Picture: Mel Malcon
The 1980’s weren’t exactly a hallmark for performance cars, as auto companies were still transitioning from carbureted intake systems to fuel injection. Yet there were bright spots, among them the Buick Regal T-Type/Grand National. These turbocharged six-bangers put many bigger V8 engines to shame. The ultimate iteration of this awesome car came in its final year of production, the GNX. Just over 500 of these rare beasts were built in 1987, and there has not been a car before or since like it.
The L.A. Times found just such a car on the showroom floor of Boulevard Buick, in the Signal Hill area of L.A. So how is it that one of these rare, almost mythical beasts has sat on a showroom floor for 23 years without ever being sold?
In a word, greed. 1987 was set to be the last year of the Grand National line of Buicks, and of rear-wheel drive Buicks in general. In 1988 a new Buick Regal would appear, for the first time with front-wheel drive. So there could be no more fiery turbocharged muscle car. With a sticker price of $29,389, the GNX certainly wasn’t a cheap car.
But with just 500 being built and sold, Buick Boulevard figured they could make a few extra bucks by auctioning the car off, rather than just selling it. It sat for a few years as newer Buicks came and went, but rather than take a loss on the car and sell it cheap, Buick Boulevard held on to it. 23 years later, and it has just 164 miles on it, mostly from oil changes and service in the shop (or so they say). At auction, the car could fetch $120,000 or more. At the end of the day, Boulevard Buick had the last laugh, as this car quadrupled in value while making their showroom among the most unique in the country.