Written by independent automotive journalist Roger C. Johnson
Lot #1347 – 1987 Buick Grand National “The Last Grand National” will be selling with No Reserve at our 2022 Scottsdale Auction.
GM’s Buick division had a greater influence on the American performance car segment than most people might remember. The fact is, Buick had more than their share of engineers committed to the development of highly efficient smaller displacement engines. Their historic all-aluminum 215 cubic-inch V8 remains an icon of the industry. Buick’s early work with V6 engines set the stage for the entire industry and culminated with the modern V6 engines that dominate the new car scene to this very day.
From 1983 to 1992, Buick’s V6 turbocharged 3.4-liter engines powered a variety of purpose-built Indy race cars such as Lola, Menard and March. Gary Bettenhausen drove his Lola to a record-setting 232 mph qualifying speed. At one point, a third of the entire field was running the impressive turbocharged Buick V6. One of them eventually saw 250 mph in testing before the plug was pulled on such untethered speed at Indy. Still, Buick made it known to the world that you could call them “Sir” when the subject came to going fast and faster. After all, Buick had won its first Indy race back in the day when the then-original dirt track opened for business in 1909. Louis Chevrolet himself was at the wheel before turning the controls over to his backup pilot Bob Burman to finish the 250-mile race.
When Buick wanted to showcase its competitive nature in the 1980s with a special performance car that maintained the division’s upscale image, the power plant just had to be their magical 3.8-liter pushrod, turbocharged and intercooled V6 engine. The soon-to-be-famous Grand National’s signature black paint gave it a distinctly sinister aura that many considered cool and appealing. One person who found it irresistible was Buick dealership owner Bob Colvin, who campaigned early on to be allowed to buy the very last one off the assembly line. He even called GM’s CEO Roger Smith to try to make it happen before the car’s production run was discontinued.
When Colvin got the nod, he immediately had a 23-foot by 13-foot addition to his house built for his prize in the form of a personal climate-controlled “bedroom.” The plan all along was to preserve this fabulous collectible for himself and for every other Buick Grand National lover in the world.
The last Grand National ever built rolled off the line at GM’s assembly plant in Pontiac, Michigan, on December 9, 1987. Ironically, that very assembly plant would also cease to exist after producing millions of cars dating back to 1927. This final encore was met with joy and sorrow as every production worker in the plant was asked to sign his or her name onto the particular part they each installed, giving the car a level of pedigree unlike any other on Earth.
Everyone knew they were witnessing automotive history from a front-row seat. They also knew they would all be out of a job when this car was completed, so they enthusiastically put their heart, soul and love into the assembly process. Lloyd and Mark Reuss, both presidents of GM, also signed this car as it eased off the assembly line. How’s that for an official seal of authenticity? The event was filmed by GM and Colvin, with Colvin doing the narrating to capture that history for everyone. The video, titled “Black Air,” is an insightful and emotional account of the first day of this car’s life through the eyes of its first and only owner.
Today, that very same car is available for you in its purest form as Lot #1347 at the 2022 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction. The interior is still covered with its protective plastic seat covers, door panels and steering wheel cover. A total of 33 miles are indicated on the odometer.
This spectacular example of a one and only American muscle car has at last become available, and with No Reserve. First or last, Buick Grand Nationals set the scene in the 1980s, and this one is sure to be a great addition to any bedroom or garage.
For up-to-date information on this vehicle, visit here.
To register to bid at the 2022 Scottsdale Auction – a celebration of 50 years of The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions – click HERE
Title: GENERATION’S END: The Final Buick Grand National
Sourced From: www.barrett-jackson.com/Media/Home/Reader/generations-end-the-final-buick-grand-national/
Published Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2021 20:50:39 +0000
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