This ultra rare "1987 Buick Grand National" Convertible for sale from Sunset Classics started life as a dream, and after touch of fate and the use of another ultra-rare Buick, what we have for sale is truly one of a kind. The following article from February 1993 explains this car best, so I will let the good writing of Buick Olds Pontiac collector’s Guide magazine do most of the explaining:
We’re willing to bet this feature car has all you Buick Grand National fanatics’ undivided attention. You thought that a sunroof option was about as open air as a Grand National came in 1987, didn’t you? Well, you may be right. Confused yet? Good – read on.
When the announcement was made that 1987 was to be the curtain call of the beloved Grand National, Joel Goodman of Austin, Texas got the idea to create the ultimate example of this fast car. Since Joel restores cars as a hobby, and has been a devotee to the Buick marquee for many years, he envisioned a convertible version of the killer GN. After all, if you’re going to come up with a dream machine, you might as well dream big!
His thoughts of cutting the top off a stock 1987 GN were soon thwarted by cold hard reality. The logistics were discouraging. The top frame and mechanism would need to be scratch built, as would the rear seat assembly and the top itself. Modifications to house the folded convertible would have been extensive. All things considered, the operation seemed just too complex and cost prohibitive. Joel shelved the idea and went about playing with his other Buicks.
Several years passed, until one day Joel was on a business trip through South Carolina. As he was tooling along without a care in the world, something caught the corner of his eye – something that looked like a Regal convertible. At first he discounted it as merely a Regal with one of those wonderful (not!) fake convertible looking vinyl tops. Traveling a short distance further, curiosity forced Joel to go back for a second look.
He found it sitting in front of a busy restaurant – a dilapidated Regal convertible of 1982 vintage. Unaware such things existed, Joel was interested – the convertible Grand National idea now firmly back in his mind. The sad looking Regal was obviously the daily driver of someone who cared little about its condition. Once upon a time it was a nice car, but the years had not been kind. Joel discovered it was one of the early turbo V-6 jobs which retained a carburetor instead of fuel injection – not what could be called a powerful or dependable mill.
Joel went into the restaurant and asked the cashier if she knew who owned the car. Gruffly, she said she didn’t. Undaunted, Joel waited outside for its owner to return. After 45 minutes, several long haired, black-leather-jacket, Hell’s Angels types headed for the Regal. Unsure whether to approach, Joel walked over and asked the scruffy owner if it was a factory-built convertible. The man replied that it was – Joel however had strong suspicions the car was a conversion done when new. Asking if it was for sale, the man replied with a strong, “No!” Joel left his number and told the guy if he ever decided to part with it to call him. Beating a hasty retreat, Joel got back in his car and drove away.
Several months had gone by when out of the blue Joel got a call from the guy with the Regal convertible. He told Joel he was fed up with the blasted thing and he decided it was time to bail out. He went on to say that he had recently blown the engine, and after sinking a grand in it, the thing still had problems. Joel learned the fellow had inherited the car from a relative who had bought it new. Cutting a deal, Joel was soon on his way to retrieve the car.
Returning to Texas, Joel did a little research to find out just what he had. His earlier suspicions were borne out – the car was indeed a conversion done by a company located in Florida. They had only built 17 of the Regal convertibles! No wonder Joel had never seen one before. The car sat while parts were gathered for the coming project.
With a blueprint firmly planted in his brain, Joel began tearing the convertible apart. The first order of business was to yank the outdated 1982 sheet metal and replace it with some 1987 Grand National components. This was quickly followed by a like new interior from a dead Grand National. The back seat was custom reupholstered to match the front GN buckets.
The wheezing original V-6 was placed in storage while a low mileage GN turbo/fuelie motor was dropped in. To accurately monitor the complex engine, all necessary on-board computer controls were installed along with an electric instrument cluster. Since Joel deals with electronics for a living, the installation was a snap.
Joel’s biggest problem was the replacement of the top itself. Since the tattered original material could not exactly be ordered from J. C. Whitney, Joel had to have the top custom cut and fitted – not cheap or easy to achieve! To hide the top bows and mechanism while the top was up, a custom headliner matching the interior was fit into the top.
Keeping with the theme, a set of ’87 Grand National chromed steel wheels were shod with Eagle GTs. One of the few items Joel left on the car was the original high geared single track rear-end. Leaving well enough alone, the car has an outrageous top end, plus gets 25mpg on the highway!
The end result of Joel’s nine months of labor is the birth of a stunning machine that looks for all the world like a factory converted 1987 Buick Grand National convertible – exactly what Joel had envisioned some five years ago. Even the most die-hard enthusiast would be hard pressed to realize this car is not an actual Grand National minus its roof. Even under the hood the incredible attention to detail in all areas is obvious. The engine and its maze of plumbing looks as though they’ve been there since day one.
Joel now uses the car for leisurely week end cruising and late night open air jaunts. Though he won’t say how much this project cost, it’s obviously not for the weak in spirit. Has Joel ever regretted doing all of that hard work? What do you think? He says this car gets more attention than any car he’s ever owned – and he’s owned some mighty impressive cars. One thing is for sure, when Joel pulls up to a Buick meet and parks alongside a row of identical black Buick Grand Nationals, he definitely stands apart from the crowd.
-- Buick Olds Pontiac Monthly. February 1993
So there you have it. The current seller purchased this car from Texas. The previous owner drove the car all the way to Minnesota to prove its road worthiness. It is titled as a 1982 Buick CP RSC. Since arriving in Minnesota, the car has been stored winters, and it has been maintained diligently by the good folks at Courtney Truck Service. Don’t let the name of that shop fool you. When I stopped in to get a history report on the car there was a Ferrari 308 on the hoist, and a Porsche 911 race car on the floor for tuning. A full history report is shown in the close-up photo gallery.
The condition is overall very nice. There are a few small chips in the paint, most notably at the edge of the driver’s door. One nice thing is the car is black so the paint is super easy to match. The 3 is off of the script on the hood on the passenger side but the 3 comes with the car. The current owner/seller has had the car since 1998 and as you can guess, it’s a reluctant but determined sale.
Since the instrument cluster came from the same Buick Grand National as did the engine and transmission, the motor is believed to have only 79,410 miles on it. I had the pleasure to drive this car and the get-up and go is thrilling! The car stops straight with no pull in either direction, it accelerates smoothly and very quickly, and the suspension is stiff and sporty on corners and comfortable while cruising. This car is an absolute pleasure to drive.
Check out the two photo galleries below to get an exact feel for the condition of this ultra-rare “1987 Buick Grand National” convertible. Check out the videos to see how the top goes up and down. You can also listen to the engine start up and run in the videos. Feel free to call with any questions or to reserve this “1987 Buick Grand National” for your collection! –John Snell - SOLD
|1987 Buick Grand National Body Gallery||1987 Buick Grand National Close-Up Gallery|