Car of the Week 1987 Buick Grand National Old Cars Weekly

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Car of the Week: 1987 Buick Grand National

admin | August 25, 2009

The Buick Grand National was the fastest production car built in 1987, and certainly one of the hottest, baddest, and most collectible American production cars of the 1980s a decade often considered a barren wasteland when it comes to automobile excitement.

The 1987 Grand Nationals were capable of doing 0-to-60 mph in the low 6-second bracket. Cars Illustrated magazine published quarter-mile performance of 13.85 seconds and 99.22 mph. Musclecars magazine’s test Buick was just a little slower, if you can call 13.90 seconds at 98.16 mph “slow.” The original horsepower number was denoted at 240 for insurance purposes in 1987 by GM.

The rating is a number generally considered to be very conservative.

Collectors today like the superior performance of the 1987 Grand National model, even though the ’86 is a whole lot rarer.

There are two main differences between the 1987 Regal Grand National and the 1986 edition. The newer car had an all-black grille and the top section of the grille has no flat surface. Inside, the black vinyl door-pull straps of the 1986 edition were replaced by gray pull straps that matched the gray door panel in color.

Under the hood of the ’87 model, the turbocharged and intercooled V-6 was tweaked a bit to give 240-ish hp at 4400 rpm and 355 lbs.-ft. of torque at 2000 rpm.

Standard equipment with the Grand National WE2 package was the same as in 1986 and again included a long list of appearance, convenience and performance features. Only five individual options were available: the RPO YF5 emissions equipment package, an RPO B88 body molding package, an RPO CC1 lockable hatch roof, an RPO WG1 driver’s side six-way power seat and an RPO UA5 theft-deterrent system.

By the end of the summer of 1987, Grand National sales had practically doubled over those of the entire previous year. This was due largely to the massive publicity exposure the hot, high-performance model was receiving in enthusiast publications. Buick dealers then pressured the company to make more of the cars, since dealers were marking them up an additional $3,000 per unit.

Grand National production had originally been slated to halt in July 1987, when Buick was supposed to stop making rear-wheel-drive Regals. On August 3, company executive W.H. Lotts decided to extend production of only the Grand National model through December.

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By the end of the year, total production had risen to 20,193 cars.

All of the approximately 10,000 cars built after August 3 came with 17 required options. These included black exterior finish, gray interior trim code 583, the 3.8-liter turbocharged V-6, the Grand National equipment package, Soft-Ray tinted glass, door edge guards, two-speed wipers, an electric rear window defogger, a visor vanity mirror, remote-control mirrors, a limited-slip differential, a tilt steering column, tungsten halogen headlights, headlight warning chimes, a heavy-duty battery, an RPO UM6 Delco radio and a front license plate mounting bracket. Buyers could add two option packages and five stand-alone options, but other regular Buick Regal options were unavailable.


Regal Optional Turbocharge V-6: 90-degree overhead valve V-6. Cast-iron block and head. Displacement: 231 cid (3.8 liters). Bore …: 3.80 in. x 3.40 in. Compression ratio: 8.0:1.

Brake hp: 245 at 4400 rpm. Torque: 355 lbs.-ft. at 2000 rpm. Four main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Sequential fuel injection.


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