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Car of the Week: 1987 Buick Grand National

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.
Car of the Week 2020
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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Regal Optional Turbocharge V-6: 90-degree overhead valve V-6. Cast-iron block and head. Displacement: 231 cid (3.8 liters). Bore & stroke: 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.

Series # Body/Style # Body/ Seating MSRP Shipping Weight Production Total
GJ/WE2 1 2d-coupe $15,136 3,380 lbs. 20,193

Wheelbase: 108.1 in. Overall length: 200.6 in. Height: 54.5 in. Width: 71.6 in. Front tread: 58.5 in. Rear tread: 57.8 in. Standard front tires: P245/50VR16 steel-belted radial. Standard rear tires: P255/50VR16 steel-belted radial.


CF5 sliding electric Silver Astroroof. CC1 lockable hatch roof (not available with option C95). D84 Designers’ Accent paint codes 15, 31, 62 or 79 (matching color vinyl top available with paint codes 15, 31 or 79). LC2 Turbo package, including 3.8-liter SFI turbocharged V-6 with intercooler (MX0, C60 and Y56 required and included in WE2). MX0 automatic transmission with overdrive (not available with LD5 and required with LC2). YF5 California assembly line emission equipment and testing (required option in California). GM8 2.56 axle ratio (LV2, MX1 and V080 required and mandatory with option Y56). GU4 3.08 axle ratio (options LD5 or LV2 with MX0 and V08 required). GU5 3.23 axle ratio (LD5 required). K05 Engine block heater (not available with LV2). K22 94-amp. Delcotron (not available with LC2 and when LD5 is ordered, C41 is a required option. Delcotron (options LD and air conditioning required). UA1 heavy-duty battery. V08 heavy-duty engine and transmission cooling (not available with LC2). C60 air conditioner (required with LC2 and included in WE2 package). C49 electric rear-window defogger. A01 Soft-Ray tinted glass. A02 Soft-Ray tinted windshield. Fixed-mast antenna standard unless power antenna ordered. UK4 ETR AM/FM stereo with seek and scan. UM7 ETR AM/FM stereo with seek and scan and clock. UM6 cassette tape and ETR AM/FM stereo with seek and scan, auto reverse and clock. UX1 graphic equalizer, cassette tape and ETR AM/FM stereo with seek and scan, auto reverse with search/repeat and clock. UL5 radio delete (front speakers not deleted). U66 rear dual extended range speakers (UK4 required and included with options UM7, UM6 and UX1). UW4 Concert Sound II six-speaker system (options UM7, UM6 or UX1 required). U75 automatic power antenna (not available with options W02 or WE2). US7 Automatic power antenna with black mounting piece (W02, WE2 or WE4 only). QHY P205/70R14 steel-belted, radial-ply, all-season, whitewall tires (required with F41). QYH P215/65R15 steel-belted, radial-ply, white-letter tires (available with Y56). N78 four aluminum wheels. P12 four chrome-plated wheels. Four color-keyed steel wheels with trim rings (not available with WE2, Y56 or WE4). Wheel colors offered were: 13P Silver, 62P Brown, 31P Blue, 79P Dark Red and 42P Sage. N91 custom locking wire wheel covers. AU3 electric door locks (required with option UA6). A90 remote-control electric trunk lock release. AT6 manual passenger seatback recliner, included with bucket seats (55/45 or 45/45 seats required). WG1 six-way power driver’s seat AC3/AG1 (55/45, 45/45 or bucket seats required). A31 power windows. K34 electronic cruise control. CD4 two-speed windshield wiper with low-speed delay feature (N33 required with bucket seats). C95 front-seat reading lamps. (not available with option CC1). TT5 tungsten-halogen headlamps. T63 “Headlamps on” warning chime. T82 Twilight Sentinel headlight control. UA6 theft-deterrent system with starter-interrupt (option AU3 required). U23 trip odometer (included on U52 or with LC2). U52 electronic digital instrumentation (not available with option U23). D35 body-colored sport-type outside rearview mirrors (left-hand remote control, right-hand manual). D68 body-colored sport remote-control outside mirrors (both remote control). D34 passenger side visor vanity mirror (not available with D34). B88 black protective body-side molding for W02, WE2 or WE4 only. B91 black door-edge guards for W02, WE2 or WE4 only. B32 front carpet savers. B33 rear carpet savers. B34 front carpet savers with inserts. B35 rear carpet savers with inserts. B48 trunk trim covering. Tilt steering column (required with CD4 and bucket seats). VK3 front license plate mounting. G80 limited-slip differential. F41 Gran Touring suspension (not available with F40, Y56 or WE2 and QHY required). W02 exterior sport package. Note: Some of these options may not have been offered for the Regal Grand National.

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