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Two-Owner Survivor: 1986 Buick Grand National

We see a few examples of the 1986 Buick Grand National at Barn Finds, which is understandable considering how popular these classics are. Some are extraordinarily well-preserved vehicles with ultra-low odometer readings, while others are tired examples that have led a hard life. This one sits at the higher end of the middle ground as an original and solid survivor. The seller is only its second owner and has been its custodian for three decades. All things must end with the Buick listed here on eBay in Hudson, New Hampshire. They set their BIN at $28,000, and there is still time remaining on the listing for any readers tempted to pursue it further.

The seller only provides a few exterior shots of this Grand National, but they paint a positive picture. Its sinister Black paint wears the marks and chips that are a hallmark of any car with a six-digit odometer reading. The hood and trunk lid were repainted under the seller’s watch, and they suggest the roof would benefit from the same treatment. It suffered the typical crumbling bumper filler issue, and these were replaced a few years ago. The panels are straight, and rust seems limited to a couple of small spots in the front sills where there are factory screw holes. Otherwise, the original owner’s decision to hand this Buick to the good folk at Ziebart has allowed it to remain rock-solid. The trim and tinted glass are in good order, as are the wheels. The seller includes a complete set of replacement wheels, along with a new cover and other items.

One area of the Grand National renowned for deterioration is the interior. They looked stunning when new, but some plastic items could succumb to age, with the same being true of the distinctive Gray and Black seatcovers. This car is better than most, which is a testament to the fact it has been garage-kept when not prowling our streets. There is wear on the outer edge of the driver’s seat and a small split in the cover that doesn’t show in the supplied shots. Consulting an expert would be worthwhile because a repair would preserve the originality and be less expensive than cover replacement. The console lid shows its age, but the remaining plastic and upholstered surfaces are acceptable for a driver-grade vehicle. The seller lists a few aftermarket additions, including extra gauges and a better stereo, and there are a few items, like the air conditioning and factory gauges, that either don’t work or have intermittent faults. These require further investigation, but the task can happen at the new owner’s leisure. The seller holds the original Window Sticker confirming that the first owner ordered this beauty with power windows, power locks, a power trunk release, cruise control, and a leather-wrapped tilt wheel.

Lifting the hood reveals what made the Grand National America’s fastest production car in 1986. Its turbocharged and intercooled 3.8-liter V6 churned out an official, although many believe understated, 245hp. That power feeds to the road via a THM200-4R four-speed automatic transmission and a Posi rear end. The performance potential was as understated by the factory as were the power and torque figures. Buick claimed a ¼-mile ET of 14.7 seconds, but independent testing consistently produced sub-14-second passes. This car is an original survivor with 131,000 miles on the clock. The seller has replaced some components like the brake booster, water pump, rear brakes, battery, and alternator. They include many of the removed parts, believing that the master cylinder is rebuildable and the original alternator. The V6 exhales through a mandrel-bent exhaust and is said to sound excellent. The seller recommends changing the tires due to their age, but this classic seems a turnkey proposition for its new owner.

The seller describes this 1986 Buick Grand National as one of the most affordable in the current market, and a brief search seems to support their claim. You will struggle to find a survivor-grade example under $30,000, with $35,000 common. Pristine examples can fetch eye-watering prices, but this car would need some serious money spent on it to achieve that standard. However, if someone is searching for a Grand National that they can enjoy without worrying about the occasional new paint chip or mark, it might not be a bad alternative.


  1. Stan

    Street raced one in my stock 89LX. We got the jump, maybe his wasn’t posi,-trac equipped, or he was hanging on to brake boost some more… either way, we took off clear and my buddy and i were so pleased, next thing i know… the GN sounded like a jet turbine going by us on the left side. 👋 🏁

    Like 4
  2. Robert Proulx

    Correct me if i’m wrong but i’m seeing a vacuum assist for the brakes. Didn’t these come with some sot of electric power assist ?

    Like 0

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