Greetings fellow Turbo Buick enthusiasts...

Smokin' 6 Shooter

Semi-New Member
Jul 7, 2013
I am the grateful owner of a 1987 Buick Regal Grand National which I purchased from its original owner in the Fall of 1991. Following is the story of how I arrived here. Its sort of long and hokey so no hard feelings if you decide to skip it….


I blame Mom for my interest in cars. As a U.S. postal employee during the early 1980s, she worked in the Forwarding department which treats all undeliverable magazine subscriptions as waste. On a monthly basis I was showered with Car & Driver, Road & Track, Muscle Car, Hot Rod, etc. which lead to a quick education in marques, mechanicals and performance figures.

Like most newbie gearheads, my dreams were bigger than my wallet. I wanted a new Mazda RX-7 but funds allowed only for a used 1982 Mazda 626 Coupe. Although merely a gutless 4-banger, it nevertheless had a clean, aggressive stance and was the last of their RWD 6-series. I even toyed with dropping in a rotary but balked at the expense. Still, to this day, I am sorry I let it go.

Years of perusing used car ads drilled home one oft-ignored maxim: DO NOT buy a 2-seater when you are single or you will sell it under duress for far less than its worth once a wife and kids come along. I liked old 'Vettes too and, back then, could have grabbed one for not too much dough. However, I also liked girls and knew that marriage was in my future. Sacrificial love demanded any performance car not only be affordable, but practical as well (aka: a rear seat). Therefore, I wanted to be ahead of the game.

When I first read about the GN, everything clicked. Numbers to match a 'Vette, exclusivity to rival it and MPG to beat it - all with room for five! Of all the desirable motorcars out there, I had found my match and set about waiting as leases expired, prices dropped and more came on the used market.

The Recycler ad asked $12,000 which was a bit less than others I had checked out with higher miles. The guy was an engineer around 50, living single in a nice Valencia, California tract home. Dad went with me to protect my interests and, if the sale closed, bring my Mazda home. I remember little of the transaction except that we settled on $11,500, me handing over the cashiers check from Security Pacific Bank then taking title and keys to my "objet mécanique du désir." Curiously, before I drove off, the guy had me read and sign a hand-typed "Release of Liability" basically confirming that I was buying a high performance vehicle capable of inflicting great bodily harm to myself or others and that he was not responsible for my negligence.

The next day saw me at Pep Boys buying locking lug nuts, locking gas cap, a black license plate frame, front vanity plate and The Club. The next thirteen years were, in a word, fun. Far from boring, errands and commuting were an adventure, dates were much more exciting and road trips a memorable blast. My baby even made a brief appearance in a low-budget movie I co-produced about street racing.

Marriage and children eventually caught up to me yet the Buick remained, never asking much more than to be driven. But years and miles take their toll and familial obligations coupled with an extended period of unemployment diverted funds from even simple maintenance. In 2004 I was forced to park my toy until our situation changed where I could save enough money or a windfall occurred.

During those turbo-less years I matured in my new roll as a father and my priorities shifted. "Reason" suggested several times that I sell the dust collector and make room for the newly acquired minivan. "Reason" said that era of my life was over, I would never save enough to see its shiny glory back on the road and it was time to move on. This is what we are told. Yet one memory helped me keep the faith.

Many years prior the Music Minister at my church showed me an old snapshot of himself standing next to his then-new sports car: a red on white 1953 Chevrolet Corvette. He enjoyed it several years but eventually sold to buy something more practical. As he put the photo back in his wallet, I could hear the regret in his voice as he mumbled how it would cost him $25,000 to get it back (this being well before early 'Vettes started crossing the block at Barrett-Jackson for millions).

In 2012 I had the misfortune of watching my mother taken too soon by a third bout with cancer. Fortunately for her, she passed quickly. Unfortunately for me, she passed quickly so I was left to grieve by sifting through her lifetime of accumulated photos, possessions and paperwork this past year.

At the beginning I said I blamed Mom for my interest in cars. Ironically, one of her storage boxes contained some of those 1980s car mags I pored over as a teen. Funny how life seems to come full circle and, because she left me a little something from the sale of her estate, I now have the windfall necessary (and my loving wife's blessing) to bring my Buick back from the brink. Were it possible, I would trade it all in a heartbeat to have Mom but, in a way, this seems a fitting tribute to fondly honor her memory….


If you read this far, I appreciate your attentiveness. Its been a journey but I am now here to research and gather input for my long-term restoration.

Thank you all for your help in advance and letting me be one of the crew!
Welcome! Good story. Now let's get that car on the road

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Get-er-done!! Post some picks good or bad. Got to start somewhere. GOOD LUCK

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Great story....thanks.
Time to get it back on the road again.

post some pics and lets see what your working with. sorry about your mom the rest of the story was great
Appreciate all your heartfelt condolences and words of encouragement.

Buick is currently in the shop but hope to snap and post some pix in the coming weeks...thank you for asking!
Good story, and this will make a nice tribute car when it's finished, cruising in memory of mom.

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First off, Welcome to the site. Can't wait to meet you at the Cad-V/ Turbo Buick show in Long Beach. Introduce yourself in the South Western section. Not sure what shop you've got your GN in, but there's only a few that even know how to work on these things. Post pictures if you can.

Once again. Welcome and happy spooling.

Mike Barnard