Written by independent automotive journalist David C. Neyens

Lot #1357 – 1987 Buick GNX will be selling with No Reserve at our 2022 Scottsdale Auction.


While big-block American performance cars were virtually regulated into extinction by the early 1970s, GM’s Buick division staunchly held the line through the shift from the A-body Skylark GS (Gran Sport) to the Colonnade-style Century GS455 of 1973-74, the last of Buick’s large-displacement performance cars. While the fabled GS was indeed still available for 1975, albeit with small block or carbureted V6 power plants and delivering more bark than bite, Buick’s engineering wizards were already hard at work developing the future of high-performance cars – with a radical infusion of turbocharged V6 power. A special 455-powered Century with T-Tops and “Free Spirit” graphics sufficed for duty as the Official Pace Car for the 1975 Indianapolis 500, but much more was yet to come.

In 1976, Buick was once again selected to provide the Official Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500, and this back-to-back appearance marked the first time a manufacturer paced the legendary race for two consecutive years since 1913-14. The 1976 Buick Century pace car made history as the first with V6 power and it was an unqualified technical tour de force with a turbocharged 231cubic-inch engine rated at 307 horsepower. Most importantly, this high-profile effort served notice that Buick would be a force to be reckoned with in the brave new performance-car world for years to come.

Following Indy, turbo V6 development continued and reached production reality by 1978 with the new G-body Regal. Its chiseled bodylines were perfect for stock-car competition and helped Buick win the NASCAR Manufacturer’s title for 1981 and 1982; to celebrate, a small number of Grand National Edition Regals were offered in 1982. The Grand National name returned to the Regal line for 1984 and with steady grooming, power reached 245 horsepower, with the Grand National reigning as America’s quickest performance car for 1986-87.

All good things come to an end eventually and while G-body production was initially slated to cease in mid-1987, Buick management approved two prototypes of “the Regal to end all Regals” by July 1986. Dubbed “GNX,” these new super-Buicks were completed by ASC/McLaren, builders of 24-valve Buick turbo V6 engines for IndyCar racing. Special features included a high-performance Garrett turbocharger, improved intercooler, revised engine and transmission calibrations, and low-restriction exhaust. Output jumped substantially to a factory-claimed and possibly underrated 276 horsepower with 360 ft/lbs of torque, delivering stunning 0-60 mph acceleration, usually in the 4.5-second range. Larger tires, special alloy wheels, a rear-axle torque arm, Panhard bar and stiffer underpinnings handled the heightened power of the GNX. Front-fender vents, special analog instruments and a gloss black paint finish completed the package, which brought the MSRP to nearly $30,000. Many of the 547 cars produced were purchased new by ardent collectors, and this GNX is no exception, offered at Scottsdale with under 70 miles from new at the time of writing.

Benefiting from excellent preservation, this 1987 Buick GNX was formerly owned by Nicola Bulgari, the jewelry magnate and renowned Buick collector, who purchased the car in June 2007. As a major supporter of Tacoma, Washington’s Le May Automobile Museum, Bulgari naturally had this GNX on display there during part of his ownership of the car. The consignor, a drag racer and fellow Buick collector, acquired the GNX in mid-August 2009, keeping it in climate-controlled condition as part of his Arizona-based collection ever since. Titled in Arizona with actual miles consistent with the odometer reading below 70 miles and supported by service records and correspondence this GNX is incredibly well-preserved and original throughout. Accompanied by the still-affixed Window Sticker, this 1987 Buick GNX is a virtual time warp to the days it was new, at the height of North America’s 1980s return to factory-built performance cars. As it crosses the block with No Reserve at Scottsdale, however, it will be driving toward a bright new future.

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By: Barrett-Jackson
Title: SPOOLED UP: The 1987 GNX Was The Peak Of Buick Turbo V6 Performance, And This Low-Mileage Example Will Be Offered With No Reserve In Scottsdale
Sourced From: www.barrett-jackson.com/Media/Home/Reader/1987-buick-gnx-low-mileage-crossing-the-2022-scottsdale-auction-block/
Published Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2021 16:10:02 +0000

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