The Last Great Buick

A source of entertainment here at the Cars & Convos® offices is to look at social media posts about cars past and present.  Recently, there was a post that received more than the average number of comments because the car, while always popular with enthusiasts, has taken on interest from twenty-somethings, as well as the 60-plus crowd.  I’m talking about what Car & Driver magazine called “Darth Vader’s Staff car,” the Buick Grand National.

For its time, the Grand National was a unicorn.  It was a very quick, affordable “family car.”  This is what detractors need to consider.  This car could take five adults from 0-60 in well under 6.5 air-conditioned seconds.  Sure, it couldn’t stop or turn very well, that wasn’t the mission.  The mission was to create fun for NASCAR fans with a bit of girth.  Easily modified for stop-light drag races, the car could reach 0-60 times in the low 5.0s while hitting mid-20s miles per gallon on the highway.

This one was my personal car.  A 1987 Buick Grand National.  Mildly modified with the usual bolt-ons: larger downpipe, bigger injectors, air bags in the rear springs and a mild tune on its primitive computer.  It was heavier than most Grand Nationals because it had a sunroof.  Brace were added in the trunk to stiffen the body to accommodate the added power.  It’s more Dick Butkus than Walter Payton. 

For such a quick car, it was quite practical.  The trunk could handle four sets of clubs or enough supplies to keep two toddlers well-equipped for a long weekend.  Speaking of toddlers, yes…this car did car seat duty.  Those toddlers are in their 30s now, but back then, they loved stoplight launches, laughing like demons the entire way. 

Love them or hate them, the remaining Grand Nationals are enjoying a renaissance in interest and increase in value.  If you have the means and the interest, I highly recommend adding thA black car parked on the side of a road

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Ron Krauch

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