1987 Buick Grand National: East Coaster Today

The mean-looking, back meticulous 1987 Buick Grand National in Al MacPhee’s warehouse is almost one in a million. Well, it’s one in 10,000 anyway. Buick (GM) built about 10,000 of the performance cars in a limited two-year production run in 1986 and 1987.

With its 3.8-litre SFI turbo six-cylinder engine, the Grand National was the fastest North American production car at the time.



Al MacPhee’s car is stock, down to the original tires. The back ones are slightly more worn (hardly) than the front ones because they’ve done a bit of smoking.

“I have buried the needle!” Al sheepishly admits. Not much though! There are only 2,500 kilometres on the odometer. This car does not, repeat does not, get driven.

The Buick Grand National was one of the first turbo-charged six-cylinders in North America and the last performance car from the Buick Division of General Motors. The factory engine produced 260 horsepower but each vehicle sold with a chip that, once installed, would increase that power to 325.

The chip for Al’s collector Buick is still in a box in the glove compartment.



He points out the dimples in the hood where something was bolted at the factory. Every Grand National has them. As he describes them, a handkerchief suddenly appears in his hand and brushes some invisible dust off the hood. “Most people would have had them repaired but I won’t let anyone touch them.”

He won’t even have the engine cleaned. That’s stock.


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