Buick and the Grand National nameplate may go together like Forrest and Jenny, but as today’s Nice Price or No Dice LeSabre proves, that match wasn’t always made in heaven. Let’s see if this uber-rare NASCAR-oriented coupe now comes with a heavenly price.
When you consider Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it’s not hard to imagine a truck like yesterday’s 1985 GMC Sierra 3500 being somewhere on the pyramid. Maybe between “Love and Belonging” and “Esteem.” Not only was that GMC the sort of simple truck that many of you felt exemplified such a basic necessity, but at $8,950, it seemed to be an affordable way to reach that attainment as well. At least that’s the assumption we can make based on its 73 percent Nice Price win.
Okay, I want you to think about the name “Grand National” and picture the first car that comes to mind. It’s a mid-’80s Buick Regal, right? Probably in black, with a gray interior and deep-dish turbine wheels. Easy-peasey.
Today we’re going to talk about another Grand National — still a Buick, but one that’s far less common and a good bit more perplexing than the Regal edition.
This 1985 Buick LeSabre Grand National was a one-year-only package and reportedly sold only 113 copies before being replaced by the T-Type in 1986. I’m pretty sure that makes it the rarest of all LeSabre models in existence.
Now, LeSabre and performance never really went together, and while the Grand National edition did get the heavy-duty FE1 suspension featuring larger anti-roll bars and stiffer springs, it was still a large FWD car with most of its weight oriented over those front wheels. That made it handle and ride better than the standard LeSabre, but around the corners, it’s still going to plow like it’s planting season. The impetus for the model’s existence was owed to Buick’s participation in NASCAR and the company’s desire to qualify the larger car as a body template for track use.
To that end, the Grand National has a couple of model-specific body pieces. The most obvious of those is an odd plastic cover over part of the side window glass. That was intended to smooth the airflow around the car, but it sure looks weird. Other Grand National updates include a front air dam, a set of unabashedly handsome allow wheels, black-painted trim, and a pair of Grand National badges featuring a two-tone looping arrow.
A similar badge appeared on the Regal Grand National and as everyone knows, that represented the turbo that gave the Regal edition its power and fame. On the LeSabre, there is no turbo. Aside from the suspension upgrades, in fact, all the mechanicals on the Grand National are straight, un-filtered standard LeSabre. That means a 150 horsepower 3.8 liter V6 driving the front wheels through a four-speed automatic with a column shift. Ye-awn.
This particular LeSabre Grand National is black over gray mouse fur, which was the only way these models came and is claimed to be number 36 out of that 113-unit total run. The bodywork seems straight and the paint is okay. It is hard to tell for sure because of the layer of grime on the car and the kitty-cat footie prints that saunter up the hood. The interior looks solid, and obviously built for comfort, not for speed. The over-stuffed seats have room for three in the back as well as in front, with a low center tunnel that affords foot space for all.
Yes, there is some cleaning needed in here too, but based on the photos in the ad, this Buick looks to be a true barn find so perhaps that’s to be expected. According to the ad, the car gets out of the barn just fine, and sports both new tires and a fresh battery. It has 163,000 miles on the odo, which works out to about 4,500 miles a year. As it wears antique plates, it’s a good guess that most of the miles were racked up early in life and its later years have been less active. The title, unlike the car at present, is clean.
So, this is one extremely rare if somewhat uninspiring Buick. What exactly might that be worth? The seller is asking $15,000 for the sale and is banking on getting something near that to fund the purchase of a ’68-’70 Dodge Charger, which the seller notes in the ad, is the car of their dreams.
What do you think, is this LeSabre worth that $15,000 and hence moving the seller closer to realizing their dream? Or, is that price just a total nightmare?
H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!
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