By on September 15, 2017

Image: 1987 Buick Grand National, via seller

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.

Image: 1987 Buick Grand National, via seller

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.

Image: 1987 Buick Grand National, via seller

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.

Image: 1987 Buick Grand National, via seller

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

Image: 1987 Buick Grand National, via seller

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.

Image: 1987 Buick Grand National, via seller

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.

Image: 1987 Buick Grand National, via seller

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]

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30 Comments on “Rare Rides: A 1987 Buick Grand National That Belonged to David Spade...”


  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    In late 1987 I test drove a new GNX at Buick Mart in Cerritos, California. I think it was about $29,000 then. It was low on fuel so we could not go far. After I returned to the store and waited for acceptance of my $27,000 offer, they told me my 1985 Cadillac Eldorado was “upside down”. I asked them who drove it last! It did not look upside down to me.
    That’s when I learned I had “Negative Equity” (nice oxymoron there!).
    So I left the GNX there and today still have my 1985 Eldorado Business Coupe. Plus three more Buicks!!

  • avatar
    raph

    Nice! One of neighbors got a great example for a steal! He ran into a guy that had dumped a bunch of cash into trying to correct an issue but failed to diagnose it properly and got frustrated enough he sold the car to my neighbor for what he had in the replacement parts (ECU and ignition and a few other items IIRC) and my neighbor correctly guessing the problem grabbed a mass air meter he had sitting in the garage from his own heavily modified GN, plugged it in and problem solved so he more or less snagged a great looking car for pennies.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This seems a little too rich for the blood of Joe Dirt…

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I was a GMAC employee for a stint in 1978-79, and was given a Pontiac Gran Prix SJ for a company car.It had the HD suspension with thick sway bars front and rear, full gauges with buckets and a console. We put some slightly wider 55 aspect tires and convinced the factory the std. shocks were failing and instead got Bilstein put in with me paying the extra cost. That car was the best 7500 miles I drove since the advent of big bumpers and air injection. Therefore, paying $30k for one of the GN’s when you could buy any GP, Monte, or Olds and spend the saved money making it carve and have power would be just as satisfying to me. Their black-out paint looks very threatening, however, to Buicks great credit.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      True but the GN and GNU were the stuff of dreams back then if you were a 20-30 something into domestic performance. The budget minded went for the Mustang and the high rollers,turned up in the GN and a,lucky few the GNX.

      In any event the cars were fast for the time and like all forced induction cars easy to make fast adding to the legend.

      Ergo commanding a good price today unlike the Monte SS and Olds 442 or T-type ( more of a sleeper GN as I recall ).

      I remember Guldstrand Performance and Hotchkiss seemed to be the guys Hot Rod favored when it came to suspension mods for the G body back in the day.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “The budget minded went for the Mustang…”

        Five point oh Mustangs were in the 10-$21K range, but $29,995 was stupid money in ’87 for a straight-line bandit, Darth Vader’d out G-body GM with cheesy Sunday Driver brakes/suspension.

        I thought GM was joking, seriously. I’m sure most performance minded buyers thought the same. Had the GNX gone into regular production, most would’ve eventually rolled over to the next year “unsold”.

        One “older guy” (early 30s) in my town had one and would bring it out Saturday nights, but had one rule about racing: Nothing from a ‘dig’, it had to be from a roll, 30 mph+. The car had nothing from a dead stop. After 300′ its a different story. Purdy pathetic all around.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          Must have been something really wrong with his because pretty much everything in stock form made back in ’87 would get absolutely humiliated in a standing 1/4 mile next to a GN. Certainly didn’t need to roll a GN to win races. Now a 5.0 GT Mustang with an automatic, absolutely. Those were a total slug out of the hole. Put the faster because it’s lighter 5.O LX w/stick next to a GN & your still gonna get a major a$$ kicking. One thing for sure is you’ll know what the tail lights of GN look like!……LOL

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The GN/GNX cars had insane (for their day) mid-range/top-end but couldn’t get it together at launch. They all had slushy automatics and a rear-end that was all over the place when the power hit. Can you say “wheel hop”??

