An unsold 1987 Buick GNX visits Jay Leno’s Garage

This 184-mile example of a 1987 Buick GNX is the last of a generation of Buicks that has long-since passed, and it has never been sold.

“The thing that makes it unique is it’s a brand-new car,” Jay Leno says in this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. “It still has the window sticker. This has sat in the window of a Buick dealership since 1987.” 

This car had an MSRP of just under $29,389 in 1987. Only 547 examples of the GNX (Grand National Experimental) were produced as a swan song for the second-generation of the Grand National nameplate.

This particular car belongs to Boulevard Buick of Signal Hill, California, where it has sat on display for 32 years. Boulevard’s Brad Willingham joins Leno to talk about the car and its strange, three-decade residence at the family dealership.

“We were allocated one car,” Willingham says. “They started hitting the east coast first and…some of them went for some big money right off the bat.” 

But Boulevard couldn’t sell it. The dealer took out a full-page add in the Los Angeles Times soliciting bids for the GNX; not a single offer came in.

“We had a guy come in and offer us invoice; you know, like the old days. And then we had another guy come in and offer us sticker, but he didn’t have the credit to buy it. We were so depressed at that point, I said ‘we’re keeping it,'” Willingham recalls.

Willingham was inspired by his father, who passed on the opportunity to set aside one of the final examples of a Jaguar XKE the dealership received. Not wanting to repeat his father’s mistake, he decided to preserve this rare Buick. 

The GNX was a one-year only model that upped the ante of the Buick Grand National. Its turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6 put out 276 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque, though those numbers were likely understated. The car could run a 12.7-second quarter mile, which was faster than the Ferrari F40, and reach 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Buick intended it to be faster than the Corvette of the time.

The car remains for sale despite renewed interest. While several interested parties have put out feelers, Willingham has not yet found a buyer for this pristine GNX. It may be a new, never-sold car, but the warranty is no longer valid.

Watch the video to see Jay drive the car and tick the mileage up from 184.

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