid roof, air,etc. The cool thing about the car was that the original owner had installed HD springs, Bilstien shocks and big anti sway bars. The car was a real highway rocket, I loved it. Color was dark blue w/ blue interior. But my wife hated it and I got old (lol). Sold it to a very nice guy who collected Buick Turbos. Fond memories.

    Like 2
  7. chris Lemm

    I bought one exactly like the one pictured, I removed the driveline and installed it in a 1934 Oldsmobile, I gave my son the car, he installed a Built 350 Chevrolet and used it for his high school car.

    Like 1
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I was close to buying a new Regal T-Type Turbo back then. It was going to be gold with the chrome bumpers.
    I was in stealth mode back then, so opted instead for a Black Omni GLH-T.
    Easier on the wallet, and just as thrilling.

  9. Frank

    It sold for $10,001.23 and it dosen’t even run! Yes it is rare and yes there are parts you can buy to fix it, but there are many suprise gotchas hiding there.
    Bumper fillers, repairing the electronic speedometer and tach and boost gauges which most are not working right is pricey.
    The only way to make money on this one is if you do the work yourself

    Like 1
    • Dave

      I always do all the work myself, I don’t trust anyone else.

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