Muscle Cars Return, Part 1: ’87 Buick GNX
If you remember what cars were like before the Arab Oil Embargo, you remember muscle cars. Named muscle cars for a good reason: they had big V8s producing gobs of horsepower. One day we would go into a Ford showroom and consider buying a Boss 429 CJ and a year later, we were looking at a Mustang II (the favorite car of Charlie’s Angels). It wasn’t entirely the Arabs fault either. The government stepped in and set emissions targets that were hard to meet and safety standards that in some cases were well intentioned but executed in expedient fashion. The motorized shoulder belt in door frame is one of our favorites. Buick was very successful in NASCAR in the early ’80s so they cobbled up a special edition to celebrate their success. The Grand National was born. But they were no more powerful than any other Regal producing a paltry 125hp. As technology improved General Motors dipped their toe back in the muscle car waters and gave us the Buick Grand National Turbos. Over the years, power went from 175hp to 200hp to 245hp. The muscle car was back. The final year of the Grand National gave us the ultimate – the GNX like today’s featured car. Buick introduced the GNX at $29,900. Produced by ASC/McClaren Technologies, Buick produced 547 of the 1,547 WE4’s with the Grand National interior trim Package. They were then sent off to McLaren Performance Technologies and upgraded into the Buick GNX. Buick underrated the GNX at 275 hp (some say over 300 hp) and a very substantial 360 lb·ft of torque. Changes made included a special Garrett Turbos with a ceramic-impeller blowing through a more efficient and significantly larger capacity intercooler with a “CERMATEL (Ceramic/Aluminum) coated” pipe connecting the intercooler to the engine. A GNX specific EEPROM, low-restriction exhaust with dual mufflers, reprogrammed Turbo Hydramatic 200-4R transmission with a custom torque converter and transmission cooler, and unique differential cover/Panhard bar included more of the performance modifications. Performance was measured with a quarter mile time of 13.2 seconds at 104 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds. Today’s featured GNX is #363 with 1,116 miles. This without any doubt is a GNX without peer. SCM Price Guide has these at $65,000 and the seller is asking $85,000. But this is a time capsule car so maybe it is worth the extra bucks. The question is, do you get in and drive it making it a more “ordinary” GNX? Click here for the eBay listing.