The 1985-1987 Buick Regal Grand National & GNX represent Buick's brief but glorious mid-'80s return to late-'60s muscle. Like its GS forebears, the Grand National started with a mid-size Buick: the 1978-vintage Regal coupe in turbo V-6 T-type form. Initially it differed mostly in suspension tuning and full blackout exterior, but further development, including more precise sequential fuel injection, ultimately produced 245 horsepower and 0-60 times of under 5 seconds.

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1987 Buick Regal GNX coupe, part of the 1985-1987 Buick Regal Gran National & GNX line of collectible cars
1987 Buick Regal GNX coupe. See more classic cars pictures.

More potent still was the derivative 1987 GNX, a joint Buick-McLaren Engines-American Sunroof effort with an alleged 300 bhp -- later proved to be 276 actual -- thanks in part to a "smarter" engine-computer chip. That one did 0-60 in 4.7 seconds by one account, and the standing quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds at 102 mph -- this despite a still-mandatory four-speed automatic transmission. For tire-smoking thrills, only a Corvette could touch these blocky bombs.

But their days were soon numbered by Buick's retreat from overt performance toward "premium" cars like the 1988 front-drive Regal, though a handful of GNs -- not GNXs -- were built after other rear-drive Regals departed. GNX's low announced production started a bidding frenzy among would-be owners, and the same supply/demand factor will make it the most coveted of Flint's final factory hot rods.

Pluses of the 1985-1987 Buick Regal Grand National & GNX:

  • Spectacular acceleration
  • Rarity
  • Buick's last muscle cars
  • Still-favorable parts/service situation

Minuses of the 1985-1987 Buick Regal Grand National & GNX:

  • Darth Vader outside, Roseanne Barr inside
  • Chassis overwhelmed by engine torque
  • Stiff ride
  • Spotty workmanship
  • Bound to have been thrashed by first owners

Production of the 1985-1987 Buick Regal Grand National & GNX:

  • 1985: 2,102
  • 1986: 5,512
  • 1987: 20,193
  • 1987: GNX 547

Specifications of the 1985-1987 Buick Regal Grand National & GNX:
Wheelbase, inches: 108.1
Length, inches: 200.6
Weight, pounds: 3,250-3,545
Price, new: $13,315-$29,290

Engine for the 1985-1987 Buick Regal Grand National & GNX:

Type Size
Horsepower
Years
ohv V-61* 231 cid
200/235/245/276 1985-1987
*Turbocharged

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