Rare Rides: A 1987 Buick Grand National That Belonged to David Spade

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Turning the sedate Buick Regal into an extra-special Grand National injected some much-needed sportiness into the Buick brand in the early 1980s. And while the Grand National is not as rare as the very limited edition GNX variant, this particular car just happens to have a famous prior owner: David Spade.

Just shoot me.

The Grand National intended to capitalize on Buick’s wins at the Manufacturers Cup (within the NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National Series). Buick took home the prize in 1981 and 1982. Buick’s initial idea involved a limited run of just 100 retail cars, but General Motors underestimated consumer demand for the slick coupe.

A group of 215 turbo Regals were sent out to Cars and Concepts in Michigan, where the base charcoal paint was turned into a two-tone affair. Pinstripes and Buick lettering were added, along with a blacked-out effect created by covering the factory moldings with vinyl tape. All models also got a front air dam and rear spoiler. 1982 was the only year the Grand National was available in a color other than black.

Especially enjoyable is the alignment of all things at the rear of the vehicle. Is this factory quality control, age, or a prior accident?

Grand National interiors feature specially designed seats covered in a silver and black two-tone, as seen on today’s ’87 example. Grand National owners were unlikely to know what time it was — a plate covered the clock’s location and reflected a stylized “6” logo in its place. Taking time off for 1983, the Grand National returned for model years 1984 through 1987.

Our final-year example has Buick’s turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6 engine, tuned for 245 horsepower and 355 lb-ft of torque. Its big claim to fame is former ownership by comedian David Spade, plus a feature in Jay Leno’s Garage, as seen above.

The YouTube video was published on July 12, 2016, and the present owner indicates in the Craigslist ad that $7,000 has been spent on exterior and mechanical work in the year since. The body does look a bit cleaner than what Leno pointed out in the clip.

With 62,500 miles on the odometer, this Grand National is presently located in Hollywood (where else?) and can be yours for $29,500. NADA Guides indicates an average retail value of $25,400 for this model, so maybe even with celebrity markup, the asking price isn’t so bad. You’ll surely tell us in the comments.

[Images via seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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3 of 30 comments
  • Skor Skor on Sep 18, 2017

    I despised the interiors of GM cars of this era.

  • HeeeeyJake HeeeeyJake on Sep 20, 2017

    I have always take the grand national symbol to represent a turbocharger, especially with the arrow representing airflow. A "stylized 6"? That sounds like a really bad assumption, but perhaps it could represent both. I will never be convinced it does not connotes a turbocharger, though.

    • Ajla Ajla on Sep 20, 2017

      All you ever wanted to know about the logo: turbobuicks.com/forums/attachments/waiting-room/1927d1088918963-buick-v6-logo-explained-buick-logo.jpg

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