From: Hemmings Motor NewsDate: March 1989Price then: $35,000 ($67,300 adjusted for inflation, about the cost…
Own the 1987 Buick GNX that starred in “Jay Leno’s Garage”
Still kicking yourself for not buying the 8.5-mile Buick GNX early last year? Are you just now making peace with yourself for not jumping on the incredible 26-mile Grand National that surfaced in November of 2018? Or the twins that both showed less than 1000 miles when we covered them last year? Are you, like us, wondering if anyone actually drives these late-80s Buicks?
If you answered yes to any of the above, we can help—at least on one front. Right now, there’s a 1987 Buick GNX up for sale on Bring a Trailer.
If you’re an avid reader of Hagerty’s website and you feel like you’ve seen this car before, you have. Late last year, this very same 1987 Buick GNX was featured on an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.
At that time, the vehicle had just 184 miles on it prior to Jay rolling a few of his own into the mix. According to the BaT listing, the car now boasts just 202 miles. For all intents and purposes, you could consider the vehicle brand-new by that metric alone. But, as Jay found out, this car has also never been titled—so according to the federal paperwork, it’s legally a new car as well. We’ve already covered the story behind that whole saga, so we’ll spare you the details here.
The GNX was the last-hurrah for Buick’s line of early- to mid-’80s muscle cars, residing atop a lineup that also included the Regal Turbo T and the Grand National. As such, it boasted the highest-output form of the turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6, thanks to some meddling from the folks at ASC/McLaren. All told, the V-6 produced 276 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque, which was good for a quarter-mile time of 13.43 seconds at 104 mph—serious pace for the time, and no slouch in today’s world. Just 547 examples of the GNX were made, and the one crossing the digital auction block is #308.
With four days left to go, the bid is lingering at $150,000. The record sale price for a GNX is $220,000 for #547, which Mecum sold in 2017 at its Kissimmee auction. Are we about to see a new record sale for a GNX?
There are a few factors to consider. It’s no secret that most of the 547 GNXs were bought and immediately ear-marked as collectibles. “There are a ton of low-mileage cars,” explains Hagerty valuation expert Greg Ingold. “A lot of people bought them and stored them away. To find one with more than 10,000–20,000 miles is unusual.”
The overall market trend doesn’t exactly favor a record-breaking sale, according to Ingold. “The turbo Buick market has been weak for over a year. It looks like the market got saturated with low mile cars in 2017–18 and that likely drove prices down. If this car reaches that level, that would be truly astounding,” he says.
To counterbalance the market’s movement, however, Hagerty valuation expert Adam Wilcox draws attention to the selling platform. “Low mileage cars do really well on Bring a Trailer,” he says. Between the nameless title and the 202-mile odometer, this model could beat the odds.
Ingold agrees that the weak turbo Buick market doesn’t have the last word. “Cars like this one haven’t been on offer and it is BaT, so anything can happen. There hasn’t been a GNX with that low of miles at a traditional auction in a long time, and Bring a Trailer tends to do incredibly well on low mile cars, so I never dismiss its ability to bring a surprising price on a car,” he continues.
All told, we’re left with the only position possible: We’ll have to wait and see.
Selfishly, I’m hoping that whoever ends up with the winning bid has plans to drive the bolts off of it. As exciting as the circumstances around these auctions are, I’m always so bummed to see cars like this treated as “investments.” The GNX was one of the most thrilling driving experiences of its time, as Jay Leno raves on his show. Get out and drive your cars, people… Even if you’re the first one to legally call a 32-year-old car “yours.”
If you were the winning bid on this car, what would you do? Trailer it to your pristine storage facility to await another 10 years before re-sale, or rip a sick-nasty burnout leaving the dealership that’s offering the car? Let us know in the Hagerty Forums.