Cheap Turbo Muscle: 1986 Buick Grand National

Grand Nationals seem to have a recent resurgence, with many nice examples making their way through the auction circles. Most of these have led pampered existences, having been collectible from the beginning. It is somewhat unusual to find a project car, and here we have one, located in Decatur, Georgia and listed here on eBay in a no reserve auction. At the time of writing, bidding is still a reasonable $3,050 with 5 days remaining.

The lower price is attributed to the fact the car does need work as evidenced in the pictures. There are minor dents and scrapes down the side. The front header panel and Grand National specific upholstery require repair or replacement, and there are various mechanical issues. But the good news is the car appears rust free. There are no underneath pictures to actually confirm this, but being a Georgia car the owner might not have determined it necessary. All the Grand National specific equipment appears to be present. There is no mention of the turbo condition, but the other mechanical aliments mentioned could be fairly easily tackled. Brake components should be readily available, fuel pump replacement requires tank removal but this is simple work for most southern cars. The owner claims a bad flywheel or torque converter, but I`m not convinced these could be bad from just sitting. Perhaps the car has an ignition miss which is being misinterpreted as a vibration problem. The seller does not give an indication of the operation of the engine before the fuel pump failure.

Common parts could still be obtained from a local auto parts store. The aftermarket seems to be picking up for replacement parts of this type of G body. Some rubber components are available and if the T-top rubbers are an indicator a lot of the soft rubber could probably use replacement. The shot of the hood gives the opinion a complete repaint is required.

It appears the Georgia heat has taken its toll on the interior, paint and soft rubbers parts and filler panels. The trade-off is the car appears rust free from what we can see. It looks like the car has suffered more storage damage than road damage. The Grand National is an iconic car of the 1980’s which has stood the test of time. Collectability has resulted in a high survival rate with plenty of well-preserved examples to be had and enjoyed right away, but at a not so budget price. This example represents a different approach, a very nice starting point at a reasonable price, and with some work, just as much or more enjoyment can be had if the price stays at a reasonable level.

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Comments

  1. Bob McK Member

    I was told by another member that if I did not have anything nice to say about these GNs, not to say anything. So this is me not saying anything as I have nothing nice to say.

    22
  2. The Tower

    Not an ’86. That’s a “hot air” car, meaning not intercooled. Actually, the auction does say it’s an ’85.

    8
  3. Rx7turboII

    Oh God please make it stop! I’ve seen enough Grand Nationals on barn finds already. Id even take seeing more Chevettes again if it meant the constant flood of gn’s would stop. Lol

    10
  4. Tom Member

    Wow, well we can’t complain that someone put a car away that was “built to drive it, so drive it and enjoy it !” Someone sure did!! Wow, what a hard life. Too bad whoever had it could not have treated the car better. This thing is beat to Sh–! Every inch has been abused, neglected, cheap window tint that will be terrible to remove and will ruin the rear defroster if it has one. (I am a tinter among many things). If you know what you see has been this neglected you know for sure that the mechanicals have been neglected on MANY levels.

    118K miles for sure. I would believe 218K. The things that the owner said “went bad from sitting” actually went bad from age + high miles + not being cared for AT ALL.

    You have heard me say it too many times. This car needs EVERYTHING which will have you invest 5x what the car is worth, no exaggeration.

    Clean it up as best possible. Put it away in a temperature/moisture controlled environment. Start accumulating all the parts it will need. Put it up for sale in 10 or 15 years when there will be few around.

    3
  5. Coventrycat

    Do I smell investment? No, it has over 10 miles on the odometer, so it must be manure.

    • Just passing through

      Good Lord. One more of these GN’s and I will scream.

      2
  6. Joey V

    “a bad flywheel?”

  7. Frank Sumatra

    It is encouraging to see eight comments. BF has reached “Maximum GN/GNX” and folks are really tired of these cars. Keep up the good work readers!

  8. Shaun Dymond

    As an uneducated Brit, could someone please tell me the main difference between the GN and the GNX?

    • Frank Sumatra

      $$$

      2
  9. CanuckCarGuy

    I have no beef with the GN, or their frequency on the pages of BF, in fact they are a car I would enjoy owning and driving…my beef, is the market for these cars (like many others) is way beyond their worth. The hobby has slipped out of reach for true enthusiasts and preservationists, even the prices on mediocre and questionable classics has gone nuts. I enjoy darn near anything with four wheels and an engine…but opportunists are draining the fun out of the hobby. But I digress – I’d love to drive a GN for one summer.

    2

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