            G-bodies were Sunday Drivers and GM did nothing to prepare/upgrade the GN/GNX for the power they put out. Can you say “true Muscle Car”. No way they could beat a 5.0 stick from a dig. It took them a few hundred feet to catch up. When you’re talking city “stoplight to stoplight”, it was Game Over by then.

            I guarantee you GNX-guy had a few run-in with 5.0s before I came along. Yeah on a “roll” 30+ mph I didn’t stand a chance. He pulled up to my right-side at about 35 mph and squared up, he looked over, and we were off…

            Obviously I lost. But a few stoplights back, I found him there waiting for the green, so of course I pulled up next to him on the right, lined it up, revved it up and he wanted absolutely nothing. When he came up to me, I’d forgotten all about the earlier exchange.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Check the spelling….David Spaid?

    If only we had a pencil to compare the bite marks.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    That sounds good…..Melted chocolate inside the dash, that really ups the resale value.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This car fits a “cool back then” description, requiring one to suspend judgment about its shortcomings when applying today’s standards.

    A 2017 V6 Camry is better in every way, except for the cool factor. But I suppose the same could be said for the 87 Grand National vs a 1957 Buick.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    The passenger seat probably smells like 22 year-old aspiring actress.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    quasimondo

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

    I’m going for D: Hard, frame-twisting launches.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I love it, but for the money, I’d simply find a Cut Supreme Brougham, throw a Olds 350 in it, and relish the pillow-top seats. With the remainder of the money, I’d buy a 1984ish Ninety-Eight coupe (last RWD), and put an Olds big block in it, then find me an Achieva SCX or a Cutlass Calais International Series or 2.4L/5MT Alero coupe, then find a mid-60s F85/Cutlass, and… Well, I could build a nice collection of GM cars with $30k is my point. The fact that they’re all Oldsmobiles reflects my personal taste. :)

    As others have noted, no, the alternative cars I/we would more likely buy will not appreciate in value like this car, but that’s okay with yours truly. I’d buy/own/build them to *drive*, not to hide in a garage until I die and my kids or my brother’s kids sell it to buy themselves a new Camry.

    I do understand why some buy cars as an investment, but to me, I get “paid back” by the car when I enjoy the hell out of it: by driving it, making memories in/with it, loving it. If it happens to sell for decent money when I’m over it, fine, that’s just even more icing on the cake, but the point of cars (to me) is to enjoy them.

    By the way, he spent that much money to recondition it, yet as you (Corey) correctly point out, the rear panel fitment/alignment looks to be in worse shape than my well-used Taurus?

  • avatar
    Maintainer

    “Is this factory quality control, age, or a prior accident?”

    Oh brother. I’m betting it’s safe to assume that isn’t a factory QC issue. It’s a 30 year old car known for being flogged early and often.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      These things weren’t that straight when they arrived on dealer lots. That fit and finish is the result of a midrange aftermarket paintjob. I worked for an Oldsmobile dealer in the ’80s. We checked EVERYTHING on these POSs sister Cutlass Supremes before unleashing them on the customers, having learned expensive lessons about dry differentials and transmissions from the factory.

  • avatar

    all hail our lord and savior in his purest form, the turbo charged buick V6.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    This platform was designed in GM’s downsizing times/cheap everything. They made plenty of money off them, I will say that!
    I think the worst cheap designs, had to be the sedans and wagons with rear windows that didn’t roll down. Instead you got crappy vent windows. What a joke!
    You couldn’t pay me to own one of these rolling piles of crap.
    P.S. GM still makes crap.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    If Andy Warhol is right, that everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, we’re ALL driving a celebrity car now! It kind of makes me wish I’d held out for more than $500 for my 1983 Honda Accord hatchback, despite the collision damage.

  • avatar
    Roadranger

    It’s nice, but I’d prefer John Voight’s LeBaron.

  • avatar
    skor

    I despised the interiors of GM cars of this era.

  • avatar
    HeeeeyJake

    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.

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