The Buick Grand National was the definition of a sleeper: completely anonymous to anyone who wasn’t “in the know,” and instantly and enthusiastically recognized for what it was – a torquey, fire-breathing factory hot rod – by anyone who was. Churned out by GM’s now-defunct Pontiac vehicle assembly plant from 1984 through ’87, the Buick Grand National was in fact the last product manufactured at the facility, and the final example of the muscle car ever to roll off the line is heading to the auction block for the first time in its 34-year history.
Since the car’s completion at 5:00pm on December 11th, 1987, this Buick Grand National has been in the hands of one Bob Colvin – co-owner of Springhill Motor Company in Louisiana. It has quite the story. The Drive reports that Colvin launched a campaign in 1987 to persuade GM to sell him the last Grand National, but all he could get then-CEO and Chairman Roger Smith to agree to was to sell him the second-to-last example. The final car, Smith said, was to be retained by GM.
Colvin and his family were invited to GM’s Pontiac plant to watch the car roll off the line, but it’s there that the plant manager surprised him, disobeying GM’s wishes and allowing Colvin to take the car.
“That’s not GM’s wishes,” the plant manager said, “but I’m running this plant and you’ve gone through the effort to be here. It will be a real celebration.”
And so it was; as this was the last car ever to be assembled at GM’s Pontiac vehicle plant, it was quite the occasion. GM hired a film crew to follow the 1987 Buick Grand National down the assembly line as it was built, and there’s a treasure trove of video footage and photographs to go with the car. Line workers dressed the car up as it moved through the factory with signs saying “Built by the Best” and “The End,” both of which are included in the auction. Many workers lent their autographs to the engine and undercarriage of the car.
So did Lloyd and Mark Reuss, the former and current president of General Motors, respectively.
This one-of-a-kind Buick Grand National muscle car, equipped with the standard turbocharged 3.8L V6 engine and a 4-speed automatic transmission, will auction with no reserve at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale, Arizona event this January. Still in pristine condition with protective plastic throughout the interior and a mere 33 miles on the odometer, it’s expected to fetch as much as $500,000.