Buick GNX Sells For $215,000 At Near Record-Breaking Auction

Buick once again made history this week when one of its offspring, the GNX, sold for a record $215,000 after appearing on Bring a Trailer. Why a car from the late 1980s would sell so high is at first a great mystery, but looking into it further reveals some gleaming characteristics. An old adage dictates that something is only worth what people will pay for it, and that was proven with this sale of one of the greatest American performance cars ever made.

How does a GNX sell for $215,000

1987 Buick GNX driving on track
1987 Buick GNX | Buick

At the time, the GNX was beating Ferraris and Porsches to the quarter-mile stretch. Today it’s just barely slower than a brand new Mustang GT. It’s a phenomenal machine that has stood the test of time. This particular one that sold on Bring a Trailer for $215,000 had just 1,200 miles. Not only is it extremely rare, but it’s also barely been driven. Problems with the GNX don’t start cropping up until after 20,000 miles or so. 

Owners cite a MAF sensor that needs replacing at some point, as well as a new stronger fuel system and new intercooler hoses. This particular GNX shouldn’t need any maintenance for a long time. The GNX is a collector’s car, and while that sometimes doesn’t mean much in terms of performance, the GNX is still a fast machine, even by today’s standards.

What is the Buick GNX?

1987 Buick GNX driving on track
1987 Buick GNX | Buick

From the mid-70s Buick had the Regal, a personal luxury coupe with an abysmal powertrain and a want for prestige. Buick decided to make special editions of the Regal in the 1980s, called Grand Nationals which were a considerable step up. Early iterations were little more than a spruced-up paint job, until 1986 when the Grand National became what we know it as today. Buick took the Regal, painted it black, and got more horsepower from its turbocharged 3.8-liter V6. This time it got 245 horsepower and 355 lb-ft of torque.

For the Grand National’s final year in 1987, Buick sent out 547 Grand Nationals to ASC/McLaren to transform it into the swan song that is the GNX. The good people at McLaren boosted the GNX to 276 horsepower, though individual tests confirm more than 300. With this horsepower boost came 15 max psi, a stronger transmission, a new exhaust system, and a new turbocharger. Aside from more power the GNX also got suspension upgrades and various interior and exterior changes. 

Is the GNX worth more than $200,000?

1987 Buick GNX on display in California | Getty Images
1987 Buick GNX on display in California | Getty Images

It’s up to you, or the buyer, if the GNX is worth more than $200,000. Whatever your belief system is, the car seems to be increasing in value as the years drop off, something that’s very difficult to say about almost every other 80s car. Earlier this year one sold for $205,000, and a month later one sold for $275,000. The latter had 8.7 miles on the odometer. Most likely all Grand Nationals will have an immaculate interior and exterior, so the price may just come down to mileage. Either way, the GNX seems like a surefire investment.

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